Summary: A message on responding to God’s invitiation to an abundant life with Him.
Luke Series #68 June 16, 2002
Title: Don’t Miss God’s Party!
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are continuing in Chapter 14 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.
Read Luke 14:15-24
Probably everyone here today enjoys and looks forward to celebrations. Celebrations are a significant part of our lives. We celebrate growing another year older with birthday parties. We celebrate pregnancies and new births with baby showers. We celebrate wedding anniversaries, home purchases, New Year’s Day, Super Bowl contest, etc. We even celebrate good friends moving away by having a “going away party.”
Nearly everyone loves to celebrate; we all enjoy a good party. Since that is the case, every one of us should be interested in today’s Bible passage because it is about the greatest celebration or party of all. The banquet being referred to in this parable is figurative for what we would call a celebration or a party. In this illustrative story, Jesus gives us some insight into this greatest of all celebrations. We learn things such as the nature of the celebration, who is invited, who will be there and who won’t be there, and why this is the case.
There is much of the importance that I will discuss as I cover this passage verse by verse, but a summary of the main message of this parable to us would be:
1. You’re Invited to God’s Party, Don’t Miss it!
Read Verse 15
Last week in verses 1-14 we saw how Jesus was giving some serious instructions on attitudes that were unacceptable at God’s table. These were spiritual “bad manners” that were offensive to God and hindered a blessed relationship with him. At the conclusion of this tense segment, Jesus in verse 14 spoke about how the selfless person would be “blessed” by being “repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The reference to a being blessed, future resurrection, and inviting people to a banquet (vs. 12) caused one of those present to the think about and publicly comment on the blessing of those who are invited to what is sometimes called “The Great Supper” or “The Messianic Banquet of God.” He was referring to a God ordained celebration that the Old Testament often spoke of and figuratively describes as of feast or banquet.
One reference is in Isaiah 25:6 which says, “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
Jesus takes advantage of this opportunity to enlighten those present then and us today about this celebration. He uses a parable to do this; what we learn is exciting and encouraging, but also cautionary and serious. As I use the terms “party,” “celebration,” or “banquet” today I am figuratively referring to the present and future aspects of being one of God’s people. Let’s now take a look at Jesus’ words in verse 16.
Read Verses 16-17
The “certain man” in this story represents God. This much is obvious and not usually debated. What is interesting and instructive is that this man, who represents God, is “preparing a great banquet. . .” In other words, God is preparing for a celebration or a party.
This is a rather shocking picture of God for many people today. God is usually perceived as the Heavenly Sheriff who’s ready to give you a ticket for the slightest infraction, or he is perceived like a miserly boss at work who you hope to please by enough hard work and sacrifice. Rarely is God perceived as one who would throw a party, yet in the Bible this is a regular theme and presentation.
For instance, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the father who represents God in the story throws a party for the son upon his return. In the Book of Revelation the Bible refers to God’s people participating in a great party known as the “Great Wedding Supper or Banquet of the Lamb.” In Isaiah 55 God invites everyone to freely come and share at his table where there is “wine and milk” and you can “eat what is good and delight in the richest of fare.” Even the religious life for the ancient Israelites revolved around seven feast or celebrations. Considering all these things it is very evident that God isn’t what some people perceive Him tom be. He loves to celebrate and prepares for his people to experience his joyous celebrations.
I want you to understand what God is truly like! People constantly think that God wants to take something away from them. People think that following God means a joyless existence because God is stern and demanding. This understanding of God is a caricature of religion and not the reality of God’s character. This picture is a distortion from Satan who has from the beginning tried to malign the goodness of God!