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.
In this parable, the King is God the Father and his Son is Jesus Christ. And the servants are those who give out his messages and who do what he says to do. The wedding is the wedding of the bride of Christ – those following Jesus with their lives – to their husband, Jesus Christ. Yet it is a wedding which won’t take place until Jesus returns and he takes us to be with him forever. For that is when our salvation will be complete and our marriage to Christ consummated.
Today, we who profess faith in Jesus Christ would be considered the invited, but many who profess faith in Jesus Christ are refusing to come. They are not paying attention to the Lord nor to his messengers nor to his messages. But they are still living their lives the way that they want, doing what they want to do, many still living in slavery to sin, stubbornly refusing to bow to Jesus as Lord, to forsake their sins, and to follow Jesus in obedience.
For, an invite to the wedding feast is not something to be taken lightly. It is an invitation to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that is to be taken seriously. For what did Jesus say? He said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). So this is an invitation to obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ and not to lip service.
The interesting thing about this, which is very sad, is that the Lord did not call them just once. He did not stop calling at the first refusal, which he could have. Again he called them, but they paid no attention to him and they went off to keep doing what they had been doing, which was not the will of God, for they were refusing to listen to God. And some of them even put the Lord’s servants to death, and/or they treated them shamefully.
And do you realize that the same kinds of things are happening today? Many people in America profess to be Christians, to be God’s people, to be children of God and believers in Jesus Christ. But not many are following the Lord in obedience to his ways. Not many are honoring Christ as Lord. Not many are walking in the fear of the Lord. Many of them dishonor God and they mock him by how they continue living in their sins right in his face.
And even though God has sent his servants and messengers of the gospel to speak truth to them and to call them to repentance and to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, still they refuse, and they malign the Lord’s witnesses, and they mock them, and they accuse them falsely of being legalistic or of teaching “works-based salvation.” And by their words and by their attitudes they basically spit on them and they treat them shamefully.
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.”
Do you know that this parallels over to the institutional church of today here in America? And perhaps in other nations, too? Most people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are part of these institutional churches are also ignoring the invitation to the wedding feast because they think it already happened. You know what I mean? They believe they prayed the prayer and now they are good to go to heaven, even if they are continuing in deliberate sin.
But what they are ignoring is what the Scriptures teach on salvation and eternal life. They teach we must walk (in conduct, in practice) in obedience to our Lord and in the putting of sin to death in our lives if we are to have eternal life with God and salvation from sin. And they teach that if we do not walk in obedience to the Lord, and if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin that we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
In other words, the Scriptures do not teach our salvation as a one-time experience, done deal, and now we are on our way to heaven regardless of how we live our lives. The Scriptures teach salvation as something that is ongoing in our lives – we are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for us his bride, provided that we continue in that faith until the very end.
And what does that faith look like? It is walks of obedience to our Lord, and it is dying with Christ to sin and to self daily, and it is holy and righteous and godly living, which is pleasing to God. But you know what? Most people in America professing faith in Jesus Christ do not want to hear it, so they stop up their ears and they ignore the Scriptures and they hold on to that “salvation message” they were taught, regardless of what God says.
So they are not worthy because they refuse to hear God’s voice. And so the Lord has led some of us of his servants out of the institutional church onto the internet to share his gospel message there, and there are people who are hearing it, some of them for the first time, and they are responding to the call of God. Now I do not have direct knowledge that all of this is happening, but from the numbers of readers, I would say that there are many people out there who are hungry for the truth and they are listening.
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.”
Now there are many people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are assuming that heaven is their eternal destiny and that they are going to spend eternity with the Lord even though they ignore him and they refuse to honor him as Lord, and even though they refuse his gospel and they make up their own and they keep on in their deliberate and habitual sin without conscience or remorse. So they are in for a big surprise but not a good one.
For they are not clothed in righteousness. They have not put on Christ and his righteousness, for they still have not put off their sinful practices and their stubborn and hardened hearts which refuse to obey the Lord Jesus. And so, even though they will claim that they did so many things in the name of Jesus, Jesus is going to say to them, “I never knew you! Depart from me you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).
But to the many who are the faithful to the Lord Jesus, who are his servants and messengers, and who are doing his will, and who are sharing the truth of the gospel, and who are calling people to repentance and to walks of obedience to the Lord, but who are being maligned and mocked and mistreated by those who refuse to listen to the Lord, let this song which follows here be an encouragement to you. And I send my love to you!
Under His Wings
By William Orcutt Cushing and Ira David Sankey, 1896
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
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