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No Room for Christ in the Inn
by C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
"She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7
It was necessary that Our Lord Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah, which is located in the land of Judah, for this was in accordance to the Word of the Lord which was spoken by His servant Micah, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2). But how could one bring about public recognition of the ancestry of an obscure carpenter and an unknown maiden? How would the local innkeepers know anything about these two humble persons?
The second fact is that Mary lived in Nazareth, which is in Galilee, and there seemed to be every probability that the birth would take place there; indeed, the time of her delivery was so near that, unless absolutely compelled, she would not likely undertake such a long and tedious journey to the southern province of Judea. How are these two realities to be harmonized? How do you get this obscure couple living in Nazareth to make the hard journey to Bethlehem when Mary is about to give birth? How do you get the official stamp of the Roman empire to be affixed to the pedigree of the coming Son of David, and to make Bethlehem the place of the nativity?
A little tyrant, Herod, in a show of independent spirit, offends the greater tyrant, Augustus. Augustus informs him that he will no longer treat him as a friend, but as a slave; and although Herod makes the most humiliating submission, and his friends at the Roman court intercede for him, yet Augustus, to show his displeasure, orders a census to be taken of all the Jewish people, in order to make preparations for a contemplated taxation, which was not carried out till some ten years later. Even the winds and the waves are not more fickled than a tyrant's will; but the Ruler of the wind and the waves knows how to rule the perverse spirits of princes. The Lord our God has a bridle for the wildest war horse, and a hook for the most terrible sea monster.
Dictatorial Caesars are but puppets moved with invisible strings, mere slaves to the King of kings. Augustus must become offended with Herod; he is compelled to tax the people; it is imperative that a census be taken; no, it is necessary that inconvenient, harsh, and tyrannical regulations would be published, and every person must return to the town to which he was reputed to belong; thus Mary is brought to Bethlehem, Jesus Christ is born as prophesied, and, moreover, He is recognized officially as being descended from David by the fact that his mother came to Bethlehem as being of that lineage, remained there, and returned to Galilee without having her claims questioned, although the jealousy of all the women of the clan would have been aroused had an intruder ventured to claim a place among the few females to whom the birth of the Messiah had been prophesied to occur. Note the wisdom by the God of providence in the way everything here was so well orchestrated.
When all the people of the house of David were thus compelled to go to Bethlehem, the sparse accommodations of the little town was soon exhausted. Doubtless friends and relatives took in their out-of-town guests until their houses were full, but Joseph had no such willing relatives in the town. There was the "caravansary," which was provided in every village, where free accommodations were given to travelers; this too was full, for coming from a distance, and compelled to travel slowly because of Mary's condition, the humble couple arrived late in the day.
The rooms within the great brick square (caravansary) were already occupied with families; there remained no better lodging, even for a woman experiencing birth pains, than one of the crude and rough places appropriate for animals. The stall of the donkey was the only place where the child could be born. By hanging a curtain at its front, and perhaps tying up the animal on the outside to block the passage, the needed seclusion could be obtained, and here, in the stable, was the King of Glory born, and He was laid in the manger.
My business this morning is to lead your meditations to the stable at Bethlehem, that you may see this great sight--the Savior in the manger, and think over the reason for this lowly place of birth--"because there was no room for them in the inn."
I. I will begin by remarking that "There were other reasons why Christ should be laid in a manger."
1. I think it was intended "to clearly show His humiliation."
He came, according to prophecy, to be "despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering." He was to be without "beauty or majesty," "like a root out of dry ground." Would it had been fitting that a man who was to die naked on the cross should be robed in purple, as a King, at his birth? Wouldn't it have be inappropriate that the Redeemer who was to be buried in a borrowed tomb would be born anywhere but in the humblest shed, and housed anywhere but in the most lowly manner?
The manger and the cross standing at the two extremes of the Savior's earthly life seem most fit and appropriate to each other. He is to wear through life the clothes of a peasant; He is to associate with fishermen; the meek are to be His disciples; the cold mountains are often to be His only bed; He is to say, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head;" nothing, therefore, could be more fitting than that in His time of humiliation, when He laid aside His glory, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He should be laid in a manger.
