Monday, January 27, 2020

Gospel Quest 13: With Christ In Byways- Luke 14:15-24

Gospel Quest 13: With Christ In Byways
Luke 14:15-24


When my kids were young, my grandparents owned a small farm, about 40 acres outside of Pecan Gap, Texas. For those of you not familiar with the great metropolitan cities of North East Texas, that’s a small town of maybe a hundred people close to Paris, Texas.  Back on the farm, When it was time to eat, my grandma Buna George, would walk outside to a tree from which hung an old piece of iron, the one I remember was a small plow that had come off a cultivator. She would grab a rod also tied to the tree and she would give that iron several ringing strikes that could be heard all over those forty acres and if it was around noon, she’s call out “Dinner time.” If it was the evening meal then she would call out, “Come to the house, It suppertime.” She never, ever said lunch and she never said dinner instead of supper. It was always suppertime at the end of the day and that was right because, well its in the Bible. Right in the passage we’re going to read today.

Come – Luke 14:16-20

The Open Invitation

Jesus told this parable of the “Great Feast” in response to the pious comment of one of the guests at the banquet. After Jesus had just given advice on humility like Luke 14:11 -  For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,   and about being a blessing to those who can’t pay you back in Luke 14:13-14 - But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:  And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” So just as he finishes with this very plain and pointed life lesson, look at Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. That’s right some guy who seems to have not heard a word the Lord just said, basically calls out, Hooray for us, Hooray for the Jews we are going to have a feast in heaven. Yippee!

We can only imagine what the Lord thought, but we don’t have to imagine what he did. He tells another parable, one that has a meaning you don’t need a lot of insight to understand.
Luke 14:16-20 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

Now the purpose of the parable was clear both from the context of the man calling out and the content of the parable itself. This parable of the invitation to the Great Feast was to warn the nation of Israel that they were in danger of missing the very blessing and heritage they believed they were entitled to. Just as Jesus had taught in the first lesson, God was inviting people to His supper but they weren’t listening to the servant who had been sent to tell them its time to come.

As with all great feasts or suppers in this time period, all had been prepared weeks earlier and now the final summons, the waited for invitation was presented by a servant, a messenger sent from the Lord of the feast. “It is time, my servant is telling you come to the table of the Master.” To refuse now at the last moment, right when the servant would come, was the worst insult that anyone could give to the Lord of the feast.

And now the parable focusses on those who would do just that, make excuses why at this late hour, they will not bother to come.

Vs. 18 “And they all, with one consent began to make excuse.” There may have been a conspiracy to shun the invitation. Even the excuses given, were transparently invalid, sending a message that they had better things to do than attending this feast.

Luke 14:18-20 The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.  
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
No one buys land without looking at it first. No one buys an ox team without trying it out. And finally, the marriage would have been planned for years and would never have been a last-minute event.

The excuses were a shunning of the invitation. Jesus was telling the Pharisees, Sadducees and the entire nation of Israel, “I am the servant sent from God. I am inviting you to that Great Supper, but instead of accepting the invitation, you are making excuses that are nothing more than insults to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

The invitations had been given centuries before read what Isaiah said, Isaiah 55:1-3  Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

All was ready but Israel would not come, when Jesus acting as the servant, said now is the time.

Excuses and Insults

If it seems ungrateful that the nation of Israel, spurned the invitation of Jesus while he was on earth, what can we say about the excuses made today? Aren’t we still being invited and are we still spurning and insulting the very God of Heaven with our excuse?
All has been prepared for us. Jesus even giving his life to make a way for us to be forgiven and allowed in the very presence of God. And yet excuses are made. You’ve heard them haven’t you, sometimes when you invite someone to church to hear the Gospel. They will say something like, “Sunday is my only day off” or There are too many hypocrites in church or “All they ever want is money.”

If you share the Gospel and tell them that Jesus died for them and all they have to do is believe on Him they will tell you. “I’m not ready” or “I’ll take care of that later” or even “I didn’t ask Him to die for me.”

