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Summary: The Parable of the Great Banquet

The Great Banquet – A “Compelling” Message

April 24, 2005

Center Point Baptist Church

Introduction

Present the following joke about dining:

A man went into a restaurant and sat down. The waiter came up to him. The man said, “I’d like a cup of coffee with no milk.” “A cup of coffee with no milk, coming right up, sir,” the waiter answered. Ten minutes went by, then 20. After a half hour, the waiter finally came running up to the table. “I’m really sorry, sir – we don’t have any milk. Would you take your coffee without cream instead?”

*Some people just don’t know how to act properly while dining – there are rules to be observed for proper military dining etiquette:

1. Rules about Selection of Silverware

2. Rules about how to use the Knife.

3. Use of the Fork.

4. Use of the Spoon.

5. Napkins.

6. How to Eat Chicken and Other Fowl.

7. How to eat Salad.

*Military “officers-to-be” actually have to be trained in these matters so they won’t be an embarrassment to the service when out in society. The training is known as “knife and fork” school. (No such training required for enlisted - they expected us to be an embarrasment.)

• Graduates are “prepared” to dine out amongst the upper crust at banquet without embarrassing themselves.

Our Passage: a great banquet given, invitations sent.

*There is a great banquet that awaits us – are we prepared?

Read Luke 14:15-23.

Present this parable from different points of view:

1. the established – those who made excuses

2. the guests – those needy who would accept an invitation

3. the servants – those who were to go out

1.) The Established

Who were these invited “guests,” anyway?

(well established, religious, proper people, fit for society)

*When the time came, they were too cowardly to give a rejection, but instead offered flimsy excuses.

• These were intended guests – the man’s friends; those he was close to.

Ridiculous Excuses: Statistics show that most flat tires occur Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, statistics show. But are they real flat tires or unverified reports of flat tires? All I know is Monday morning is when we don’t want to go into work, and Friday afternoon is when we don’t want to go back.

*People offer ridiculous excuses all the time – I’m sure the master of the house would have rather heard the truth!

• excuses for lateness

• excuses for not listening to the gospel message – or any other biblical message, for that matter

• excuses for non-attendance at church

• excuses for non-participation

 When the truth is, if it matters to us, we make it a priority (we vote with our feet)!

*These that made excuses represent religious folks – like you and me – who, rather than seeing the Messiah for who He is, prefer to go on about their temporal concerns, deceiving ourselves into believing our excuses.

2.) Those Who Accepted

*The command was given to reach out to the poor, crippled, blind, and lame –

• those that had been put aside by the society

• those that were in terrible need

• those who would appreciate an offer like this

*These commoners jumped at the opportunity to experience something as wonderful as this!

• They were given an invitation – and had accepted it!

 It was a free gift offered by the Master.

 All they had to do was say yes – and show up!

 There was nothing they could do to merit this fellowship with the gracious Master.

*This is the way salvation is offered to us – in fact, this parable illustrates the words of this passage of scripture:

John 1:11-13 – He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

• We are taught, then, that this gift must be received by faith – holding fast to the grace of the gospel –

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

*There is an invitation that goes out to all who will hear – for eternal fellowship in heaven with God the Father.

• This call is divine and holy.

• This call is a free call.

• This call is a universal call.

John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

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