The Streets of our Chocolate Cities and Vanilla Suburbs have become the Field of Battle and the Stage of Protest. Recently hundreds of thousands of people Have Taken to the Streets for various reasons or causes.
On Sunday April 25, 1993 hundreds of thousands of the Gay Community took to the Streets of Washington D.C. to call for this nation to acknowledge and recognize legally their rights as American citizens. The Gays and Lesbians took the issue of Civil Rights to the Streets. The Streets of our Chocolate Cities and Vanilla Suburbs have become the Field of Battle and the Stage of Protest!
On Sunday April 16, 1993 I was privileged to be in the City of Los Angeles to witness first hand the results of the split decision the jury issued on the Four Police Officers who beat Rodney King. Immediately, the LAPD Took the Maintenance of Law and Order to the Chocolate Streets of South Central, Watts and Compton. You would always see them riding in a caravan of six patrol cars with four cops in each car. You would see them escorting every fire truck and emergency vehicle. The Law Enforcement Agencies along with the National Guard Took the Maintenance of Law and Order to the Streets of Los Angeles.
On the other hand, during this same time the Bloods and Crypts, Church and Temple members, religious and community leaders, the Mayor and congressional leaders, the NAACP in the person of its then president Benjamin Chavis and the Rainbow Coalition in the person of Jesse Jackson also Took It To the Streets! While police were patrolling and news cameras were recording, the Black Community Took It to the Streets to Celebrate the Vindication of Justice Deferred. All over Los Angeles there was heard a great sigh of relief and there was a sensed a renewed hope for the future. In the worship service Sunday morning all over Los Angeles, there was praise and thanks offered to the God of Justice for intervening in the matter. The Black Community Took the Celebration of Justice to the Streets of Los Angeles.
And for the past several weeks, in Cities all over the world, citizens have been Taking It to the Streets. In protest of an approaching war between Iraq and the United States, Great Britain and a Coalition of the Willing millions of concerned citizens have Taken It to the Streets. Which again proves that THE STREETS OF OUR CHOCOLATE CITIES AND VANILLA SUBURBS HAVE BECOME THE FIELD OF BATTLE AND THE STAGE OF PROTEST!
In this Lecture or Message, I want to deal with THE INVITATION. In Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 14 and Verse 17, you will find recorded these Invitational Words:
“Come; for all things are now ready.”
Now these words were uttered by the Master of the House to His Servant. The word translated “servant” here is really the word “Slave or Bondman - Doulos.” A Slave is the Lowest person on the scale of servitude. Lower than a House Servant, a Maid, an Attendant and a Hired Servant is a Slave.
A Slave is one who is Chained to his Master; he is in bondage; he has been bought with a price; he is bound to his Master by virtue of redemption. A Slave is one who has given himself up to the will of another other than himself.
So right away we learn that in order To Extend The Invitation, One Must Be A Slave Of the Lord Jesus. Verse 17 says that He sent His Servant at Supper Time to say: “Come; for all things are now ready.” Now bear in mind that he is a Slave and not a House Servant, not a Steward, and not even a Hired Servant. ALL HE IS, IS A SLAVE!
Thus, one does not have to be an Officer or Chairperson of the Church TO EXTEND THE INVITATION! All you need be is A Slave Redeemed by the Blood pf the Master. All you need be is Under the Yoke and Lordship of the Master. This man was not a Steward, or a Hired Servant nor a House Servant. HE WAS ONLY A SLAVE!
Now most of us are enthralled over the idea of being A HOUSE SLAVE: we covet the comfort of the House! All we want to do is work in the house. For we recognize the blessings and benefits associated with House-Work; such as shade from the heat, protection from the stormy blast, easy eye recognition by the master, and the work is not that hard! We don’t mind serving as long as it is in the House. Or, we don’t mind working as long as it is around the house doing YARD WORK!
But oh, how we dread even hate the thought of being sent to the Field - WE WANT THE HOUSE! in fact, we have opted for Jacob’s mentality rather than the Mindset of Esau. Jacob was a House Boy, a Home Boy; whereas Esau was a Field man, one of the BOYS IN THE HOOD.
But Taking It To The Streets Means that the House Slave Must Exit and become a WORKER IN THE FIELD. Listen to the directive of the Master to His Slave in verse 21. He says to him: “Go out quickly into the Streets and Lanes of the city.” In other words, “Exit. Get Out of Here! Get Out of the Church House and Into The Streets! Git!”
Now very briefly, I want to call your attention to THREE VITAL MATTERS CONCERNING THE INVITATION. I want to deal with THE PARAMETERS, PROBLEM AND PURPOSE OF THIS PLEA.
I. FIRST, THE PARAMETERS OF THE PLEA.
1. Now Verse 21 states One of the Areas to which you are to Carry the Invitation. The Master of the House is recorded saying: “Go out quickly into the Streets and Lanes of the City.” The Urban Area signified here by the Streets and Lanes of the City is primarily THE INNER CITY.
