May 1, 2008

You Are Invited To The Wedding

“Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.” Matthew 22:4-5, NKJV.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught this parable when He was speaking to the elders and the chief priests who had confronted Him regarding where He derived the authority of His teachings.

This particular parable is an illustration of the reunion of Jesus Christ with his church. All are invited to the reception with the Lord, but very few will want to be with Him now in spirit while looking forward to His return, while a multitude of people will procrastinate only to discover it will be too late.


When I read this passage again (1-14), I noticed in verse 3 where Jesus said, servants were sent out to call those who were invited to the wedding and they were not willing to come.

Who might those servants be? They are certainly the pastors of churches who particularly have a burden in their heart to carry out the Great Commission throughout the world around them. I believe they are also the people you see and hear everyday whose lives are examples of Jesus Christ, average people with only one distinguishing characteristic, they have been born-again by the Spirit of God.

It is interesting also to recognize in the same verse that people were not willing to come at the invitation of the King! The king has given an open invitation to the people to come to the wedding of his son and they were not willing to come! The king Jesus is speaking of, is God!

How many people in society would have wanted to receive an invitation to Jay-Z and Beyonce’s wedding? Or the weddings of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas? Thousands of people who are fans of these celebrities would have just loved to have been invited to their wedding.




However, One who is greater than any of these people combined has invited every single person on the planet to be wed to His Son and sadly, many are not willing to come. You thought Donald Trump paid for an extravagant reception for his bride and guests! Think again. God paid for this particular wedding with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ and that my friends, is PRICELESS!

Isn’t this exactly what happens today? There is no obstacle before any person to come to repentance and faith in Christ except for the obstacles they create themselves, which is often themselves. So, it is not that people cannot repent and place their faith in Christ for the salvation of their souls, they simply are not willing to do so because of pride and selfishness. The same two characteristics that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from Heaven.


“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. Isaiah 14:12-15

Did you notice Lucifer’s selfishness, pride and arrogance here? It was how he wanted to maximize himself while minimizing God. People act in this same way today too, only that if they knew the danger to their eternal life this brings, they would hopefully run quickly toward God.

Every Sunday and each day during the week, the Gospel is preached inside and outside of the church and people are still not willing to repent of their sins against God. They are not willing to repent of their sins, to receive or recognize the forgiveness of their sins through faith in Jesus Christ. (John 5:40)

Multitudes perish eternally through mere carelessness, who have not any direct aversion, but a prevailing indifference, to the matters of their soul, and an unconcernedness about them. Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Matthew 22:1-14.

The king in the parable was excited about the wedding and wanted everyone to be included in the celebration of the wedding. All of the arrangements were made too, the facility, the menu of food to be served; everything is prepared just as it should be, for a memorable wedding day (v. 4.).

The book of Revelation describes the excitement of the forthcoming dinner celebration, which says, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)

Have you made yourself ready for the wedding feast with Jesus Christ? Will you be giving God glory in Heaven for your salvation through Christ, or will you be grieving in hell how foolish and ignorant you were regarding the truth you have heard for so long and continued to turn a deaf ear to?

I have not read in the Bible where there is rejoicing or gladness in Hell. In fact, the Bible says that Hell is a place of tormenting fire and brimstone (Luke 16:23, Revelation 19:20), a bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1-2) and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46). Why would anyone want to allow themselves to go here?

What is disappointing again to read in verse 5 is that some people were not concerned at all regarding the invitation they had been given and so, went back to their daily routine of things.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

The Gospel of Luke records a similar parable where the people made excuses why they could not attend the great supper that was prepared for them (see also Luke 14:16-20). They made excuses! Selfishness and pride were the leading motives for making excuses, just as they are today.

The Scripture says the people “made light of it,” in other words, they counted the invitation they received as unimportant to them that the king should want them to be with him.

