Snubbing the Invitation to be Saved
August 2, 2020 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: rejection of Salvation Verse: Luke 14:15–14:24
Theme: Everyone who responds properly to God’s call will be saved.
Introduction: Common social courtesies instruct us to RSVP to invitations that are officially extended. When we indicate that we will attend an event, to fail to show up is considered rude, socially ill-mannered. There have been occasions when people have invited others over for dinner – after cooking the meal, setting the table, and getting everything ready the dinner hour arrives – but the guests don’t. After waiting, all of a sudden a call comes from the delinquent guests indicating that they had been busy all day and they’re tired and aren’t able to come. The person to whom this happed came to me and asked “How should we respond?”
Imagine, the Lord making everything ready for us to be able to enjoy the lavish feast of His grace: the incarnation, sacrifices, compassions, kindness, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension. Everything needed for our reconciliation with God is provided and then the call comes for us to respond in faith and we respond – “meah! I don’t need it.” Our text today provides this heinous response to Christ as sinners choose their sin and the mask of self-righteousness over His salvation as they “snub the invitation to be saved.” However, inherent in this parable is the truth that everyone who responds properly to God’s call will be saved.
I. God Extends an Invitation to Be Saved – 14:15-20
A. The Expectation of Salvation – v. 15
- As Jesus had denounced the self-righteousness and presumptions of the Pharisees – indicating that being included in the “resurrection of the righteous,” (v. 14) they would need to humble themselves and acknowledge their unworthiness.
- The Old Testament illustrated the benefits of being included in the resurrection through the analogy of a banquet – cp. Isaiah 25:6-9.
- In contest to Jesus’ call for the Pharisees to humble themselves, one of them asserted they would know God’s blessing: “When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!’”
- We see this man’s assertion was contradicting Jesus’ point in the next verse which begins with “But He [Jesus] said to him, …”
- The thought that their blessing was “conditional” upon their humility and life-change through regeneration was repulsive to their haughty and presumptive positions of honor.
- “It was not only a pronouncement of blessing on themselves, but also a scornful rebuke of the Lord’s declaration that they were too proud to enter God’s kingdom (cf. 14:11). His words bounced off their confidence that their Abrahamic ancestry (cf. John 8:33–59) and adherence to the traditions, regulations, and rituals would secure a place for them at God’s banquet. Not only did they fully expect to be at that heavenly feast, but also to be in the seats of honor.”
- The most heinous of all presumptions ever assumed is the thought that one is acceptable to God without a divine work of transformation brought about by mercy and grace.
B. The Extending of Salvation – vv. 16-17
- Out of a heart of compassion and a desire to save, Jesus once again confronts the need for religious people to realize the peril of relying on their own righteousness.
- He uses a parable to do so, building upon the theme of a banquet or feast – “… A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many …”
- The “big dinner” indicates that this was an event of noteworthy social significance – the “talk of the town” or “the social event of the year” and in the parable represents the participation in the Kingdom – Matthew 22:2-3.
- The fact that “he invited many” – indicates that participation was initially restricted to everyone who through their standing would have been expected to attend – and in this case referred to the Jews, those who were the focus of Jesus’ ministry – Matthew 10:5-7.
- When it was time for people to begin to begin to respond to the invitation and beginning participating in the “big dinner,” a specific call is provided – “… and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’”
- This is a reference to the ministry of the prophets throughout the Old Testament as well as John and Jesus who were calling on the sinful people of Israel to come and benefit from the grace of God in redemption and salvation.
C. The Excuses against Salvation – vv. 18-20
- Shockingly, those He invited did not wish to participate and we are told “they all alike began to make excuses” why they “could not” participate.
- Materialism: “The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused’” – an absurd excuse: who buys land without seeing it, and if it is purchased already, you are able to go “look at it” at any time – Mark 10:28-30.
