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An Invitation to God’s Great Banquet B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2024 4:00 am

An Invitation to God’s Great Banquet B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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May 29, 2024 4:00 am

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They are not interested in the message of Jesus Christ, or in Jesus Christ. Imagine if in 1976 you were given a 10% stake in the Apple Corporation. That was the case for Ronald Wayne, a man named in the first partnership agreement for the company. But in an effort to protect himself from what he thought was a failing business, Wayne sold his stake in Apple less than two weeks after being awarded stock in the company. He made $800 in the deal.

Today that stock would be worth around $100 billion. While that may be one of history's greatest missed opportunities, today John MacArthur shows you how you could be missing an even greater opportunity, namely spending eternity with Christ. And with that in mind, stay here as John continues his series called Stories With Purpose. Open your Bible to Luke 14, they were all raised up in a work system, you tried to achieve the highest place of prominence. They were sure they would be in the chief seats in the heavenly banquet. And while this is not directly an adversarial comment, this is not an attack on what Jesus says directly, indirectly it is a scorn and a rebuke of the Lord's insinuation that they were too proud to be in God's Kingdom. That only the humble were going to show up at the righteous resurrection. On the contrary, we are the blessed who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God and all the rest would have said, Yes, amen, we'll all be there.

And Jesus is going to shatter their false hope with a story, a parable. And in fact, as a brief outline, four points, invitation, excuses, inclusion, exclusion. Can you follow that? Invitation, excuses, inclusion, exclusion. Let's look at the invitation. In a world where you had to kill the animals and you had to clean the animals and you had to cook the animals and you had to get all of the vegetables and everything else you wanted and do all the preparation, specificity couldn't be stated at the first invitation, so always there were two invitations. First invitation identified you as one who was being invited as an honored guest and you waited to get the second invitation which basically said, verse 17 says, at the dinner hour He sent His slave to say to those who had been invited, come for everything is ready now. Every one of these kind of events had two invitations, the one that let you know you would be future invited and then the second invitation came when everything was ready. But when the invitation comes at the hour, verse 18, we get excuses. So we go from the invitation to the excuses.

Listen to these. They all alike began to make excuses. Everybody said, I can't come.

All of them. They all came up with excuses. Now this is where the Pharisees at lunch are saying, this is ridiculous. Nobody would do that. What a joke. Pharisees and the scribes must have looked at each other and said, this is an absurd story. Where is this story going?

Nobody would do that, let alone everybody. And then Jesus says to them, unless they think that there was some really good reason why they wouldn't come, here are three sample excuses. The first sample, verse 18, they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to Him, I bought a piece of land, I need to go out and look at it.

What? Where do you think it's going to go? What are you going to see, dirt? You're going to turn down a banquet to go look at dirt? This is absurd. They would chuckle here and they would say, this is getting funnier by the minute.

Nobody would do that. The dirt's not going anywhere. Please consider me excused.

It's a lame, ridiculous, absurd excuse. And another one says in verse 19, I bought five yoke of oxen. By the way, if you had five yoke of oxen, that was an indication that you were a very wealthy land owner. So here's a guy who is a fairly wealthy guy in the story, he says, I've got five yoke of oxen, I'm going to try them out. You're going to try out your oxen instead of going to this deal?

You think your oxen can't be tried out in another few days? This is ridiculous. Here's the only one that even gets close to reality, verse 20, you're already there, right? Oh yeah, you identify with this, I married a wife and for that reason I can't come. Yeah, you know, she just slammed down her sandal and said, we aren't going. That does have a ring of reality to that one, doesn't it? Yeah, I would have come had I been single but you understand I'm now married and I confess to being henpecked.

Nothing new under the sun. There were some provisions in the Old Testament law, Deuteronomy 24, 5 that said if you marry a wife, you get some leave for a year from military service and from having to go away on long business junkets and things like that. But a dinner, a banquet, nobody would make an excuse like that and anybody who was that henpecked would make up a different excuse. By the way, Pharisees and scribes considered women as the lowest of the low. Every day a Pharisee prayed, I thank you, God, that I'm not a Gentile or a woman.

