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"Yet There Is Room"
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1910,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 21, 1862.
"And yet there is room." Luke 14:22.
I REMINDED YOU, this morning, [See Sermon #485, Volume 8—NO ROOM FOR CHRIST IN THE INN.] that there was no room for Christ and His parents in the inn at Bethlehem—and also that there were then other places where, although there was no room for Christ, far inferior persons found a welcome and entertainment. I need, this evening, to convince you that although there are still many sinners who seem to have no room for Christ in their hearts and lives, yet there is plenty of room for sinners in the heart and love of Christ! And I am going to give them an earnest, tender, affectionate invitation to come to Christ while "yet there is room." You who have hitherto been strangers to the Grace of God. You who, as yet, have never feasted at the Gospel Banquet, you who have, until now, been content with this world's frothy dainties and have never tasted that which is substantial and satisfying for time and for eternity—to you, even to you—comes the message of our text, "yet there is room."
I. My first question concerning the text is, WHERE IS THERE ROOM? And the answer is, there is room in the Fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness! There is room for you to be washed and to be made clean. Vast multitudes have gone into that Fountain black as the thickest night—and they have come up from the washing "whiter than snow." Innumerable offenses have there been washed away, but the Fountain has lost none of its cleansing power, nor will it until the last elect soul has been washed therein, as Cowper so confidently and so truly sings—
"Dear dying Lamb, Your precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Is saved to sin no more!" It is our joy to be able to assure you that in that blessed bath of cleansing, "yet there is room!"
There is room, too, in that chariot of love which carries the washed ones all the way to Heaven—that chariot of which Solomon's was a type and of which we read, "he made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem." In this chariot there is room for millions more—and if you are washed in His precious blood, He who is greater than Solomon will take you up and carry you on and over the rough and rugged road of this wilderness world—and conduct you safely to His Father's House above. You shall travel joyously in the best of company, so enter while there is room, Sinner, and there is room now!
There is room, too, in the Father's great family. He has adopted an innumerable multitude of those who once were children of wrath and servants of Satan! He has selected some of the vilest of the sons and daughters of Adam, but they are washed, they are cleansed, they are regenerate and they have received the seal of their adoption into the family of God and are joyously crying, "Abba, Father!" But there is room for millions more in that great family! Earthly fathers, as a general rule, have no room for strangers in their home—the house is already crowded with their own boys and girls—so they cannot receive other people's children into their family. But there is still room in the great Father's heart for all who will come unto Him by Jesus Christ, His Son. All whom He has chosen unto eternal life have not yet believed in Jesus and been "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession." All whom He intends to save have not yet been brought to recognize Him as their Father and
their God, so again I say that there is still room in the great Father's heart for all who will come unto Him by Jesus Christ, His Son!
There is room, too, in the visible Church here below. We gladly welcome every new convert and we say to each one—
"Come in, you blessed of the Lord, Stranger nor foe are thou! We welcome you with warm accord, Our friend, our Brother now."
"The Lord knows them that are His," but all that are the Lord's are not yet added to His visible Church. Thousands of them stray in the paths of sin—millions of them are as yet like jewels hidden away in the mire, or pearls lying many fathoms deep in the caverns of the sea! There is still room for more stars in the diadem that adorn the brows of the Church on earth! There is still room for more golden candlesticks to give her light. She still has room for many more children to be dandled on her knees and to suck at her breasts—use whatever metaphor we may, we can still say, in the words of our text—"yet there is room."
There is room, too, in the ordinances of God's House. There is room for you, Christian Brother or Sister, in the liquid tomb which is the emblem of your Savior's grave! You may be buried with Him by Baptism into death and rise from the baptistery in the likeness of His Resurrection, therefore to walk with Him in newness of life! There is room for you, too, at that Communion Table where, in eating bread and drinking wine, we spiritually eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood and so prove that He dwells in us and we dwell in Him.
