The Parable of the Wedding Feast, Part 1 (Matthew Sermon 107 of 151)
November 29, 2009 | Andrew Davis
Wrath of God, Judgement Day, The Kingdom of Christ, God's Providence and Sovereignty
So, we resume our series in Matthew. Going back to Matthew now and resuming our look at the life of Christ from that marvelous gospel. And we come to the parable of the wedding feast. We're gonna deal with it in two weeks. This morning we're gonna just look at the general overview and details of this parable and next week we're gonna draw out three of the weighty doctrinal issues that come from this. Just too much to cover in one week and so we can look forward to that next week.
But I will never forget as long as I live, the morning of July, 29th 1981. I was a non-Christian. I was driving to work at a job I hated. And I was listening to the radio, reports describing the most lavish wedding of our time, the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at Saint Paul's Cathedral. And I was green with envy. I will never forget that. Lady Diana's wedding train was 25 feet long, we were told. She arrived in a glass coach. Took 3.5 minutes for her to walk the red velvet aisle up to the altar. 750 million people watched that wedding from 58 countries by TV and a privileged 3,500 viewed it in person.
I remember feeling incredibly jealous and not that I cared that much about the royal couple, but I didn't like my life at that point and thought, “Boy, wouldn't it be great? Wouldn't it be great to have the life of luxury and ease they were gonna have?” They were going on a Mediterranean cruise for their honeymoon. Eleven day cruise. A gift of the Queen of England. And I was pulling into the parking lot right at that moment as that all was being described, toiling my way through a life that seemed far less appealing. I remember wishing that I could at least have been one of the privileged few that could have attended that wedding. Little did I know what the future held for that couple or, for that matter, what the future held for me. That couple, as you know, had a tragic future in-store. A life of conflict and hostility, of adultery, broken relationships, of misery and, of course, the untimely death of Diana pursued by the paparazzi in Paris, bizarre car chase. You know the story.
Whereas I, for my part, would be invited and chosen for a far more lavish wedding banquet 15 months later when I became a Christian. And now I look on my own attitude at the time as foolishness, worldly foolishness. I can't wait to sit at the wedding banquet with Jesus. Amen? I can't wait to go to that wedding and sit at table with Jesus and partake in a mystical sort of way, a way I cannot understand, but as part of the bride of Christ, as we just sang, how beautiful is the bride of Christ. To be part of that and to enjoy just being in the presence of God. And part of the anticipation and the joy I have looking forward to Heaven comes from this parable and from the image, the picture of God that it gives us as the ultimate generous joy giver. That God is himself a happy being and he delights to make others happy out of his bounty and his lavishness. I'm just looking forward to being in the presence of such a being. Looking forward to being in the presence of God.
There are so many faulty views of God out there, aren't there? The “cosmic killjoy.” The one leaning over the ramparts of heaven to see if any of you are having a good time. And telling you to cut it out, squelching any joy you might have. I believe these images are clearly a Satanic lie. Clearly a satanic lie. From the Garden of Eden Satan has been lying to us, telling us that God is holding out on us, holding out joy and happiness. If we could just follow him, we would be really happy. The truth of the matter is quite different. The book of Revelation says of Satan that he is filled with rage, because he knows his time is short. How can a being like that give anybody happiness?
Jesus spoke of him saying he's a murderer from the beginning, the thief who comes to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus is the one who has come to give us life, and give it abundantly. Paul puts it this way, speaking of God, in 1 Timothy 1:11 speaks of “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” And like many of you, perhaps, you just read over those words and it's like those religious words: Glorious, gospel, blessed, God, those kind of things.
It wasn't until John Piper kind of re-translated or actually got a little more careful in the translation than we're used to. “The glorious good news of the happy God.” It is glorious good news that God is happy and that he invites you into his happiness with him, that he wants you to be as happy as he is. That is a biblical picture of God and that's a picture we get of God in this parable today. In the parable, Jesus portrays God the Father as a joy-filled host of a wedding banquet. He portrays heaven as a lavish, joy-filled feast in which the fattened oxen and the cattle have been butchered and everything's made ready, and we're invited to sit at table and enjoy. And amazingly in this parable, this invitation is rejected. Rejected and rejected and rejected, again and again.
