“And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.
Some time ago, I received a phone call from Indiana. One of God’s true saints seemed to have a very serious problem. “Pastor,” she began, “I have no place to go. What am I going to do?” For a moment I was speechless. I was not sure I was hearing this woman correctly.
So I asked this lady, “What do you mean you have no place to go?” She explained what she meant. The church where she attended had gone full celebration. The music was horrible (in her words), syncopated by the beating of drums. No longer did she feel the spirit of divine worship, but rather that of another spirit. She continued: “And during the eleven o’clock service, drama has filled God’s house with the spirit of excitement and entertainment. The pastor’s message is nothing but psychology and New Theology.”
She wanted to hear the simple preaching of the Word of God and to feel God’s divine presence in the worship service, but it was not there. She felt that she could no longer attend her local home church. So she decided to look elsewhere. Can you imagine how surprised she was, after visiting other churches in the city where she lived, to discover that these, too, were all caught up in the fervor of celebration?
Then someone told her of a small country church some twenty miles out of the city. The next Sabbath, with her family, she drove to this little church, thinking that they would find a place to worship God in a pure Seventh-day Adventist atmosphere, a place that would be distinct from the world. As they arrived at this little country church, a nice looking gentleman kindly greeted them. But on entering the church sanctuary they noticed banners hanging on the chapel walls and displayed on the pulpit, the same kind that you would see in the churches of Babylon. She was disappointed to see ladies leading out in the Sabbath School who had large earrings dangling from their ears. However, a bigger surprise awaited them, for suddenly they noticed that many of the ladies in the audience were wearing gold necklaces with sizeable gold crosses attached to them. She and her family began to wonder if they had entered the wrong church. Perhaps this was a Sunday keeping church. But then they remembered that this was indeed the Sabbath day.They felt so out of place and so disappointed that they walked out.
As they left, the man that had greeted them, upon their arrival, approached them and asked, “Why are you leaving? You just came in.” Politely they began to explain, when he broke in with the words, “Oh, the members of this church pride themselves on being very liberal. I know that you are leaving because of the jewelry. I, too, am very much concerned.”
Then the lady said, “Why do you not speak up and do something about it?” But he just shrugged his shoulders as if nothing could be done. So the lady and her family drove to a nearby hill. There in the midst of nature they spread a blanket and listened to one of my tapes for a Sabbath sermon. Once more she lamented, “Oh, pastor, how I miss my good old Seventh-day Adventist Church. I long to attend where I know God’s blessing is waiting. But, pastor, I have no place to go!”
That just broke my heart. What happened to this lady and her family is happening in other places. I am getting calls from the north, the south, the east and the west with like experiences. It is certainly a tragic situation.
Some time ago, in a nearby church, the Conference speaker began his tirade by belittling God’s last day prophet with these words, “This little old lady.” As he continued his antics, he stated that Sister White was not inspired by God, and that he was opposed to God’s last day prophet. My wife and I walked out, and so did a number of others. Later my wife told me that she became so depressed that week that she did not want to go back there any more. And I felt the same.
Shortly after this experience, I happened to meet a man who had been baptized recently by the pastor of this church. I asked him why he did not go to that church anymore. He answered, “When I joined the church, I thought I was joining a church that had left Babylon. But last Christmas I found paganism in the church and the sermons my pastor gives, week after week, were exactly the same as I used to hear in the church that I left to join the Adventist Church. I want to go to a church where the pastor is preaching a spirit filled message from God’s word that helps me to get ready for the coming crisis.” My mind began to recount how God has told us that such things would happen within our church in the end time. Two parties would be found within a church that was once united. One group would cry and sigh for the abominations seen within the church. The other would stress the need to compromise so that we could be more attractive to the surrounding churches.
What Are We to Do?
What are the faithful historic Adventists to do, for more and more of those who are crying and sighing over the abominations so prevalent within Adventism are being disfellowshipped? Perhaps God is trying to tell His faithful few that we are nearing the time of trouble when we shall be forced to go from door to door with our Bibles in our hands. We will visit our neighbors and those in the surrounding countryside to explain to them our peculiar faith and to study the Scriptures with those who are interested.
This is to be done in preparation for a soon coming Sunday law, when this will be the only way in which we can obey the law of the land and still be faithful to our God. God is shutting the door of mercy upon a compromising church. He is opening the door to His faithful few who are lamenting the abominations of celebration. It is time for us to begin the long awaited house-to-house missionary work to our surrounding neighborhoods on Sabbath afternoon in preparation for Sunday missionary work. The church has failed to do this in a time of ease, on the Sabbath day, and soon it will be more difficult.