So women didn't dictate to men what to do. None of these make any excuse at all. And the story is getting more absurd and more ridiculous.

That leads us to the inclusion. We have a problem now. We have a massive banquet prepared and nobody to come. So the slave comes back, verse 21, reports to his master these ridiculous excuses which are samples of all the excuses given by everybody who was invited because none of them are going to come.

The head of the household becomes angry and anybody would say that is a just anger. This is tremendous effort, tremendous work, tremendous expense, a tremendous act of generosity and kindness returned with indifference and disdain. And he said to the slave, go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame. Celebration will go on.

The preparations are made. We won't cancel this event. Every seat will be filled but it's going to be fulfilled by the most unlikely people. Now Jesus had just told them back in verses 12 and 13, when you have a dinner, don't just invite your brothers and your friends and the rich, but find the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame.

And here this again appears here. Go at once into the streets and lanes in the city. We're talking about the street people here. We're talking about the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame. We're talking about the beggars and the outcasts who live in the slums, who live in the shanties. We're talking about Les Miserables. We're talking about the outcasts, the untouchables.

Go to the poor sections of town, the slums, find the scum, the riffraff. And now the story turns from one kind of preposterous idea that the people invited wouldn't come to an equally preposterous idea that the man would invite the scum. Neither of these are anywhere near reality in the society of the Jews.

Neither would happen. The first group wouldn't turn down the invitation and the second group would never, ever be invited. The Jews prided themselves on never touching the outcasts, on scorning Jesus for associating with prostitutes and tax collectors and sinners. They even confronted the disciples of Jesus, as we learned earlier in Luke, and said, Your master eats with sinners.

These people were below the water line of social acceptance. But the master says, Go and bring them. And they would have to be brought. The verb bring in in verse 21 is important.

They would have to be brought in because they would resist it. They know social protocol and as we pointed out last time, it's all about reciprocation. I'll hold a banquet for rich friends so rich friends will hold a banquet for me. That's how it works.

The elites stayed together and scratched each other's back and these people would have said, Look, I can't repay anything. There's no way. I don't want to come to a dinner there because I'm going to be obligated to provide one in reciprocation. I can't do that.

I have no capability to do that. Plus, I'm not worthy to come into that place. You know, when Luke was converted as a tax collector, he had a big banquet but the only people who would come to the banquet were other tax collectors and the strong-armed people who broke people's arms to collect his taxes and all the riffraff that went with them. These people would have to be brought in. They would have to be literally persuaded to come because it was so against the convention that they were used to.

And that's the kind of attitude that Jesus wanted people to have. Slave, verse 22, said, Master, what You've commanded has been done. There's still room. I got all the people I could from the poor section and there's still room, still some seats at the table.

It's a very big place, a very big dinner. And so in verse 23, the master said to the slave, Go out into the highways along the hedges and compel them to come in. Now you have to compel these. You have to bring the ones in town cause they're going to resist you just because they know they can't pay back. They know they don't belong there.

Now when you go out, it's even going to be a more difficult task so you compel them to come in. These people don't even have houses inside the city. They're not allowed in the city. They live outside the city. They are the highway people. They live in the brothels, the inns, the road houses and along the road and in the trees and in the bushes.

And they're harder to reach cause they're scattered farther. You're going to have to compel them to come in because if the people inside the city, at least they've been accepted into the city. If they have a hard time accepting the fact that they could come to a banquet like this, these people are going to have an even harder time. So you really do need to compel them. And the idea of the word compel here is a very strong word.

I'll comment on it a little later. Verse 24 then goes to the exclusion. We see the invitation excuses the inclusion of this other group and now the exclusion, verse 24, For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner. Now they would all say, That's right, boy. I agree with you on that one. The whole ridiculous story would come to this ending, but in one sense they would all say, Well of course if anybody did, you'd never ever let them back into the dinner. They forfeited their privilege for good with that kind of conduct.

