And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23 KJV
Even though Jesus spent a lot of private time with his Fatherâ€¦He was never considered to be a private person. His mission was that of saving the world and this canâ€™t be accomplished in private. The Luke passage is also interesting because it didnâ€™t say that Jesus pre-qualified the guests who were to fill His house. He seemed to be more interested in filling His house than He was in who the guests were.
Perhaps this is a clue as to how Jesus expects us to evangelize. I remember a time when people were almost pre-qualified before they were accepted into the church. If they didnâ€™t act a certain way they were not welcome. If they didnâ€™t dress a certain way they were not accepted. If they had rowdy kids they were asked to leave. If they sat in the wrong pew they were scolded.
Most denominational churches operated under that code because they thought the church was for the saved and not the lost. They looked at the church building as the place where God lived, so they tried to keep it as free as possible from what they believed to be the undesirables. That act may seem strange to folks today, but those people walked in the revelation they had at the time. (I remember those days well.)
Over the last fifty or sixty years the body of Christ has matured a great deal. The term, â€ścome to my church today,â€ť has a different meaning than it did back then. In those days it meant come and be like us. Today it means come and letâ€™s celebrate together.
This was the case with me several years ago. I went to a conference where I was not speaking. I wanted to go and enjoy the spirit of the meetings and be refreshed. At the end of the first message the invitation was given and scores of people came to be prayed for. The speaker recognized me and asked if I would come and pray at the alter. I reluctantly went up and waited for the Lord to show me who I was to pray for. I felt the Lord leading me to a certain man so I went and prayed for him and prophesied over him. The Lord then led me to another man and the same thing happened. This was repeated several times with other men. When I finished praying for the last man the Lord led me to stop praying for people. I then noticed that each of the men I prayed for started getting together and talking while looking back at me. They finely came over and told me they were all leaders in the same church. On the way to the conferenceâ€¦as they were praying, the Lord told them they were going to meet a man who had a word for their church. They said as I prayed and prophesied over each of them it was the exact word they needed. They all agreed and said, would you â€ścome to my churchâ€ť?
This invitation was not to come and be like them but to come with a word from God and celebrate with them.
Their idea was for me to come and help them fulfill this Luke passage that says, â€śGo out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.â€ť
I thank you for making us more aware that as individuals we makeup the church. Help us to be more effective in inviting people into our hearts without first pre-qualifying them. Thank you Lord for this Luke passage because it shows us the heart of love that we are to emulate.
Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries