Summary: This is the 3rd sermon in the series "Reality". This sermon also has a section concerning Thanksgiving and a section for Lord’s Supper.
Series: Reality [#3]
WHILE YOU WERE OUT
On the popular home-improvement reality show, “While You Were Out”, the contestant sends their spouse on a vacation. While they are gone, this person fixes up a part of the house that the other one would appreciate. The person that is on vacation does not know what is happening, but when they come home, they experience a new room.
In Luke 14 we come to the preparation of a party and get a glimpse of the guest. Normally we do not think of turning to Jesus for advice on how to throw a party. We may turn to Him for advice on how to pray, how to fix a broken heart, how to understand the Scriptures, or how to face death; but Jesus and parties do not mix. We identify Jesus with Good News, but not good times.
The problem is not His but ours. Jesus was at several parties. He performed His first miracle at a wedding party. At a dinner occasion He allowed a woman to anoint His feet. He was accused by His enemies of being a wine bibber and a glutton. Our text also tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a festive banquet.
An Invitation To Divine Food And Fellowship
Supper is a mealtime, but more than that it is a time for fellowship with those whom you love. I enjoy eating, but I enjoy the time of laughter and fellowship around the table. Jesus is saying that coming to God is like that. God invites you not only for nourishment, but for divine fellowship with Him.
An Invitation Not A Subpoena
Come is the key word in the invitation. God’s Word is full of divine invitations to people.
People are invited to be saved but they are not subpoenaed. We can go out and invite people, but we can’t make them come. They must decide for themselves. There are no captive members of the Kingdom of God.
An Invitation That Can Be Declined
The word here is excuse. There is a difference between an excuse and a reason. We give an excuse when we have no reason to offer and why do we usually offer an excuse? Because we know that what we are doing is wrong.
That these were excuses offered is seen in the fact that land could not be inspected at night, oxen could not be proven in darkness, and nothing is said of the supper being a "stag party". The guest could have brought his wife. It is always a dangerous thing to use your family as an excuse for failing to do what you know you ought to do!
The first two were courteous. They said, "Please excuse me." The third man was down right rude, for he said, "I can’t come". But it does not matter how one declines; it is still saying no to God’s invitation!
An Invitation To All Who Are Hungry
These were unfortunate people for whom life had been almost unbearable. They were hungry and when good food and cordial fellowship were offered, they gladly accepted the invitation. There will always be those who do not hunger and thirst after righteousness, but it is equally true that there are always those who do and they will respond.
Christ’s emphasis seems to be on the invitation list. He is saying that when you have a dinner, do not restrict your invitation list to your own kind. Mix it up. Invite the poor, maimed, lame and the blind. Don’t invite only those who will return the favor by inviting you to their parties. Rather you are to follow God’s example and extend your generosity to all who are hungry.
An Invitation Of Urgency
Christ said to compel them to come in. He strongly persuades us to come to His banquet. But why the note of urgency? Because of the need of those invited. We have all sinned and the wages of our sin is death. We shall never be able to satisfy our own spiritual hunger. It is urgent that we respond quickly.
Because the invitation will not always be extended. God warns that His Spirit will not always strive with man.
An Invitation To Which You Can Become Deaf
God does not shut the door; people do. The three who offered excuses became so absorbed with their property, activities, and social life that they never thought of the invitation again. This happens again and again to those who refuse God’s invitation. A person can decline God’s invitation so long that eventually he or she ceases to hear God’s call at all.
Do you still hear the voice of God, however faintly? Do you hear His invitation to join Him at His banquet table? If there is a hunger in your heart, rejoice. Too many people can be satisfied by a night out, or wealth, or attention. So long as your heart is hungry, there is hope that you will give God a chance. Respond to His invitation today.