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Summary: God's kingdom is like a great feast. Are we treating it as one?

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Parable of the Great Feast

(Luke 14:16-24 NIV) Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. {17} At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' {18} "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' {19} "Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' {20} "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' {21} "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' {22} "'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' {23} "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. {24} I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'"

Explanation of the parable

I believe this invitation to a banquet is symbolical of the invitation to eternal life through the gospel message. Jesus uses the figure of the banquet to illustrate the "feast in the kingdom of God" (v. 15)--the so-called eschatological banquet.

(Luke 13:29 NIV) People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

Application of the parable

What are we doing to invite people into God's kingdom?

The host of the party took great efforts to invite people to his banquet. I am sure it would cost him a lot of money to prepare such a lavish meal. It also takes a lot of time. In those days, it is customary to send out invitations twice. The first time to invite them to come and the second time to tell them the banquet is ready since it would take so long to prepare, and people had no watches.

If we want to invite people into God's feast in heaven, we must be prepared to incur some costs. Paul stood out as someone who paid a high price so that the gospel could be preached.

(2 Corinthians 11:23-27 NIV) Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. {24} Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. {25} Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, {26} I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. {27} I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Few of us will ever have to pay such a high cost. But bringing a person to Christ does not usually come easily. Some take years of praying for. We need to meet people's felt needs and this requires time and money. We need to keep in touch with the people we want to witness to and this requires time and energy. What are we doing to bring people into God's kingdom?

Are we excluding some people from the gospel?

"A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests."

Yet the guests he invited are all well-to-do people. It is common in those days to throw a banquet and invite people who are likely to invite you back. The original invitation was not extended to people who were not in the host's circle of friends.

While we may criticize the host for his actions, many of us in present day are guilty of the same thing. We are only willing to reach out to certain groups of people. This may be natural because in lifestyle evangelism, the people we are associating with are those naturally in our circle. But are we completely closed to other people? Are we concerned about the salvation of the janitor and if God gives us the opportunity, would we use it? Are we concerned about the salvation of the cab driver and if he is interested, would we tell him the gospel?

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