I was pondering early this morning how we often invite those who do not know the Lord to church. We gently suggest they come and experience the presence and power of God. And when they refuse, often we move on. We forget, I think, that so many do not know or understand the need. They cannot see. They cannot hear. This is where we need to compel them. So many, if left to their own devices, they make excuses as to why they cannot come. They reject the invitation because they are too busy, its not convenient, they have other plans, etc. This is why the Lord tells us, His servants, to go into the world and compel them to come in. If we wish to see them come it requires us to get out there. And when we do, are we truly stressing the urgency that they need to come or just suggesting they should come?
My husbands Aunt recently passed away. She refused to hear, she refused to come ~ She was not compelled. She lived so far from us and yet I wonder what more we could have done to encourage her to come. I wonder if we said enough; what was it she saw in us, if anything? She was very ill; she was told that she had little time left. And yet still she would not come. She would not hear. She was at one time, my oldest son’s favorite in all of the family. A sweet older lady; one who had such heart for church and “god” as she knew it to be. We can be so sincere and yet be so sincerely wrong. I have heard and read often, it does not matter how good we are, it does not matter that He loves us so. We pray for those who are lost, we tell them how deeply Jesus loves them ….. there is so much we leave out though. We need to tell them much much more.
If we will not hear and obey His call to us, what does it matter, the prayers and the love we assure others He has for them? Its sad to know good people who just need His truth (if only they could see). The invitation is, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” “Come now and let us reason together. Why allow them to put it off? It may be the last warning they ever have. His invitation, it is for right now, not tomorrow or next week. As much as we do not want to hear it, He will not wait forever. We need show them and share with them, all that we can, of His good news.
But what does it mean to compel them?
Certainly it does not mean to force anyone; none can be forced to believe and be saved. We have to remember that though He has given us the power and authority to do many things, as followers of Jesus, we cannot save anyone; only God can work within the hearts and minds of those in need to give them the desire to be saved. The Greek word translated “compel” is quite a strong word: “anankazo,” another words to: “force,” “compel,” even “drive.” John Wesley is quoted as saying “with all the violence of love, and the force of God’s Word. Such compulsion, and such only…was used by Christ and the Apostles” (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, Baker, 1983 reprint, volume I, note on Luke 14:23). Plummer points out “compelling was by persuasion” (Alfred Plummer, The International Critical Commentary, Clark, 1952, note on Luke 14:23). We are to use the force and persuasion of argument to compel others to come. Early in the third century, Cyprian said, “There can be no salvation to anyone except in the church.” This is a truth that needs to be repeated often and strongly in these end times, “There can be no salvation to anyone except in the church.” And those of us who are in obedience to Him, we are the church.
This goes much deeper than just filling a pew…Our days are numbered, Jesus is coming again and soon. That said we are responsible as His followers to tell others, to share and testify with joy and great passion, about the “Author and Finisher” of our faith. Do we have an answer to give? Do they see the hope in us? We have been called, we are to be watchmen on the walls, to proclaim not just the coming judgement but also the truth of His word and how we must be saved. If we truly love God, we will obey Him and clearly He tells us to “make disciples” and to “compel” people to come.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Reject His message but know that “He that despised Moses’s law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God.”
How many people die everyday in this world? Their fate sealed? This life does not have to be all we have; there is so much more for those who truly seek Him. For those who do not, there is only judgement to come. There are no do-overs, no second chances, once your life has passed you cannot change your mind. The Bible is clear, today is the day of salvation. Not tomorrow. Not after you die. Right now. There is no promise of tomorrow.
So many I want to ask, “do you know what it is you are rejecting?” You are rejecting Christ, your only Saviour. “Other foundation can no man lay;” “There is none other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” This is not about what I think, it’s not about what is convenient, this about His Word, its about eternity. Here again, we need to show our faith; do we trust Him? Do we truly believe that He is fair and just as His Word says He is? Many are called……few are chosen…. that should break our hearts. I am sure it does His.
Does our heart cry out as his did in Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” If it does not, let us work to make this the cry of our heart.
Can we honestly reflect on how others perceive us and our love for God? Are we excited and eager to speak of Jesus and all He means to us? Do we seem different than others? If we truly believe the what the Bible has to say, then we must also believe the reality that many will die and go to Hell without Jesus – if we love our neighbor as ourself, surely we want to see them saved? This world, it is not eternal, it is not harmless, it is not a playground, rather it is a constant battleground, a dangerous place to be if God is not for you!
We should live with such an excitement and love for Jesus and His Church, that we persuade and compel people to come! Surely we want to see them with us in Heaven!
“Do not be put off by any rebuffs; entreat those who know not, to stop and consider….do they know what it is reject this day?
Today is the day of salvation; tomorrow is not promised. We who have what they need, we understand the value and the importance that must be placed on salvation. Time is short; we need to compel them. When we see those who have needs, we need to cause them to come. For to them have we been sent. Do we hear and obey in faith knowing that the needy; they are before us because of His call ~ If, in faith, we reach out and snatch them up for Him, in faith, He will honour his own promise. He has said it shall not return void, and it shall not. If we will only hear and respond to Him…Before it is too late!