They would all agree with that. But at this point the application of the parable takes it a completely different direction. The story has all long been in the third person, a man giving a dinner, he sent his slave and the people made excuses. It's all in the third person.

But all of a sudden in verse 24 we move into the first and second person. This is no longer the story, this is the application, For I tell you. And now he's pointing the story at his audience.

This is not he and them, this is you and I am telling you. By the way, For I tell you appears six or seven times in the gospel of Luke. Every time it's when Jesus applies a story to his audience. I tell you, none of those men who were invited...notice this...shall taste of my dinner. We're not talking about the man and his dinner, we're talking about Jesus and the Messianic dinner. We're talking about heaven. We're talking about the great banquet provided for the resurrection of the righteous. We're talking about the heavenly celebration, salvation, eternal kingdom, resurrection, life. Jesus says, I tell you, none of those who were invited shall taste of my dinner. Bottom line, you will be excluded from the heavenly banquet, which means you will not be in the Kingdom of God, not among the blessed, nor will you be there at the resurrection of the righteous. Now let's go back to the parable and see the application.

All of a sudden what's bursting on their minds at this juncture? By this application they recycle it and this is what they come up with, the invitation. The man, that's God, was giving a big dinner, salvation, the eternal kingdom, the resurrection of the righteous, the heavenly celebration, the lavish banquet in glory. And He invited through the prophets and the men of God and the authors of Old Testament Scripture, many, meaning Israel, the preinvited guests, the chosen people of God to whom were given the Scriptures and the covenants and the promises and Messiah and the adoption.

And they all said yes. The first reaction to the Old Testament revelation is this, you're God's chosen people. God has prepared and provided for you eternal life. He invites you to that eternal life. He invites you to the heavenly lavish banquet.

He invites you into His eternal Kingdom. And they believed it. They believed they were God's chosen people. They believed they would be resurrected into heavenly glory and blessing.

This was their hope. This still is the hope of all religious Jews. They believe that they will be the recipients of all the Old Testament promises.

They believe it. And included with them are other proselytes from the Gentiles who became proselytes to Judaism. They too will share in that Kingdom, even though, as verse 34 of chapter 13 says, they had killed the prophets and stoned the divine messengers. They had rebelled.

They had gone into idolatry. They still believed that because of their Abrahamic ancestry, we are the seed of Abraham, and because of their keeping of the tradition, they were going to be there. They were waiting for the Kingdom. They were waiting for the Messiah. They were in full hope of that promise. That's why all Judea and Jerusalem was going out to John the Baptist who was saying the Kingdom is at hand, the King is here. That was their anticipated hope. And as I said, they lived for that.

That's why they would live with all the strictures. But at the dinner hour, which Jesus called the acceptable year of the Lord, the moment when the meal was ready, He sent His slave, God did, to say to those who had been invited, come for everything is ready now. This could be John the Baptist, or Jesus and the Apostles, all of them. The messengers come and say it's time now. The Kingdom is ready. The door is open.

The meal is provided. Salvation is here. Jesus said to the synagogue crowd in Nazareth, He said, today these things are fulfilled in your ears. The preinvited guests were given the second invitation. Everything is ready.

The King is here and the Kingdom was offered to them. And then we see the excuses. They all began to make excuses. Two of them have to do with possessions, one of them has to do with relationships.

And this is typical. That's all you've got in this world. You either have possessions or relationships. You either have animate things or inanimate things.

You either have stuff or people to fill your life. Disinterest, indifference, self-satisfaction, the joke is on them by now as they process this again, they're probably not laughing anymore because they're the ones that are holding on to the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world in the language of the parables of Matthew 13 and also in Luke. They are not interested in the message of Jesus Christ or in Jesus Christ. When the true gospel of salvation came, they wanted to stone Him.

One message in the synagogue in Nazareth and they try to throw Him off a cliff. They have no interest in the banquet of God if Jesus Christ is the door to the banquet hall. They have no interest in the banquet of God if Jesus Christ is the way.

