Matthew 22:1-7 ESV
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”
Originally this parable was intended, I believe, as a picture of the Jews’ rejection of Jesus Christ, their Messiah. They did indeed kill some of the prophets, as well as they put Jesus to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong, but only good. And so, the Lord sent the gospel to the Gentiles.
But is there an application that we can make to our lives today? To the church today? To the church in America today?
Who are the invited today? Well, according to Romans 1, God made himself known to all humankind. He revealed his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, to all humankind, through his created works. So, all humans are without excuse if they reject God/Jesus Christ, and if they suppress the truth which has been revealed to them.
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Rom 1:21-25 ESV).
For, Jesus Christ, in his death on that cross, died for the sins of the whole world, not just for a select group of people, that whoever would be believing in him might not perish but have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But he didn’t die just so we would be forgiven our sins and just so we could go to heaven when we die. So, it is critical here that we understand what the invitation here is to, and how we are to come to the wedding feast. And Romans 1 gives us a really big hint on that, too. It is not an invitation to continue living in sin guilt free.
“For, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Rom 1:18 ESV
Matthew 22:8-10 ESV
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
Many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ and who regularly attend gatherings of what is called “church,” have not, in truth, come to the wedding feast. Many have refused to come, in actuality. And many of them have closed their ears to the invitation and have refused to hear it.
They have not only rejected the invitation to the wedding feast, but they have rejected, hated, slandered, and pushed away those who are giving out the invitations. And they have sent some of them away, telling them that they should go someplace else where they will be a “better fit.”
For, what is the invitation to the wedding feast? It is, by faith in Jesus, to be crucified with Christ in death to sin, to be raised with Christ to newness of life in him, and it is, by God’s Spirit, to now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
For, if we walk according to the flesh, and if we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
From my own personal experience, I can share with you that, because the church (the majority) rejected me and the truth of the gospel I was sharing, and they pushed me away, the Lord then sent me to the internet to share the gospel, and many people there are receiving it with open arms.
Perhaps some of you reading this can identify, for you have also been rejected by “the church” for holding to the truths of the gospel.
Matthew 22:11-14 ESV
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
We are either clothed in garments of righteousness or we are clothed in filthy garments of our sins and wickedness. But this is not just a status we wear because of “belief” in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are clear on this subject. It is those who practice righteousness who are righteous. And those who make a practice of sin are still dead in their sins and will die, not live.
So, salvation from sin and eternal life with Christ are not guaranteed us on a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but on a walk of faith in Christ. It is what the Scriptures teach. These are not my words (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
First, by faith, we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin, then be raised with Christ to new lives in him, and then we must walk (in lifestyle) no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, if we walk (in practice) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Rom 8:1-17).
All of us are going to be judged by our deeds/works. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin without guilt. Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to deliver us out of our bondage to sin, not to put a Band-Aid over our serious sin wound (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24).
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.