Matthew 22:1-14 -- "Come to the Feast"

Pentecost 19  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:07:56
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Introduction: As the title figure in the movie Father of the Bride, Steve Martin does everything he can think of to cut the cost of his daughter’s upcoming wedding: trying on the old tuxedo he’s outgrown, offering to be the backyard chef at a down-home barbecue reception, slashing the guest list down to a minimum.
But when the king in Jesus’ parable sends out invitations for the wedding of his son, no expense has been spared, and no guests are crossed off the list. This is a banquet seemingly no one would want to miss, and it’s ready. The question is are we?

The Wedding Feast is Ready! (vv 1–3a).

a. Today we send out “Save the Date” notices; in the parable too, the king had alerted guests that the big event was coming.
b. Now the date is set, the wedding hall has been made ready, and the food is prepared.
(1) This will be lavish!
(2) This is a royal wedding!
c. The servants are sent out to invite the invited to the wedding feast. All is ready!

But Many who are Invited Are Not.

a. All the work is done, but no one comes! (v 3).
(1) This is rude. Do you sense the king’s frustration.
(2) He felt the way modern parents of a couple do when they send out wedding invitations and guests don’t show courtesy at least to RSVP!
b. The servants are sent out again, but no one pays attention (vv 4–5). Whatever ready is, they’re not.
(1) One went off to his farm.
(2) Another went off to his business.
(a) “Too busy. Gotta work.” Sound familiar?
(b) A Christian woman wrote to a family who had hosted her daughter on a trip and mentioned some of her activities at church. She received a response that said, “Going to church is not one of our hobbies.”
(3) Still other guests weren’t just indifferent (v 6); they seized the servants and killed them!
c. The king does what you’d expect (v 7).
d. Still, he does have a wedding feast made ready, so: the invitation goes out again (vv 8–10). “Go out to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.”
(1) Now the hall is filled with guests, as many as the king’s servants could find — what the world would classify as both good and bad.
(2) These do come—and the feast is ready.

And What of Those Who Come? Are they Ready?

a. Both good and bad were invited; both good and bad arrived.
b. And the king does everything he can to see that all of them—good and bad—are ready.
(1) In ancient Israel, special attire was commonly required at a wedding.
(2) And these wedding garments were often supplied by the host, as surely in our parable.
(3) The king has provided what every guest needs to be ready.
c. But as he looks over the wedding feast, he sees that not everyone is ready (vv 11–12).
(1) Amid the splendor of this royal wedding, the king notices one not dressed for the occasion.
(2) Even when addressed kindly as “Friend,” this man has no excuse, no explanation for refusing the clothing the king has offered him.
(3) “Cast him into the outer darkness . . . for many are called, but few are chosen” (vv 13–14).
(4) Many are called, but this one was not ready.

So, Then, Are You Ready for the Wedding Feast?

a. God is the King, and he invites everyone to the marriage feast of his Son, Jesus Christ.
(1) Jesus’ death on the cross has earned a seat at the feast for every person who’s ever lived.
(2) God’s Word is serious when it says to every soul, “Jesus has given heaven to you!”
b. Some will ignore the invitation. They’re too busy.
(1) Of course, daily work is not evil in itself.
(2) It becomes an issue, however, when its chosen above the wedding feast of God’s Son.
(3) Does that—too busy, a career to build, a living to earn, leaving only an afterthought for the Savior—describe us?
c. Some will accept God’s invitation on their own terms, but not on the Host’s.
(1) This is a slap in the face of the righteousness of the king. A wearing the garment has graciously been provided for an individual, who refuses to put it on. He stands among the guests insisting that he can attend the banquet by his own merit, again, on his own terms.
This is happening today as well, my friends. There are people who refuse to put on the garment by repenting of their sin, insisting that these are modern times and abortion is acceptable today and homosexuality is an orientation; they were made this way. Some who profess to be Christians scandalize others with immoral behaviors, and then insist on being forgiven without repentance.
Still, others are not so blatant; they are simply busy with our own lives. They take care of and nurture themselves as if they will last forever. For example, do you wake up each morning of your life and go about your work with the eternal kingdom of heaven in full view. The one into which you’ve been baptized. Or, do you say, “Wait a minute! I have things to do! I’m busy down here!” Yes, you are. And that’s the point! Preoccupation in this short-lived world often shoves the coming of the forever kingdom aside because the human heart deems this world more worthy.
Friends, whether we are talking about insisting on living in some immoral way or just being busy with other things, it all cheapens the grace God has extended to us.
This is a parable about you and me, and a marriage feast. This is a picture of what awaits all believers in Christ: this is a union of the Divine nature with the human. And the great love that Christ has for us is presented in the wedding feast. There are many kinds of love, but none is more powerful than that of a bride’s love for her bridegroom; and the love of the bridegroom for his bride. True love has no regard for pleasures, or presents, or riches, but cares only for the bridegroom. All the bride and the bridegroom desires is the other.
That is the true nature of the love of the bride. But, when we elevate the things of this world above our love and devotion for our bridegroom, Jesus Christ, — to even say, I’m too busy right now — the love we say we have is not love at all. It is divided. Luther is much stronger: “it is harlot-love; she does not care for him.” It is like a bride processing down the asile during the wedding while “checking-out” all a the other men in attendance, when she should only have eyes for her bridegroom; she is about to promise, “forsaking all others and remaining united to him alone...”
Friends, the wedding garment is Christ Himself, which is put on by faith, as Paul says in Romans 13:14
Romans 13:14 ESV
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
When this is the case, the garment gives off a lustre: faith in Christ, which bears fruit of itself. Namely, love, which works through faith in Christ.
There are many counterfeits in money, but we all know those are not genuine currency. There is chaff among the wheat, but the chaff is not wheat; so this is among Christians, but they are not Christians.
Dear friends, let us be found in Him when He comes, and may He never find us preoccupied with our own endeavors. Let us pray to God that we would never cheapen His grace by our lives. And finally, let us pray that none of us come to the Lord’s precious and glorious wedding feast without a wedding garment.
Are We Ready for the Wedding Feast?
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