Think about this for a minute, of the words that are synonymous with unimportant: insignificant, inconsequential, trivial, trifling, petty, minor, irrelevant and negligible or not worth worrying about. Is that how you are treating God’s invitation to be with Him? It is amazing to realize that after His ascension to Heaven, the people then had the exact same negligible thoughts as they do today. “It’s not worth worrying about right now. I have plenty of time to respond to his invitation. I have more important things to be concerned about than where I will spend eternity, look at the economy, gas prices and the housing crisis we are in! I’ll be there, don’t worry.”


Another parable of Jesus found in Matthew 25:1-13, says there were a few foolish people who were left standing at the door to the wedding, pleading for it to be opened for them, because they were unprepared to meet the bridegroom. They pleaded to have the door opened for them and the Lord said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” (v. 12).


This may seem cold and selfish to reject anyone who comes unprepared or late. Shouldn’t there be some leniency here? If the invitation had been treated respectfully, understanding the importance of it, there would have been no reason to be unprepared and late.

God commands that we repent of our sins (Acts 17:30) and we can choose to ignore His commandment to repent and even His invitation to be with Him too. So there really is no fault with God, it is with those who choose to ignore His invitation and commandments.

Many people have a vague self-assurance of their place in heaven and deeply need to know with biblical certainty and understanding of the requirements to enter. Otherwise, they are walking foolishly to hell. Our own standards to get in to heaven will only lead us straight to hell, because they are not God’s standards that have been followed. A person in essence has said, “My way is better and this is what I think God will accept from me, to allow me into Heaven.” My will be done, not God’s.

The invitation is not just one for mere attendance to say you were invited and when it is over you can go back to what you were doing before the wedding. No!!! This is a lifelong and eternal invitation to be with Christ at His Father’s request. How will you respond to the Father’s invitation to be reconciled to Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

This is not at all uncommon in today’s society of people who are also not very concerned about the imminent return of Jesus Christ. For the Christian who has been saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8), that day will be a glorious day while for the person who is not saved or who thinks they are saved, will be condemned because they loved living in their sin rather than loving to live for the Savior.

Jesus also informs us in this parable that the remainder of those who ignored the invitation, they went and abused and killed the servants of God who sent word of the invitation the wedding. They were killed for bringing good news to the people. Does that scenario sound all too familiar?

The Scripture says in verse 7 that when the king heard about the atrocities that had taken place against his servants, he was furious and sent out his armies to destroy those murderers and their city was burned to the ground. Notice that they were not killed because they refused to come to the wedding. They were destroyed for killing the king’s servants.

“Persons compelled to sit at a marriage-feast would not adorn it. What credit could it be to a king to force his subjects to a feast at his table?” Charles Spurgeon.

“Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”” Revelation 19:9
That example is relevant today too. God will not punish us for not accepting His invitation to be with Christ for all of eternity. He will punish every person, by allowing him or her to go to hell, for refusing to accept the atonement of their sins that was placed upon Jesus Christ.

Ok, so you do not want to accept the invitation. How else will a person enter heaven? Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). He also said that He was the door through which a person would pass through to be saved (John 10:9). He also said a person must be born again (John 3:3-7).

The apostle Luke writes in the book of Acts there salvation is through no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

This is also recorded by the prophet Isaiah as the Lord spoke through Him, “I, even I am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior (Isaiah 43:11).

God has provided the way and the choice remains with each person to choose to accept or reject Him. No one can expect to reject Christ and still consider themselves innocent before God.

Improperly Dressed

Finally, in verse 12 there is a man who was at the feast but he was not properly dressed and when questioned by the king why he was not dressed for the feast, he was speechless. The same will be true of any person who will stand before the throne of God, to give an account of their life (Matthew 12:36-37) and will not be able to speak with confidence, or with a pure conscience why they should be allowed to enter God’s holy Kingdom of Heaven.

The king was upset because he was not properly dressed for the feast. This man may have been able to sneak into the feast without concern that he was not dressed similar to the other guests, until the king caught him.

