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RSVPjpgImagine that your dad is rich, fabulously rich. He’s hosting a Superbowl party at his house. The food will be awesome.  Steak, lobster, and a full buffet. He has a mega family room with two giant screen TVs – one on each end of the room. In case the game is boring, your dad’s pool, jacuzzi, and pool table in the rec room will be available. This is a party you won’t want to miss. Question? If it was OK with your dad, would you invite a friend?

Now some of you wouldn’t ever want your fabulously rich dad to throw a Superbowl party. Instead, the idea of a great party for you would be a cookout on a private beach or in your beautiful backyard garden. Or maybe your idea of a great party would be a formal wedding reception with a band and an exquisite meal. You design your party! The point is that your dad throws it and it’s the best party you could ever imagine. Question? If it was OK with your dad, would you invite a friend?

Inviting people to a party is a no-brainer if it’s a great party. And that’s exactly what God is asking us to do with our non-Christian friends. He’s throwing a big party for His Son. You are invited. And you’re invited to invite others, too!

Let me set the stage for this scripture. It’s toward the end of Jesus’ ministry on this earth. For three years, He had been in public ministry. Yet, during this time few Jewish people had accepted Him. In fact, the religious leaders challenged Jesus. “You’re not who you say You are.” Jesus told this story to warn these religious leaders of the judgment to come if they would not honor the Son of God. Matthew 22:1-2.

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.

The King? God the Father. The son? God the Son, Jesus. The wedding? God’s Son, Jesus, the Bridegroom, being fully and finally united with His Bride, the Church. That will be a party that you don’t want to miss!

Many people totally misunderstand what it’s going to be like with God in the life to come. It’s not going to be boring. God likes parties! He’s throwing a party in honor of his Son. God is happy and proud of His Son. Remember when Jesus was baptized? The Father’s voice came out of heaven and said, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” The Father’s pleasure continued when Jesus died and rose again to purchase His Bride, the Church, for Himself. One day, as it says in Revelation 19, there will be a marriage supper in heaven. The Father is so proud that He’s going to throw a party to celebrate His Son’s marriage to the Church – to all believers everywhere! Yes. There’s a time for reverence and silence before God. But there will be lots of joy when God throws a party for His Son. Be there!

Every Christ follower has the incredible privilege and responsibility to invite your family and friends to that unimaginable party! If you do, one day, they’ll walk up to you with a huge smile and a heart filled with gratitude and say, “Thanks. This is awesome!”

This story teaches us some important truths about inviting people to that party.

When inviting people to the party…

As we invite others we will experience some rejection.  

There will be some stubbornness. Look at v. 3.

3  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!

His servants are witnesses, people like you and me who are called, equipped, and qualified by God to invite our family members and friends to the party. But many people we know are unwilling. They’re stubborn.

These verses are teaching us that the Jewish people were the first to be invited. Christ came to this earth as a Jew. John 1:11 says that Jesus came to His own people, but His own people did not receive Him. A few did, of course. But the Jewish people as a whole rejected Christ and His message of grace.

It’s the same today. Why won’t our friends come to Christ? Often, it’s self-righteousness, and religious pride. By nature, we think too highly of ourselves. That’s why we tend to devalue Christ and His cross. This is why God by His power must break our stubbornness.

Invite people to the party and you’ll know rejection in the form of stubbornness.  Also there’s busy-ness. Others have been too busy to come. Look at vv. 4-5.

4  “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’
5  But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 

Again he sent out other servants saying, “come the the banquet!”

Notice what these servants were to tell those who were invited. “Everything is ready.”

We don’t have to make ourselves ready for the party. We don’t have to get busy trying to establish our own righteousness to earn our salvation and rewards from God. In fact, God’s Word forbids this. It tells us that our salvation and everything that comes with it is already prepared and ready because Christ has done it all. He met every condition for our salvation. IN fact, on the cross He said, “It is finished!” All we have to do is come.

But some don’t come, do they? Many would rather chase after the things of this life. They are indifferent. The wedding is no big deal. The farm and business demand attention. These people were preoccupied with their profits. In other words, they were willing to give up the beauty, grandeur, and honor of being invited to this party for the sake of their everyday, mundane, self-serving lives. They were not concerned about the king’s desires, but only about what they thought was in their own best interests.

That’s the way it with people today. They think, “How’s that Jesus stuff going to help me in the here and now? I have kids to raise! I have a degree to earn! I have a business to run! I have a movie to watch! Don’t bother me with an invitation to a party that isn’t going to happen for a long, long time – if it’s going to happen at all!”

Invite people to the party and you’ll know rejection in the form of busy-ness.

Thirdly, there is abusiveness. Some have persecuted those who have invited them to come. Consider v. 6

6  Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.