So, my earnest desire today is to explain the joy of God in this parable in such an appealing way that you'll sit at table with Christ even now, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And I do mean at the Lord's Supper, later on, but I also just mean day-to-day that you would just sit at table with Jesus, through that deposit, that guarantee of the Holy Spirit, and have foretaste of that heavenly banquet, knowing that it's not the full consummation, but just sit at table with Jesus.
And even more, mindful of the fact that there are almost certainly people here today who are in an unregenerate state. And you are lost. The Bible says you're under the wrath of God. If you were to die today, you would go to hell, you would spend eternity away from God. You can be freed from that today, just by hearing the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation. Just by hearing words of Christ crucified, his blood shed for sinners, of his bodily resurrection from the dead. And that hearing that, that faith will spring up in your heart and you'll be justified, forgiven of all your sins, and you will someday sit at table with God. That's my hope today. Can all of that happen? Yes, it can. That's the power of the Word of God. And so, that's what I'm praying for today.
A Happy King Throws A Party
But let's begin by just setting this parable in its context. A happy king throws a party, that's what it's about. And so Jesus is there in the last week of his life, we've already traced that out. He has made his triumphal entry to “hosannas” from the little children. “Hallelujahs.” “Blessed is the one who comes in the Name of the Lord,” and they're just chanting and celebrating. But it wasn't long after that joyful entry that Jesus began to cross swords with his enemies, the Jewish leaders who wanted to kill him, who were conspiring to put him to death.
They are the ones that rebuked the children for praising Jesus. They're the ones that were there when Jesus cleansed the temple, and they asked him, “By what power or authority do you do this?” They were there when Jesus was teaching in the temple area. They questioned him about that. They confronted him on his authority to do any of the things he was doing. He told them parables to try to explain their situation before God, Jewish history, and who he was. Parable of the two sons. The first son, the father says, “Go and work in the vineyard,” and the first son says he won't go, but he changes his mind and goes. And the other son, he says he'll go, but he doesn't go. And which of the two did the will of his father? And Jesus applies that parable, talking about the ministry of John the Baptist, he said, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw that, you didn't repent and believe.”
And then he told them the parable of the wicked tenants in the vineyard, picking up on that theme of God as the owner of a vineyard. An absentee owner. And how a vineyard was planted and rented to some tenant farmers, and when he sent servants to collect the fruit, they just beat them up and killed them, and then finally he sends his son and they kill him too. And then Jesus applies the parable this way, “I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” Well, the Jewish leaders definitely got the message at the end of Matthew 21. It says, “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them, they looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because all the people held that he was a prophet.” That's how it ends, chapter 21.
And we go right from that into this parable. Jesus answers them again and tells them another parable, the parable of the wedding banquet. Now, why did Jesus use parables? This was something that Jesus chose to do. A parable is a story with elements taken from everyday life, something we understand, something that's familiar, but it teaches a spiritual principle. And if you get the key, if you understand it, then it's a marvelous teaching tool. Very memorable and teaches elements of truth that really just can't be gotten across so powerfully any other way. But if you don't have that key, it's gibberish and it makes the one who speaks them look like he's insane. They actually thought he was demon-possessed after telling parables. So it's a very wise thing. Jesus actually divides people by the parables that he tells. But in this way, I think he's explaining something about the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish nation.
The Parable Recounted
So what's in this parable? You heard Bert read it. I'll just go over it briefly, just for details. “The kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” So God is portrayed as a king and preparing a wedding banquet for the Son. “And he sent servants,” verse 3, “to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come.” So there's some group of people that had already known that this banquet was coming, and he's basically saying the time has come. It's time for the wedding banquet.
However, verse 3, “they refused to come.” It's rather shocking, if you think about it, but they refused to come to the wedding banquet that's been prepared. Well, the king tries again. He sends more messengers.
Verse 4, “He sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited, that I prepared my dinner.’” Maybe you didn't understand the earlier message, maybe you didn't know. Well, I'm trying to make it clear. Dinner is ready. Dinner is served. In my family, you don't have to ask twice. They know. Thursday, you know when it was ready, it was long sought after. I'm gonna get into trouble. It was wonderfully made and the ladies worked hard and it was marvelous. But I'm just telling you, when the time came, we were there. We were eager.