I believe there are thousands upon thousands just waiting to hear the truth of the Three Angels’Messages. What an opportunity to start Branch Sabbath Schools and Bible studies as we used to do. We can personally visit the needy with packages of love and start being concerned for those who are sick. We can obtain necessary training for medical missionary activity. Perhaps God is just waiting for you to start a Branch Sabbath School of new believers without any celebration and drama. Then you will never say that you have no place to go! A great soul-winning program needs to be initiated by historic Adventists.
A Feast Without Guests
In Luke 14, Christ told a parable that is very appropriate for our situation. In this parable, a king invites many people to attend the wedding feast he has prepared for his son. Sadly, all of those invited make excuses and do not answer the invitation. “The master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” Luke 14:21. This master was deeply concerned. This is a very serious crisis. The king has spent a fortune for this supper. The truth is that the stability of his kingdom is involved. The refusal to accept this invitation is rebellion, for this invitation involves the wedding of the king’s son. To refuse to attend is looked upon by the king as treason.
Now what will the king do about this? He is a godly king, with his rulership based on love. So he executes a plan to solve the problem. He will reveal his mercy, his longsuffering and his loving care. Since the first effort failed, he will try again. The supper must be attended by guests. His determination is amazing. His attitude should electrify all who bear his name. He gives this challenging command, “Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city, and compel them to come in that my house may be filled.” This is God’s command for you and me today.
Why is the command so urgent? Why does the master say, “Go quickly?” It is because “all things are now ready.” Luke 14:16, 17. The feast is prepared: the food is cooked and everything is in order, all that is missing is the guests. Likewise, God also predicted a list of conditions that must take place here on this earth so it could also be said of the world, “All things are now ready.”
Consider the following areas and how they are being fulfilled before our eyes.
- Increase in knowledge: Eighty percent of all the scientists that ever existed on the face of this world are alive today. Technology increases by quantum leaps every day. New discoveries continually change the way we live and work.
- Destruction: You may be startled to know that Russia still has over a thousand nuclear warheads pointed at some of our larger cities in America. If these were all launched, the effects would be so complete as to destroy every living being in the United States.
- Famine: This world has now reached a population of between six and seven billion inhabitants, and experts predict a massive famine in the Orient and in Africa in the near future.
- Employment: One out of every four workers in the world is unemployed today.
- Diseases: There are scores of new outbreaks of terrible diseases. One hundred million will die of AIDS. One out of every thirty college students test positive for the HIV virus.
- Disasters: We hear so much about disasters today, that we have almost become hardened to the daily entourage. Often, the news that hundreds or thousands have been killed in still another catastrophe initiates little more than a moment of pity.
- Divorce: When I was a boy, one out of three marriages ended in divorce. Today it is one out of every two. I am sure that you will agree that this is terrible. But consider Russia, where divorce is twenty-six percent higher than it is in the United States.
- Morals: We now have ten million homosexuals in America. But when you look at the small country of Holland, it boasts of thirteen million homosexuals!
“Go” Means You!
This world has indeed become like Sodom and Gomorrah. Surely the earth is ready for Christ to come and destroy the sinners and the supposed saints. “All things are now ready,” but the guests have ignored the invitation. There is much to be done by you and by me. No wonder God says, “Go.” That word taken to heart and put into action has great power. “GO” scattered the disciples abroad after the Savior’s crucifixion and they finished their task in just one generation. Today, we have come to a place where we like to juggle the wording of Scripture or change the spelling of Inspiration. Some would spell “GO” with the letters LOOK, WRITE, GIVE or SEND, for they believe it best to work by proxy. After all, the preacher gets paid for it. Let him do the work. He is better qualified.
When God says, “GO,” He is speaking to every member of His church. He means GO into the streets and the lanes—to wherever there is a soul to be found, into the huts of poverty, the camp of sin, the abode of outcasts, into the castle of the rich or down the street to our neighbors. Preach the gospel to every creature. Go out to where you find the unregenerate heart. This is our personal missionary field. Often I hear people say, “But, I do not know what to say.” If this is the case, you need to check your own heart, because inspiration tells us that, “Everyone who is connected with God will impart light to others. If there are any who have not light to give, it is because they have no connection with the source of light.” Historical Sketches, 291.
I well remember a preacher giving a message in which he made the statement that every
Christian can win someone to Christ. There was a poor seamstress in his church who worked early and late to feed her fatherless children. She remained after the service to talk to the pastor.