One time a man I was working for aske me about being born again and when I told him what the Bible said his response was, “Well maybe I don’t need to be born again. Maybe I’m not as bad as those people. They need to be born again, but I’m not a drunk, or a murderer. I don’t need to be born again.”

Quote: D L Moody said, “Excuses are the cradle ... that Satan rocks men off to sleep in.” - Christian History, no. 25.

In verse 21, Jesus gives us an insight through this parable of exactly how  God responds to such rejection, such outright scorn at His invitation, and invitation that could only be given at the cost of His own Son’s lifeblood. In vs. 21, Jesus says the Master of the house “being angry.”

When you make excuses to God, we are playing a dangerous game.  When we make our excuses about why we can't, or won't or didn't.  It matters little what we say, because what God sees and hears is the rejection of the gift of his own Son’s life. The rejection of His Son’s last cry, “Father Forgive them.”

There are no valid excuses for not accepting God’s invitation, there is only a direct affront to His love and a rejection of the greatest gift ever given, the life of Christ in our place. By our excuses we refuse his love and the bible has a very frightening warning.

Romans 2:4-5 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Poem "No time for God."

No time for God?
What fools we are to clutter up
Our lives with common things
And leave without Heart's gate
The Lord of life, and life itself

No time for God?
As soon to say, no time
To eat or sleep or love or die.
Take time for God
Or you shall dwarf your soul
And when the angel death
Comes knocking at your door,
A poor misshapen thing you'll be
To step into eternity.

No time for God?
That day when sickness comes
Or troubles find you out
And you cry out for God,
Will He have time for you?
No time for God?

Transition: How does the Master react to the insults and excuses? Vs. 21

Quick - Luke 14: 21-22

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

The Angry Command

The Master of the house, the person in the story that stands in the place of God is angry. The word is translated as wroth and used in two parables in Matthew, Matthew 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

Matthew 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

In this parable the anger of the Master, takes a different form. He tells the servant, " Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”

Jesus was telling the self-righteous Pharisees, the rich Sadducees, the upper, ruling class of Jews, "Your attitude is an insult to the Father and in His anger He will turn from you and will seek those who will not turn down his invitation"

The servant goes, into the streets, alleys and byways of the city, he scours the lanes and avenues and finds those who will joyfully come to the Great Supper. He comes back and says, "it is done and yet there is room." 

The Servant and the Servants

Note the Servant. In the parable the servant would be Jesus Christ, thought He was the Son of God, yet he came as a servant to do His Father’s will.

In Luke 9:10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:   Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:   But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Christ came took on sinful flesh, and yet did not commit sin, He lived a sinless life, preaching the good news of the Kingdom and then offered that sinless life on the cross as payment for our sin. With his resurrection and ascension, the job of the servant inviting those in the highways and byways has fallen to us. We now are under the command of our Lord

Note the Command. We are to “Go quickly.” There is no time to wait, the preparation are done, , the great supper will start at the Master's appointed hour and we must bring the guests to the table. There is no time to wait for a better day, there is no time to wait for better people, there is no time to wait for a better hearing. The appointed hour approaches and one day the invitation will end and the doors to the Master’s House will close.

Note the Place. We are to go into the streets and lanes of the city. Literally, this means the main streets and the little roads.  The Master of the Feast, is commanding us to look everywhere and anywhere within the city.  From the busiest places to the quietest places, seek and invite them at work, at school, at play and especially at home.  Seek them, find them and find them now.

Note the people. We are told to seek the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind. Why these people?  Could it be that they also have known rejection and in that rejection they would respond to the open and loving invitation of one sincerely calling them to heaven’s feast. We should be seeking the rejected, the hurt, those blinded by sin and made outcasts because of it.  We should look for the blind, who have never seen the love of God, or their need for Jesus Christ. When we present them with the invitation, it shines like a light dark room. 

Finally, Note the Result. They came, the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind, the rejected, the sinners and the outcasts they came, but the servant tells the Master, “It is done and yet there is room.” 

Still there is room for more.
Aren't you glad? Shouldn’t we rejoice, In God's house and the Great Supper in heaven there is still room. Room for us and room for any and everyone you would invite. There is room! It's been over 2000 years since this parable but still Jesus tells us there's room for more.

