The Invitation

Scripture: Luke 14:15-24, NLT

15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’
19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
22 After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’
23 So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.
24 For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

INTRODUCTION

This morning we are going to focus on THE MASTER’S INVITATION and tonight we will focus on the EXCUSES various people made in declining the invitation. Jesus told this story because the room where they were dinning was filled with elite Jews–Aristocratic Jews, Pharisees, Religious leaders. Jesus mentioned the resurrection in verse 14 and the Pharisees believed that just after the resurrection of the dead, the KINGDOM would be inaugurated with a huge banquet. Jesus doesn’t deny that a banquet will take place but He is calling in to question, whether or not these elite Jews sitting around the table will be there. They assume they will be because one of them says in verse 15, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

As the old Negro spiritual read, “Everybody talking about heaven aint going there.” There is only one way to heaven for Jew and Gentile and that is Jesus. We do need an invitation to go but we have one right here in Luke 14; no one is excluded, not even the poor, crippled, lame and blind. Sinners are invited. Whereas it is true that we can’t save ourselves, we can certainly damn our self by rejecting Christ invitation {T.W. Manson}. You may go to hell but it will not be because you are predestined to go there, it will be because you shunned multiply invitations.

This morning, lets focus on the invitation…

I. IT IS A GRACIOUS INVITATION

Obviously, the host is a person of infinite resources. There is no anxiety about running out of food or space. There is no hint of reward in the story: the Host is being gracious and generous. Legally, he does not have to share his wealth but he invites others to come and dine at his expense. There is no charge, no tickets to buy; no hoops to jump through. This wealthy man did not have to have a feast. He did not have to share his riches. He chose to do it: it was a gracious and generous gesture.

Of course, the Host is God the Father, who in Christ extends us an invitation to partake of His mercies. None of us deserve to go to heaven but because God is merciful and in Christ has made a way for our sins to be forgiven, we get invited.

II. IT IS AN EXTENDED INVITATION

In the ancient East banquets and feast were big deals. They were planned on a set day but the hour was always determined by the host on the day of so we actually have in this story four invitations;

  1. The initial invitation–[v.16] A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.
  2. The follow up invitation–[v.17] he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’
  3. The third invitation–[v.21] ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’
  4. The final invitation–[v.23] ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.

As you can see, there are multiply invitation and no one is left out. The wealthy were invited first but eventually, everyone was invited and no one was left out. The is the GOSPEL. Jesus died for all. {2 Corinthians 5:14} For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. If Christ died for the elites and the so called elect who believe that they are elite, we have no gospel. Jesus did not die for the rich and religious, He died for sinners.

Today, you can claim your personal invitation to heaven by acknowledging your sin and turning from it. Repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus.

III. IT IS A TIMELY INVITATION

Note: with each invitation, there is a greater intensity. The first may have been engraved; the second is by word of mouth [Courier], the third is a urgent plea, Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite and the fourth is even stronger, its urgent…urge anyone you find to come.

There is one catch to the invitation: The host has a temper and he was insulted and offended by those who made excuses and refused to come to his banquet. He took the offense personally. He said, For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.”

Had you ever received an invitation that said RSVP? Actually RSVP is French and it stands for répondez s’il vous plaît. In English, it means “Please Respond” or Respond Please actually. RSVP invitations have a set period of time in which you can respond.

Jesus knows that the Jews will recognize Him when He returned in glory but it will be too late. The invitation was for now but the window of opportunity would close soon.

CONCLUSION

There is room at the cross for you:

The cross upon which Jesus died
Is a shelter in which we can hide
And its grace so free is sufficient for me
And deep is its fountain as wide as the sea.

Though millions have found him a friend
And have turned from the sins they have sinned
The Savior still waits to open the gates
And welcome a sinner before it’s too late.

The hand of my Savior is strong
And the love of my Savior is long
Through sunshine or rain, through loss or in gain,
The blood flows from Calvary to cleanse every stain.

Chorus
There’s room at the cross for you
There’s room at the cross for you
Though millions have come, there’s still room for one
Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

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