There is room for you at the children's table—you will not overcrowd us! We are not like the elder brother who was jealous because the prodigal was welcomed back to his father's house and his father's table. We shall have none the less enjoyment, but all the more, if you will come and join us at the feast of love—there is abundant room for you there.
Better, still, and more to your soul's solace, there is room for you in Heaven! The long procession has been streaming through the gates of pearl from the day when Abel, the protomartyr, entered the heavenly city, until this very moment, as I am speaking to you! The last emancipated soul has just flapped its wings for joy, left its mortal cage behind and entered into everlasting liberty! The redeemed from among men have been taking their appointed places before the Throne of God, waving their palms, wearing their crowns, playing their golden harps and singing their songs of victory! But there is still room in Heaven for many more! There are crowns there without heads to wear them and harps without hands to play them—and mansions without tenants to inhabit them and streets of gold that shall have something lacking until you have trodden them—if you are one of the Lord's own people. There is room for multitudes whom God has cho-sen—to come to swell the hallelujah chorus of the skies! It is very sweet even now, but it has not yet reached its full force and grandeur—it needs to have ten thousand times ten thousand voices added to the already mighty choir—and then the glorious chorus shall roll up to the Throne of God louder than the noise of many waters and as the voice of a great thunder, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! And He shall reign forever and ever!"
What a dreary message I would have to deliver if I had to tell you that there was no room! Let me give you one or two illustrations. In passing over some of the more difficult passes of the Alps, the traveler sees small habitations by the side of the road, marked "Refuge No. 1," "Refuge No. 2," and so on, up to the hospice on the summit, and then down the other side more refuges similarly marked. When a storm comes on and the wind and snow beat into a man's face so that he cannot see his way, and he sinks more than knee-deep in the drifts—it is a happy circumstance for him that, perhaps a little way ahead, there is a refuge where he and others in the same plight may find shelter till hospitable monks come and take them to the hospice, or send them on their way! Imagine that one dark night the snow is pouring down, the flakes fall so thickly that you cannot see a star, the wind howls among the Alps and the poor traveler, nearly blinded, staggers up to the door of the refuge—but he sees outside of it a dozen or two other travelers all clustered together, nearly frozen to death, and they say to him—"The refuge is crammed! We can't get in, so we must perish, though we have reached the door of the refuge but there is no room for us inside." Ah, but I have no such bad news as that to bring to you tonight! Crowded as you are here, this great building has scarcely room enough to hold you—but the love of Christ is not so cramped that I need say to you, "There is no room here." "Yet there is room." All who are inside the refuge are but a small number compared with those who are yet to come for, in later and brighter ages, of which this is but
the dawn, we believe that conversion work will go on far more rapidly and that the Lord's elect will be brought to Him in much greater numbers than in these days! Whether it will be so or not, it is our joy to tell you that "yet there is room" in the great Gospel Refuge which the Lord of the Way has so graciously provided for all who will enter it!
Here is another picture. There has been a wreck out there upon the coast. The ship has struck upon the rocks and she is fast going to pieces. Some of the poor mariners are clinging to the mast—they have been hanging there for hours. Heavy seas have broken over them and they can hardly retain their hold. Some of the crew have already become exhausted and have fallen off into the deep—and the others who are clinging for dear life are almost frozen with cold! But look there—a rocket goes up—they believe that they have been spotted and, after a while, they see that a lifeboat is coming to their rescue! Perhaps the brave men give a cheer as they row with all their might to let the pour shipwrecked sailors know that there is help at hand. As the lifeboat comes nearer, its captain cries, "Oh, what a lot of men! What can we do with so many? We will take as many of you as we can, but there is not room for all." The men are helped off the wreck, one after the other, until they seem to fill the boat. Each man's place has two crammed into it, but at last the captain says, "It's no use. We can't take any more. Our boat is so full that she'll go down if we put in another man." It's all over with those poor souls that must be left behind, for before the gallant boat can make another trip, they must all have fallen into the waves of the sea and been lost.