They are the fools with the stupid excuses who hold on to everything. And that's why Jesus said, if you're not willing to sell all and follow Me, you can't be My disciple. If you're not willing to hate your father, your mother, your sister, your brother and even your own life, look at it down in this same chapter, verse 26, if anyone comes to Me and doesn't hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters in even his own life, he can't be My disciple. Whoever doesn't carry his own cross come after Me, can't be My disciple. Jesus repeatedly said this, often spoke of leaving material possessions and leaving human relationships behind. See the Jews had all said yes to God's promise and no to God's Son.

Yes to the original invitation, no to the invitation to come. They were dominated like all sinners by natural desire, love of the flesh, love of the world, love of self. How stupid to make dirt your priority, or oxen, or a relationship, even that with a wife. That is exactly why in chapter 13, 34, He said, I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, you wouldn't have it. Now your house is left to you. God steps back.

I abandon you, you're desolate. And judgment fell in 70 A.D. physically when the Romans came and massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews and the slaughter went on for years and years. How stupid to prefer anything to salvation.

How ridiculous to make that choice with the most severe and eternal consequences. How much better to do as Paul to see all of that stuff connected to his Judaism as manure compared to Christ. Then we come to inclusion, verses 21 to 23, they're reprocessing this again and starting to be clear what he's talking about.

Slave came back, reports the household head is angry. God has been dishonored. God has been scorned. God has been affronted.

His goodness and His generosity and His kindness have been treated with contempt. This is a righteous, just anger and they know it. They would have said it in their minds, whoa, that man has every right to be angry and so does God have every right to be angry with those who reject His Son.

Everybody seemed at first to be ridiculous, but the very ones amused by it were the ones who now see themselves under the anger of God. John 3, 36, he who believes in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life but the wrath of God abides on him. In 2 Thessalonians tells us in strong, strong language, unforgettable language, that when the Lord comes, He will deal out retribution to those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, judgment.

They knew what He was saying. He is angry and you are excluded, you're desolate, left to yourselves. And then, go into the streets and lanes of the city and bring the poor, the crippled, the blind, the lame. You remember the Sermon on the Mount, the meek inherit the Kingdom, the spiritually bankrupt, the humble, the hungry, the thirsty, this is what he's saying. Go out and find the people who are spiritually destitute. Go out and find the people who are broken and hungry. Go out and find the sinners who know they're unworthy. Go out and find those who know they don't belong at the banquet of God because of their wretchedness, the tax collectors and the riffraff.

Go find the beggars, the untouchables, those who are spiritually aware of their utter uselessness, hopelessness and unworthiness. The banquet will not include the Pharisees, not include the scribes, not include the rabbis and the priests, with a few exceptions, it will not include the general religious synagogue people. But the banquet will include the outcasts.

Like the public in Luke 18, pounding his breast, God be merciful to me a sinner. That's why 1 Corinthians 1 says, not many noble, not many mighty, God has chosen the humble and the poor and the base and the lowly and the nobodies. That's the Jewish remnant. That's the Jews who were broken enough and humble enough and spiritually mourning over their wretchedness.

And they came out of the outcast crowd. But the slave comes back in verse 22 and says, what You commanded has been done is still room. There's not enough from just the remnant of Jews. And throughout all of history there continue to be a remnant of Jews who come to faith in Christ, who humble themselves and know they are the meek and the mourning and the lowly and the destitute and the hungry and the thirsty and the outcasts, like Paul who saw himself as the chief of sinners.

But that's not enough. There's not just going to be the Jewish remnant to fill up heaven, there's still room. So verse 23, the master said to the slave, go outside the city. Go over to the highways and along the hedges, this indicates the Gentiles.