But the king sends more messengers, “Tell them the banquet is ready. The time has come. My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” But those invited actually attack the messengers at this point. Verse 5 and 6, “They paid no attention and went off, one to his field, another to his business.” Verse 6, “The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them.” But now we have the rage of the king. The king's enraged. “He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” And then he sends out a general invitation to everyone.
“He said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” So here you've got this grand wedding hall and it's filled with good and bad people. But then the king comes in and as he comes in, he looks at the wedding guests and he notices there a man who's not wearing wedding clothes. And he approaches him, he initiates with him. He said, “Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” And the man is speechless, it says. He doesn't have an answer. And then, perhaps some people think maybe the, most shocking part of the whole parable, then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The Parable Applied
And then Jesus gives this, almost as shocking or maybe even more, in some cases, application or summation of this parable, “For many are called but few are chosen.” That's it. That's the parable. Those are the 14 verses we're gonna look at over these two weeks. Alright?
These striking words at the end, “Many are called but few are chosen,” are striking because it seems that choosing isn't even in view. What choosing or what election or what kind of choice is involved here? He's contrasting the invitation to the wedding banquet and the actual attendance of those that end up being there. And not everyone who gets invited actually ends up sitting at table. And this fits the context, actually, because he's addressing the fact, I believe, that Israel, that the Jews, are rejecting their Messiah and not everyone who gets invited actually sits at table. “Many are called but few are chosen.” It brings it squarely in view of the sovereignty of God in human salvation.
General Lessons from the Parable
The Lavish Character of the King
Alright, well, let's look at some general lessons from this parable. Some general lessons. First of all, I always ask when I come to a text, two questions: What does it teach me about God and what does it teach me about man? And I would recommend that to you as a general principle of Bible study. Whenever you read a passage just say, “What do I learn about God here and what can I learn about man?” And so, let's start with the first and most important question. What does this parable teach us about God? And we see first and foremost, the lavish character of the king. This parable teaches us about God. God is a king. Clearly, I think, the king in the parable is God the Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he's presented as a king, a sovereign, a ruler.
And we see also this wedding analogy. I'll talk more about that in a moment, but it pictures a relationship between the Son of God and the church. A relationship between the Son of God and his people. Well, what are the attributes of the king? What does the parable teach us about the attributes of God?
Well, we see first and clearly, the love of God here. The love of God. The whole wedding banquet language is about love. It's a love relationship between the Father and the Son. The Father loves the Son and wants to put on the banquet. And just because it's a wedding banquet, not just a celebratory feast or a harvest feast or something like that, there's a love relationship between the Son and his bride. The marriage between Christ and the church. So we see love.
John the Baptist calls Jesus the bridegroom. You know, when his disciples come and they're jealous, because Jesus is doing better. Jesus' church is growing faster. And John understands exactly what's happening. It's exactly like it needs to be. And he says in John 3:29, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice.” So he uses bridegroom language to speak of Jesus.
Jesus uses that language to speak of himself when questioned about fasting, He said, “How can the friends of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away. At that point they will fast.” So, that's Matthew 9:15.
The apostle Paul likened marital relations between a husband and wife, in a mysterious way, to the relationship between Christ and the church. And so there is this idea of a wedding between Christ and the church. The final consummation of this is depicted in the book of Revelation. As the new Jerusalem comes down like a bride, beautifully dressed, prepared for her husband, ready for her wedding day. And so the whole context of this parable is the love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for His bride.
We see also, as I've already mentioned, the happiness of God. The happiness of God. A wedding is a happy time, it's a celebration. All over the world, A time of happiness. It's a time of eating and drinking and being happy, of laughter and music. And our God is a God of overwhelming joy. He is a happy God. You know, it just takes a while to wrap your mind around that. All of the misery in your life and mine has come from departing from this happy God. And all of the happiness and joy we'll experience comes from returning to him, reconciliation with him, right relationship with him. He's a happy God. How ridiculous is it then that some people portray him as a miserable being? I'm about to teach a class this upcoming semester on the Puritans at Southeastern. And H.L. Mencken said that Puritanism is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
Well, listen, that's really very clever and very bitter and all that, but the real issue isn't so much what does Mencken think of the Puritans, it's what does an unbeliever think about God? Same kind of thing, the haunting fear God has that someone, somewhere, is happy and they need to cut it out. But you know, the Scripture says, I think it's Psalm 115, “Our God is in heaven, he does whatever pleases him.” How foolish to be omnipotent and omniscient and be unhappy. [chuckle] I mean, if you're gonna be omnipotent, be happy, because everything's the way you want. And he is. He does whatever pleases him. In heaven, earth and under the earth, he's sovereign, he rules, and he is happy. He's a happy being.