The wedding garment referred to here in this parable is an example of the garment God should see on each Christian when they enter Heaven.

Let me make two points of illustration here to explain.

First, the man who was not dressed properly is similar to a person who goes to church but does not genuinely live committed to Christ. They say one thing and act in a completely different and hypocritical way. His primary interest is the feast and not the son, whom the feast is for. This is very much like people today who go to church on Sunday primarily for show and not for the thanksgiving, worship, praise, honor and glory for their salvation through Jesus Christ.


“But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward your holy temple.” Psalm 5:7
Second, the Bible says that the saints of God are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

“’This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:8, KJV

God should see the righteousness of Christ in that person and not their self-righteousness.

If you have been to a wedding recently, or this summer if you happen to go to one, look at the people who are there. The wedding you attend(ed) this year is an example of God’s invitation for you to be with Christ for now and for eternity.

Will there be a place for you at the feast with the Son of God? Are you on the guest list?


The King is waiting for you to join Him at His table.

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Revelation 21:27.


References
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Spurgeon, C.H. (1871). The parable of the wedding feast. Retrieved May 1, 2008 from http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/0975.htm

12 comments:

Gaysha said...

Brother Kurt -

Your gift never ceases to amaze me.
Everytime I read one of your writings I am inspired to study and learn of Him more... This latest "letter from the Spirit" is not only inspiring but sobering. May all that know Him and love Him be moved from professing to possessing so we can attend the great marriage feast.

Signed,
Pressing to be dressed and ready - Your sister Gaysha

Gina Thornton said...

That was beautiful! And so appropriate. We were just discussing it at my bible study last night.

Kurt, do you feel like God is really drawing the faithful closer to Him? I feel like He is really gathering us. I just can't put the feeling into words but I feel a call to action that I cannot describe.

Anyway, thank you for sharing. I will be passing it on to the group from last night if you don't mind.

Have a blessed day!

Gina

Toni D'Amario said...

I got nervous and excited!!! I thought YOU were getting married!!!

Kim Popora said...

Hi Kurt:

I read your blog this afternoon and I found it very interesting. You made good points and also enlightened me to a couple of scriptures I was unaware of.

God uses the terms of wedding and marriage throughout the bible.

In your blog you are using the term of the invitation to the wedding. I like the marriage terms as Jesus as the bridegroom and the "church" as his bride. In this passage Paul writes: "For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God since I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:2).

I also like this next passage "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her, to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Let's face it there is no wedding without the bride. Do we want to
leave Jesus waiting at the altar? I wouldn't want to do that.

Before the wedding of the Church to Christ there has to be a courtship. Meeting Christ, falling in love with him, wanting to be with him forever. When that relationship has been established then the wedding can occur. I believe we fall in love with Christ through the Gospel. Then after we accept Christ as our groom, we are given lessons on how to keep that marriage alive through the letters of Paul, etc.

Just as a man and a woman become one after marriage, Jesus and his church also become one body. See 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. With marriage comes a sense of security that you are never alone. You always have your spouse. Just as the Church is never alone because it has Jesus.

Of course satan exists and tries to break up that marriage. He uses jealousy, pride, insecurity, unforgiveness, anger and sloth to get into the marriage and destroy it. Just as a husband and wife have to continually protect themselves from satan by being with each other in prayer so we all must protect ourselves from satan getting between the marriage of church and Christ by prayer.

I have found that it is very easy for satan to get into our lives and that we must daily remind ourselves that we have to put God first at some point each day and pray for his protection. My favorite verse of bible and one that I am known to say quite often is Psalm 7:11 "A shield before me is God who save the honest heart." Ever since I was a child I would look at the clock and always notice it being 7:11.

Mostly a.m. but sometimes p.m. For years I would glance and there it would be. I often thought will I die at that time? A few years ago I got determined for figure out why I kept seeing that time. I went through the bible. Lo and behold I found it in psalms and it made perfect sense to me. I wish I knew as a child and teenager what God was trying to tell me using 7:11.