Get outside of the confines of Judaism. Now we're talking about the Great Commission, go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, make disciples of every nation, go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the world. Now we're talking about preaching the gospel, Romans 1, 16, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, the highways, the hedges, that's all over everywhere, outside the confines of the city, people of every tongue and tribe and people and nation and compel them, anakadzo, very strong word. It means to persuade strongly, to urge, to constrain because they're going to say, well I'm not even a part of Israel, I'm not even inside all of this choosing of God, this people of God, I'm unworthy, going to have to compel them. That verb is used by Jesus...of Jesus in Matthew 14, 22, making the disciples get into the boat, strong convincing persuasion, get in the boat. It's used by Paul in Acts 26, 11 who tried to force people to blaspheme. It's used, again, 28 of Acts, he was forced, compelled, urged, had no other course than to appeal to Caesar, he says, in his conflict with the Jews. It was used regarding Titus being compelled to be circumcised in Galatians chapter 2. So it's a strong word, you're going to have to compel these people because of their unworthiness.

This is again this publican attitude. Here's not, here I am, Jesus, aren't you glad to get me? It's...I'm not worthy, I don't deserve this, but I cry out for mercy. God be merciful to me, a sinner.

You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. Today's lesson is part of John's series titled Stories with Purpose. Well, John, you've made it clear in this study that Jesus used parables to condemn religious leaders and to confront their pride. But these stories don't only condemn. In fact, I know you would say that the parables are packed with hope, salvation hope.

So talk about that for a moment. It is true that the parables are related to salvation. All the parables show some aspect of salvation. That's what our Lord was communicating.

And that was his message, right? The Son of Man has come to seek and save those who are lost. And no matter what kind of ministry you have, no matter what kind of church you have, no matter what kind of media ministry you have, in the end, the objective has to be to proclaim the wondrous gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that sinners can be saved. I always think of evangelism, first of all, in the language of the Apostle Paul in Second Corinthians 5, where he says, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. And then he says, we've been given the word of reconciliation.

What does that mean? That God desires to be reconciled with sinners. That is the good news. That is the gospel.

Good news. God wants to be reconciled to sinners. Sinners who have been defined as enemies, sinners who have been haters of God, rejectors of God, blasphemers of God, who have been children of the devil, who have lived in deceit and lies, who have offended God every waking moment of their lives and never been able to do anything but that because of their fallenness. The amazing reality of the gospel is that God desires to be reconciled to sinners. And that reconciliation has to come from him because he is the one that is offended. God desires to be reconciled with sinners.

That's the good news. I've said that many times in conversations with non-believers. Do you have any interest in being reconciled to God? And people would say, well, do I have a problem with God?

You certainly do. Right now you're under his wrath, headed for his judgment, and the consequences of that are eternal hell and punishment, conscious punishment forever. Would you desire to be reconciled to God if that were possible?

And of course it is. And you ask the question, well, how can God forgive and accept us? And the answer is right in that same passage, 2 Corinthians 5, because God made Christ sin for us. What that means is that God placed our sins on Christ, and Christ died paying the penalty for the sins of all who would ever believe through all of human history. So God's justice was satisfied. The penalty was fully paid in Christ. God was satisfied with that payment, obviously, because he raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to his own right hand. So God has provided the sacrifice that settles the issue of his justice and offers the repentant sinner full reconciliation so that the sinner becomes not just a friend of God, but a son of God and a joint heir with Christ. That's the good news of the gospel.

And that is good news. Thank you, John. And friend, let me mention that John has preached a whole sermon on the verse that he just talked about, 2 Corinthians 5.21. Sermon's titled, 15 Words of Hope, and it may be one of the clearest and most memorable explanations of the gospel that you will ever hear.

Download that lesson for free when you get in touch today. You can download 15 Words of Hope from our website,, and it's free of charge in both MP3 and transcript format, profound gospel truth in this classic message from John MacArthur. Again, to download 15 Words of Hope, visit our website, And in addition to that message, there are over 3,600 other sermons by John available for you to download free of charge. You can listen to the MP3s and read the transcripts of those messages. You can also read daily devotionals by John and catch the latest articles on the Grace to You blog.

All of that and much more is available for free at Now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Look for Grace to You television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378, or watch online anytime at, and join us for the next installment of John's study called Stories with Purpose when he answers this question. Why would Jesus seem to commend a greedy, dishonest man as an example to follow? It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 05:57:02 / 2024-05-29 06:08:28 / 11

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