2. By being in a manger "He was declared to be the king of the poor."
Without a doubt, the poor were immediately able to recognize His relationship to them, from the position in which they found Him. I believe it excited feelings of the tenderest brotherly kindness in the minds of the shepherds, when the angel said, "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." In the eyes of the poor, royal robes do not excite affection, but a man in their own garb attracts their confidence. Workingmen will, with strong resolution cleave to a leader of their own class in life, believing in Him because He knows their labors, sympathizes with their sorrows, and feels an interest in all their concerns. Great commanders have easily won the hearts of their soldiers by sharing their hardships and roughing it as if they belonged to the ranks.
The King of Men who was born in Bethlehem, was not exempted in His infancy from the common calamities of the poor, no, His circumstance was even worse than theirs. I think I hear the shepherds comment on the manger-birth, "Ah!" said one to his fellow, "then He will not be like Herod the tyrant; He will remember the manger and feel for the poor; poor helpless infant, I feel a love for Him even now, what miserable accommodation this cold world yields to its Savior.
It is not a Caesar that is born today; He will never trample down our fields with his armies, or slaughter our flocks for his countries, He will be the poor man's friend, the people's monarch; according to the words of our shepherd-king [David], 'He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy.'" Surely the shepherds, the poor of the earth, perceived at once that here was the common king; noble in descent, but still as the Word has referred to Him, "a young man from among the people" (Psalm 89:19).
Great Prince of Peace! The manger was Your royal cradle! There you were presented to all nations as prince of our race, before whose presence there is neither Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, savage, slave or free; but You are Lord of all. Kings, your gold and silver would have been lavished on Him if you would had known that He was the Lord of Glory.
3. Further, being laid in a manger, He did, "give an invitation to the most humble to come to Him."
We might tremble to approach a throne, be we cannot fear to approach a manger. Had we first seen the Master riding in a stately manner through the streets of Jerusalem with garments laid in His path, and the palm- branches strewed, and people crying "Hosanna!" we might have thought, though even the thought would have been wrong, that He was unapproachable. Even there, riding on a donkey, He was so meek and lowly, that the young children clustered around Him with their boyish "Hosanna!"
Never could there be a being more approachable than Christ. No rough guards pushed poor people away; no array of arrogant friends were allowed to keep away the persistent widow of the man who came shouting and begging that his son might be made well; the hem of His garment was always trailing where sick folk could reach it, and he Himself had a hand always ready to touch the disease, an ear to catch the faintest sounds of misery, a soul going out everywhere in rays of mercy, even as the light of the sun streams out everywhere beyond itself.
By being laid in a manger He proved Himself a priest taken from among men, one who has suffered like His brethren, and therefore can understand our weaknesses. It was said of Him, "He eats with tax collectors and 'sinners'" Even as an infant, by being laid in a manger, He was shown as the sinner's friend. Come to Him, all you who are weary and burdened! Come to Him all you who are broken in spirit, you who are humble in soul! Come to Him, all you who despise yourselves and are hated by others! Come to Him, traitor and prostitute! Come to Him, thief and drunkard! In the manger there He lies, unguarded from your touch and unshielded from your gaze. Bow the knee, kiss the Son of God; accept Him as your Savior, for He puts Himself into that manger that you may approach Him. The throne of Solomon might awe you, but the manger of the Son of David invites you to come.
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4. I think there is yet another mystery. Remember, brethren, that this place was "free to everyone;" it was an inn, and please remember the inn in this case was not like our hotels, where accommodation and provision must be paid for. In the early and simple ages of the world every man considered it an honor to entertain a stranger; later, as traveling became more common, many desired to share the honor and pleasure with their neighbors; wherefore they could continue the dignity of hospitality? As time moved on, one person was appointed in each town and village, and was expected to entertain strangers in the name of the rest of the town.
