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COMPELLED TO COME;
COMMANDED TO GO
Intro: This is a chapter about hypocrisy. It opens with Jesus being invited to the home of one of the chief Pharisees, v. 1. It was common for teachers to be invited home for a meal after services at the synagogue, much like people in our area used to have the preacher home for Sunday lunch.
This was a not a time for hospitality; it was a time for hypocrisy. The Pharisee had also invited a man with ďdropsyĒ, v. 2. The ghost made sure that this man was placed where Jesus could not miss him. ďDropsyĒ is a condition in which the tissues of the body retain water. It was caused by problems with the heart, the kidneys, or the liver. In that day, it was an untreatable, incurable condition.
The Pharisees brought the man there that day to catch Jesus in a trap. If He merely ignored the sick man, they could claim that He lacked compassion. If Jesus healed the sick man, they would accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus, knowing what was in their hearts, turned the tables on them, v. 3. He asked them if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, then Jesus healed the sick man and sent him away for the manís safety. The Pharisees refused to answer, v. 4.
In v. 5 Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of their hearts. He reminded them that they would go out of their way on the Sabbath to save a valued animal, but they lacked the decency to help a fellow human who was created in the very image of God. They were left speechless, v. 6.
So, Jesus told shared a couple of parables with His hosts in verses 7-14. These parables were designed to teach these hard-hearted men the value of true humility. Instead of trying to promote self by seeking the seats of honor in a feast, they were to just take a seat and leave their advancement to the host of the feast, vv. 7-11. Then, He challenged them to reach out to people who could not return the favor, instead of only reaching out to those who could benefit them, vv. 12-14.
This brings us to our text. One of the guests hears all this talk about breaking bread and he tried to be super-spiritual. People do that all the time! They try to act spiritual, but all they do is reveal how unspiritual they truly are. This man basically says, ďPraise God, we are going to a real feast some day!Ē The Jews believed that the Kingdom of God was like a feast. They believed they would sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and break bread. This fellow talked like he believed that he would be there.
Jesus used this opportunity to confront the hypocrisy of the Jews; to challenge the false confidence of those who believed they were right with God; and to teach them how the invitation to Godís feast really worked. I want to take a look at these verses today because they confront us ass well. They remind us that God is on a mission. He is on a mission to save the souls of lost men and women and He has commanded us to join Him in this mission.
I want to talk to you about Godís desire to save the lost and about our role in His plan. This passage is about Godís invitation to salvation. I want you to see a few aspects of this invitation. Notice The Invitation Extended, The Invitation Extinguished, and The Invitation Expanded. Letís consider these aspects of Godís invitation as I try to preach on the thought Compelled To Come; Commanded To Go.
I. v. 16-17 THE INVITATION
A. The Splendor Of This Event – We are told that this would be a ďgreat supperĒ. This indicates that it would be an opulent, grand event. It would be a time of lavish entertainment for those attending.
B. The Scope Of This Event – Surely the people who were invited to this feast were the cream of the crop. They were the rich and the influential. They were the movers and the shakers. They were the whoís who of the whoís who. Everyone that was anyone would have been invited to come.
(Ill. Jesus is using this feast to illustrate the glory of Godís kingdom. For those who will attend the Lordís feat in Heaven, it will be an event so grand and so glorious that we cannot even begin to comprehend it.
Look at the grandeur of this world, and remember that this world is tainted and spoiled by sin. Then, imagine if you will a world that is perfect. A world that is free from sin, free from the influence of the devil, free from pain, suffering, sorrow and tears, Rev. 21:4. Imagine a world that is lit by the very glory of God. Imagine a world that is filled with holiness and righteousness. Imagine a feast attended by the great saints of the ages. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be there. David and Solomon will be in attendance. Ruth, Rahab and Bathsheba will be at the table. The Apostles and all the saints of the ages will take their seats at this feast.
If you can imagine a scene like that, then you have a small idea of where we are headed and of what we will see and experience when we arrive there. It will be the social event of eternity, and you do not want to miss it for the world! The only was to get on the guest list is to be invited by the host and have a personal relationship with His Son! I havenít attended many fancy dinners down here, but I am going to a feat hosted by God the Father one day!)
I. The Invitation Extended
II. v. 18-20 THE INVITATION
(Ill. When a feast of this magnitude was planned in the ancient world, it was not a spur of the moment event. All of those invited would have been informed of the date of the event well in advance. Each one of them would have already promised that they would attend the event. The host would need to know how much food to prepare. So he would need an accurate account of who was coming.
When the date for the feast arrived, the host would send out his servants to call those who had been invited to come to the feast. They knew the date and they were to be prepared and ready.
As we will see in these verses that is not exactly what happened. When the servant came to those invited, they began to make excuses as to why they could not attend the feast. Billy Sunday once described an excuse as ďthe skin of a reason stuffed with a lieĒ. As we examine the excuses offered by these people, we can see how true that characterization really is.
The primary context of these verses points to Israel and their call to come into the Kingdom. Just like the people in the parable, they had been notified of the upcoming event beforehand. Yet, when the time came to go to Messiah, they refused and would not come, Luke 19:14; John 1:11-12. When this happened, God turned to others to fill up His household – Rom. 11:11; Rom. 1:16. Their response to the call to come did not catch God off guard.
