GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 614 • February 14, 2021
ROOM FOR ALL
A Gospel Sermon. Text: Luke 14:12-24.
A song by Ira F. Stamphill emphasizes that “there’ is room at the cross for you” and for all who are willing to come to it and seek its benefits, chief among which is salvation from sin and its consequences. Jesus sets no limits on the invitation he wants extended in his name. He instructs those who speak for him to teach everyone what he has said and encourage them to believe and receive what he has done for mankind. Go everywhere in the world and preach to everyone in the world the gospel message – those who believe it and respond properly to (as in being baptized) will be saved (Mark 16:15-16). Teach and make disciples in all nations, all parts of the world, properly baptizing them and teaching them to obey and continue in all the things taught by Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), proclaim the need for repentance and forgiveness of sins everywhere in the world (Luke 24:47). Do not exclude anyone who is willing to come to Christ to share drink the water of life which he provides (Revelation 22:17). Emphasis: Whosoever – that is everybody – who, by his own will and choice comes to Christ seeking life in him will find there is room for him. There is nobody the Lord does not want to come to him and be saved by approaching God through him (Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me all …, John 14:6 nobody comes to God the Father except by me). He came to seek and save all who are lost (Luke 19:10) and cannot be fully satisfied and content as long as anyone remains unsaved. No matter how many come to the Lord there will always be room for more. Compare Luke 14:22 “Lord, we have done as you said, and still there is room.” Of course this does not mean he will save everyone. He will not and cannot save those who reject him and refuse his offer and his invitation. But even then he will grieve over the loss (Matthew 23:37-38, Luke 19:41 “wept over (the city).” Most of the world is and will be unsaved, but not because the Lord wants it that way.
WHY DO WE TEACH AND EXHORT PEOPLE TO COME TO THE LORD, TO COME TO GOD THROUGH THE LORD, JESUS CHRIST?
We teach and exhort people to come to Christ because the Lord himself invites everyone to do so and instructs us to deliver the invitation. Nobody can be saved except in and by Christ, but everyone who comes to him on his terms can be and will be saved.
One must come on his own. He will not be forced to come to Christ. One is able to do it, if he wants to. If one cannot come to the Lord on his own, then nobody in the world has any hope of finding the Lord, finding salvation in the Lord.
The Lord wants everybody, not just a few, to have the salvation he provides. So we can say, with conviction and assurance…
THERE IS ROOM FOR ALL WHO ARE WILLING TO COME TO JESUS.
There is room in the lord’s heart for all who come to him (John 3:16 “God so loved the world (of mankind) …whosoever believeth in him…have everlasting life.”). “God desires that none perish, but all come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “God would have all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
There is room at the lord’s cross for all who come to him. “To us who are being saved it (the cross) is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18) The Lord has and will, “Reconcile all in one body by the cross” (Ephesians 2:16).
There is room in the lord’s power for all who come to him. He is the source of eternal salvation to all those who obey him (Hebrews 5:9), and He is able to save all those who come to him and obey him (Hebrews 7:25).
There is room in the lord’s church for all who come to him. Jesus does not choose some and reject others from among those who obey him to be added into his church (Acts 2:38-39, 41, 47 “all that are being saved.” All the redeemed are translated into the kingdom/church (Colossians 1:12-14, 18). Some “churches” have been known to limit their membership only to certain ones (by race, nationality, gender, and social standing), but Jesus does not limit his church by anything except obedience. He saves and adds to his church all who obey him (Hebrews 5:9 and 7:25, as noted before).
There is room in the lord’s heaven for all who come to him. John 14:1-3 Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms (‘mansions’ as stated in some translations conveys an improper idea – a MONAI (Greek) or manse (English) simply means a dwelling, a place to be) – there are many rooms, including a room for you” – there is room for you, a place there for you.
Here’s an interesting thought: mathematically, using the “dimensions” of “the holy city” or heaven described as a cube of 1,500 miles (Revelation 21:16 NASB) , allowing every person 1/4 cubic mile there is room for 216 billion individuals persons, more than the total of all who have ever lived. There will be no lack of “space” for all who are there. (Jesus said only a few would actually take the way of salvation and actually be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). Only a few will take the way that leads to life. But also, since it is only “souls” and not physical bodies that will be in heaven – no spatial requirements for souls – there is no reason to think there could be a shortage of “room.” Heaven will be made up of “all those eternally saved,” whatever that final number may be. All could be there, but only a few will be. Why is that? Saying “only a few” will be saved brings us to another important point.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT ONE CAN ONLY COME TO THE LORD ON THE LORD’S TERMS.
Man cannot dictate the terms of his own or any other person’s salvation. “Salvation by faith alone” is not in the Bible – it is antibiblical. Compare James 2:24. One is not justified (saved) by faith alone. Faith (not accompanied by works) is dead – it cannot stand alone (James 2:17, 26).
Salvation is never a simple matter of asking the Lord to “come into our hearts, accept us and save us.” That too is anti-biblical. It is based on Revelation 3:20, which is directed to those who are already Christians (the church), not those who need to become Christians. Salvation requires obeying the Lord, accepting and obeying any and all requirements the Lord imposes. Accepting the terms set down by some denomination will not bring salvation. The denomination itself is not authorized by the Lord and will not be heard or honored by Him (Matthew 7:21-23 and 24-28).
Though all are invited to salvation, few will be saved because most will not accept the invitation – at least not on the Lord’s terms. We are compelled to ask why this is so.
WHY DO SO MANY REFUSE OR REJECT THE LORD’S OFFER AND INVITATION?
There are countless excuses offered, but none of them is valid (compare Luke 14:18-20). The excuses (there are no valid reasons given) probably come down to one of the following:
1. The hearers do not believe what they hear, so they reject it (Romans 10:16, Hebrews 4:2
2. The hearers do not want the things offered, so they reject them (Acts 13:46).
3. Those who hear do not accept the terms or conditions imposed by the Lord, but insist that He allow them to control the situation, allow them to set the terms and conditions they are willing to accept, and specify the results too (The Lord’s offer is rejected by a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Romans 10:21).
Those who do accept the Lord’s invitation, who respond positively to what He requires and what He promises will always find that God’s provision is more than adequate for all their needs, including salvation from sin. So: there is room for you in the Lord’s heart, in the Lord’s power, in the Lord’s church, and in the Lord’s heaven. There is room at the cross for you, and that is where you will find all the other things.
Will you kneel obediently at the cross of Christ? An appropriate song to sing for invitation and encouragement has these words: “Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there.”