“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14.
Very soon the earth’s history will come to a climax. God’s time-clock is pointing unmistakably to the second advent of Christ as an imminent event. Bible prophecies are unfolding and fulfilling themselves very rapidly, telling that probationary time will not linger long.
But before Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, God is proclaiming a special message of warning to the inhabitants of the earth. Whether mankind accepts or rejects the divine offer of salvation, the solemn message must be sounded. To accomplish His plan, God will direct servants to “Go . . . and teach all nations. . .” Matthew 28:19. Before being sent to teach the requirements for salvation from sin and destruction, individuals must be called out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9.
Only when called by God directly, can one respond and be a light-bearer to others. Before conversion or regeneration, the heart is entangled and held in subjection to the power of satanic forces. Once this strong connection with Satan is severed, God can and will use the converted to fulfill His divine purpose of calling others to the ‘feast’ or ‘supper.’ “By the great supper, Christ represents the blessings offered through the gospel.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 222.
“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14.
“We are not to wait for souls to come to us; we must seek them out where they are.” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 229. This specific command set before God’s light- bearers encompasses everyone with whom they come in contact. Those who are lost in trespasses and are blinded by the enemy must be reached and taught the saving truths for this time. None is to be excluded from salvation because of caste, color of skin, wealth, education, or profession. God’s love envelopes the masses and is drawing sinners to repentance. The wealthy are not to be bypassed. Too often they rely on their riches for security but find no peace in their hearts. They need to be awakened out of slumber and reminded of their responsibility and the account they must render.
Those who call men into the light of truth must love the unconverted. “For the love of Christ constraineth us. . . .” 2 Corinthians 5:14. There is a good story quoted by C. H. Spurgeon that illustrates the power of love. “A man was accidentally buried by a fall of earth, and many were greatly energetic to dig the poor fellow out. One man stood by, scarcely as much concerned about the matter as many others were, until a woman rushed out of the crowd, and laid hold on him, and said in his ear, ‘It’s your brother Bill that’s in there!’ Those few words wrought a marvelous change in the man; his coat was off in an instant, and he was down in the sewer working like a Trojan. If we would save our hearers from the wrath to come, we must realize that they are our brothers. We must have sympathy with them, and anxiety about them; in a word, passion and compassion. May God grant these to us!” An All-Round Ministry, pp. 305, 306.
Methods of calling sinners to repentance
The Lord requires all who have been called and by faith accepted Christ as the Saviour to do personal service for Him. This active labor on behalf of sinners cannot be done by proxy or even by sinless angels. Christ desires and urges the cooperation of man. He Himself took on humanity to demonstrate practical Christian ways of working for others. The one-soul audience was extremely important in the winning of Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
After his conversion, Paul resorted to house-to-house labor. “. . . but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” Acts 20:20. This particular line of missionary work serves a useful purpose in reaching souls who would not have otherwise been found. Not every Christian is engaged in this branch of work to rescue the perishing. The Lord does not expect everyone to be a full-time colporteur, but everyone can witness in this manner whenever the opportunity arises.
“I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success. It is the Lord’s work, and a blessing will attend those who engage in it with earnestness and diligence.” Colporteur Ministry, pp. 17-18.
Soul winning is a science and an art which necessitates patience, tact, wisdom, endurance and a great deal of prayer to God. By way of canvassing, the Lord will direct the laborer to homes where the honest in heart are waiting for illumination. Many opportunities will crop up for distribution of literature, and a ready entrance in the homes. Very often words of comfort, encouragement, and warning to prepare for the second coming Christ will be spoken. Through this special way of reaching people, arrangements are sometimes made for conducting formal Bible studies.
Giving Bible studies is a unique and impressive way of instructing individuals about the plan of salvation and the requirements of God. It is God’s ordained means of revealing His love and speaking to them through the Holy Spirit.