There is an application in these verses to this present age of grace. God the Father has prepared a means of salvation for all who will come. He did so by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross. Now, He has sent His Holy Spirit into the world and it is He who invites sinners to come to Jesus. Yet, like Israel of old, men turn a deaf ear to the pleading of the Spirit of God. Most men do not realize, however, that without His call and His wooing, man cannot be saved – John 6:44; John 6:65.
Letís examine the excuses offered by those who were invited, but who refused to come. These are just a few excuses, but they represent the areas of life people use as reasons why they cannot come to God.)
A. The Excuse Of Material Possessions – This man had purchased a piece of property, without seeing it first. Who does that? Then, who goes to look at this mystery property in the evening?
This man and his excuse picture the sinner who is so materially minded that he refuses the call of the Gospel so that he can continue to live for this world and all that it gives.
God has a Word for this type of individual – Mark 8:36-37. Ill. He will say the same thing to them that He said to another foolish man one night – Luke 12:16-21. The most important thing in life is not, ďHow much am I worth?ĒIt is, ďAm I saved?Ē How do you answer that question today?)
B. The Excuse Of Professional Advancement – This man had bought 10 oxen, without trying them out, and he canít come to the party because he has to go and plow a field. He is trying to get ahead in the world. Of course, his excuse is a lame one at best. Who buys oxen without trying them out? Who buys oxen and then tries them out at night?
Many are just like this fellow. They allow their occupations; their businesses and the pursuit of material gain keep them from coming to God. There is nothing wrong with working and with making money, but when these things come ahead of God, they are sinful! God doesnít give people jobs that move them away from Him. There are many who placed a career ahead of God and as a result will die and go to Hell.
C. The Excuse Of Personal Relationships – This man was a newlywed. We can understand that he wanted to spend time with his new bride. Still, weddings in the Middle East are extravagant events planned months in advance. He knew about the wedding when he accepted the invitation to the feast. This man placed his personal relationships ahead of everything else in life.
Many are in this same shape today. They wonít come to Christ because they are afraid of what their families or friends will think of them. Some are too absorbed in their own little world to give their lives to Christ.
People made their excuses in Christís day, Luke 9:57-62. By the way, this is a picture of the nation of Israel. They knew about the coming Kingdom of God. They knew that God was throwing a feast and that they were to be the honored guests. They had been told through the words and writings of their prophets when that feast would be. When God sent His Son Jesus to call them to the feast, they turned a deaf ear to His call and made excuses as to why they could not come.
People still make their excuses in our day. The excuses mean as much now as they did then. Not a single person who rejected this invitation had a valid reason for doing so, and not a single person who rejects Jesus Christ has a valid reason for turning a deaf ear to the invitation of the Gospel.
I. The Invitation Extended
II. The Invitation Extinguished
III. v. 21-24 THE INVITATION
(Ill. When the servant returns with the responses of those who invited, he becomes angry. He had invited these people because He wanted them at His feast; they all promised to come when He called; but now that the time has come, they reject His invitation. Their rejection angers Him.
This is a picture of God. As children in Sunday School we are all taught that God is a God of love, and He is. We were taught that God wants to bless us, and He does. We were taught that God desires only the best for us, and He does. What they didnít tell us in Sunday School is that God is also a God of wrath and judgment. Those who come to Him at His invitation experience His love and His grace. Those who spurn His call will experience His wrath.
In this parable, the man who is having the feast sends his servant out to invite anyone he can find to come to the feast. The servant goes out and he invites many and the feast is filled with people.
God did not have a plan B. He knew when He sent Jesus into the world that His offer of salvation would be rejected by the nation of Israel. He knew that the poor, the diseased, the outcast and the downtrodden would come to Jesus. He also knew that the rich, the powerful and the religious would not. God invited His people to come, just as He told them He would. When they refused, He expanded His invitation to include ďwhosoever will.Ē
Letís take a few minutes to examine this expansion of Godís invitation. What these verses have to say speak to us about the plan of God to save the lost and of our part in His plan.)
A. v. 21 The Expansion Is Critical – The master of the feast sends his servant out and tells him to ďquicklyĒ find enough people to fill the feast. There is a sense of urgency and haste in his command. It is urgent that a multitude be found because the feast is ready and the food will spoil in a short time. The master of the feast knows the time is short.
The Lord knows the time is short for the lost as well. People all around us live like they are going to live forever. That is just not the case. Our lives are short, regardless of how long they last, James 4:14. After this life, there is a long eternity that will either be spent in Heaven with the Lord or in Hell with the rest of the lost.
The only way to avoid Hell and enter Heaven is through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the dividing line between Heaven and Hell, Acts 4:12; John 14:6. That is why we must be in the business of telling others about the feast. One person said that the saints of God are just ďbeggars telling other beggars where to find bread.Ē The fact is, we have been commanded to share the Gospel with the lost, Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8. This command is urgent, because time is running out for men to repent of their sins and call on the Lord. I pray that God will impress upon our hearts the lateness of the hour. Men are perishing and we are doing little reach them!
