Thursday, July 4, 2013

Have you RSVP'd?

Two weeks ago I got to go to an Ugandan wedding. Last week Mike and I went to Jerome and Livy’s wedding on Guam and tomorrow we go to Leana and JoJo’s wedding. Add that to Mike and I celebrating our anniversary this week and I found myself spending time with the Lord this morning and reading "The Parable of the Wedding Feast" (Matt 22:1-14). This wonderful story, like many of Christ's parables, makes me think about how loving our God really is and that God’s love for us is so great that it is beyond our comprehension.

God has created a place for us where there is no pain, fear or suffering; a place where only joy, love and peace exist and the price of admission is to just love and obey Him.

God sacrificed His only Son to wash away all our sins and to prove to us that He loves us. As a parent I try to imagine how I could ever bring myself to nail my son to a cross. In your mind’s eye see yourself stretching your child out on a wooden cross and then hammering spikes through their hands and feet. Could any loving parent bring themselves to do such a thing to their own child even if it meant that you could possibly save the life of everyone in the world by doing so? Just the thought of it sends chills down my spine; it is so horrible it is unthinkable.

With that horrifying thought still in your mind try to grasp the depth and breadth of the love that God has for you and me. God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only son who was nailed to a wooden cross, wearing a crown of thorns after being whipped across his back with thirty nine lashes from a bone impregnated whip (the method the Romans employed on all their crucifixion victims) to make it possible for us to live in the love, peace and joy of His Kingdom. 

God’s love for us is so great that it is beyond our comprehension. Unless you can understand how destructive the law is, how much death is connected to the law, how much we need to depend on God instead of our own “good works”, our own intelligence,  or as Frank Sinatra said, the “I Did it MY Way.” Mentality you cannot begin to understand the love that Christ has for us. And all that he asks of us is to love Him, our neighbor and ourselves. How difficult is that? I guess it depends on your neighbor but really not difficult at all. Just ask Him with an open heart and He will show you.

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet Truths related to the Kingdom of God Matt 22:1-14.

 1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

   4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

   5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

   8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

   11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

   13 “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.’

   14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

This beautiful parable tells us of God’s invitation (to the nation of Israel) to the wedding feast (to enter the Kingdom of Heaven). God had sent two
invitations to them. The first invitation (ministry of John the Baptist) was send long before the event in order to give those invited the time necessary to prepare themselves. The second invitation (the ministry of Jesus and the disciples) to announce that the feast was ready and that all those invited should come now.

All those that had been invited refused to come to the wedding feast (to enter God’s Kingdom) because they were just not interested, they were all preoccupied with the here and now. This angered God and it did not go well for them (as evidenced by the destruction of Jerusalem A.D. 70). Those that had been invited had not prepared themselves to enjoy the feast (to enter the Kingdom of Heaven) because they were not worthy (they had not accepted Christ).

Since the Israelites had ignored His invitation, God decided to openly invite everyone, good and bad (the Jews and the gentiles) to join Him at the wedding feast. Well now the wedding hall (God’s Kingdom) was filled with guests.
God looked around at all the people that had accepted His invitation (to accept Christ and enter God’s Kingdom) and found one man in the crowd that was not wearing a wedding garment (meaning that this man had not accepted Christ’s teaching and His sacrifice on the cross), the man was an impostor  Well, it did not go well for him either. God told his servants to bind his hands and feet and to cast him into outer darkness (out of the Kingdom of Heaven) and back to the pain, fear and suffering of the world.

God invites everyone to join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven but not everyone accepts His gracious invitation. It is a choice that each person must make for themselves. Deciding not to make any choice is still a decision. Make the right decision and you will live in a peace that defies all understanding. No matter what you decide it will be the most important decision you will ever make. 

We have an invitation to the wedding feast. How many people do you know who have not RSVP’s for the wedding? Are they on your intercession list? Do you keep them before the throne?

Time to get busy—the wedding is soon.

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