Illustration: 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.

Chorus: - There's room at the cross for you; There room at the cross for you.
Tho millions have come, there's still room for one-
Yes, there's room at the cross for you.

Tho 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 Calv'ry to cleanse every stain.

There's still room, there's room for your mother and father, there's room for your brother and sister, there's room for your neighbor, there's room for your co-worker, and there’s room for your friend. Bring them all in and still there will be  room. Wouldn’t it be sad to believe anything else?
Transition: Because there was still room the servant is sent out again.  Look at verse 23-24

Compel - Luke 14:23-24

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

The Insatiable Desire

The Lord sends his servant out again. This time outside the city to the highways and hedges. The city in this parable would probably represent the nation of Judah. For the Lord come first to the Jews.
Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

In the parable the servant stays within the city walls and gives the invitation to those within its boundaries. When there is still room, the invitation is expanded. Go outside of the city, outside of the nation and people of Israel. Go to the Gentiles, the pagans and the barbarians and "Compel them to come in.  That my house may be full."

This is exactly what the Lord tells his church on the Mount of Olives just before his ascension back into heaven. Luke who also wrote the book of Acts gives us the Mt Olive Great Commission in Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The parable became reality, the fiction became fact and Jesus tells his church, his servants, “Throw open the gates of the city and seek the lost to the very ends of the earth.”

Love and Seeking

I read a quote this week as I was researching the sermon and I want to share it with you. “Both nature and grace abhor a vacuum” (Bengel).”

In nature if a vacuum exists it is quickly filled and this parable tells us that in God’s supernatural love, because there is grace it reaches out and draw in so that it will not be empty.
Heaven is not full. God’s love is not satiated. Jesus blood has not lost its power to cover sin. God says, "Keep going, keep seeking.  Go beyond your Jerusalem there is a world of highways and hedges with people who have not heard the invitation of God and have not experienced the grace of His forgiveness.”

Remember God speaks to us as his servants.  His command is in our ears and in our hearts. 
He commands us to "compel them." The word means to urge and constrain them.

Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Example: Once heard a man talking about winning souls and he said he was going to do everything that he could to win everyone he could.  Even at the rapture as he was going up into heaven, he was going to grab the nearest sinner by the shirt and as he dragged upward to heaven, he would be telling him, "Repent sinner or I'm going to let you go."

To compel them means to use every square inch of our heart, every instance of our intelligence, every story of our experiences, every cord of our muscles, every breath in our lungs, every penny in our pocket, every prayer we can pray and every word the Lord will give us. Compel them, urge them, bring the lost to Christ. Compel them to come in. Heaven is not full. Grace is not exhausted. The Father’s invitation has not ceased. – DKM

Illustration: Come Home Its Suppertime ( a song my grandmother and mom used to sing and play)
When I was but a boy in days of childhood
I used to play till evening shadows come.
Then winding down an old familiar pathway
I heard my mother call at set of sun

Come home, come home
it's supper time
the shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
it's supper time
we're going home at last.

In visions now I see her standing yonder,
and her familiar voice I hear once more.
The banquet table's ready up in heaven,
It's supper time upon that golden shore.

Come home, come home
it's supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
it's supper time,
we're going home at last.

We're going home at last.


Answering that invitation, starts right now, it starts right here. First, with each of us answering the invitation of the Lord. Come to the table. There is a place prepared for you at the Great Supper in Heaven. Here is your invitation. Won’t you accept it?

It also starts with us who are saved. It starts with a commitment to be the a true servant of the Lord.  I must answer a different call and say, “Lord I'm willing, Lord I want to see that great supper in heaven. I want to look down that long table and see the faces of my loved ones, my family, my friends, my neighbors. Those I shared your invitation with.  Those that I emptied my heart for, that I broke my health for, that I poured out my finances for.  I want to see them and so many others in heaven for all eternity.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Bible Boot Camp: Field Headquarters - The Church

Field Headquarters: The Church

Our orders are issued from heaven but we are fighting on the front lines here on earth, therefore we need a field headquarters. Our HQ on earth is the local church. It has been commissioned by Jesus to recruit, equip and train us as soldiers of the cross, until He returns to make the final assault.