But as the ages grew less simple, and the pure glow of brotherly love cooled down, the only provision made was the erection of a huge square block, in the town (caravansary), arranged into rooms for the travelers, the guests were on the second floor and the bottom floor was reserved for the animals, and here, with a certain provision of water and in some cases chopped straw for the animals, the traveler would make himself as comfortable as he could. He did not have to purchase admittance to the caravansary, for it was free to all, and the stable especially so. Now, beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ was born in the stable of the inn to show how free He is to all who come to Him. The Gospel is preached to every creature and no one is shut out. We may say of the of the invitations of Holy Scripture,
"None are excluded but those
Who exclude themselves;
Welcome to the educated and polite,
The ignorant and the rude.
Though Jesus' grace can save the prince,
The poor may take their share;
No mortal has a excuse
To perish in despair."
Exclusions of certain classes are unknown here, and the prerogatives of social class are not acknowledged. No forms of etiquette are required in entering a stable; it cannot be an offense to enter the stable of a public caravansary. So, if you desire to come to Christ you may come to Him just as you are; you may come "now." Whoever among you has the desire in his heart to trust Christ is free to do it. Jesus is free to you; He will receive you; He will welcome you with gladness, and to show this, I think the young child was cradled in a manger. We know that sinners often imagine that they are shut out.
Oftentimes the convicted conscience will write bitter things against itself and deny its part and allotment in the mercy that is available. Brother, if "God" has not shut you out, do not shut yourself out. Until you can find it written in the Bible that you may not trust Christ; till you can quote a passage in which it is written that He is not able to save you, I pray you listen to the passages where it is written, "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him." Presume on that promise: come to Christ in the strength and faith of it, and you will find Him free to all who come.
5. We have not yet exhausted the reasons why the Son of Man was laid in a manger. It was at the manger that "the animals were fed."
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Is there a mystery here in that the Savior is laid where weary animals receive their food? Yes, there are some men who have become so brutal through sin, so utterly depraved by their lusts, that to their own consciences everything human like has departed, but even to such the remedies of Jesus, the Great Physician, will apply. We are constantly reading in our papers of men who are called hardened and hopeless, and it is fashionable now to demand that these men should be treated with the utmost severity.
Some few years ago all the world went crazy with a counterfeit compassion, crying out that gentleness would reform the brutal thief; now the tide has shifted, and everybody is demanding the abandonment of the present system of compassion. I am no advocate for treating criminals lightly; let their sin bring them a fair share of pain; but if by any means they can be reformed, I pray that we will try. Beware, fellow- citizens, beware of restoring the old idea that men can sin beyond hope of reformation, or you will generate criminals worse than those which now trouble us.
I believe our Lord was laid in the manger where the beasts were fed, to show "that even beast-like men may come to him and live." No creature can be so degraded that Christ cannot lift it up. It may fall, and seem to most certainly fall to hell, but the long and strong arm of Christ can reach it even in its most desperate degradation; He can bring it up from apparently hopeless ruin. If there is one who has strolled in here this morning whom society abhors, and who abhors himself, my Master in the stable with the beasts presents Himself as able to save the vilest of the vile, and to accept the worst of the worst even now. Believe in Him and He will make you a new creature.
6. But as Christ was laid where animals were fed, you will remember that after He was gone "animals fed there again." It was only His presence which could glorify the manger, and here we learn that if Christ were taken away "the world would go back to its former heathen darkness."
Civilization itself would die out, at least that part of it which really civilizes man, if the religion of Jesus could be extinguished. If Christ were taken away from the human heart, the most holy person would become debased again, and those who claim kinship with angels would soon prove that they have relationships to devils. The manger would still be a manger for animals, if the Lord of Glory were withdrawn, and we should go back to our sins and our lusts if Christ should once take away His grace and leave us to ourselves. For these reasons which I have mentioned, I think, Christ was laid in a manger.
II. But still the text says that He was laid in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn, and this leads us to the second point, "That there were other places besides the inn which had no room for Christ."
"The palaces of emperors and the halls of Kings afforded the royal stranger no refuge?" Yes! My brethren, seldom is there room for Christ in palaces! How could the kings of the earth receive the Lord? He is the Prince of Peace, and they delight in war! He breaks their bows and cuts their spears in half; He burns their war-chariots in the fire. How could kings accept the humble Savior? They love grandeur and pomp, and He is all simplicity and meekness.
