Links Daily Devotional

So Compelling

Let’s start today with the words of a revered 19th Century preacher:

There must be the sound, the blowing of the trumpet. There must be active exertions for the ingathering of sinners by proclaiming Christ crucified. Take the gospel to them; carry it to their door; put it in their way; do not suffer them to escape it; blow the trumpet right against their ears.

How does that sit with you? Unnerving? Presumptuous? Culturally insensitive? Far too heavenly minded? Quaint but impractical?

OK, so maybe that’s a string of negative questions. Maybe we’re being a bit too critical of this preacher from another time. But after all, he did say, “Blow the trumpet right against their ears.” Perhaps the criticism is warranted.

But what then do we do with these words from a preacher even older: “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be full” (Luke 14:23, NASB)? We’ll make this our passage for the day and explore this teaching of Jesus.

Compulsion is just what we know it to be. The dictionary does not let us off the hook, where Merriam-Webster defines compel in two ways: “1. to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly; 2. to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure.” Nor do we find escape in more modern translations: “Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in” (The Message).

Jesus said what he said, and Charles Spurgeon’s words provide a fair echo. There is to be an urgency to our evangelism.

But you may say, “I live in a world where shouting matches reign—conservatives vs. liberals, the middle class vs. the wealthy, Tiger fans vs. Tiger haters, atheists vs. Christians. If I started getting loud in people’s ears about my faith, they would just go off. Where’s the kingdom gain in that?”

Then do this with your music: play a tune so irresistibly beautiful that they cannot help but listen, they cannot help but wonder if they should sing along. (Zechariah 8:23)

Then do this with your mind: Commit to learning more and more how God stands up in the marketplace, so that you may present him in ways that catch people’s attention. (Acts 17:16-34; 1 Peter 3:15-16)

Then do this with your actions: Work and recreate in a way that looks like God is working and God is playing. Let no unbeliever mistake you for someone “just like” them. Stand out by standing firm in purity, generosity, industry, and rest. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12)

Trumpets are loud, yes, but they need not be obnoxious. Indeed, let their music be sweet, and they will be both heard and listened to!

Jeff Hopper

September 25, 2012

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