B. v. 21-23 The Expansion Is Comprehensive – When this wealthy man sends his servant out to call people to the feast, he does not send him to his rich, powerful friends. He sends him out to call all those that polite society would have had no fellowship with. Consider who this man calls, then stop and think about the kind of people God reaches out to with the Gospel
1. The Poor – He called those who could never pay him back. (Ill. What a portrait of Godís grace. He reaches down to men who will never be able to repay Him for His salvation. Yet, God asks for no repayment, He just asks men to come to Himself – Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17.)
2. The Maim – This refers to people who have deformed, twisted, and broken bodies. These are the kind of people society feels uncomfortable being around. These are the people who are considered to be the defects and the rejects of society. Yet, this gracious man reached out to them.
God loves the spiritually maimed. Every person in this world possesses a twisted nature. There is a bent in all of us toward sin. The Bible calls this bent toward sin ďiniquity.Ē Society and the church often draw back from these people, but Jesus loves them and died to save their souls. He calls the most twisted to come to Him. In fact, there is no sin so vile that will ever cause God to stop loving the sinner – Jer. 31:3. Jesus is clear when He says, ďWhosoever will let him comeÖĒ
3. The Halt – These are the crippled the people who are unable to get around on their own. In fact, to come to the supper, these would have had to have help.
Again, this is a picture of the person outside Jesus. Crippled by sin and unable to get to God, Isa. 59:2, sinners need help coming to Jesus. (Ill. The crippled man in Mark 2. His friends preached a sermon that has reverberated through the ages. This is the very reason that Jesus seeks the sinner – Luke 19:10. He knows that in themselves, lost people cannot get to God. They need help. Jesus is that help!
It doesnít matter what degree of ďcrippledĒ a people may be, they cannot get to Christ on their own. Lost sinners are dead, Eph. 2:1. They need someone to come to them. The Lord comes to them through His people, as we carry the Gospel to those perishing in their sins. That is our mission and they are our mission field.
4. The Blind – These are the people who are trapped in their own little world of darkness. They do not possess the resources to get to the Lord by themselves. They need a guide. They need someone to show them the light.
There are millions who are wandering around in spiritual darkness and headed to Hell – 2 Cor. 4:4. These people need someone to show them the light.
That is what the Holy Spirit does! He comes in and He illuminates the darkness. He makes it possible for the blind sinner to see his need of Jesus. Quiet often, He uses those who have already been delivered from blindness to hold the light for those who still cannot see. We must take the light to the lost!
5. Highway and Hedge Dwellers – After the servant had found all the wrecks of humanity he could find and had brought them in, the masterís house still had room. Now he sends the servant into the streets and the hedgerows. Here he would the worst of the worst; those whom no one else wanted anything to do with. These people were the off scouring of all humanity. Mixed among these assorted homeless and wanderers would be found those who were journeying or out on business. In other words, the servant would meet anyone and everyone in the streets and hedges.
This should speak to our hearts today. It reminds us that everyone everywhere needs to hear about Jesus Christ and the way to God.
C. v. 21-23 The Expansion Is Challenging – In these verses, the master of the feast uses his servant to carry his invitation. He sends the servant to tell everyone he meets that there is a feast and that they are invited to attend. I am sure it was welcome news to some, while others probably turned a deaf ear to the invitation. The feast was prepared and it was ready to be consumed, the servant was given the challenge of inviting men to that feast.
God has a plan to save the lost, and we are part of that plan. We are to take the Gospel to the world and tell them about a loving, saving Lord. Salvation comes to those who hear the Gospel, 1 Cor. 1:21. For them to hear, someone must take the message to them, Rom. 10:13-17. We are those someoneís! The Spirit of God works through us to enable us to carry the message of life to the lost. It is a challenging mission, but it is a mission that should be carried out with a sense of urgency. The time to tell is now; the one we should tell is everyone we meet. That is our mission; that is our mandate. May God help us to fulfill it for His glory!
(Ill. For this servant to carry out his masterís command would require him to reach out to people that he was not used to interacting with. He was used to being around people of a certain social standing. To fulfill this command, he would have to move out of his comfort zone.
When we talk about witnessing, we usually mean that we witness to friends, family and others that we feel comfortable being around. To fulfill Godís command means that we are going to have to reach out to people that we would normally ignore. We are going to have to witness to people who are wicked; to people who are different; to people we would normally avoid. It may mean that we have to humble ourselves and invite people to the feast that we normally would not speak to.)
Conc: For the most part, this year is over. Looking back over the past 12 months, can you honestly say that you have invited anyone to the feast? If not, why? If not, when will you begin? If not, who can you tell today?
If you are like me and you know that you are not as vocal a witness as you ought to be, I invite you to come to the Lord today and ask Him help you become the Gospel witness He saved you to be.
The majority of the world around us is lost. They have been invited to the feast. Some have turned down the invitation, but others have yet to hear about it. Letís go tell them that they are invited to come to the Lord for salvation.
Letís remember that the lost are Compelled To Come and the saints are Commanded To Go.