He is a carpenter's son, and the fisherman's companion. How can princes find room for the newborn monarch? Why He teaches us to do to others as we would have them do to us, and this is a thing which kings would find very hard to reconcile with the dishonest tricks of politics and the greedy plans of ambition. O great ones of the earth, I am a little astonished that amid your glories, and pleasures, and wars, and councils, you forget the Anointed, and throw out the Lord of All. There is no room for Christ with the kings. Look throughout the kingdoms of the earth now, and with only a few exceptions it is still true, "The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One."
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In heaven we will see here and there a redeemed king from the earth; but oh, how few, for it is written to Christians, "Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth." State-rooms, cabinets, throne-rooms, and royal palaces, are frequented by Christ about as often as the deadly jungles and swamps by the cautious traveler. He frequents humble homes far more often than regal residences, for there is no room for Jesus Christ in regal halls.
"When the Eternal leaves the skies
To visit earthly things,
With divine scorn He turns His eyes
From towers of arrogant kings.
He bids His awful chariot roll
Far downward from the skies,
To visit every humble soul
With pleasure in His eyes."
But there were "senators, there were forums of political discussion, there were the places where the representatives of the people make the laws," was there no room for Christ there? Yes! My brethren, none, and to this day there is very little room for Christ in government. How seldom is Christianity recognized by politicians! Of course a State-religion, if it will consent to be a weak, submissive, powerless thing, a lion with its teeth all pulled, its mane shaven completely off, and its claws all removed--yes, that may be recognized; but the true Christ and they that follow Him and dare to obey His laws in an evil generation, what room is there for such a people? Christ and His gospel--is not given a second glance.
Who pleads for Jesus in the Senate? Who quotes His golden rule as a direction for government leaders, or preaches Christ-like forgiveness as a rule for national policy? One or two will give Him a good word, but if it be put to the vote whether the Lord Jesus should be obeyed or not, it will surely be defeated. Parties, politics, status-seekers, and pleasure- seekers exclude the Representative of Heaven from a place among representatives of Earth.
Might there be found some room for Christ "in what is called high society?" Wasn't there any in Bethlehem that were very respectable, who kept themselves from the common multitude; persons of reputation and standing--couldn't they find room for Christ? Dear friends, almost without exception there is no room for Him in what is called high society. There is room for all the silly little forms by which men and women choose to distinguish themselves as "upper class;" room for the vain niceties of etiquette; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body; there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully.
The Coming of Christ would be the last thing which high society would desire; the very mention of His name in a loving manner would cause a strange sensation. Should you begin to talk about the things of Christ in many a circle, you would be tabooed at once. "I will never ask that man to my house again," so-and-so would say, "if he must bring his religion with him." Folly, and finery, rank and honor, jewels and glitter, frivolity and fashion, all report that there is no room for Jesus.
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But is there room for Him "in the business world?" Can't He be taken to the places of commerce? Here are the store owners of a nation of stores--isn't there room for Christ here? Dear friends, how little of the spirit, and life, and doctrine of Christ can be found here! The trader finds it inconvenient to be too scrupulous; the merchant often discovers that if he is to make a fortune he must violate his conscience. How many are there--well, I will not say that they tell lies directly, but still, still--I had better say it plainly--they do lie indirectly with a vengeance.
Who doesn't know as he shops in the city that there are many liars around? For almost everywhere products are advertised as "The cheapest anywhere," which can hardly be; for surely they cannot all be the cheapest! What deceptive practices some indulge in! What false advertising! What cunning and sleight of hand! What woes would my Master pronounce on some of you if He looked into your store-windows, or stood behind your counters. Bankruptcies, swindlings, frauds are so abundant that in many cases there is no room for Jesus in the mart or the shop.
Then there are "the colleges and the universities," surely they will receive Him. The wise men will find in Him incarnate wisdom; He, who as a youth is to become the teacher of scholars, who will sit down and ask them questions and receive their answers, surely He will find room at once among such educated men--men of sense and intellect will surely honor Him. "Room for Him, along with Socrates and Plato!" No, dear friends, it is not so; there is very little room for Christ in colleges and universities, very little room for Him in the seats of learning. How often learning helps men to raise objections to Christ!
