“Think on These Things” is a column by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton.
We must not neglect anyone. Christ said go to the great cities, in the byways of the country are families and individuals—perhaps strangers in a strange land – who in their loneliness, come to feel that God has forgotten them. They do not understand what they must do to be saved.
Many are sunken in sin, pressed with suffering, want, unbelief. They long to find solace, and Satan tempts them to seek it in lusts and pleasures that lead to ruin and death. They spend their money for that which is not bread and work for that which does not satisfy.
Christ came to save. His invitation is “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters… come, buy wine and milk without money and without price… come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live.” Isaiah 55:1-3.
Many who appear wholly indifferent to religious things are in heart longing for rest and peace. Although they may have sunken to the very depths of sin, there is a possibility of saving them.
Christ’s servants are to follow His example. He comforted the suffering and healed the sick. Then He placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. This is the work of His followers, point to the uplifted Saviour, and tell of the love of the great Physician, who alone has power to restore.
Tell that they need not despair. Though they have erred, God has joy to restore. He delights to make them the subjects of His grace. He rejoices to deliver them from the wrath which is to fall upon the disobedient. Tell them there is healing, cleansing for every soul. There is a place for them at the Lord’s table. He is waiting to bid them welcome.
Those who go will find others who are longing for a knowledge of God. They are praying with tears that God will send them help. In the midst of the wickedness of the great cities many are to be found. Many are unnoticed by the world. Study the Bible with them and pray with them with that simplicity which the Holy Spirit inspires. Christ will give His servants a message that will be as the bread of heaven to the soul.
The command given in the parable, “compel them to come in,” is often misinterpreted. It has been regarded as teaching that we should force men to receive the gospel. But it denotes the urgency of the invitation. The gospel never employs force in bringing men to Christ. Its message is “The Spirit and the bride say, Come… And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. The power of God’s love and grace constrains us to come.
The Saviour says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20. He continually seeks the lost ones, saying, “How shall I give you up?” Hosea 11:8. Although His love is driven back by the stubborn heart, He pleads with greater force, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” The winning power of His love compels souls to come in. And to Christ they say, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35.
– Adapted from Christ Object Lessons