Compel Them To Come In
“Compel them to come in” —Luke 14:23
These words from the lips of our Lord are recorded by Luke in the fourteenth chapter of his Gospel and the twenty-third verse.
We are using these words as a motto for this, our third annual Cedar Lake Conference. Jesus used these words as He spake the parable of the Great Supper.
He used them in answer to the remark of one of the guests seated around the table, where He had been invited to take Sunday dinner by one of the chiefs of the Pharisees. He had taken the opportunity which this Sunday dinner offered to tell folks how to give a feast. What a wonderful opportunity there is around the table these days to talk to people about the Lord and the feast that He has spread!
His remarks at this time were very hard on His host, but all of God’s words are a two-edged sword of conviction and condemnation to those who are not His sheep, and they are sharp also to prune those who are branches in His great vine, that we may bear more fruit.
He said to His host, “When thou makest a feast call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee. For thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
A Feast of Grace
Is it any wonder then, that after the announcement of this new kind of feast, this feast of grace which God offers to lost sinners who can never buy it back, is it any wonder, I say, that one of the guests said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God?”
Jesus’ reply to this guest’s remark brings forth the wonderful parable of the great supper, God’s table of grace spread for the unlovely, the unworthy, the maimed, the halt and the blind. They may come and have free access to the gift of everlasting life.
An Urgent Command
But listen! After the story of the supper there rings out the urgent command of the host to his servants. These are the words—let them burn themselves into our souls—“Compel them to come in.”
We ourselves have partaken of that supper. Shall we take the command and obey it?
Go out into the highways,
Compel them to come in.
A feast of life is offered,
And cleansing from all sin.
Compel them to come in,
Compel them to come in
With Holy Ghost equipment,
Compel them to come in.
A Holy Ghost equipment
Is now our right to claim;
The saints of old received it,
And we may have the same.
We must obey His order,
We dare not say Him nay.
He furnishes the unction
And tells us what to say.
Thank God we don’t have to rely upon human compelling power, but upon a divine equipment of compassion. Only this sort of compassion can compel them to come in. Oh, for a hunger for souls fresh from the heart of Jesus to fall upon our hearts at this conference!
Why should we compel them to come in? First, let me answer, because it is His command who has every right to command us. It is the blessed lips of Jesus that say, “Compel them to come in.”
It is not only at Jerusalem that we must seek them, though it certainly is there, but it is in all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
A Great Undertaking
This is a staggering undertaking—to compel them to come in from the highways and the hedges of this great world with its many climates, its many languages, its many religions, its much darkness; and you and I have a right to stagger and fall back, crying, “I cannot undertake this. I cannot obey the order in my natural self.” And we should fall back and say it. We have no right to trust our own equipment in this, the Lord’s program. How dare we for a moment trust our ability!
But He says in the same breath with the commission, the command, “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” God offers us His best, the third person of the adorable Trinity, to complete this task.
I often wonder how many men have really faced God and said to Him, “I have done my best to obey this command.” When I see what mighty tasks men are doing in the natural these days, I am overcome with a burning desire to carry out my Lord’s orders, and I know that your hearts are being touched through this conference to move out and obey Him.
But, oh, beloved, we haven’t begun to put in even our best, let alone His best, into this great task. I have been thinking this week of a mighty task, what one would think was almost an impossible task, that has yet been accomplished in a very short time in connection with the great world war.
A Commercial Emergency
On January 15, 1915, J. Pierpont Morgan & Co. accepted the task of becoming purchasing and fiscal agents of the British and French governments. To date this one firm has spent over three billions of dollars in this country for merchandise and munitions; they have raised loan money for the allies amounting to over two and three-quarter billions of dollars; they have imported into America over one billion dollars’ worth of gold.
Many American securities were held by foreign financiers until the time of the war, and this company has been called upon to find American financiers who would take over these securities to the amount of nearly three billions of dollars, so as to let the cash go to the allies in their own land.
This tremendous thing has been done by the appointment of one big man to have charge of the whole affair, and has gone forward without a word of scandal or criticism or the disorganization of American business, or clogs in the channels of trade.
Doing the Impossible
Just pause for a moment to think what this means. This is what the world calls, “putting it over,” “coming across with a big thing.” Men said it could not be done, but the Morgan Co. looked the field over and selected Edward R. Stettinius.
This man was not in their employ when they picked him. He was not even a member of their firm. Beside all this, he was doing something very far different, when they called him to this great undertaking; they called him from the presidency of the Diamond Match Company.
It became this man’s business to buy all the merchandise and munitions, all clothing, machinery, food, powder, and this with all the haste that the terrific war demanded.
