Summary: GOD’S GRACE
“God’s Irresistible Hospitality”
9/9/02 Round Up Sunday
Intro: Did you ever get an offer too good to be true? I get them all the time. The telephone rings, normally about supper time, and you pick it up. You know right away by the static on the other end that it is a salesman. Then the spiel starts: Hello, Mr. Ring - I know right then it’s a telemarketer; he has gotten my name wrong- just because you are a valued credit card customer we are going to send you $40 of gasoline vouchers. I reply, “Thank you!” They say, we are also going to enroll you for 3 months free in our shoppers program. I say, “no thank you, I’m not interested.” They say, well thank you. I respond, “Just send my $40 of gasoline vouchers.” They say, you can’t get them unless you join the club.
This past week the phone rang and a message came on, “Just for picking up the phone you have won . . . “ -- I forget what it was, but I knew it was too good to be true.
I saw an offer on the internet - free big screen TV’s - nothing to buy. Too good to be true! There’s always a catch. Or at least, we think there is. We’ve been told that “nothing in life is free.” But sometimes we find there really are free things.
At our last church we did a free car wash for people in the community. We wanted to let them know we had a Bible School coming up, and we hosted a free car wash. People would pull up - “How much?” We’d say, “it’s free!” They replied, “What’s the catch?” It’s sometimes hard to accept that there are things for free.
One of the greatest examples of giving is modeled for us in the gospel of Luke, chapter 14. Please turn with me there. If you’re using a pew Bible, it’s on page 62 in the New Testament, the back half of the Bible. We see here the grace of God seems to good to be true, but it really is given so freely to each one of us. Let’s look at the passage. Read Luke 14:16-24. -- Pray
What do we see in this passage? First, we see
I. An invitation too generous to refuse - When we think about our God, what do we think of? Some people think of a bully, a tyrant just waiting to beat us when we step out of line. Some people think of someone who wants us to follow every little rule and regulation. Rather than that, I would say this morning that when we think of God, we should think of the most gracious, generous person we could ever imagine - someone who wants only the best for us, who wants to give us every possible blessing.
Now, that’s not to say that God gives us everything we want: rather, he wants to give us what is best. We might ask for a new car to show up the neighbors, but he gives us an old car to teach us patience that we so desperately need.
Look at the example of our gracious God in the banquet host. He has fixed a great banquet, and invited many to his party. He sends out his invitations, he gets all the arrangements made, every little detail is prepared, and he then sends a second invitation to remind all those who have been invited.
What a gracious God we have. One who constantly calls us to come be with him. One who has prepared everything for us to enjoy. He gives us an invitation too generous to refuse.
But, as so often happens, we fail to accept God’s invitation to us.
Look at what we so often give -
II. An excuse too foolish to be true - Do we see ourselves in the excuses of these guests? What are the excuses we offer - normally they are the same as these guests: possessions, profession, or people. Look at their excuses in verses 18-20.
*The first guest gave an excuse based on his possessions. He said he had just bought a field and needed to see it. Was that true? If it was, I know some salesman who would love to sell them a few more fields sight unseen. The truth of the matter is no one buys a field without seeing it first. Remember, the host had sent first one invitation, then sent a second after a period of time.
The guest would have had plenty of time to see the field and check it out. He was simply using the excuse of his possessions to keep his from accepting the invitation.
*The second guest uses the excuse of profession - he was a farmer, he had just bought some oxen, and now he needed to go try them out in his field. Once again, the excuse is not valid. He knew of the invitation for some time, but he was choosing to let his work be a priority over the banquet. Sometimes we let ourselves to too busy to accept god’s invitation to us.