The Inner City is the Home of the H U D Section.
The Inner City is the citadel of the Low Income/High Crime Area.
The inner City is the home of the Welfare/Food Stamp/Medicare Area.
The inner City is the BRAOD WAY: WHERE THERE IS DETERIORATION, DESTRUCTION AND DISEASE.
In the H U D Section of the Inner City you’ll find the Lanes: the Narrow paths of poorly constructed streets and tight Alleys and even Dirt Roads. Yes, we are to Carry the Invitation to the H U D Section of Our Chocolate Community.
Now you need to understand that the Invitation is not on a who you know and like basis. It is not even a matter of whosoever will let him come basis either. The Invitation is to -
The Poor and Crippled who live in the H U D Section.
The Lame and Blind of the H U D Section.
For Everyone in the Inner City is not Hungry for the Living Bread.
Everyone in the inner City does not sense their Need of Deliverance.
You also need to understand that ITS EXPENSIVE TO MINISTER IN THE INNER CITY: IT WILL COST YOU TO SERVE IN THE H U D SECTION. YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY THE COST TO REACH THE DISENFRANCHISED IN THE INNER CITY! But your First Priority is to the INNER CITY.
2. Verse 23 states you are to Take It Second to the SUBURBAN AREA. The master of the house is recorded saying to his servant: “Go out quickly into the HIGHWAYS AND HEDGES.” The Suburban Parameter signified by the highways and hedges is primarily THE VANILLA SUBURBS AND INDUSTRIAL PARK.
The Suburbs is known for its Hedges in the form of the Fenced In Estates. You will encounter the Wired Farms and Ranches. You will encounter in the Suburbs the Walled Mansions. In the Vanilla Suburbs, you will encounter the Security-Protected Section.
So, the Plea is to be carried to THE INNER CITY and OUTER SUBURBS of the City. That is THE PARAMETR. But in carrying the Plea to the Parameters, you are going to run into A PROBLEM!
II. SO SECOND, LET’S PROBE THE PROBLEM.
Now one would think that the Inner City would pose a Problem with all of its decadence, disease, drugs, disorder and death. But Reaching the Inner City is not that difficult! For Jesus says in this parable that the Invited of the Inner City, the H U D Section, need only be “BROUGHT IN.” In Verse 21 he says, “bring in hither.”
Which means that the Poor will pose No problem, they just need a RIDE; so they will have to be BUSED-IN. The Maimed or Handicapped will pose No Problem, they just need a HAND; so they ill have to be WHEELED-IN. The Halt or Lame will pose no Problem, they just need a COT; so they will have to be CARRIED-IN. And the Blind will pose No Problem, for they just need a GUIDE; so they will have to be LED-IN.
The Inner City is the Most Fertile Field For Evangelism! They are just waiting for a slave to come to them with an Invitation and some Transportation. The Inner City Poses No Problem!
However, THE SUBURBS IS THE PROBLEM! It is those who reside Outside of the City Limits along the Highways and within the Hedges who pose The Problem! Whereas the invited of the Inner City only need be “brought in,” these dwellers behind hedges have to be COMPELLED TO COME IN!”
Which means their problem is not Physical, but Mental and Moral! They have to be shown the Necessity of Coming by means of the Force of Persuasive Arguments or Appeals. It is the Suburbs that offer the greatest resistance to the Gospel of Grace. Thus, to deal with the Suburbs, one has to be polished and skilled in the Logic of Love and the Power of Logic. Now the Word of God is Logical from a Spiritual Perspective if one can grasp it. So before you head to the suburbs, go to Paul and study how he reasoned logically with the Jews from the Scriptures.
The problem is in the Suburbs, I tell you! On my return trip from Los Angeles to Midland, I encountered a White Suburbanite on the plane. The plane was very crowded with the exception of only two seats vacant. I was already seated when he boarded the plane looking for a seat. He took one look at me and opted for the other empty seat near the back of the plane. But what he didn’t know was the other seat was occupied by another Black preacher. So instead of encountering me, he was forced to deal with another Black preacher with the same message. Before he deplaned, he still heard the message of redemption and grace thru Christ Jesus our Lord!
But don’t get discouraged by The Problem of the Parameter, just keep PURSUING THE PURPOSE!
III. SO THIRD AND LASTLY, LET’S PONDER THE PURPOSE OF THE PLEA.
You Must Take it To The Streets and Extend The invitation Because THE LORD WANTS HIS HOUSE FILLED!
In Verse 24, after the servant reported that “yet there was room,” he ordered him back out on the streets because HE WANTED HIS HOUSE FILLED!
God has a History of FILLING PEOPLE AND PLACES UP.
HE FILLED HIS HOUSE OF CREATION.
GOD FILLED HIS HOUSE OF REDEMPTION (PENTECOST)
HE WANTS HIS MEETING HOUSE FILLED!
GOD WANTS STANDING ROOM ONLY IN HIS HOUSE!