Look a little further at the terrific task. There were not munition houses enough in America to supply even a fraction of the amount that was needed. The kind of clothing, the kind of food, the kind of supplies as specified by the allied governments, were not in our possession in this country; all these must be made and they must be made by men who never had made such things.
Efficient Men Needed
Mr. Stettinius decided some very broad principles in his mind at once. He said to himself that ninety-seven and one-half per cent of his problem must be solved by men who were already efficient at something, so he gave the orders for munition to men who were making a success in their present manufacturing business, even though they had never made anything like ammunition.
He awarded a contract for one hundred million dollars’ worth of material to a company that had no buildings, machinery or tools for munitions, and had no men who were muntion makers; but, because they were men who were used to undertaking tasks without asking questions, they hustled up their houses and machinery and men, and shipped their muntions fifteen days before the time agreed upon in their contract; and have never been subjected for a moment to any criticism.
One car firm he persuaded to make shells. They are now making five million dollars’ worth a month. The purchases averaged under Mr. Stettinius ten million dollars a day.
Mr. Stettinius drew around him one hundred and five selected, engineers and commercial experts who never watched the clock. They were called “the S.O.S. crowd,” meaning “Slaves of Stettinius.” Nine o’clock at night saw them all in their offices. The task was a great one, and they were throwing themselves into it.
Playing with the Task
Such a record as this, my dear friends, makes me feel that Christian men and women today in the large majority are absolutely playing with this task of compelling men and women to come in. Ask God quietly if you have ever given Him your full self. Look again at what it means to really be consecrated.
I am not stirring you now to self-effort, but to show that if men in the natural can undertake such tasks, what ought the children of God to undertake in the power and equipment of the Holy Ghost?
The Task of the Ages
Oh, the world must be evangelized. Our order is, “To the highways and hedges.” He has the method. Let our hearts say, “The task must be done, and by God’s grace it will be done.”
Jesus is calling us in our day to the supreme task of the ages, and takes us into the firm and furnishes us the equipment. He calls us; He commands us to go and compel them to come in. We can—will we obey His orders?
We Can If We Will
The second reason for our compelling them to come in, is a very simple one. It is this; we can if we will. It is a perfect marvel to me what men can do when they want to. It has been my observation that men are generally found doing about what they wanted to do. Of course this cannot be pushed to a terrific extreme, but in the large most folks are doing about what they want to do.
Now answer me in the inner recesses of your heart, do you want to bring them in? Oh, there is a tightening of the heart strings and a setting of the heart in Holy Ghost purpose, when the child of God has said to Jesus, “I will; I want to, and I will.” Oh, all our willing must come from our “want to,” and, praise God, His equipment of compassion will give us our “want to.”
For Their Country
Look how the wills of the men at the Battle of Verdun served them for their country’s sake.
Those Frenchmen who held the first line of trenches through those awful onslaughts were in their trenches eight days and eight nights without sleep, fighting, fighting, fighting constantly. The weather was bitterly cold, and many of them were standing in water to their knees.
The first day they had two plates of soup, the second day they had two plates of soup, the third day they had one plate of soup and one meal; then the fourth day they got two meals. The days went on thus—eight days, eight nights, fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting.
When the awful ordeal was over (that is, when the new troops had come up to relieve them from behind, and finally had reached their trenches) without brag, without saying a word, the fighters who had been there through the eight days and nights simply walked to the rear and threw themselves full length on the ground, falling immediately into a deep sleep with their wet clothes frozen on them. The re-enforcing troops took their blankets, threw them over the exhausted bodies, and left them to sleep on.
Not one case of pneumonia was reported. Physicians would have said it could not be done, but it was.
To the Battle!
Oh, I do not call you to swell your power and self-effort; but I do ask, have you ever thrown yourself, literally thrown yourself (and thrown yourself in the power of God) into this battle now going on between hell and heaven? You can if you will; will you?
Oh, wait on Him at this conference. Catch the vision, get the equipment, heed the command, and plunge into the hedges!
The Time Is Short
In the third place, we should compel them to come in because the time is very short. The supper has been prepared a very long time, and many have already taken advantage of this supper and their seats are reserved around the table.
He said, “Go, that my house may be filled.” His house is nearly filled; but there are those out in this tribe and that, in this tongue and that, that must make up the members of His body.
Jesus Is Pointing
We must evangelize the world. Many millions have never had the invitation; but the doors between us and those millions have been torn down, that in other days would have kept the invitation out; and there is left no excuse if we in this generation do not go and compel them to come in.
Even in this awful year of war, God is increasing the gifts to missions. Beloved, you need but to take a slight glance and you will see that Jesus is pointing and saying, “Out, out, out into the dark! Compel them to come in!!”
He is gathering out a people for His name, and it is our business to remember constantly that the time is so short. Brother, we will soon be gone. Let us work, for “the night cometh when no man can work.”