I hope I didn't go on too much. It is a nasty, rainy day today and this helped to pass the time. Much better than Solitaire. LOL

May you receive God's blessings in your heart today.

Kim

geoffrey kirkland said...

Kurt,

Great post. I really appreciate your blog.

Keep it up.

Blessings,

Geoff

Michael Stahl said...

Hi Kurt,
You had me all excited there as I thought YOU were getting married. With hopes that all is well,
Michael Stahl

Deena Mehran said...

Hey Kurt that was very touching!!! Hope all is well with you and you are doing great!!!

I thought for a minute you were getting married so I was excited for you, but this was just as nice. Have a great day!!

Deena

Greg Washington said...

Bravo:

Your post is both accurate and inspiring. I have a long list of folks I plan ask to read this post.

Jennifer said...

Kurt, as I read your post, I reflected upon our attitudes toward weddings. It is sad to see how many "guests" think the wedding is about them. It almost puts a damper on a happy occasion when Aunt Betty is infuriated because the bride put her at the same table as Cousin Frank. And how about the bridesmaids that always complain to the bride, saying things like, "This color is all wrong for me," or, "I look fat in sleeveless dresses?" It is truly a sad but accurate picture of how we often have a very selfish attitude about weddings that aren't even our own. How many of us continue to view our Christian walk in the spirit of, "What's in it for me?" Rather than just enjoying the splendor of knowing Christ, and the humility of knowing He has invited us to celebrate with him?

Methinks you've just given me more fodder for my own blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well you certaintly know your scripture Kurt. No one can deny that but there is something that lacks in your sermon, and that is the evidence of your heart. Now I do not deny that Christ Himself is not calling the lost to the marriage banquet. That is His desire and it's also a burden that He places on us through His divine nature and love. We all at some point or another rejected His invitation but because He loved us so passionately and pursued us so fervently,we finally accepted the invitation out of His loving kindness toward us. I don't think it's enough to tell people what they have to do to accept the invitation nor is it fair to bog some of the lost down with biblical symbolism of the wedding feast. Rather, tell people what the Lord has done in your own heart. What were the filthy rags He's stripped from you? What is some of the filth is He still cleansing from your own heart? Be real with your readers. Anyone can read the bible but can people see the bible being lived out in your life?

Kurt said...

To the anonymous person who commented above, I wish you had revealed who you are, because I am not quite sure you could make a fair assessment of my life and the people who see me regularly.

The biblical symbolism that I have used is no different than the parables which Jesus taught and used symbolism as well.

No one is permitted to enter the Kingdom of God merely because they have only accepted the invitation to join Him at the wedding banquet, they must repent and be born again by the Spirit of God. Not by my standard but the Lord's.

I have not considered myself to be holier than anyone else and I do feel that I am real with people when I write. There have been previous posts which I have mentioned something of a personal nature so you are citing only one instance here.

If you were a regular reader of my blog you would have recognized that. But since you are anonymous, I have no idea who you are or how often you read my blog.

In closing, what is written is biblical truth, which many people these days seem not to want to hear because of those who feel it is better to be seeker-friendly with people concerning the Bible. I am not one who endorses that since it severely contradicts the Bible in many ways.

My heart is for the lost, those who continue to live without remorse for their sins against God. That alone is an evidence of my heart and why I write, why I evangelize people as Christ commands us, which is something you missed.

So, hopefully next time, if you happen to read my blog, you may reveal yourself.

SoJoeNYC said...

Hi Kurt, Great blog...thanks for the word. I look forward to hearing from you in a few weeks when you give the devotions on Sunday.
I have to tell you, working with you in the ministry at church the past few months has been and encouragement to me. Even though you volunteer, you seriously take the ministry at hand as a true soldier. Willing and humbly doing what is at hand behind the scenes. Rather than argue a point with the jacket, you simply complied...even though you were right. Awesome. I am going to learn from you. God bless you...Joe

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