Sunday, August 11, 2019

"Come to the Wedding Banquet" [Matt's Messages]

“Come to the Wedding Banquet”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
August 11, 2019 :: Matthew 22:1-14

So we’ve reach Matthew 22, but nothing has changed since last week.

It’s still Tuesday of Jesus’ Crucial Week.

Jesus is still standing in the temple courts arguing with the chief priests and the elders of Israel.

In fact, He just finished giving them two parables, and now He’s about to give them a third with pretty much the same point.

If you remember on Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David."

And on Monday, He turned over the tables in the temple, mad about what they were doing with His Father’s house.

Then on Tuesday, this day, he pointed to a fig tree that had no figs. It was pretending to have figs, but it was all leaves and figs. And Jesus cursed it as illustration of both great faith and His rightful expectation of fruit from our lives.

The chief priests and elders asked Him by what authority He was doing these things, and Jesus asked them a question right back. Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men, and they didn’t like either of those options, so they said they didn’t know.

Which made it clear what the answer really was, so Jesus said He wasn’t going to answer their question and then told them to stories.

Both stories highlighting His own authority.

In the first story, there are two sons. And one says he’s not going to work but changes his mind and does. And the other looks good on paper saying that he is going to work but then doesn’t show up.

It’s not those who say they are righteous but those who are repentant and bear fruit in keeping with repentance that are righteous.

And then the second story was more involved. It was about a man who had vineyard and left some tenants in charge of farming it while he was away.

And he sent servants to collect the rent in expected fruit, but the tenants rejected the collectors.

And he patiently sent some more. And then he sent his son! And they killed his son.

And everybody knew that he was going to bring those wretches to a wretched end and give the vineyard to other tenants who will share their crop at harvest time.

And the chief priests and the Pharisees realized that these parables were about them and they looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowds.

It’s right after that that Matthew gives us a third parable from the lips of Jesus.

And it’s also about the authority of Jesus and the dignity of Jesus.

And, because this is the Gospel of Matthew (keep your eye on the ball!), it’s also about the identity of Jesus.

Because it’s always about the identity of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

“Who is this Jesus?”

And when you know the answer to that question, you are compelled to follow Him.

All we’re going to do today is look at this parable.

Just verses 1 through 14.

And I’m going to title the message from the command in verse 4, “Come to the Wedding Banquet.”

Because that’s the point of the story, “Come to the Wedding Banquet.”

Remember, parables are stories with a shove.

So if we read this parable, and we don’t feel at least a little bit shoved, we’re doing it wrong. Because Jesus certainly did it right. V.1

“Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”

Stop there for just a second.

There’s a lot there in that first sentence.

This is what the kingdom of heaven is like.

Remember, the kingdom is Jesus’ favorite things to teach about. The kingdom of God is His favorite subject.

And here we have an analogy to the kingdom of heaven.

It’s like a time when king prepared a wedding banquet for his son.

Now, I think that all three of those things in the story stand for something in reality.

The king is like God the Father.

And the son of the king is like God the Son.

Now, this Son we know is Jesus, but they haven’t put all of that together yet.

And the Son only gets mentioned in this verse (v.2), but He’s really important to the whole story.

The King is the main character. We get to see what He does.

But we know from verse 2 WHY He does it. It’s “for his son.”

And the wedding banquet. What is that?

I think it’s clearly a picture of the messianic banquet promised in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

It’s heaven!

It’s the enjoyment of the new heavens and the new earth.

It’s the kingdom!

The kingdom of God is a party.

It’s joy-filled jubilant flourishing enjoyment of the Messiah.

Who is the son of King.

Now, if that is all I we knew about this story, how do you think it will end?

It sounds like a good story, doesn’t it?

This king is putting on a lavish joyful sumptuous wedding banquet for his son.

Who wants to go to that? That sounds great!

And verse 2 will tell us that he’s sent out “Save the Date” invitations. There are people who have been told that this event was going to happen.

And now they are going to be told that all the preparations are finished, and it’s time to party. V.3

“He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.”

You never know what’s going to happen in one of Jesus’ stories!

These people say that they don’t want to come to the king’s party.

