Study 7 AN ALL-OUT EFFORT TO SAVE THE LOST
HOLDING OUT THE WORD OF LIFE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Luke 14:16-24)
This study is based on the parable of the Great Banquet. What is the teaching in this parable related by the Lord?
It tells us that God has made royal provision for the salvation of all men and that God’s servants are to be actively, urgently and constantly engaged in seeking the lost in order to being them into the full enjoyment of all that God has provided for them.
In order to emphasise our responsibility as God’s servants, let’s lift out certain words and phrases. The two most important words that introduce our theme – “An all-out effort to save the lost” – are the words in verse 2l, “Go out…”
1. “GO OUT…” (verse 21)
Here we are faced with the great commission of the gospel, which is that we should “go” (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15); compare Psalm 126:6. Our commission is to “go out” to the people, and the Church should be doing this all the time. There is a great danger for us, as individual Christians, or for the churches of which we are members, to get into a rut in relation to evangelism. The danger is that we become selfish and content with our own salvation and that we never feel or show any concern for those who are outside and who need to be brought to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s plan is that every saved person should go out after those who are unsaved in order to bring them in to the Great Banquet – bring them into the enjoyment of the salvation that He has provided in Jesus Christ. Notice where we are to go:-
2. “GO OUT…into the streets and alleys of the town” (verse 21) and “to the roads and country lanes” (verse 23)
The servants in the parable were literally to scour the district in their search for those who were to be invited as guests to the banquet. This is how the early Christians got to work. Take the Apostle Paul, for instance: wherever he went, whether it was in a city, town or village, whether he was in the synagogue, in prison or in the palace, whether he was facing the crowd or the individual, he was always on the job seeking to bring the lost ones to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you ever look at the streets of your city and then go out to seek those who are lost so that they may be brought to Christ? When are we to do this work? Verse 21 gives us the answer to this question too.
3. “GO OUT…quickly” (verse 21)
The business of evangelism is very urgent because people around us are dying without God and without hope. Some of them are our loved ones, our friends and neighbours, and it is imperative that we warn them of the peril of their present position and of their future destiny without Christ (Ezekiel 33:7-8). Compare Psalm 51:14, where David prayed that he might not have the ‘blood’ of those whom he had failed to warn upon his conscience. We must not delay, because delay can be denial – look up John 4:35; John 9:4.
4. “GO OUT…and bring in…” (verse 21)
The servants were not only to invite people to come to the Great Banquet but were to bring or take them. Have you ever read through the accounts of the Lord’s miracles of healing and noticed how many of those whom He healed were brought to Him by others? – Mark 2:1-12 is an example. Many can be engaged in this ministry. Perhaps you cannot preach the gospel, but if your Pastor does this you can take your friends to meetings where they will hear the Word faithfully taught. The emphasis we must recapture in all our evangelism is, ‘Each one bring one’. Who are we to seek and to bring?
5. “GO OUT…and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (verse 21)
This surely means that we are to seek all kinds of people so that they might be brought to know the Lord, even those whom we would describe as ‘hard cases’, because ‘the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame’ were desperately needy people. No-one is beyond the reach of God’s love or of the Holy Spirit’s power; no case is too hard for Him. We are to do what Paul did (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). We shall not succeed in persuading all to come in to the Great Banquet, but we should desire that “by all possible means (we) might save some”. How much persuasion are we to use in seeking to bring others to the Lord?
6. “GO OUT…and make them come in” (verse 23)
The matter of a person’s salvation is so urgent that we cannot take ‘No’ for an answer. Of course, they always make excuses for not accepting God’s invitation and taking what He has provided, and the excuses in Luke 14:18-19 are very up-to-date indeed. We must ignore these excuses and bring loving, prayerful, earnest pressure to bear upon those whom we would win for the Lord. Above all, we must seek the co-operation of the Holy Spirit and His convicting and converting ministry (John 16:8-11). When we realise the longing that God has in His heart for people to be saved this should spur us on to compel them to come in. We see the depth of His longing in verse 23:-
7. “GO OUT…so that my house will be full” (verse 23)
God wants His house to be filled. That is why we read John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9! Do we share this longing?