Too often learning is the forge where the nails are made for Christ's crucifixion; too often human intelligence has become the craftsman who has made the spear and shaft with which His heart would be pierced. We must say it, that philosophy, has done much harm to Christ, and seldom has ever served His cause. A few with splendid talents, a few of the erudite and profound have bowed like children at the feet of the Babe of Bethlehem, and have been honored in bowing there, but too many, conscious of their knowledge, stiff and stern in their conceit of wisdom, have said, "Who is Christ that we should acknowledge Him?" They found no room for Him in the schools.
But there was surely one place where He could go--it was "the Sanhedrin," where the religious elders sit. Or could He not find a place of welcome in the priestly chamber where the priests assemble with the Levites? Wasn't there room for Him in the temple or the synagogue? No, He found no shelter there; it was there, His whole life long, that He found His most ferocious enemies. Not the common multitude, but the priests were the instigators of His death; the priests moved the people to say, "Not this man, but Barabbas." The priests paid out their shekels to bribe the popular voice, and then Christ was hounded to His death. Surely there ought to have been room for Him in the Church of His own people; but there was not.
Too often in the priestly church, when once it becomes recognized and achieves dignity, there is no room for Christ. I don't allude to any one denomination, but take the whole sweep of Christendom, and it is strange that when the Lord comes to His own--they will not receive Him. The most accursed enemies of true Christianity have been the men who pretend to be it advocates. It is often the bishops who undermine faith in God's Word. Who burned the martyrs, and made fields of blood, a burning fiery furnace, a great altar for the Most High God? Why, those who professed to be anointed of the Lord, who had received Episcopal blessing. Who put John Bunyan in prison? Who chased such men as Owen and the Puritans from their pulpits? Who, but the professed messengers of heaven and the priests of God?
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Who have hunted the baptized saints in every land, and hunt them still today in many countries? The priests, the priests, there is no room for Christ with the prophets of Baal, the servants of Babylon. The false laborers that are not Christ's shepherds, and do not love His sheep, have always been the most ferocious enemies of our God and of His Christ. There is no room for Him where His name is chanted in solemn hymns and His image lifted up amid smoke of incense. Go wherever you will, and there is no space for the Prince of Peace but with the humble and repentant spirits which by grace He prepares to yield Him shelter.
III. But now for our third point, "The inn itself had no room for him;" and this was the main reason why He must be laid in a manger.
What can we find in modern times which stands in the place of the inn? Well, there is "public sentiment free to all" In this free land, men speak what they like, and there is a public opinion on every subject; and you know there is free toleration in this country to everything--permit me to say, toleration to everything but Christ. You will discover that the persecuting-spirit is alive and well. There are still men at whom it is most fashionable to scoff at. We never scoff at Christians nowadays; we do not sneer at that respectable title, lest we would lose our own honor; we don't nowadays talk against the followers of Jesus under that name. No; but we have found out a way of doing it more safely. There is a pretty word of modern invention--a very pretty word--the word "Sectarian." Do you know what it means?
A sectarian means a true Christian; a man who can afford to keep a conscience, and does not mind suffering for it; a man who, whatever he finds to be in the Bible, believes it, and acts upon it, and is zealous for it. I believe that the men aimed at under the term, "sectarian," are the true followers of Christ, and that the sneers and jeers, and all the nonsense that you are always reading and hearing about, is really aimed at the Christian, the true Christian, only he is disguised and nick-named by the word sectarian. I wouldn't give you a penny for your Christianity, no, not even a rusty nail, unless you will sometimes win that title.
If God's Word be true, every bit of it, then we should act on it; and whatever the Lord commands, we should diligently keep and obey, remembering that our Master tells us if we break one of the least of His commandments, and teach men to do so, then we will be least in His kingdom. We ought to be very watchful, very anxious, that we obey even in the minute details of our Savior's laws, having our eyes focused on Him. But if you do this, you will find you are not tolerated, and you will get the cold shoulder in society. A zealous Christian will find a real cross to carry nowadays, as in the days of Simon of Cyrene.