- Work: “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’” – another absurd excuse: the man was clearly wealthy and would be observing his slaves working, he was too busy with the affairs of his business dealings to be distracted with something he considered an interruption – Luke 9:62.
- Relationships: “Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’” – still another absurd excuse: in the culture of the first century, a wife did not limit what her husband could do – but this was a signal that this Jew didn’t want to risk a relationship – cp. Luke 14:26.
- These are some of the more common reasons that people “don’t have time” for the Kingdom of God – a choice that becomes damning in the end.
When was the first time you sensed God’s desire to save you … did you respond right away?
What are the common excuses you have heard for a person refusing to be saved?
Why do you think most people assume they are saved?
II. God Expands the Invitation to Be Saved – 14:21-23
A. Salvation Is Extended to the Outcast – v. 21
- It is notable that the host of the dinner becomes angry when he hears these excuses – “And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household become angry …”
- For them to have responded with indifference and insult when he had so generously offered to host them, prompted the host to become outraged.
- As a result, he invited people who would never be expected to be able to participate in the Kingdom – the master “said to his slave, ‘God out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’”
- This would have been equally as shocking to the Pharisees as the unwillingness of those originally invited to attend.
- These categories of people were described in the previous section as people were undesirable - those who have nothing to offer, but were actually in need.
- This pictures those people of Israel who were debilitated by their sins and had nothing to cause them to expect that God would be gracious toward them.
B. Salvation Is Extended to the Outlier – vv. 22-23
- After this had been done, “the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’”
- The Gospel, intended first for the Jew, was also to be extended to the Gentiles – Acts 1:8.
- The “streets and lanes of the city” would have referred to the immediate people of Israel, but there was still room – “And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.’” – cp. Ephesians 2:13.
- “compel” [ἀναγκάζω] – describes the sense of urgency to come – to press them or implore them.
- Part of the reason they would need to be compelled was the unthinkable was happening – they never would think that they would belong at such an event.
- Such grace, mercy, compassion, generosity, and inclusiveness was hard to believe.
- In contrast to the smug self-contentment of the self-righteous, these sinners would forever be grateful for their ability to participate in the kingdom.
In what ways do you identify with the outcasts that were invited?
What is the difference between those who lived in the city and those out “in the highways and along the hedges”?
How does your sense of your unworthiness to be saved cause you to respond to God’s grace?
III. God Excludes the Invitation to Be Saved – 14:24
A. The Caution for Those Who Receive It
- Jesus concludes this parable with two things – first a warning framed by the phrase: “For I tell you …” – a signal that He was applying the truth taught in the parable.
- Those who would listen and receive Jesus’ teaching could know His mercy and grace through salvation.
- The needy, that is the spiritually “poor, and crippled, and blind, and lame” would know the blessing to being rich in grace, and healed by God’s mercy.
- Anyone today who is willing to admit their need for salvation – the deliverance from the crippling effects of their sin through faith in Jesus and what He did for them on the cross, they can be seated at the table of God’s eternal blessing.
B. The Condemnation of Those Who Reject It
- However, those who reject Christ, there is no hope for them – “none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.”
- They will be forever “shut out” of all that God has reserved for those who repent of their sins and humble themselves before Christ Jesus.
- Although the prospect had initially been theirs, the opportunity had been removed from them and they were excluded.
- Why did Jesus tell this parable?
- What caused Jesus to rescind the invitation for salvation?
- How have you responded to Jesus’ invitation to be saved?
- Assumptions about one’s spiritual standing before God are dangerous - confirmation is necessary through faith in Christ and the testimony of God’s Spirit using God’s Word.
- Thoughts of “it's not worth it” in reference to following Christ ought to cause disruption of heart, excuses for not being devoted are unacceptable to God.
- The refusal to receive God’s invitation to be saved angers God – rejecting Jesus is the most heinous & unforgivable of all sins.
- If you are saved – having repented of your sin and trusting Jesus as your own Savior, adore Him for saving you from what He abhors.