She said, “This is the first time, Pastor, that I have ever heard you say something that I felt was unfair.” The pastor listened. Then he said, “A word to the wise is sufficient.” And he left her. She began to think and to pray about it. She had no transportation. But she thought about her sewing customers. Then she thought about the milkman. So the next morning she was up bright and early and when she heard the rattle of the empty bottles at her door, she opened it and stammered a bit.
The milkman thought that she had just gotten up and he began to leave when she finally said, “Wait. Do you know Christ?” The milkman almost dropped the empty bottles. For two nights he had been despondent over his sins. Yes, he would love to come to her home and have Bible studies. Do you know, one year later she presented her pastor with seven people for baptism. I personally met a young man who lived in a large community, in the Ozarks, who had visited every home within fifteen miles of where he lived. He was giving a Bible study every night of the week, and he still held a regular job in a factory working five days a week. Where is your mission field?
Have You Passed Your Neighbor By?
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves. And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:30–37.
This man fell among thieves. Those who are without Christ are being robbed. The world offers tinsel pleasures but they soon lose their appeal. The devil robs and strips them, revealing their nakedness, just as he did to Adam and Eve. Sin is a cruel master. The man in Christ’s parable was in a pitiful condition. Bruised and badly beaten, he was half dead.
That is what Satan does to his victims. The Scripture says we are dead in trespasses and sin. Christ, in telling this story, is teaching us that sinners are spiritually dead in sin but alive in the body. In other words, they are half dead. Only the Great Physician can resurrect them to new life.
What about the Levite and the priest? “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” Luke 10:31, 32. The priest was on his way to the temple when he came near to this dying man. He looks, but he does not stop. How can he determine if this man is worthy of his help. He decides to report the matter when he gets to Jerusalem. Perhaps the Dorcas will help him. So he passes by.
Next comes the Levite, a servant of God. His business is to conduct worship and ceremonies. He had better not get his robes dirty helping this poor wretch. After all, this man was at fault. He came down this road of sin, and the law had warned him not to engage in sin. How could love be extended to such a man?
The case seems hopeless. Already, two men have passed by the wounded man, leaving him to die. But wait, there is someone else coming. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” Luke 10:33. The wounded man could not come to Jesus, for he was about to die. So Christ came to the wounded man and He was prepared to help. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10. Paul further states: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15.
The First Aid Kit
Notice that Christ was carrying a medical First Aid Kit. “And [he] went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” Luke 10:34. Nothing soothes and heals like the oil of the Holy Spirit. The wine is a purifying remedy, the cleansing blood of Jesus. This First Aid Kit contained bandages, emollients, antiseptic, oil (the Holy Spirit) and wine (the blood that cleanses from sin). The kind man exchanges places with this poor man. For the wounded man is placed on the Master’s donkey to be carried to a hospital (the church). Jesus sees the man’s terrible condition, caught and wounded by sin. So He comes down to earth and takes on humanity. He travels down the road to Jericho looking for sinners that He might save. Who do you know who is half dead, discouraged and whose religion does not answer their need? What they need is the touch of the Great Physician and God wants you to go and bring these individuals the good news of the Saviour. “Go and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:37. Christ says, “Go!” Go out into the streets and the lanes of the city. Go where the lost are to be found.
“Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.” The Desire of Ages, 329.
Christ says to you, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23. If your first effort fails, try again. You are offering a compelling force of love. God will stand by you and help you, for He has promised, “Go thou and do likewise.” We must go and fetch them and bring them to the remnant church.
But now I hear someone say, Brother Nelson, I cannot invite individuals to my present church. It has become too much like Babylon. Then start a home church by personal visitation and Bible studies until you have a group where the Spirit of God is manifested. Remember, dying men cannot come to the inn by themselves. Do not leave your work to the minister, the radio or the TV. God has given you the means you need—the two pence. “And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Luke 10:35. What is the two pence? It is the provision by which you have access to every power that Christ possessed. And any effort you put into the work will be rewarded. Christ promised, “When I come, I will repay.” And you know that He is coming soon. So be true to your Saviour. Keep the faith. Obey His command, “This do and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:37.
If you are truly converted, if you are washed in His blood, filled with the oil of His Spirit and bathed in His love, then go out into the streets and the lanes and compel them to come “that My house may be filled” and Christ may come. Do not stand around and cry, I have no place to go. Start a Branch Sabbath School that will eventually become a place of worship.
“God requires everyone to be a worker.” Bible Echo, 1901. “God demands that every soul who knows the truth shall seek to win others.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 103. “God expects personal service from everyone.” Ibid., 30. “We must participate in His labors for their redemption.” The Desire of Ages, 142.
So, GO, go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and compel them to come in.