But I have no such sad tale to tell you tonight, for my Master's Gospel Lifeboat has thus far taken in but few compared with those she will yet take! I know not how many she will hold, but this I do know, that a multitude which no man can number shall be found within her and, amid songs of everlasting joy, they shall all be safely landed on the blessed shore where rocks and tempests will never again trouble them! The lifeboat is not yet full—there is still room in her for all who will trust in Jesus! Poor Mariner, give up clinging to that wreck on the rocks! Poor Sinner, give up clinging to your works and to your sins! There is room in the Gospel Lifeboat for you and all who will put themselves under the care of the great Captain of Salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
II. Now we will change our view of the subject by asking and answering a second question, WHEN IS THERE ROOM? Lay the emphasis upon the word, "yet," in the text. " Yet there is room." " Yet!"Ages have marched along with solemn tramp, generations have followed generations and all have yielded their quota to the great Church of Jesus Chr-ist—but, "yet there is room" for millions more! There have been multitudes passing through the valley of repentance up to the Cross of Calvary! Multitudes beyond all human calculation have found peace and pardon in Christ! But, for all that, "yet there is room!" A few years ago the Churches of our land, and especially the Churches of Ireland, had a visitation of Divine Grace when many were converted to God. And in this Church we have had a revival that has lasted all the years of our pastorate. We have had no special season of revival—there has been a continual revival, practically all the time, at New Park Street, at Exeter Hall, at the Surrey Gardens and here in this Tabernacle. The blessed work of conversion goes on, never slowly, but quite as fast as we can keep pace with it! The Lord is constantly adding to our numbers! Sometimes, as on the last occasion, 74 in a single month! On another occasion, a hundred! But we can still say, "yet there is room," and if all the Churches in London and throughout the whole kingdom were to be multiplied exceedingly, we feel that we could still come to our pulpits as revival years passed over us and say, "yet there is room."
Besides, Sinner, you are getting old now. Those gray hairs tell a tale of years that have passed. Your youth fled long ago and your early manhood is now over—God knows how you have spent it—but you are here, tonight, like an old barren tree, almost ready for the everlasting burning unless Sovereign Grace shall save you even now! And I am here to tell you that "yet there is room!" How old are you? Are you sixty? Are you past seventy? Can you look back over 80 years? Are you getting close to ninety? Well, even then, "yet there is room," for you and if you had outnumbered the years of Moses, yes, and if you had lived as long as Methuselah lived, I would still say to you, "yet there is room!"
Think, too, of the many times that you have rejected Christ. Again and again the invitations of the great Giver of the Gospel Feast have been sent to you, but you have refused them all! Before I was born, some of you old people had many loving warnings and entreaties from godly ministers who have long since gone Home. You were not altogether unmoved by your mother's prayers and your father's supplications, and now, in these latter times, it has pleased God to speak to you by one who is so much younger than you—in words that would burn if they could, coming as they do, red-hot from a heart that is all on fire with love to your souls! My words have often reached your ears and have sometimes reached your consciences, too, yet the Lord knows how many vows have been made in this House and broken at the door—how many impressions have been made during the sermon—and obliterated before you have reached your homes! There are some of you who will find in me a swift witness against you at the bar of God! If you should say that you never heard the Gospel, I will testify that you have heard it plainly and faithfully declared time after time. I have not preached as I wish I could, but you have always been able to understand my message! I have not sought to find gaudy words and polished periods with which I might tickle your ears, but in God's name, I have told you that unless you repent and believe, you shall surely perish! And I have preached to you the love of Jesus and pointed you to His wounds and bid you look unto Him and live. Yet you have rejected every warning and every invitation that I have given you up till now. But, notwithstanding that, I am still sent to say to you, "Yet there is room—yet there is room."