This was aimed right at the Jewish religious leaders. Prophets had been persecuted and killed for their message of repentance to the Jewish people. Telling people to repent and get ready for the party is never a popular message. And Jesus is looking into His own future here, too. He knew that a cross was coming. He knew that the religious leaders would mistreat Him and, with the Romans, kill Him.

The result? God’s wrath poured out. You won’t come to the party honoring My Son? You dare dishonor Me and My Son that way? Destruction’s coming!

7  “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town.

Jesus’ words were prophetic. In AD 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The Temple was demolished. More than 1,000,000 Jews who had crowded into the city died. As a political entity, Israel ceased to exist.

If you’re here today and you have rejected the invitation to the party – if you are not a passionate follower of Christ – then you have to know that there is a limit to God’s patience. There will be dreadful destruction of those who do not honor the King’s Son, Jesus!

Now, if you’re headed to the party and you’re inviting others, there’s a possibility that abuse will come.

I was reading this past week about a young Pakistani girl named Saleema. She a Christian who was arrested for inviting a friend to the party. Her friend trusted Christ, converting to Christianity. After that friend started following Jesus, she was killed by her own family for her faith in Jesus Christ. Because Saleema had shared her faith with that friend, she was also charged with the death of her friend.

Saleema is now 18 years old and has been passed from court to court – going higher each time in the Pakistani judicial system. She has been in a care facility for some time, and a recent report said she is in great pain. Saleema has unable to attend court because of health problems due to police beating and torture.  She is unable to stand and walk. Her back, hip and ankles are sore and full of pain. Pray for her and others all over the world who are suffering abuse simply for inviting people to the party.

This is very rare in our culture. What’s the worst thing that happens when we start sharing our faith? Someone might decline your efforts or even raise their voice at you. Is that so tragic? Is that a soul-shattering event for you? In our area, the worst case scenario is that someone will say, “Go away.”

Some of us are so paralyzed by rejection that we aren’t even trying. Some of us are just cowards when it comes to thinking of new ways of reaching people. Don’t ever give up on inviting people to the party! If a teenage girl in Pakistan is willing to go to prison for inviting people to the party, then surely we can face a little rejection here, can’t we?

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad. For great is your reward in heaven.”

When inviting people to the party…
We will experience some rejection.

Everything is ready. Everyone is invited, and some will respond!

8  And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor.
9  Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’
10  So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.

The Jews for the most part rejected Jesus. So, God sent the good news out to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. Other people were brought in. This is great news for most of us here! We who were not God’s chosen people became God’s chosen people and were invited to the party! This was God’s purpose from the beginning. God is calling out a people from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.

Notice who comes to the party: people both evil and good. God is making no distinction between open “sinners” and the “morally correct.” Everyone is invited. It does not make any difference whether people have a respectable reputation or are a dishonorable one. No matter who they are, if people have a need, whether they are of good reputation or not, they are invited. “Whosoever will may come,” says God’s word.

We are to go to the highways, to find people, and to invite them to the celebration. If we keep inviting, people will respond.

The reason that some will respond is because the gospel – the good news about Jesus – has power. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

I recently heard Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham talk about outreach. He says he’s fascinated with power – with motorcycles and guns. He said, ” I love anything that is loud and blows smoke.” He went on: “But nothing has power like the gospel. There is no greater high than to lead a man or woman, a boy or a girl to Jesus.”

Our responsibility? You can see it in verse 9.

NOW GO….

Wherever people are, that’s where we are to go. We don’t wait for people to come to us. We go to them. When we wake up, we think, “I’m on mission. I’m going out to school, to work, to play. I wonder who needs to be invited to the party today? Lord, show me. I’m a missionary cleverly disguised as a student, cleverly disguised as a homemaker, cleverly disguised as a businessman.”

Go.” Sounds like the great commission, doesn’t it? Matthew 28:19 says, ” Go and make disciples of all nations.” That command is for every disciple. Are you doing something to obey that command from Jesus? Is He the Lord of that part of your life? When was the last time you talked to someone about their need for Christ? Our responsibility? To go…

To INVITE.

Find the people who will come. Don’t give up! Don’t call yourself a passionate follower of Jesus unless you are seeking to find the lost! Every believer at The Ridge Fellowship ought to be living an intentionally contagious Christian life – building authentic relationships with people outside the family of God and communicating our faith to them. You haven’t found someone who will say “yes” to the invitation? Find someone who will! Don’t quit!

If you consider the percentages in the parable of the sower, 1 out of 4 will respond. But keep this in mind. Some leaders say that it takes seven hearings of the gospel before someone responds. Some math person can help me with the math on this. If 1 of 4 responds and it takes 7 hearings for that 1 to respond, then I shouldn’t get discouraged. People will come if we just looking for the responsive ones. My responsibility? To go. To Invite.

I love what football great Reggie White said, “I’m just a nobody tellin’ everybody about Somebody who can save anybody!” Go! Invite!

When inviting people to the party… We will see some respond. We must also….

