- Sermon Notes
ILLUS – Royal Weddings
1.While the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s may have been rightly called the “Wedding of the Century”, the Bible declares that there will be a royal heavenly wedding that will top all weddings, the union of Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church.
2.There will also be a royal heavenly wedding feast, “The Marriage Feast of the Lamb”, a wedding feast that will top all wedding feasts.
3.The amazing thing about this royal heavenly wedding is that you do not merely have to be a spectator, you can be a participant; You’re Invited!
4.In Matthew 22, we will discover the nature of the invitation and the response that God desires from us.
1.Last week we noted that the day after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus returned to Jerusalem, immediately entered the Temple, and began to teach the people. (23)
2.The chief priests and elders saw Him and challenged Him, asking, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (23)
3.Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” (24-25)
4.After reasoning together, they lied and said, “We do not know” because they feared the people for they all regarded “John as a prophet”. (26)
5.So, Jesus told them three parables which were like mirrors so that they may see the condition of their hearts.
6.Last Sunday night we studied the first two parables, “The Parable of the Two Sons” and “The Parable of the Landowner”.
7.The third parable, “The Parable of the Marriage Feast” is like the other two, a call to look at one’s heart so that one may rightly respond to God’s heavenly invitation.
Transition – The first lesson is this…
I. God Expects a Response to His Invitation (1-10)
• Today, when we send out an invitation, we will often write, “RSVP”, meaning “Respond if you please”.
• In those days, they did not have a postal service, nor did they have social media, so they would send servants to give out invitations by hand.
• Once the celebration was ready, the servants would knock on the doors of the invitees to let them know the feast was ready.
• The point of this parable is that God is expecting a response to His invitation.
A. There are no excuses when the King is calling
1. The king had prepared a wedding feast for his son and made all of the preparations for a grand celebration.
a. The animals were butchered and cooked to perfection.
b. The wedding clothes were made with the finest of materials for the guests to wear.
2. Everything was ready but where were the guests?
a. Jesus said that some were unwilling to come! (3).
b. Jesus said the slaves were sent out again but this time the wedding guests “paid no attention and went their way, one to his farm, another to his business”. (5)
c. Jesus said others responded by killing the king’s servants. (6)
APPL – Can you imagine making light of a king’s invitation?
• Can you imagine refusing or ignoring a king?
• Can you imagine killing a king’s servant when all the king wants to do is bless your life and include you in the wedding celebration of his son?
ILLUS – It’s one thing to ignore someone knocking on your door if it is a solicitor or ignoring a call from a telemarketer, but to ignore or reject the king is another thing altogether!
APPL – There is a difference between a reason and an excuse.
Quote: The famous preacher, Billy Sunday, once said, “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”.
• A person gives a reason for saying “No” when they truly cannot do something.
ILLUS – The reason I gave to my Multnomah professor for missing my scheduled preaching slot
• But an excuse is given when a person is unwilling to come and does not want to offend or does not want to be bothered anymore by more invitations.
ILLUS – If a guy asks a gal to go out for dinner and she responds, “I have to wash my hair”, that sends a clear message!
B. The truth is, some people refuse to change
1. People make excuses or pretend to not hear because ultimately, they are unwilling to change.
2. They don’t want to take responsibility for the truth or they try to shift responsibility from the truth.
3. Sometimes it’s small and insignificant, but it’s still an untruth, nevertheless.
ILLUS – “The dog ate my homework!” is a classic excuse.
4. There are some classic excuses in the Bible as well.
a. It all began with the first man, Adam.
Genesis 3:12, The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
b. Then there was Moses’ older brother, Aaron.
Exodus 32:24, I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
APPL – In Matthew 22, and looking at our own lives, people make excuses when they don’t want to take responsibility for the truth.
• Why don’t people respond to God’s offer of life?
• I believe there are two reasons:
o First, some people really do not want to change and they refuse to let go of those things that are actually harming them.
o Second, some people want to be the captain of their own soul and refuse to let anyone, even God, take the wheel in their lives.
Matthew 23:37, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
• But please note God’s heart; He wants to fill the wedding feast with people.
• He won’t stop until all are invited, “evil and good” alike! (10)
Transition – Which leads us to the second lesson…
II. Say “Yes” to the Wedding Dress (11-14)
• Jesus said the king was enraged when his servants were killed by the people he wanted to bless.
• He sent his armies and destroyed the people and set their city on fire. (7)
• Again, this is a prophetic picture of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus as their Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which resulted in the dispersion of the Jews throughout the Roman empire.
• Jesus continued by stating the king sent out his servants, but this time they went out “to the main highways… and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests”. (9-10)
• This is a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being shared with the rest of the world, the Gentile nations, to respond to God’s invitation.
• First the Gospel was shared with the Jews and then shared with the Gentiles.
Matthew 21:43, Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
• It is interesting to note who is invited and actually respond to the invitation for God does not invite those who deserve to be invited!
• But the parable takes an interesting turn when the king finds a man at the wedding feast who is not dressed in the wedding clothes.
A. The wedding clothes are a gift from God to you
1. Today, if you were invited to a royal wedding, your first concern would be, “What do I wear?”
ILLUS – What to wear to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton
2. But in that culture, at that time in Israel, the answer was simple for the king supplied the wedding garments and you could not enter without wearing them.
3. When the king came in to visit with his guests, he saw a man not dressed in the wedding clothes he gave as a gift and said, “Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.” (12)
4. There is a very important symbolism here for all of us to understand.
5. The clothes are a picture of the righteousness needed to be in the presence of our King and Father in heaven.
Isaiah 61:10, I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
APPL – Our righteousness is not enough; it is like filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6, For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
• This is a beautiful picture of the fact that not only does God forgive our sin in Christ Jesus, but that He also gives us the righteousness of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
B. Say “Yes” to the Father and have life to the full
1. God sent His Son because He loves us and wants us to experience His gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
2. God sent His Son because He wants to heal our broken lives and give us life to the full.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV)
3. God’s heart for us is amazing! He gives His invitation because He wants us to say “Yes” and live.
Deuteronomy 30:19, I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live
4. Now is the time to respond.
Hebrews 9:27, And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment
5. Will you please answer the call?
Isaiah 55:6-7, Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way
and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
APPL – Many people have many excuses for why they don’t respond to God.
• “I am busy building my career.”
• “I need some more time for myself.”
• “I just need to figure this thing out on my own.”
• What you need is to say “Yes” to God.
• Know that He loves you and calls you and makes you His own.
• When you say “Yes” your sin is forgiven and all your todays and tomorrows will be blessed.
Isaiah 55:1-3, Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live
• The King is calling.
• You’re invited!
Matthew 22:1-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Parable of the Marriage Feast
22 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven [a]may be compared to [b]a king who [c]gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own [d]farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with [e]dinner guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are [f]called, but few are chosen.”