It may be that some of you have been adding sin to sin till you have now got to such a pitch as you never dreamed that you would reach. There is that young man over there in the gallery, who used to be at every Prayer Meeting and used to attend one of the Bible classes and all the services. You know, young man, to whom I am referring—that young man did run well, but he first went astray just a little bit and then still more—then he went from bad to worse and now he has gone to the worst of all! Let it never be told where it may reach his father's ears, what sin he has committed only this week! Ah, young man, if you had been told, even a little while ago, that you would sin thus, you would have said, as Hazael said to Elisha, "But what? Is your servant a dog that he should do this great thing?" You would not have believed yourself capable of falling so low as to commit the offense in which you have now indulged! And I venture to prophesy that although you think you have repented of it, you will return to it as the dog turns to his own vomit and as the sow that was washed returns to her wallowing in the mire! There are some sinners who never seem to be satisfied till they have gone to the full limit of their tether. They are like the waves of the sea that must keep on advancing until they have reached their flood tide and can go no further. Yet Sinner, though all this is so terribly true of you, though you have gone as far as you can go in sin, "yet there is room" even for you in that cleansing Fountain of which I spoke a few minutes ago!
Probably I am addressing some who will never see another year roll over their heads. No, I may say that it is an absolute certainty concerning not merely one or two, but concerning many here present! I do not know how many out of the six or seven thousand persons now present will, according to the ordinary rate of mortality, die within a year from this night, but certainly a considerable number will. Therefore I am not talking fanatical nonsense, but solid truth! There are some persons here who will not even see another month on earth—and very many who will never see another year. And there may be at least one here who will not see even another day! How near this makes us feel to the unseen world, how close to death! I have known many such cases as this. One of the officers or members of the Church meets me as I am coming in, and says to me, "Do you remember So-and-So?" "Yes, I think I do. Where does he sit?" "Well, there is his seat." "Oh, yes!" I reply, "I remember him well. What about him?" "Why," says the friend, "last Sunday morning, as he was walking home after the service here, he was taken ill, went straight to bed and died." Some of you know the Brother to whom I am referring. Not long ago, another friend said to me, "Do you know Mr. So-and-So?" "Oh, yes!" I answered, "why do you ask?" "Well, dear Pastor," he said, "the Lord has been pleased to call her to Himself quite suddenly." It is often thus—the stroke falls where it was least expected and God, in a moment, calls one and another of our friends to meet their final doom. We cannot say to any of those who have been called away from our midst, "yet there is room," but we can say it to you who are here!
III. I think I have dwelt long enough on that word, "yet." I want in closing to ask another question, WHY IS
How do we know that there is still room? Well, our text is enough to make us sure, even if we had nothing else, but we have other reasons for knowing, "yet there is room." And the first reason is because the decree of election is vast and wide. Those individuals who try to caricature our doctrinal sentiments are in the habit of saying that we teach that God has chosen a few to be saved and left the great majority of mankind to perish. They know that we have never said any such thing! And they also know that no man of any standing in our denomination has ever said any such a thing! On the contrary, we believe that God has ordained a countless host, so numerous that no man can number it, who shall be everlastingly saved! And we think we have some warrant for believing that the number of the saved will vastly exceed the number of the lost, that in all things Christ may have the preeminence. Certainly, whatever may be our opinion upon that matter, we rejoice that the lines of Divine Election are not narrow, that the chosen people of God are not a mere hand-
ful—and we believe that when the time comes for the great King to make up His jewels, it shall be found that the case contains such multitudes of them that they shall be beyond all human calculation! It is our joy to know that God has chosen a great host to be saved and, as they have not all been saved yet, it is clearly proved that, "yet there is room!"