Our God is a God of infinite happiness and pleasure. Psalms 16:11, this is your future if you're a Christian, it says: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Eternal pleasures at the right hand of God. And so the wedding banquet of Jesus Christ is ample evidence that our God is a happy God and He wants you to be happy too. He wants you to experience pleasure and joy.
Thirdly, we see the generosity of the king. He is a generous being in this. He spares nothing for this lavish banquet. He wants to share his generosity with as many people as possible. Psalm 50, he says that, “Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” Well, here he wants to share that bounty lavishly with the guests. So he is lavish and generous. “Tell those I've invited that I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered and everything is ready. Come to the feast.” He's generous.
Now, some people are stingy. Proverbs 23:6-8 says, “Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies; for he's the kind of man who's always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and you will have wasted your compliments.” Well God isn't stingy and he's not thinking about the cost. He is putting on this wedding banquet and he is being generous, lavishly generous. How generous? Well, in order to get you there, he didn't spare his own Son, but gave him up for you. How generous then, is God? How generous? What would you spare? What's precious to you? He didn't spare anything. The most precious to him, he gave. Poured him out at the cross.
See then the lavish generosity of God and see also the patience of God. Oh, he doesn't just try once, He tries multiple times to get these people to come to the wedding banquet. It says in Romans 9, concerning the reprobates, concerning the wicked, that “God bears with great patience the objects of wrath.” Oh, He puts up with an awful lot. And here, he just sends messenger after messenger. “Tell them to come. Tell them to come.” He's very patient.
We see also the wrath of God here in this parable. You might think, how does that fit with the earlier picture of the happy God? But it does. And we see the wrath of God. Once the people become violent and abusive to his messengers, the king shows his wrath, his righteously passionate emotional anger to what they have done to his messengers. How else could a loving King, a just king, respond? His servants have gone in his name to invite people to a long-prepared wedding banquet and they are refusing to come and actually murdering the messengers.
So I crafted an illustration to try to give you a sense of this. And it was so powerful as I went over it, it brought tears to my eyes because I have children. But imagine, just bear with this illustration. Imagine in one community, there's a group of parents that wants to put on a party for the village.
And they get everything ready for the party and they send out their children. And the children are dressed, the boys are dressed up in these little white suits, girls are dressed up in party dresses with flowers in their hair, and they go skipping and dancing and singing into the village. And the villagers murder them. Now, what would you feel as a father of those children? What I feel right now. Only make it perfect, make it holy, make it just.
So it is with God and the messengers of his gospel who have been beaten and killed, persecuted in every generation of church history. They have traveled over land and sea, they've gone over mountains, they have suffered privations, they've left the comforts of their home and they've gone over there and they have been persecuted and in some cases, martyred. And God loves those messengers, His children, more than any of you parents love your children.
And the connection between Christ and his messengers is intense and powerful, so much so that he confronts Saul of Tarsus, breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples, confronts him saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he says. So this is how God treats the persecutors of his messengers if he doesn't convert them. Praise God for the grace of God, He converted Saul of Tarsus. “You deserve to die, but I'm gonna actually convert you instead. I'm gonna transform you and you'd be one of my children too. And you'll be one of my messengers and guess what's gonna happen to you? Everywhere you go you're gonna get beat up.” “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name,” but in the midst of it all, there'll be the joy of a reconciled relationship.
How do you see wrath in this parable? Well, it's right there in two ways. Two, actually, stunning ways. First, the burning of the town. Verse 7, “The King was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” In redemptive history, this undoubtedly refers to the destruction of Jerusalem. They rejected Christ, 70 A.D. the Romans came and destroyed that city and burned it to the ground.