Another way of calling men to salvation is by neighborly friendliness. Being a true Christian neighbor is an opportunity to be a living epistle for Christ. A simple gesture such as sharing your garden vegetables or flowers may open the door to someone’s heart. Sympathizing interest and help in sickness or bereavement are other means of being a blessing to someone. Or you may be talking with a neighbor and in a very tactful way turn the conversation to God and the truth.
There are hundreds of ways to bless and help others. Let me list some of them: Introduce to a friend a new vegetarian dish that you found nutritious and tasty. Lend a book or magazine. Answer a question about your faith, such as why you don’t smoke, or drink, or eat meat? Why do you go to church on Saturday? Listen to someone weighed down by a problem or difficulty. Just by being a careful listener you can be a great help to someone who needs to unburden himself. Write a missionary letter. It is a simple yet effective way to impress hearts with gems of truth. Writing to someone shows that you care and are interested in them. A thoughtful and loving letter can brighten the day of someone who is lonely, ill, or discouraged.
Some letters have a different, direct purpose. For example, a couple of years ago, a letter from Italy was addressed to Denver, Colorado, asking someone to visit a lady in Canada who may be interested in the Adventist message. The person was contacted, instructed in our message, and today this soul has taken her stand with the remnant church. So the letter from Italy proved to be a real blessing. Of course, not all such letters accomplish direct results in this manner, but each letter sent out in love has an influence that cannot be measured.
Conduct cooking classes, instructing people how to prepare wholesome food. Blend with the principles of physical health spiritual food for the soul.
Excuses for not accepting the call
“And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” Luke 14:18-20.
None of the reasons given above are justifiable. The fact is that their temporal interests have become all-absorbing. When accepting the call to salvation, everyone needs to make his worldly interests subordinate to the one purpose of following Christ. Times have not changed since the antediluvian world. . . Christ said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39.
And just as in Noah’s time the majority rejected the divine call, so in the last days men will have ready excuses to condone their actions. Here are some typical ones encountered when doing home missionary work. “I have no time right now.” “I don’t want to get involved.” “Some other time, ok?” “I have my own church.” “The Sabbath was for the Jews.” “I don’t read religious books.” “I’m an atheist – it’s not for me.” “My husband (wife) is opposed.” “Can’t you read the sign – ‘No peddlers, agents or solicitors!?’”
Maybe you, too, have heard such and similar excuses. Many refuse the call of Christ because they fear division in the family. “Many there are who allow their wives or their husbands to prevent them from heeding the call of God. The husband says, ‘I cannot obey my convictions of duty while my wife is opposed to it. Her influence would make it exceedingly hard for me to do so.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 224. They may urge that difficulties would arise and that the peace and prosperity of the home would be destroyed. Children may hear the Master’s voice but be afraid of the consequences. Ridicule, contempt, hatred, and even separation from the home may result when one accepts the Lord.
For those who are presently in conflict with their families, an assurance by God is given to sustain them. “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Matthew 19:29.
There are many souls today like Felix, who was convicted of the truth, and yet did not accept the divine call. “And as he (Paul) reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25. The convenient time may never come. “Tomorrow, I’ll become a Christian,” is expressed by thousands. “I’ll do what is right some day, but not now.” There is real danger in postponing this decision for life eternal. One’s life may be cut short, or his conscience may become insensitive to the working of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 3:7, 8.)
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.
There is a reward, peace and happiness in the heart, for the soul that surrenders completely to the influence of the Holy Spirit, breaking the barriers of unbelief, superstition, bigotry, selfishness, false conceptions of God, erroneous teachings by popular religious leaders, and a host of other obstacles. The image of God will again be reproduced in the human heart. It will be transformed, ennobled. Discouragement will give way to hope…. Joy and happiness will radiate out of the soul that is born again.
But the reward is not in this life only. The best is yet to come! Eternal life is granted to the one who heeds the call. Won’t you accept the call while Christ still invites you to the Supper?