Summary: Exposition of Luke 14:15-24 regarding our duty as servants to be heralds of the gospel and compel people into the kingdom of God
Text: Luke 14:15-24, Title: The Master’s Desire, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/7/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Unless there is a transformation of contemporary church life so that once again the task of evangelism is something which is seen as incumbent on every baptized Christian, and is backed up by a quality of living which outshines the best that unbelief can muster, we are unlikely to make much headway through techniques of evangelism. Men will not believe that Christians have good news to share until they find that bishops and bakers, university professors and housewives, bus drivers and street corner preachers are all alike keen to pass along (the gospel), however different their methods may be. And then they will continue to believe that the church is an introverted society composed of ‘respectable’ people and bent on its own preservation until they see in church groupings and individual Christians the caring, the joy, the fellowship, the self sacrifice, and the openness which mark the early church at its best. –Michael Green quoted by Alvin Reid in his new book
B. Background to passage: Jesus is eating dinner in the house of a Pharisee, probably with a bunch of other Pharisees (sounds like a Baptist fellowship meal, huh?). And they were watching Jesus like a hawk. And then a man who was swollen up all over came. So Jesus asked if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath-“ox in the ditch.” So then He spoke about guests at parties, upending all social graces and customs at the time. And when they didn’t get it, they made a religious comment spoken to impress the Rabbi, and so Jesus nailed them again on this topic with a story about a dinner party that many refused to come to. They would have known it was about them, it was very pointed, especially at the end. The servant would have been representative of them (Israel then, us now), and again, Jesus broke all the social customs of the culture with the Master’s orders, which the servant in the story followed precisely. And the express desire of the/their Master was that the house be filled with all peoples who would follow Him. So in relation to the last part of our vision statement, I want to remind us of our responsibilities to the Master to fulfill His desires rather than our own.
C. Main thought: I am going to look at the parable from the servant’s perspective, because that’s where Jesus makes the application; so four things that a true servant “must be”
A. Compliant (v. 16-17)
1. Notice in this parable the servant is always doing what the Master told him to do. The Master says go, and the servant goes, without hesitation, without excuse, without begging pleading, without having to be reminded, guilted, or manipulated. And every time he completes a task, he reports back to the Master, for His approval. And he probably doesn’t do it simply because it’s his duty (for he was the chief of servants, who was probably there willingly), but because He loves the Master, and wants to please Him. But even if he didn’t love the master, servants had not option not to comply.
3. Illustration: explain my bewilderment at the comments of young Ramses on The Prince of Egypt, “I am Egypt, the morning and evening star, if I say, day shall be night, and night day, it will be written…” “If you love Me, keep My commands; and if you follow Me, deny yourself; and if you love this world, then you don’t love Me; if you are lukewarm, then you make Me sick; and if you don’t speak, how will they know; and if you don’t preach, how will they believe; and if you don’t go, how will they call My Name; Oh, how I long for them to call My Name.” first trip with Mike Kennedy, we would just stop in the marketplace and he would say, “preach.”
4. Evangelism can’t be reduced to obedience to a command alone, although that is part of it. But we can say that many times it is a central part of it. And we seem to have such a hard time with that part of it. Repeatedly, we are told in scripture to be ready to give an answer, a testimony, a witness to the power of Christ and His resurrection. One of the last and most important things that Jesus said was to go forth proclaiming the gospel to every creature home and abroad making disciples. And we do not comply. And our excuses are lamer than these three men who are ditching the banquet! We must deal with excuses, some of which must be overcome, so that when He calls and leads, we are willing to share. As a servant, you shouldn’t have to be warned, admonished, manipulated, reminded, compelled, or guilted, but only instructed to share Christ. It can be a simple case of disobedience.