Again, we believe that Christ offered an Infinite Sacrifice for the redemption of His people. We cannot look at His blessed Person as the God-Man, Christ Jesus, without believing that the sufferings of such a Substitute for sinners must have had an infinite value—so we are fully persuaded that no limit can be set to the merit of Christ's death—although we also believe that Christ had a definite purpose in His death which cannot be frustrated—and that this purpose was the salvation, not of all men—but of as many as His Father had given Him, according to His own words, "I lay down My life for the sheep." And according to Paul's words, "Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it." Yet so great a Sacrifice as that of Christ could not have been offered without a great objective in view! In fact, He told His disciples that "the Son of Man came...to give His life a ransom for many." We therefore believe that in the great fold wherein the Good Shepherd preserves His blood-bought sheep, there is yet room for many more to enter!
Further, we come to the same conclusion by considering the great design of God in the whole of His Providential arrangements—in the permission of the Fall and in the wondrous plan by which the Fall, itself, is made to minister to God's Glory by being a foil, a dark background, to set forth the brightness of the Divine Grace which delivers sinners from eternal ruin! We believe that the objective of the Covenant of Grace and of the plan of Redemption so amazing as that which is revealed in the Scriptures could not have been a small one! It must be a great multitude of redeemed souls that will satisfy Christ for the terrible travail of soul that He endured—it cannot be an insignificant company that will be won by His almighty hands and His holy arms, but a mighty host who shall be the fulfillment of the Lord's eternal design and bring to Him due honor and glory forever and ever! Therefore, also for this reason we are persuaded that "yet there is room."
Moreover, Brothers and Sisters, when we consider the prevalence of Jesus 'plea and the Omnipotence of the Holy Spirit's agency.When we see the daily preparation which God makes for sending out fresh ministers of the Gospel. When we understand that the earth is to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea—and because we believe that the millennial reign of Christ will certainly begin at the time that God has appointed—we are persuaded that there are unnumbered millions yet to come to the Gospel Feast and, therefore, we still cry, "yet there is room!" At that great banquet there shall not be one seat that shall be empty at the last! God has made provision for just as many as will come and it shall be found that the provision is sufficient for all the guests who accept the King's invitation—that the great eternal decision of God was not frustrated and that even the perversity of man's wicked will, which keep him from coming to God, shall be made, somehow or other, to reflect honor on the great Giver of the feast! Not a chair shall be vacant at that feast and not one of the redeemed shall be missing when the role is called at that day! We have not yet reached that period, so we can still say, "yet there is room."
Well, Sinner, as it is true that "yet there is room," we have a word of warning to say to you. There is room in the precious blood of Christ, there is room at the Gospel Feast, there is room in the Church on earth, there is room in Heaven—but if you will not occupy this room, I must solemnly tell you that there is room for you elsewhere! Alas, there is room in Hell!There may hardly be prisons enough for all the criminals on earth, but there is room for them in Hell! There are "nations that forget God." There are myriads that hate Him, there are millions more that neglect His great Salvation, but there is room for them all in Hell if they will not repent and believe the Gospel! Blasphemer, there is room in Hell for you! Despiser of God's Day and of God's Word, there is room in Hell for you! And for some of you it may be that there are only a few more weeks or days—and then you will enter upon your terrible heritage! Grow on, you tares, till you ripen, and then, when you are bound up in bundles to be burned, let the bundles be ever so big, there is room for them all in Hell! Proud boasters, you may speak what Jude calls, "great swelling words," now, declaring that you will fight the matter out with God, but you will find that in Hell there is room to humble you and room to destroy you there to all eternity! Is it not enough to make a man's heart break even to think of such a terrible doom? Then what will it be to have to endure it without any hope of release forever? I remind you again that some of you will be there before long unless you repent! Oh, by the living God, in whose name I speak to you, I do entreat you, if you love yourselves, consider these things! For if you will not have Christ as your Savior, you will have His wrath remaining upon you forever and ever! If the message of God is despised by you, how shall you escape if you neglect so great a Salvation? Sinner, are you resolved to make your bed in Hell? Soul, have you set your heart on it? Will you tonight give your hand to Satan and promise to be his slave forever? Stop, Man! This may be the last time that your conscience will ever be alarmed, so I plead with you to trust in Christ before I send you away to your homes. Think seven times before you do reject Him this once more, lest the slighted, grieved, almighty Spirit should depart from you and never strive with you again!