 We must help people dress rightly. vv. 11-12

11  “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding.
12  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply.

This person was not a party crasher. He was one of the many who were invited. He came. However, he was not dressed appropriately – he wasn’t wearing the right clothes!

You might be wondering, “How could the king expect these people from the byways and highways to come properly dressed? They had been rounded up from everywhere. Many had come from the streets. They wouldn’t have had the clothes for a royal wedding.” But think with me. The rest of the dinner guests were dressed in the right clothes. A possibility… the king himself had made provision for the wedding clothes.

History confirms it. In Christ’s day, to enter into the presence of a king, you were sometimes supplies with the clothes from the king himself. People who wished to be in the King’s presence were often required to wear a robe sent to him by the monarch. So, in this story, the wedding outfit was available to everyone.  But one CHOSE to not wear it.

Here’s the point. Spiritually speaking, if we want to be dressed for this heavenly party we must put on some new clothes. Isaiah 64:6 says that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. But God knows that we won’t be able to come to His party clothed that way. We need forgiveness and a righteousness that isn’t our own. He provides it. When Christ died on the cross, He took our sin, our rebellion, our dirt and gave us His holiness, His submission, His clean-ness.

The old hymn says, “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” To be dressed rightly means that we are covered by His blood! When that happens, it’s joy! we’re ready for the wedding! It’s party time!

Listen to 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.”

When we are covered by His blood, we are made righteous in God’s sight. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

One day, when our family members and our friends and our co-workers are standing before the King, if they are not covered by the blood, if they are not clothed in His righteousness, they’ll hear something like, “How did you get in here?” And they’ll be speechless.

Most everyone here knows people who are thinking that they are going to the party one day because they are good people. “I believe in God. I say my prayers. I go to church. I do good deeds. I give money to help people.” But on that day, those clothes will be seen for what they are – filthy rags. Don’t let your family members, your friends, your co-workers die dressed wrongly!

Do we do good works? You bet! But our good works are merely evidences of the fact that we are saved, kept, blessed, and qualified for Heaven based on the righteousness of Christ. God says that we must have a righteousness that we cannot produce. He tells us that our works are not good enough to save us, keep us, make us holy, or earn His favor. We need Christ!

We must help people be dressed rightly!  How? By the righteousness of Christ.

We must remember that the stakes are high. vv. 13-14

13  Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14  “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

This is a terrible picture. This man, clothed in the wrong garments, was tied up so tightly that he couldn’t even offer any resistance. And then he was thrown into hell.

Three images of hell are used here: Outer darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Outer darkness – outside the party, away from the brightness and the glory and the joy and the presence of God forever. Weeping – forever sorrowful about rejecting Christ. Gnashing of teeth – eternal regret: “Oh… wish I’d given my life to Jesus!” This is the future of everyone who will not be clothed in the righteousness of Christ!

The stakes are high! Everyone you know is going to spend eternity in either heaven or hell.

Look at the next phrase. “Many are called.” The general call of the good news goes out to the many. That means that everyone who hears the good news is responsible to come to God seeking to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. All who refuse shall perish, and they will have no one to blame but themselves.
Last phrase. “But few are chosen.” I want my friends, my relatives to be part of the few. Out of this mass of fallen people God has sovereignly and graciously chosen His own. He sent Christ to die for them and secure their salvation. He sends His Holy Spirit to give them spiritual life and bring them by our witness to faith. All who flee to Christ do so because God has sovereignly called them and given them life. These are the chosen.

When inviting people to the party… We must remember that the stakes are high.

The Titanic disaster is a tragic story with a sobering application for us today. What would you have done if you had been in a lifeboat?
Like some of you, I am concerned about the spiritual temperature in our church. This is the constant concern of any church leader. What can we ask God to do and what can we join Him in doing that will ignite a fire in our church? Go deeper? Have more worship? Less Worship? More Communion? More fellowships? Quit talking about money?  What can we do for renewal?

Churches do all kinds of things to renew themselves. Most don’t work well. I’ve seen what works. My life has revolved around Christ and His Church since He called me to ministry in 1991. I’ve been active in churches since my youth. I read about churches. I get involved in coaching and talk to pastors about churches.  Churches that are on fire – that are experiencing renewal – are churches where people are being invited to the party. When we reach those who are outside Christ, then dusty old saints start asking the question, “What are we going to do to help these people grow?” A batch of freshly redeemed people gives a spiritual energy injection to any church. There’ll be too much work to do to fight over internal issues and petty stuff.

That’s why we want to identify, equip and train people to invite others to the party. Our dream is that we will see a growing number of new Christ followers coming into this family of faith. If you’re heart is beating just a little bit faster because of what you’ve read today, then join me and pray.  Invite some friends, family or neighbors for Easter at The Ridge Fellowship.

Darrell

http://www.RidgeFellowship.com

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of The Ridge Fellowship: Leander, Jarrell & Taylor, TX
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