There is a word for that: treason.

Assuming that they are subjects of this king, why would they not want to come?

I don’t know.

It’s stupid.
It’s rebellion.
It’s dangerous.

We are not told here why they refused to come.

Perhaps they had thought the king was getting weak.

Perhaps he has a political rival, a neighboring kingdom that they were hoping would soon take over.

We are not told. But we can see from here that it’s a bad idea to refuse. V.4

“‘Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'”

It’s amazing how patient the king is. Isn’t it?

A lot like the last story, right? When the king kept sending those servants to collect the fruit.

Those servants were the prophets, and I think these servant are, as well.

Maybe these servants are the apostles. John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples.

Because everything is ready. The kingdom of heaven is near.

“Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.'”

Who’s banquet is it?

It’s the banquet of the son.

Here’s application point #1. It’s very obvious.

#1. COME TO JESUS.

He is the whole point of the banquet.

He is the whole point of the kingdom.

He is the whole point of everything!

Come to Jesus.

Put your faith in Him.
Put your trust in Him.
Put your hope in Him.

And begin to follow Him with your life.

He is where the life is.

I love the image of the big barbeque here. Oxen, fattened cattle.

Everything has been basted and marinated and is hot on the grill.

It’s summertime, grill time. That’s what it means to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior now and forever.

It’s to enjoy Him forever.

That’s what the kingdom. The kingdom is a party.

Have you come to Jesus?

Because, sadly, many people simply refuse to do so. V.5

“But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.”

You never know what’s going to happen in one of Jesus stories!

It’s strange that these people are so apathetic. So indifferent to the kingdom.

They heard the servants say, “Come to the wedding banquet,” and they paid no attention and wandered off, one to his field, another to his business.

In a similar story that Jesus told in the Gospel of Luke, they make lame excuses as to why they are skipping the party.

Catch this: Every lame excuse is an affront to the dignity of the son of the king.

These folks just can’t be bothered to come to the wedding banquet of the son of the king!

That’s crazy!

You know sin is irrational.

It doesn’t make sense when you look at it under the microscope.

Why would anyone reject Jesus?

Why would anyone not come to Jesus?

But what kind of apathy do we see out there all over the place today?

Have you come to Jesus? Or are you making excuses?

These folks that Jesus was talking to were in the process of rejecting Him, most of them.

They should have been gladly running to Him and bowing the knee before their Messiah and King.

But they were turning up their noses, and worse. V.6

“The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.”

“Come to the wedding banquet.”

“No way. You’re dead!”

They are trying to overthrow the king.

That is shocking behavior.

But it’s what Israel had been doing for so long. V.7

“The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.”

Now, that’s a least a picture of judgment and Hell.

That is what is in store for all who reject Jesus.

But it’s probably also predicting the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.

We’ll think some more about all of that when we get to chapter 24.

Because Israel was rejecting their Messiah, they were going to face rejection themselves.

Come to Jesus before it’s too late.

Do you think that the king was over-reacting?

Obviously, they had mistreated and murdered some of his servants, so a judicial response was required.

But there is something greater than the servants that was being mistreated, wasn’t there?

The son!

They were rejecting his son. And what is the proper response to that?

Come to Jesus. Don’t reject the Son.

I was just reading Psalm 2 this week.

It warns the kings of the earth. It says, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

If you don’t receive the Son, there will be Hell to pay.

But there is blessing for those who take refuge in Him.

Come to Jesus.

But there is still a barbeque on.

The city is burning, but there is still a party waiting to happen at the king’s palace. V.8

“‘Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”

#2. INVITE OTHERS TO JESUS.

He’s too good to keep Him to ourselves.

The King says, “Go out an invite others to the banquet.”

Who does he want to come?  “Anyone you find!”

Hit the streets!
Beat the bushes!
All around town and out in the country.

What is this?

This is the Great Commission.

This is the Good News Cruise.

This is our calling to invite people to come to Jesus.

Any one we can find.

Are we supposed to look for people who are like us?

Sure. But not just them.

Are we supposed to look for people in the same social and economic level as us?

Sure. But not just them.

Are we supposed to invite people from other countries?