If you will hold your tongue, if you will let sinners perish, if you will never endeavor to spread your faith, if you will silence all witnessing for truth, if, in fact, you will renounce all the attributes of a Christian, if you will cease to be what a Christian must be, then the world will say, "Ah! That's right; this is the religion we like." But if you will believe, believe firmly, and if you let your belief actuate your life, and if your belief is so precious that you feel compelled to spread it, then you will surely find that there is no room for Christ even in the inn of public sentiment, where everything else is received. Be an atheist, a skeptic, or an agnostic and no one will treat you with contempt; but be a Christian, and many will despise you. There was no room for Him in the inn.
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How little room there is for Christ, "in general conversation," which is also like an inn. We talk about many things; a man may nowadays talk of any subject he pleases; no one can stop him and say, "There is a spy listening to your words; he will report you to some central authority." Speech is very free in this land; but, oh, how little room there is for Christ in our conversations! Even on Sunday afternoon how little room there is for Christ in some professing Christian homes. They will talk about ministers, tell stories about them--perhaps even invent a few, or, at least, garnish the old ones, and add to them.
They will talk about the Sunday school, or the various agencies in connection with the Church, but how little they say about Christ! And if some one should, in conversation, make this remark, "Could we talk about the Trinity, or the finished work and righteousness of Christ, or the ascension of our Lord, or the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," why we would see many, who even profess to be followers of Christ, who would hold up their heads and say, "Why, that man is quite a fanatic, or else he would not think of introducing such a subject as that into general conversation." No there is no room for Him at the inn.
I address many who are working-men. You are employed among a great many different companies day after day; do you not find, brethren--I know you do--that there is very little room for Christ "in the workplace?" There is room for talk of sports; there is room for lewd conversation, there is room for politics, slanders, or lying talk; but there is no room for Christ. Too many of our working men think Christianity would be an encumbrance, a chain, a prison to them. They can frequent the theater, or listen to some conference speaker, but the Church is too dreary for them. I wish I were not compelled to say so, but truly in our factories, workshops, and other businesses, there is no room for Christ. The world is elbowing and pushing for more room, until there is scarce a corner left where the babe of Bethlehem can be laid.
As "for the inns of modern times"--who would think of finding Christ there? Our inns today have as part of their establishment the attached taverns. What wider gates of hell can be built? Who would ever resort to going to our inns today and ever expect to find Christ there? We might as well to find Him in the bottomless pit! We should be just as likely to look for angels in hell, as seek to look for Christ in a whisky palace! He who is separate from sinners, finds no fit society in the reeking temple of Bacchus.
There is no room for Jesus in the inn. I think I would rather rot or feed the crows, than earn my daily bread by the wages of fools, the hard earned money of the poor man, stolen from his ragged children, and his haggard wife. What do many tavern owners fatten themselves on the flesh, and bones, and blood, and souls of men. He who grows rich on the fruits of vice is a beast preparing itself for the slaughter. Truly, there is no room for Christ, among those who are drunk. Those who have anything to do with Christ can hear Him say, "Come out from them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters." There is no room for Christ nowadays even in the places of public lodging.
IV. This brings me to my fourth point, which is the most pertinent and the most essential one to dwell on for a moment. "Have you room for Christ?" "Have you any room for Christ?"
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As the palace and the inn have no room for Christ, and as the places of public resort have none, have "you" room for Christ? "Well," one says, "I have room for Him, but I am not worthy that He should come to me." Ah! I did not ask about worthiness; have you room for Him? "Oh," one says, "I have an empty void the world can never fill!" Ah! I see you have room for Him. "Oh! But the room I have in my heart is so wretched! So was the manger. "But it is so despicable!" The manger was also a thing to be despised. "Ah! But my heart is so foul!" So, perhaps, the manger may also have been. "Oh! But I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!'
