I have many in this city who are my people.Acts 18:10
This should be a great encouragement in proclaiming the Gospel, since among the people in our communities--the disinterested, the rebellious, the careless--God has an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs.
They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ's property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of selfish pleasures and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them, He will have them.
God is not unfaithful to forget the price that His Son has paid. He will not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go to them with the quickening Word of God.
More than this, the ungodly are prayed for by Christ before the throne. "I do not ask for these only," says the great Intercessor, "but also for those who will believe in me through their word."1 Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on His breastplate, and before long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace.
The predestinated moment has not struck; but when it comes, they will obey, for God will have His own. They must, for the Spirit is not to be resisted when He comes with the fullness of power--they must become the willing servants of the living God. "Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power."2 He will "make many to be accounted righteous."3 "Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied."4 "I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong."5
1) John 17:20
2) Psalm 110:3
3) Isaiah 53:11
4) Isaiah 53:11
5) Isaiah 53:12