Signs of His Coming
The signs of His soon coming multiply with every issue of the newspapers. The terrible Turk is on his way out and off of the map, as God has predicted. He is the Bible’s “River of Euphrates” that must be dried up to make way for the kings of the East, the Jews, God’s chosen people. Bagdad has fallen since our last conference, and an army is on either side of Jerusalem, coming on to strike the Turk his blow of death.
Go quickly then; the time is short, and compel them to come in. He is blasting the way. Follow up quickly as good infantry men, taking the openings made by His big long range guns of Providence. The barrage fire (may I call it) is falling before us, blasting the way. Get ready for this last great forward movement that is coming. Into the whitened harvest fields of earth Jesus is ready to make one last great final charge.
The doors are down, the roads are open, and into the hedges we must plunge. Are you ready? If not, this conference, with its message of victory and power and cleansing and vision, is your opportunity to get ready.
A Crown to Be Won
The last reason for our going to compel them to come in is this: there is a crown for our service and fidelity. You may have a bundle of sheaves to present to Him at His coming, for which He will give you a crown.
Have you now a bundle of sheaves? We can pay nothing for salvation—it is a gift purchased by Him; but we may serve for a crown.
A legend is told of a dear old saint who lived in a grove, and owned a bubbling spring of water, bordering the roadside. The old saint knew his Lord, and walked and talked with Him as the days of his earthly life went by.
He was crippled and misshapen, and unfit for any earthly toil requiring physical strength; so he sat the weary days through in his home in the grove.
Years had passed since first he found the Lord, and then in later years came a deep desire to go out into the world to tell the lost of Jesus. Bitter, bitter tears of disappointment streamed down his face, as the awful realization of his weak physical condition swept over him, together with the vision. He struggled in prayer. He felt he would die if he could not go.
Then in a lovely night of prayer the Spirit lifted the load, saying, “Stay, stay by the road, there are many sinners there.”
The old saint had the spring dug out by the side of the road, and with rock selected from the brook, built up the walls around the side and hung a dipper to a chain. Behind the spring he had a rustic seat circled temptingly. Then he spent a little bit more of his small allowance, to hire a carpenter to move his little house for him, close to the spring and the rustic seat. With his own hands he was able to plant the flowers and trim the shrubs.
A Service of Love
Then, seated on the old seat made for him, he greeted the passersby. When they turned aside to drink he engaged them in conversation, and offered them the confortable rustic seat in the shade.
Here he told them of Jesus,
The story that never grows old.
Here he gathered a harvest,
Beautiful sheaves of gold.
It was on a summer afternoon, that the great speaker passed that way and found the old saint not at the roadside, but in his bed. That night, as the speaker lay sleeping in his comfortable bed provided by the old saint, this crippled, seemingly useless child of Jesus passed away.
The speaker awoke in the night, and the story goes on to say that he saw men and women, boys and girls, one by one, enter the door of the little shack, pass to the side of the old saint lying in his coffin, burst into tears, crying out, “He led me to Jesus,” and then go away.
All night they came and went and came and went. The speaker could not stop nor speak to the procession; some strange power held him. He was only allowed to gaze as the procession passed.
Before the Throne
At last the procession came to an end, and the grey streaks of the dawn ran up the sky, when suddenly the room was a blaze of glory; the heavens were opened, and the old saint was changed, straightened, glorified and taken before the throne.
The speaker heard him say, “Blessed Lord, blessed Lord, I longed to go out in the world for Thee and gather precious souls; but you told me to stay. I have stayed, blessed Lord, and now I come before Thee empty-handed. I have no crown; I could never make a speech; I could not write a book; I could not gather the audiences together; I could not seek the men.”
“No crown?” asked the Master.
“No,” said the old saint.
“But” cried the Master in voice that rippled like the glorious waters, “Thou soon shalt have. Give me those jewels in thy hands, and all those diamonds and pearls hanging upon they clothes.”
The old saint was dumb with surprise, as he looked at his clothes and into his hands. The jewels hung there thick upon his chest, and his hands were filled with gorgeous sparkling gems
“How did I get these?” he cried, in glorious surprise.
“These, my blessed one,” said the Master, “are made from the tears of those thou toldest of Me, and ledest to accept Me as their Savior. Many tears ran into thy hands as those whom thou hast brought in from the highways and hedges leaned over thy coffin; and they hands, beloved, are full. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; here, take thy crown, I will make thee ruler over many things.”
The light vanished. The great speaker sprang up and dropped to his knees, and the great applauding audiences saw him in his fleshly efforts no more; but out into the highways and hedges, with tear-stained cheek, he pled with men.
He had seen a coronation, and he went out to compel them to come in.