Nor was the manger a place fit for Him, and yet there He was laid. "Oh! But I have been such a sinner; I feel as if my heart has been a den of beasts and devils!" Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed. Have you room for Him? Never mind what the past has been; He can forgive and forget. It does not matter what even the present state may be if you mourn over it. If you have room for Christ He will come and be your guest. Don't say, "I hope I 'will have' room for Him;" the time is come that He will be born; Mary cannot wait months and years.
Oh! Sinner, if you have room for Him let Him be born in your soul today. "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." "Now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." Room for Jesus! Room for Jesus now! "Oh!" one says, "I have room for Him, but will He come?" Will He come--most certainly! Just open the door of your heart, and say, "Jesus, Master, all unworthy and unclean I look to you; come, lodge within my heart," and He will come to you, and He will cleanse the manger of your heart; He will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign forever and forever. Oh! I have such a free Christ to preach this morning! I wish I could preach Him better. I have such a precious loving Jesus to preach, He is willing to find a home in humble hearts. What! Are there no hearts here this morning that will take Him in?
Must my eye glance around these galleries and look at many of you who are still without Him, and are there none who will say, "Come in, come in?" Oh! It will be a happy day for you if you will be enabled to take Him in your arms and receive Him as the your Savior and Lord! You may then look forward even to death with joy, and say with Simeon--"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation." My master wants room! Room for Him! Room for Him! I, His herald, cry aloud, Room for the Savior! Room! Here is my royal Master--have you room for Him? Here is the Son of God made flesh--have you room for Him?
Here is He who can lift you up out of the slimy pit and out of the miry clay--have you room for Him? Here He is who when He comes in will never go out again, but abide with you forever to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss for you--have you room for Him? This is all I ask. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your lack of feeling, your lack of goodness, your lack of grace--all these will be but room for Him. Have you room for Him? Oh! Spirit of God, lead many to say, "Yes, my heart is ready." Ah! Then He will come and dwell with you.
"Joy to the world the Savior comes,
the Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne
And every voice a song."
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V. I conclude with this point, that if you "have room" for Christ, then from this day forward remember, "The world has no room for you;" for the text says not only that there was no room for Him, but look--"There was no room 'for them,'"--no room for Joseph, nor for Mary, any more than for the babe. Who are His mother, brother, and sister, but those who do the will of His Father in heaven. So, as there was no room for the blessed Virgin, nor for the reputed father, remember from this time on there is no room is this world for any true follower of Christ.
There is no room for you to take it "easy," no, you are to be a soldier of the cross.
There is no room for you to sit down "content with all your achievements," for you are a traveler, and you are to forget the things that are behind, and press forward to that which is ahead; no room for you "to hide your treasure" in, for here the moth and rust destroys; no room for you "to put your confidence," for "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength." From this day there will be no room for you in "the good opinion of the world." They will count you to be rubbish; no room for you in the world's "polite society"--you must go on without the sophisticated, bearing His reproach. From this time forward, if you have room for Christ, the world will hardly find room for "tolerance" of you; you must expect now to be laughed at; now you must wear the fool's cap in men's esteem. The song that you must sing will be at the very beginning of your pilgrimage:
"Jesus, I Your cross have taken,
All to leave and follow You;
Naked, poor, despised, forsaken,
You from now on my all will be."
There is no room for you in the world's love. If you expect that everybody will praise you, and that your good actions will all be applauded, you will be quite mistaken. The world has no room for the man who has room for Christ. "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "Woe to you when all men speak well of you." You are not of the world, even as Christ is not of it. Thank God, you need not ask for the world's hospitality. If it will give you a stage for action, and lend you for a short time a grave to sleep in, it is all you need; you will require no permanent dwelling-place here, since you seek a city that is to come, which has foundations; whose builder and maker is God. You are hurrying through this world as a stranger through a foreign land, and you rejoice to know that though you are an alien and a foreigner here, yet you are a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household to God.
What do you say, young soldier, will you enlist on such terms as these? Will you give room for Christ when there is to be from this time on no room for you--when you are to be separated forever, cut off from among the world's relatives--cut off from fleshly confidence forever? Are you willing, nevertheless to receive the Babe of Bethlehem in? The Lord help you to do so, and to Him will be glory forever and ever. Amen.