Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 18: "Go into the Highways and Hedges"
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The command given in the parable, to "compel them
to come in," has often been misinterpreted. It has been
regarded as teaching that we should force men to receive
the gospel. But it denotes rather the urgency of the
invitation, and the effectiveness of the inducements
presented. The gospel never employs force in bringing men
to Christ. Its message is "Ho, every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters." Isa. 55:I. "The Spirit and the
bride say, Come. . . . And whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely." Rev. 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." Rev. 3:20. He is not repulsed by scorn or turned
aside by threatening, but continually seeks the lost ones,
saying, "How shall I give thee up?" Hosea II:8.
Although His love is driven back by the stubborn heart, He
returns to plead 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." Ps. 18:35.
Christ will impart to His messengers the same yearning
love that He Himself has in seeking for the lost. We are
not merely to say, "Come." There are those who hear
the call, but their ears are too dull to take in its meaning.
Their eyes are too blind to see anything good in store for
them. Many realize their great degradation. They say, I
am not fit to be helped; leave me alone. But the workers
must not desist. In tender, pitying love, lay hold of the
discouraged and helpless ones. Give them your courage,
your hope, your strength. By kindness compel them to [p. 236] come. "Of some have compassion, making a difference;
and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."
Jude 22, 23.
If the servants of God will walk with Him in faith, He
will give power to their message. They will be enabled so
to present His love and the danger of rejecting the grace of
God that men will be constrained to accept the gospel.
Christ will perform wonderful miracles if men will but do
their God-given part. In human hearts today as great a
transformation may be wrought as has ever been wrought
in generations past. John Bunyan was redeemed from
profanity and reveling, John Newton from slave dealing,
to proclaim an uplifted Saviour. A Bunyan and a Newton
may be redeemed from among men today. Through
human agents who co-operate with the divine, many a poor
outcast will be reclaimed, and in his turn will seek to restore
the image of God in man. There are those who have had very
meager opportunities, who have walked in ways of error
because they knew no better way, to whom beams of light will
come. As the word of Christ came to Zacchaeus, "Today I
must abide at thy house" (Luke 19:5), so the word will come
to them; and those who were supposed to be hardened sinners
will be found to have hearts as tender as a child's
because Christ has deigned to notice them. Many will come
from the grossest error and sin, and will take the place of
others who have had opportunities and privileges but have
not prized them. They will be accounted the chosen of God,
elect, precious; and when Christ shall come into His kingdom,
they will stand next His throne.
But "see that ye refuse not Him that speaketh." Heb.
12:25. Jesus said, "None of those men which were bidden
shall taste of My supper." They had rejected the invitation,
and none of them were to be invited again. In rejecting
Christ, the Jews were hardening their hearts, and
giving themselves into the power of Satan so that it [p. 237] would be impossible for them to accept His grace. So it
is now. If the love of God is not appreciated and does
not become an abiding principle to soften and subdue the
soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord can give no greater
manifestation of His love than He has given. If the love
of Jesus does not subdue the heart, there are no means by
which we can be reached.
Every time you refuse to listen to the message of mercy,
you strengthen yourself in unbelief. Every time you fail to
open the door of your heart to Christ, you become more and
more unwilling to listen to the voice of Him that speaketh.
You diminish your chance of responding to the last appeal
of mercy. Let it not be written of you, as of ancient Israel,
"Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone." Hosea 4:17.
Let not Christ weep over you as He wept over Jerusalem,
saying, "How often would I have gathered thy children
together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings,
and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you
desolate." Luke 13:34, 35.
We are living in a time when the last message of mercy,
the last invitation, is sounding to the children of men. The
command, "Go out into the highways and hedges," is
reaching its final fulfillment. To every soul Christ's invitation
will be given. The messengers are saying, "Come; for
all things are now ready." Heavenly angels are still working
in co-operation with human agencies. The Holy Spirit
is presenting every inducement to constrain you to come.
Christ is watching for some sign that will betoken the
removing of the bolts and the opening of the door of your
heart for His entrance. Angels are waiting to bear the
tidings to heaven that another lost sinner has been found.
The hosts of heaven are waiting, ready to strike their harps
and to sing a song of rejoicing that another soul has
accepted the invitation to the gospel feast.
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