Yes! And from around here.

This is a general call to tell everybody about the wedding banquet.

So that the wedding hall gets filled with guests.

Whom have you invited to come to Jesus?

Whom have you told about the kingdom of heaven?

What are we doing to populate the wedding hall with the guests of the son of the king?

Yesterday at the Men’s Breakfast, one of the men told his story of coming to faith in Christ.

He came from a Christian family and looked on the outside like a believer.

I thought he was. I didn’t know he wasn’t.

But he was resistant.

And the Lord was calling him to Himself.

And Blair saw through his mask and went after him and invited him to come to Jesus.

And it didn’t happen right away. Ask him about how it happened.

But then the dam broke, and he came in to faith in Christ.

I think it’s interesting that Jesus say in verse 10 that the “good and bad” both came in.

I think that means that there is hope even for the religious if they will repent. Guys like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.

But Jesus is looking for the bad, too.

I love it that that this church is not afraid to go after the last, the least, and the lost.

And the hardened and even the scary.

That the Wild Game Dinner has some scary looking hombres.

And the Sons of God reach out to the harder MC’s.

And who knows who might drive up this coming Saturday or come to look at all of the beautiful cars?

We need to invite them to come to Jesus.

To not chicken out. The king is sending us!

He has room at the banquet, and we’re His servants running with the wedding invitation.

Who are you inviting to the Good New Cruise?

Who are you telling about Jesus?

Who are you telling about the kingdom of heaven?

So that the wedding hall is full to overflowing.

You never know what is going to happen in one of Jesus stories!

You might think that this story is over and it’s a happily-ever-after story.

And it is for those who came the right way to the wedding banquet.

But not everybody did. V.11

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. ‘Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' ‘For many are invited, but few are chosen.’”

You never know what is going to happen in one of Jesus’ stories!

This guy is at the banquet.

He didn’t refuse to come.

But he’s not wearing wedding clothes.

That might mean that he didn’t wash before coming. He’s dirty as all get out.

Or the king might have provided clothing for the wedding. Not just food but clothes.

That’s possible.

Either way, this guy has refused to come presentably to the wedding.

Do you know what he’s doing?

He’s insulting the king and His son.

He’s showing contempt for the king and His son.

When they confront him, he has no excuse. He is speechless.

Not because the king is being unreasonable, but because he has no good reason for being at this wedding in such an unpresentable way.

He was happy to eat the food, but he wasn’t about to change.

Here’s application point #3.

#3. CHANGE FOR JESUS.

This guy was not willing to change.

I’m not exactly sure what the wedding clothes represent in this parable.

They might be salvation.
They might be faith.
They might be Jesus’ imputed righteousness placed on our account.

Those are all good possibilities with biblical precedent.

I tend to think they stand for repentance.

Like John the Baptist was preaching.

This guy thought he could get in without repenting.

He thought he could get all of the benefits of the kingdom without actually entering the kingdom.

He thought He could thumb his nose at the son of the king and still be okay.

But now he stands exposed and condemned with no excuse.

Are you willing to change for Jesus?

Whatever He wants, that’s what He should get.

What do you need to change for Jesus?

An attitude?
A habit?
A relationship?
A priority?

Let me ask you a question. Do you think the king was over-reacting here?

I mean, the guy actually came to the wedding!

Why is he being tossed out into what amounts to Hell?  Handcuffed and thrown outside into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Keep your eye on the ball.

It’s because of the insult it was to the Son, isn’t it?

It’s like he was wearing a t-shirt with an ugly word on it and a picture of the bridegroom.

That’s what it’s like when we claim to love Jesus but refuse to allow Him to change us.

Remember, Jesus is expecting fruit.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

V.14. “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Many hear the outward call but not all of them respond in faith.

Many, in fact, are apathetic.
Many, in fact, are hostile.

And some play act like they are “in,” but you can tell by looking at them that they most certainly are not.

How do you know if you are chosen?

You repent and you come to Jesus and you allow Him to change you.

And you honor the Son.

You kiss the Son.

You bow before the Son.

You exalt the Son.

And you enjoy the Son forever.

Because you come to the wedding banquet.

***

Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David

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