My last thought which I pass on to every unconverted sinner, is this—as there is room in the blood of Christ, as there is room in Heaven, why not for me? Will not each sinner here also say, why not for me? Soul, what does God say to you tonight? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." So this is what you have to do—obey the gracious message and believe in Christ! To believe on Christ is to trust Him and I am sure that He deserves your trust. He is God, able to save you—and He is Man, willing to save you. He would not have died if He had not loved sinners. He stands pleading with you tonight, blessed be His name, and though it has been with stern words that He has spoken to your conscience, now He asks you to trust Him and He says that if you do, you shall be saved! Soul, will you trust Him now? I hope the Spirit of God will lead you to say, "Yes, I will trust Jesus tonight. I feel utterly unworthy, but then He died to save the unworthy. My heart is very hard, but I know that He can soften it. I do not feel my need of Him as I should feel it, but He did not tell me I was to feel my need and make that my qualification. He said, 'Let him that is thirsty, come. And whoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely.' I will venture to come to Him while yet there is room."
Perhaps the black doubt comes to you, "Is there room for me?" My answer to that question is this—you are com-mandedto believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! It is impossible for you to do that and yet be lost! You shall find that there is room for you, room which no one but yourself can occupy, room in that Kingdom of which Christ says that it was ordained for you before the foundation of the world! Your business, Sinner, is to trust Christ just as you are, now, and just where you are! O my Hearers, you whose souls are committed to my trust, I feel that I must have your souls for my Master! He knows that I care for no wages but your immortal souls! He knows that if He denies me your souls, I shall feel that I have labored in vain and spent my strength for nothing. This year God has blessed the Word to many, many hearts! Hardly a day has passed without someone being blessed and not a sermon have I preached in this Tabernacle without hearing afterwards of conversions through it—and I sincerely trust that it may continue. Lord, speak to hearts that have resisted You until now! Sovereign Grace, there is nothing that can stand against You—Your goings forth are mighty and Irresistible! You speak, and it is done, You command and it stands fast forever! Speak, Lord, and Your servants shall hear and this night they shall say, "We will come unto You while yet there is room."
May God grant that many shall come to Jesus this very moment, for His dear name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE 14:7-24.
Verse 7. And He put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when He marked how they chose out the chief rooms. This parable was by far the best part of the entertainment of the day!
7-9. Saying unto them, When you are bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest place lest a more honorable man than you is bidden of him; and he that bade you and him comes and says to you, Give this man place; and you begin with shame to take the lowest place. For, of course, the next room is full, and the next, and the only vacant seat, when the feast has begun, will probably be in the very lowest room of the house.
10. But when you are bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place, that when he that bade you come, he may say unto you, Friend, go up higher Then shall you have worship in the presence of them that sit at the meal with you. Note that our Savior was not just then talking to His disciples, or else He would have given more spiritual reasons for His advice. But, speaking to the people who were gathered as guests at the Pharisee's house, He appealed to them with an argument suitable to themselves. We may, however, extract the marrow from this bone! Let us not covet the highest place. Let us not desire honor among men. In the Church of God the way upward is downward. He that will do the lowest work shall have the highest honor. Our Master washed His disciples' feet and we are never more honored than when we are permitted to imitate His example.
11. For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. There is a conspiracy of Heaven and earth and Hell to put down proud men, neither good nor bad—the highest nor the lowest can endure those who are self-exalted! But if you are willing to take your right place, which is probably the lowest, you shall soon find honor in the midst of your brethren!
