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Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

October 11, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Matthew 22:1–22:14

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Matthew 22:1-14
Date: October 11th, 2020; Pentecost 19; Series A; Thanksgiving Sunday
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • Our gospel lesson for this morning ends with some difficult words, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” 
  • Jesus Christ died for the sins of the entire world.  
  • This includes every person who has lived in the past, who is living today, or who will live in the future until the end of the world.  
  • It doesn’t matter who these people are - what their race is, what their economic situation is, or what their religion is.  
  • It doesn’t even matter what they have or have not done.  Christ died for their sins.  Christ has died for your sins.
  • Sadly, tragically, many reject the salvation that Christ has won for them.  
  • Many want nothing to do with God or His kingdom.
  • We get a sense of this as we look at the world around us.  
  • We do not see the peace, love, and charity that God wills for our lives.  
  • We see war, greed, anger, and people hurting each other.  
  • We do not see the reverence and respect that our Creator deserves.  
  • We see blasphemy. We see people mocking God. We see people denying God.  
  • Christ has died for all and offers eternal life to all - yet many want nothing to do with Him.  
  • This is the mystery of faith and unbelief.
  • Jesus gives us some insight into this mystery through a parable – He describes a heavenly banquet.  
  • This image of a heavenly banquet, of a royal feast, is a common one in the Bible.   
  • In our Old Testament lesson we heard the prophet Isaiah’s description of a heavenly feast which includes rich food and vintage wines. I can’t wait!
  • Our Lord tells us that “the kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”  
  • Now, the wedding preparations in this day were far different than they are now – especially when the wedding celebration is being thrown by a king.  
  • The king took this opportunity to show off his wealth, power, and excellence.  
  • Similar to what we see today when royalty and celebrities are married.
  • The finest table linens, silverware and decorations were used.  The best chefs, finest foods, and finest wines were consumed.  No expense was spared.  
  • However, the king back in this day would even go a step further.
  • Not only would the guests get to enjoy the food, wine, and grand atmosphere - but the king would also provide all of his guests with the finest of clothing to wear.  
  • You would show up and receive the perfect wedding garment to wear.  
  • It was quite a thing to be invited to a wedding like this – it was an experience that was remembered for a lifetime! 
  • We heard in our parable that the king sent his servants to call those fortunate enough to have been invited to the wedding feast.  
  • But they would not come.  
  • Can you imagine?  A free meal!  Free wine!  Free clothes!  This is amazingly foolish!   
  • But the king, not discouraged, sent out more servants to try and convince them to come.  He wanted to entice them with all that has been prepared.  
  • He instructs his servants to tell those invited about the menu that is being offered.  
  • Surely after hearing about the succulent meats and vintage wines they will want to come!  
  • But, once again, his invitation is met with refusal.  In fact, they ignored it!  
  • Those invited carried on with their lives like there was no feast. No king. No son.  
  • Some were focused on their work.  Some were focused on their hobbies.  Some slept in after a long week and read the paper and enjoyed a cup of coffee.  
  • We all know the excuses - when the king’s wedding feast doesn’t fit into our schedules. 
  • After the king’s servants were met with refusal the second time, things get ugly.  The servants were seized, mistreated, and some were even killed.  
  • The king is enraged.  The invitation turns into wrath.  
  • The king - who started out in a party mood - turns in anger against those who murdered his servants.  He destroys them and burns their city.  
  • The only way that we can get on God’s bad side is to refuse His love, mercy, and life.  
  • If we reject Him then the blame is ours.  
  • These people had a place reserved for them at the feasts of all feasts – But they said a foolish, unbelieving, “No!”
  • The king sent his servants out again, this time inviting anyone and everyone they could find - tax collectors, prostitutes, drug dealers, murderers.  
  • Those who were outcasts and had never been invited to anything in their lives. 
  • Those who would never consider themselves worthy to sit at the king’s table. 
  • When the feast got going, the king came in to look at the guests. He went over to one of them and said, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” 
  • The man had nothing to say. He was speechless.  
  • Obeying the king’s orders, the bouncers bound him up and tossed him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • This man wanted things on his terms, not the kings.  He refused what the king had offered and prepared for him.  
  • Maybe he was simply too proud to receive the king’s kindness.  Maybe he didn’t think he needed it and his clothing was good enough.  
  • Maybe he focused too much on the fact that he didn’t deserve the king’s kindness – even though the king insisted.  Regardless, he was out.
  • St. Paul tells us “Those of you who were baptized into Christ, have been clothed with Christ.” 
  • We have been “clothed” with Christ’s righteousness, holiness, and perfection.  
  • Baptism is our wedding garment. 
  • But, we do need to be careful.   
  • Like the man who refused the king’s clothing, our self-righteousness and despair can lead us to refuse God’s grace. 
  • So, receive God’s salvation for you on his terms.
  • “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  
  • You have been chosen!  
  • How can you be sure that you are one of the chosen?
  • Look not to yourself, but to the promises of God.  They are for you.
  • You have a spot reserved for you at the heavenly banquet.  
  • Your Baptism is a personal invitation signed by the Father, written in the blood of His Son, sealed by the Spirit, addressed to you by name. 
  • You are worthy to be at his table - not because of what you have done for God, but because of what Christ Jesus has done for you.  
  • Christ our Saviour has gone the way of weeping and gnashing of teeth, the way of death and God-forsaken darkness and hell – He has gone the way of the cross.  
  • He has taken all of your shame, all of your sin, to the cross - in order to clothe you with His holiness and righteousness.
  • We who have been clothed in Christ’s pure white robes, the garments of salvation, have a seat at the eternal heavenly feast.  
  • “Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation!” (Isaiah 25:9).  Amen.    
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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