Origin of the Church

Defined: the Greek word for church is Ekklesia.  It means a local, called-out, assembly.  In Acts 19:41 "assembly" is the same word translated "church" 119 time in the New Testament.

The first use of the word in the NT is Matthew 16:18.  Use this passage to answer the following questions.

In Matthew 16:28,  did Jesus change or modify the definition of the word as it was used in that day?
No, therefore the church Jesus built would be a local (in one location), called out (by him) assembly.

We see Jesus doing exactly this in Mark 3:13-14
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

Also Luke 6:13-14  And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach
The Lord called and they assembled.

Thus, we can see the definition of the church as it is enacted.

Could this original assembly, started by Jesus, cease to exist?
Not unless, Jesus failed or lied.
Matthew 16:18  The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 28:20  Lo, I am with you alway even to the end of the world.

Since, by Jesus’ promise, the church did not and cannot cease to exist, how can a person find the church that Jesus founded, commission and left on earth?
Either by a traceable history or by identifying marks of distinction that are shared between the first church and the church in the world today.


Marks of the Church - Membership

Requirements for church membership  - Acts 2:41

Salvation and Baptism or letter from another church of like faith and order stating that the candidate was a member there.

Offices of the Church

Read 1Timothy 3, Acts 6:1-6. What are the only two offices of the church?  Pastor and Deacon are the only offices authorized in God’s word for the work of the church.

Marks of the Church - Ordinances

Four Essentials of Proper Baptism

Proper Candidate
Candidate for Baptism must be saved.

Scripture Acts 8:35-38, Acts 2:41

Proper Mode or Method
Candidate must be immersed only

Definition:  fr. Baptizo, To immerse or dip

Symbolism: Baptism represents the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Scripture Romans 6:4, Acts 8:38, Matthew 3:6, 3:16

Proper Motive
Candidate must have the proper reason.

Baptism is to show the gospel of Jesus Christ 1 Cor 15:3-4

To show our own death, burial and resurrection in Jesus Christ Rom 6:4

To show our identification with Jesus Christ Rom 6:5
To follow Christ's example Matt 3:15
To obey Christ Matt 28:19-20

Improper motives, these are not valid reasons for baptism.

For Salvation  Acts 16:30-32, Luke 23:39-43, 1 Cor. 1:17
To wash away sin(s) 1 Peter 3:21

Proper Authority
Candidate must be baptized by the proper authority
Great Commission was to the local church  Matt 28:19-20
Paul baptized by the authority of a local church Acts 13:2-3
Phillip was commissioned by local church Acts 6:5-6

Four Essentials of the Lord's Supper

Proper Candidate
Candidate for Lord's Supper must be a member of local church.
Scripture 1 Cor 5:11, 11:20-22, 33
Must be under authority of local church.

Proper Mode or Method
Fruit of the vine and unleavened bread.
Scripture: Luke 22:17-18, Exodus 12:15

Proper Motive
A symbolic memorial, no saving merit is imparted.
Scripture 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

Proper Authority
The local church in assembly
Scripture 1 Corinthians 11:20-33

Commission Matthew 28:19-20

The commission is the church's "marching orders" everything else we do as a church must be subservient to these orders.

What are the commands of the commission?
1. Go 2. Teach (Make Disciples) 3. Baptize 4. Teach (Train)

There are other commissions given in scripture ( Mark 3:13-15, Mark 16:17 and Luke 10:1-9) but they all have been superseded by the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19-20.  


The church that Jesus built brought the gospel to the pagan world. From that first assembly of 12 called together just before the Sermon on the Mount, to the thousands that were saved and baptized on the Day of Pentecost to the billions that today “claim the name” of Christian, the true church has not changed in its identity, its doctrine or its mission.

The Church of Jesus Christ will stand until He comes back and takes her home for that great wedding feast, one day in Heaven.