12. Then said He also to him that bade Him, When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbor lest they also bid you again, and a recompense is made you. Our Savior, you see, keeps to one line of instruction. It was a feast, so He used the feast to teach another lesson. It is always well, when men's minds are running in a certain direction, to make use of that particular current. When a feast is uppermost in the minds of men, it is no use starting another subject. So the Savior rides upon the back of the banquet, making it to be His steed! Note His advice to His host—"Try to avoid doing that for which you will be recompensed. If you are rewarded for it, the transaction is over. But if not, then it stands recorded in the Book of God and it will be recompensed to you in the Great Day of Account."
13. 14. But when you make a feast, call thepoor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: andyou shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just It should be your ambition to have something set down to your credit "at the resurrection of the just." If you do someone a kindness with a view to gaining gratitude, you will probably be disappointed. And even if you should succeed, what is the gratitude worth? You have burned your firewood, you have seen the brief blaze, and there is an end of it. But if you get no present return for your holy charity, so much the better for you!
15, 16. And when one of them that sat at the meal with Him heard these things, he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God. Then said He unto him. As if to prove what a privilege it is to be permitted to "eat bread," there, but that the persons who appear most likely to do so will never taste of it—and that the most unlikely persons will be brought into it. Jesus "said unto him."
16, 17. A certain man made a great supper and bade many: and sent his servants at supper time to say to them that
were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. [See Sermon #1354, Volume 23—ALL THINGS ARE READY, COME.] They had accepted the invitation, so they were pledged to be present but, in the meantime, they had changed their minds with regard to their intended host—and they were unwilling to grace his feast.
18. And they all with one consent began to make excuses. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it I pray you have me excused. Yet it was supper time and people do not generally go to see pieces of ground at night! And if the man had bought the land, he ought to have seen it before he bought it! People do not generally buy land without looking at it. A bad excuse is worse than none. [See Sermon #578, Volume 10—A bad excuse is worse than
NONE.] and this is one of those excuses which will not hold water
for a minute!
19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to inspect them: I pray you have me excused. He pretended that he had bought five yoke of oxen without inspecting them and that he wanted to inspect them after he had bought them, when, of course, he could not cancel the bargain! A likely story! But, when men want to make an excuse, and they have no truth to serve as the raw material, they can always make one out of a lie!
20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. [See Sermon #2122, Volume 36—a straight talk.] This man did not ask to be excused—he had married a wife, so
that settled the matter! Of course he could not go to the feast.
21. So that servant came and told his lord these things. Every true servant of Christ should go to his Lord and tell him what reception his Master's message has had. After service, we sometimes have an enquirers' meeting, but after every sermon there ought to be a meeting of the servant with his Lord to tell the result of the errand on which he has been sent. Sometimes, as in this case, it will be a very painful meeting as the servant tells how his Master's message has been despised and His invitation rejected.
21. Then the master of the house being angry. Notice what the Lord does even when He is angry—He invents some new way of showing mercy to men! "The master of the house being angry."
21. Said to his servant, Go out quicklyinto thee streets andlanes ofthee city, and bring in theepoor, and thee maimed, and the halt, and the blind. Happy anger that explodes in blessing! The justly angry master turns away from the bidden ones who had insulted him and sends for those who had not hitherto been bidden, that they might come to the feast!
22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room. They fetched in all the poor people, the maimed, the halt and the blind whom they could find—it was a great gathering and a strange gathering—yet there was still room for more guests at the banquet!
23. 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. [See Sermon #227, Volume 5—COMPEL THEM TO COME IN.] "Bring in highwaymen and hedge-birds, those that have no place where to lay their heads—fetch them in by force if necessary, 'that my house may be filled.'"
24. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. They were invited, yet they would not come. But others shall come and fill the tables and the great feast shall be furnished with guests! No provisions of mercy will ever be wasted. If you who are the sons and daughters of godly parents, or you who are the regular hearers of the Word will not have Christ, then others shall! If you hear, but hear in vain, then the rank outsiders shall be brought in and they shall feed upon the blessed provisions of the Infinite Mercy of God and God shall be glorified! But terrible will be your doom when the great Giver of the Gospel Feast says concerning you and those like you, "None of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper."
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