But it's just a foretaste of the final judgment of God. It says in the book of Revelation that he sends out angels with bowls. And the angels pour out bowls on the earth. And the third angel pours out his bowl and the fresh water, the rivers and springs and streams are all turned to blood. And the angel celebrates the justice of God. “You are righteous, oh God, holy and true for doing this, for this is what you have judged. For they shed the blood of your saints and your prophets and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” The final fulfillment of this will be the second coming of Christ when Jesus comes on that horse in front of the armies of heaven. Read about it in Revelation 19:7-11. He's riding a horse and the sword of God is coming out of his mouth, two-edged sword. Fire in his eyes. Faithful and true written on his thigh. Brings wrath, brings punishment for all those who have persecuted his people. So we see then, the judgment of God and the wrath of God.
We see it also in the banishment of the man from the hall, who is cast outside into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, because he's not wearing the right clothes. We'll get to that next week. I told you there wasn't enough time in one time to deal with this parable. But there's a reason for it, and we'll talk about it next week, but we see, I think, a picture of hell there. And therefore we see the judgment of God, the keen assessment of the wedding hall and its guests, the perfect judgment of God. Nothing escapes his notice. He comes in there to see the guests. He looks at them, He notices a man there who's not wearing wedding clothes. He's just dealing with his eyes. He sees and knows.
And so it says in Proverbs 20:8, “When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes.” Well, I don't know if Solomon could do that, but I know God can do that. And he winnows out all evil, separating the wheat from the chaff, separating the good fish from the bad fish, separating the sheep from the goats with his eyes. So that's what, some of what, I think the parable teaches about God.
The Stubborn Sinfulness of Man
What does it teach us about man? Well, how about let's start with the stubborn sinfulness of man. How stubborn are we in our sin, how much we resist the gospel message. The Jewish rejection of the Messiah, that's the context here. Through the prophets the Lord had been spreading a banquet feast and inviting them to come, getting ready for the Messiah. And they were the ones who had already been invited, but they're just being told now the banquets here.
These are the Jews. And through the prophets they've been prepared for this. Isaiah 55:1-2, “Come, all you are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Well, that's the invitation. They've been told that the banquet's coming. And now Jesus is coming saying, “The banquet's here.” Verse 3, “He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.” Jesus said it, he is very plain. John 7, “On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out in a loud voice. ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within you.’”
Did they come? No, they did not, they rejected him. And in the future they would reject the messengers of the Messiah and of the gospel. Matthew 23:34, “I'm sending you prophets and wise men and teachers, and some of them you will kill and crucify and others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.” Now, note the reasons for this stubborn, sinful refusal. First, it's just a flat, “No.” They just refused to come. Just said no.
Can you imagine a friend receiving an invitation to the inaugural ball in Washington, D.C., for the President, President of the United States? Just set the politics aside or whatever you think about presidents. But just think about the magnitude of the occasion. And you say to your friend, “When are you leaving?” He said, “I don't know. I don't think I'm gonna go.” “Why not? Are you not well?” “No, I'm fine. I decided the work's been piling up in the office. I think I'm probably just gonna work late that night.” “What are you, nuts? Are you crazy? This is an invitation to come, this is a once-in-a-lifetime invitation. How can you reject it to get a little extra work done at the office?”
But that's about what they say. “They paid no attention and went off,” Verse 5, “one to his field, another to his business.” So the craving for money, for material possessions, for power, for the stuff of this world, drives out any allure that the invitation has. They don't wanna come, they're too busy. Even the possessions. Luke's version of this, Luke 14:18-20, it says, “They all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I've just bought a field and I want to go look at it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just bought five yoke of oxen and I wanna try them.’” So like, “I just bought a new SUV, I just don't have time for the Lord, I wanna try it out.” Bought a new boat, something. Something exciting, something interesting, something worldly. And the allure of the invitation starts to fade. Just not that appealing. So they refused to come. Another said, “I just got married. I can't come.” Just making excuses. And note the escalating wickedness. It starts with simple refusal, then they start to make excuses, and then they get violent and start to abuse them, as we've already talked about. This parable then, gives us a remarkable tour of the human heart, of human wickedness in rejecting the gospel.
The Free Offer of the Gospel Worldwide
Notice also, if you would, the free offer of the gospel worldwide. Just tell everyone to come. The invitation, worldwide. I believe in the free offer of the gospel. I believe in telling anyone and everyone to come. It says in Luke 14, “The master told the servant, ‘Go out into the roads and the country lanes, and make them come in so my house will be full.’” Paul and Barnabas in Pisidian Antioch, after being rejected by the Jews, they said, “We are now turning to the Gentiles and they will listen.” So just go out, free, offer to everyone, any nation, tribe and people and language all over the world, “Come to the wedding banquet.
