Godlessness seems to be rounding the bend "but the people who know their God will display strength and take up action." Daniel 11,32
"Go out on the highways and the hedgergrows, and compel them to come in; I want my house full." (REB) Luke 14,23
"I feel such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this morning, by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the highways and hedges, that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at once set about my business." C.H. Spurgeon
A Christian from Wallingford CT had the courage to ask me why I am out on the access roads in central Connecticut these days talking to folks about Jesus and salvation.
I couldn't think of anything catchy, so I just blurted "Jesus said so."
Somebody was interested, praise God.
Until her question, it seemed like my roadside efforts were primarily appreciated by dogs, who still really like to stick their necks out of car windows, and who, apparently, for the time being anyway, still love Christians. They really don't mind us Christians doing our gospel in public.
Anyway, I had a vague idea of this Luke 14 passage, and how our faith is definitely not a private matter. But that was about it.
But when I read and prayed on the whole parable, I began to catch on to what "compelling" folks means. Jesus was talking about the necessity of everybody having a repentant and personal faith in Him.
Now we Christians of various stripes may disagree a bit about what a repentant and personal faith includes. At this ministry we teach what the bible says:
1. profession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans10,9);
2. a personal faith-based, freely chosen, adult water baptism by full immersion, for the remission of one's sins, Acts 2,37-39;
3. Baptism in the Holy Ghost, "being born again" (John 3,5).
This bible-based salvation frees everyone from making excuses that we have better or more important things to do than to serve Jesus and then attend his banquet.
You might remember this parable- there are seats left because many of the invited have made excuses. These are made easily, with perhaps a chuckle or a confident look that says 'of course you understand' or 'don't you know who I am?'
They see no need for Jesus, or his word.
How could this be?
Because they think (they know!) they are already right with God.
Besides, they are in a hurry, and in-a-hurry-people are important, on the way to work, going places, and all the rest.
One just bought some land, one a team of oxen, one just got married.
And everything is right between them and God. They are sure of it.
But Jesus knew better, knew his house was/is not full: "I want my house full." So, he tells his servants to go make one last push.
Well I'm thinking that 2000 years of "Christianity" has left us in a very similar position to the folks Jesus personally invited.
Like his first audience, our Christian history has proven that we human beings want Jesus on our own terms, on what we know, on what we're used to, with our own accomodations baked in, making ourselves a nice god cut to our own measure.
And so we also make excuses:
"I'm a member of the First Such and So Church."
"I was baptized as a baby- I can't get baptized as an adult;"
"Who needs baptism?"
"I not interested in being born again" but Romans8,1-2;6-9.
"I got married in church, what more do you want?"
"Personal what, am I Franklin Graham?"
"I just do what my church teaches..."
"I recite my denomination's creed."
"I'll forgive ________, but not __________."
And so on.
Jesus has not told me my roadside gospel efforts are going to be successful, nor does Luke 14 leave me with any oversize hopes.
But regardless, there's something good and powerful going on. Firstly, because spreading the gospel, doing our faith, is fun, and secondly it's like getting in some sort of gospel shape.
As to the latter, I'm seeing the Lord's wisdom of challenging us to gospel action in the face of godlessness (Daniel 11,32), an ugly spirit that would prefer that we Christians just got weaker and weaker, wringing our hands behind closed doors.
But, as we have seen from the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, and from Jesus' own service, and on the day of Pentecost, and throughout our faith history up to the present day, our biblical faith is best freely taken to the highways and byways, not on our human and private terms, but on His Godly and public terms.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...