Room for all

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. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #invitation, #sermon

We have to open the door

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent! Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me. I will grant the one who conquers permission to sit with me on my throne, just as I too conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3.19-22

Life can be overwhelming and can seem so urgent. Everything on our to-do list were things that should have been done yesterday! Or so we think. The seemingly urgent things clamor for our attention like a siren. They interrupt our lives and many times throw it into a chaotic mess. In our verses today, we see Jesus standing at the door and knocking. He is knocking at the door of our lives and of our hearts. Notice that he does not burst through the door and force us to eat with him. No, we have to open the door. We have to allow him entrance. Listen! Do you hear his voice? He is telling us there is a different way. He disciplines us with love. He calls us to repent. He calls us to change our ways. Do we hear him? Are we listening? In Matthew 11.28-30 Jesus issues an invitation. He invites us to take on his yoke and learn from him. I have to listen to what he has to say. I have to learn from him. I do that through the word of God. At the end of my life, will I have permission to sit with him on his throne? I want to be a conqueror! Do you? Let’s open the door.

#risingjoy #Revelation #invitation

there she stood in the doorway…

In Proverbs 9, two ladies call out from high places in the city. They invite those lacking understanding to dine with them. One of the ladies has prepared the meal she offers; the other has stolen hers. One lady does not seem to mind if people know about your visit; the other wants to keep it a secret. One offers wisdom; one offers pleasure. You must dine with one of these women. Choose wisely. They may both mean well, but one of them will kill you.

For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. (9:11)

‘Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is sweet to a man.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (9:17-18)

Lord, deliver us a daily dose of discernment and decision-making power: the discernment to distinguish between these two ladies; the decision-making power to accept the right invitation.

#choices, #death, #dinner, #invitation, #life, #pleasure, #proverbs, #solomon, #wisdom

That easy yoke

You remember what Jesus said:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry. Matthew 10:28-30 NET

Some seem to think that after becoming a Christian things get cushy and comfy. Think again. It’s probably no coincidence that the Lord says this after those hard-to-swallow instructions for the limited commission in chapter 10, — many of which carry over into the Great Commission — like getting thrown out into the world like sheep in the midst of wolves, like his coming to bring a sword not peace, and brother delivering up brother.

Then right after Jesus’ invitation to his yoke, we get the big controversy about the Sabbath. Sounds like a tempest in an teapot to us, but the tightened regulations of the rabbis lay at the center of Jesus’ differences with them.

Before the yoke invitation, Jesus mentions in chapter 10 that he will be called Beelzebul; then, right afterwards, it happens that they accuse him of casting out demons by Beelzebul’s name. Coincidence?

All that to say, we ought to beware making that yoke invitation into something it’s not.

Part of this “easiness” is the gospel versus the law-keeping, the burden of the Sabbath soothed by the freedom of the Spirit. But part, also, may just be in the swap of the world’s burdens and conflicts for the suffering for Jesus in his train, the yoking of our lives to his, of our interests to the Kingdom, of our hopes to his plan.

Compared to the pagan pursuit of stability, security, and happiness, the seeking after God’s kingdom and justice are a piece of cake, notwithstanding the persecutions, rejections, and slanders for his name. Add to that truth that those afflictions are light and fleeting next to eternal possessions.

That’s why his yoke is easy.

#gospel-of-matthew, #invitation, #yoke-of-christ

Something I Heard That Made Me Stop

After our Bible class last evening, I heard one of our elders state during the invitation, “There are no Sunday only Christians – we must be Christians every day of the week.” It’s very true. Some members come to church on Sunday morning, offer their worship to God, live like the devil the rest of the week, and then come to worship the next Sunday to appease their conscience. True Christianity doesn’t work that way. It’s either all or nothing (Matthew 6:24).

#bible, #christian, #conscience, #devil, #elder, #invitation, #worship

A unique practice in our congregation, i…

A unique practice in our congregation, is that for Sunday evening worship, we sing two songs, have a reading from God’s word, and then a prayer. We go through this same cycle until it is time to offer the invitation, then a concluding Scripture is read, a closing song is offered, then we offer the Lord’s Supper. After that, announcements and a concluding song is sung.

#announcement, #invitation, #lords-supper, #prayer, #reading, #song, #worship