The Mixed Nature of the Church
Notice also the mixed nature of the church. Verse 10, “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests, good and bad.” So, also, around the world, the church is filled with good and bad. The church is filled with what the Puritans called gospel hypocrites. People who look good on the outside, but inside their hearts are far from Christ. How dangerous a state. I believe the hardest category of people to reach with the gospel, they're not Muslims, not communists, not atheists, they are gospel hypocrites. Hardest category of people to reach. What can you tell them? Mixed nature.
The Mixed Nature of Judgment Day
And only on judgment day will they be winnowed out. As I already said, the sheep separated from the goats. The good fish separated from the bad. The wheat separated from the tares. And so it will be. Thus also, I think, the mixed nature of judgment day when Jesus comes and separates all of that out. And so it will be.
Three Major Doctrines Illuminated
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
Now, next week, we're gonna talk about three significant doctrines that this parable discusses that I didn't discuss today. One of them is the sovereignty of God in salvation. That final statement, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” What did Jesus mean? We'll talk about that, God willing, next time.
The Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness
And I think we should talk about the imputation of Christ's righteousness. What were the wedding clothes that that man lacked? What are we supposed to be wearing on Judgment Day? Because apparently, if you're not wearing it you get thrown outside into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it would behoove us to know what kind of attire God expects on Judgment Day. I say it's the imputed righteousness of Christ. We're gonna talk about that next week.
The Joys of Heaven and the Terrors of Hell
And I wanna talk about the joys of Heaven and the terrors of hell. The kingdom of Heaven is like a wedding banquet. “Throw that man outside into the darkness, tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the darkness where there'll be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” There's so many things in each phrase. Tie him hand and foot. Throw him. Outside. Darkness. Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. Each one of those teaches us something about hell.
The Parable Applied
And so we're gonna look at it next week, God willing. Now, what application can we take for this parable today? Well, first of all come to Christ. I am one of the messengers that the king has sent out. I'm not speaking highly of myself. “We are all ambassadors of Christ,” it says, “as though God himself were making his appeal through us. … Be reconciled to God.” In the language of the parable, God himself is making his appeal through me: “Come to the wedding banquet.” I know exactly when it is.
This is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. There are probably relatives here listening to me today. You were invited to come to church, maybe you don't usually go to church, I don't know. Maybe you go to a church in another place. That's really not so important right now. The question is, “Are you clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Have you trusted in Jesus?” Earlier, I gave you everything you needed to know. Jesus, the Son of God, shed his blood on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for sins. If you trust in him, all of your sins will be forgiven, past, present, and future. Trust in Jesus. Come to the banquet.
And if I can speak now to Christians, can I say, come to the banquet? He is a happy God. How are you? Are you happy? Are you joyful? Are you, through that indwelling Spirit, having foretaste of the future heavenly banquet? Or is the master coming out and saying, “I didn't say you could get up from the table, sit down and eat some more. Be joyful in me.” Didn't Paul say it this way, “Rejoice in the Lord always”? We wander from the banqueting table through sin. Jesus is inviting you right now to come back and sit down and feast some more in Christ. Don't wander after worldly things. Don't wander after sin. Understand the greatness of the joy waiting for you in Heaven.
Now, we're gonna unfold some of those weighty doctrines next time and talk some more about applications at this point. The final application for me right now is, I just want you to prepare your hearts for the Lord's Supper. We're going to celebrate the Lord's Supper. And how beautiful and how synergistic and providential that we're having the Lord's Supper today because I believe that this Lord's Supper pre-figures the wedding banquet of the Lamb. Don't you? Sitting at table. God and man at table are sat down. I love that song. And just think about what it's gonna be like to feast with Jesus. And again, if you're not a Christian, please don't come. Don't partake. Instead spend your time repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus.
But if you have trusted in Christ and have testified to that publicly, through baptism, water baptism, I'd like to ask you to partake. You may feel sinful. During the time, as we're getting our hearts ready, confess that sin. Resolve to make it right. It's for sinners. It's not for perfect people, it's for sinners. So, come and partake.