Saturday, October 11, 2014

Proper 23

October 12
Proper 23
Matthew 22:1-14

Enlighten our minds, we pray, O God, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that, as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all through truth;

Yet another parable of Jesus –

God in His mercy desires all to be saved. He wants all to be included into the family. Yet each guest must have the proper clothes. The King Himself provides everything. Even the necessary garments.

To refuse to wear it is to show contempt to the host. To insult the king. Refusing to sit at the banquet on the king’s terms is to become self-righteous. Discarding, Eliminating. Denying. Refusing. Rejecting the righteousness God offers through Jesus Christ.

Anyone who thinks he does not need the garment of righteousness Jesus secured for him must suffer the consequences. Everyone is welcome at the wedding feast. All have been invited. Yet you can be a guest only on the King’s terms. So take seriously the Father’s offer of grace. No excuses allowed. Your King not only invites all to come. He provides them with the necessary garments.

The Father calls, “Come…for all things are now ready!” The Father has prepared a dinner – salvation, forgiveness, life. That’s quite an offer. This invitation has been ready for a long time.

1.       The Father sends His invitation.

He doesn’t command people to come. He simply invites. He presupposed they would be there. This is salvation’s history. It was given to them. When the King invites, you to come - you go! It’s crazy to say no.

He doesn’t demand that we first make ourselves worthy. He simply invites. He won’t force us to eat.  He offers without cost. Yet many refuse the invitation. They allow activities acceptable in themselves to become more important than the Father’s invitation. We need to watch that we do not put off accepting this invitation. The consequences of such procrastination can be drastic.

2.       The Father invites all.

He sends His messengers out again.  He sent others. Everything has been made ready. Come to the feast! He keeps sending servants. His single desire is for them to be with Him. He won’t let the rejection by some prevent the banquet from taking place. He wants the food to be eaten. Now He advertises the menu. He’s giving them His best.

God shows no partiality or prejudice. When the respectable people refuse, He invites the lowly and the despised. He sends His servants to the off ramps and overpasses inviting all to come. There’s still room in the banquet hall!

3.       The Father invites on His own terms.
He provides for each guest the needed wedding garment. Not only has He prepared salvation, but He also makes it possible for all to partake of salvation. The wedding garment is the righteousness Christ earned for you. Which alone make you acceptable to God. This alone qualifies you to be a guest at the wedding feast.

You receive this garment by faith in Jesus. It was given to you personally when you were baptized. St. Paul puts it this way; “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:3-6)

Without Christ’s righteousness, you are doomed. For your unrighteousness condemns you. While Christ’s righteousness cover our sins. We must be on guard lest we continue to love and practice sin. That would be as if I were to say, “Tammy is as fantastic chef. She’s the best cook in northeast Indiana. Her cooking skills are so good that I will prove to her by eating nothing but garbage and fast food for the next two months. And, if she tries to cook me something, I’ll throw it in the trash.  I choose to act this way so that come Thanksgiving, I’ll have a greater appreciation for her.”  Not a good plan! That would make no sense!   We come to Christ neither on our own terms nor by living a life of hypocrisy. The price of salvation came at a tremendous price. The price of Christ’s life. There are no other options.   

That would amount to playing games with the grace of God. That would mean that we are e no better off than the blatant unbeliever.  The hypocrite insists on making it on his own terms. Doing this his own way. Playing by his own rules. Refusing to trust in the merits of Christ.

The Father Himself has prepared a wedding dinner. What joy to hear “All things are ready!” To hear Him invite us and to receive from Him the beautiful garment of Christ’s righteousness is the mystery of His mercy and grace.

Words – 851
Passive Sentences – 8%
Reading Ease – 77.8%
Reading Level – 4.5

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