Now, I don't know about you this week, but I took some time to watch the funeral of former President Richard Nixon.
Maybe you did too. For me, it was kind of a very moving experience. I don't know how you felt about it, but as I saw all those people line up for hours to pay their respects, as I watched his two daughters and his only surviving brother in tears as they folded the flag that had draped his coffin and gave it to them, I was reminded that, above all else, Richard Nixon was simply a human being.
That's all. He was a human being, a man who was loved by his children, who was adored by his grandchildren, and who was respected and esteemed by thousands upon thousands of Americans. However, there still were people in the midst of all this who just could not forget about Nixon's failures. Ramsey Clark, who used to be Attorney General under LBJ, said this week in USA Today, and I quote, he said, if there is a fair opportunity to evaluate, Nixon will be seen as a terribly flawed leader, to be pitied because of his loneliness, his insecurity, his bellicosity, and his vindictiveness, end of quote.
I don't know. It kind of seems to me it's a little out of place to say those kind of things about a man when you're burying him. But Billy Graham was asked on radio this week about Nixon's dark side, and here's what he said. He said, yes, Richard Nixon had a dark side, but so does every single one of us.
It's called sin. It's just that Nixon was exposed to public scrutiny like most of us aren't, and it's this dark side we all have that made it necessary for Jesus Christ to come and die on the cross, end of quote. I think Billy Graham hit the nail right on the head, don't you? He didn't deny who Nixon was, but what he did is put the whole thing in perspective, and what he put in perspective in my mind is that all these media people and journalists who so mercilessly attacked Richard Nixon, hey folks, they have their dark side too. And all of the congressmen who voted articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, hey, they have their dark side too. And every one of us, regardless of how we might feel one way or the other about Richard Nixon, we have our dark side too, don't we? And it's because of this dark side we all have, called sin, that Jesus Christ came and gave his life on the cross to pay for your dark side and my dark side and the dark side of the whole world and the sight of a holy God. And I suppose this is as good a time as any to stop and say that if you're here this morning, you've never trusted Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross to be the payment before God for your dark side. This is something you really ought to think about.
There's no other way to solve the problem than what Jesus Christ did for you and me on the cross. Now Nixon was in Russia a little over a month ago and he met with a fellow over there named Alexander Rutskoy. Alexander Rutskoy was the fellow who had led the uprising against President Yeltsin. And he was just out of jail and Nixon met with him and then after that Nixon invited Yeltsin to meet with him. He wanted to meet with Yeltsin. Yeltsin, because Nixon had met with his arch enemy politically, snubbed him, turned him down, refused the invitation, would not meet with him, sent Nixon back to the United States having never gotten the chance to meet with Yeltsin, and then Nixon had his stroke only a couple of weeks later. While Nixon was in the hospital, Yeltsin sent him a telegram.
And he said that he hoped that Mr. Nixon would soon be back to the rough and tumble world of politics. When I heard about that, I said, uh-huh, uh-huh, Yeltsin feels bad. He doesn't have the courage to say, I'm sorry, I wish I would have met with you. But he sends him a telegram that is trying to say, I feel kind of bad that I turned down the invitation and didn't meet with you.
Well, Mr. Yeltsin's never going to get the chance now, I'm afraid, at least not here. But what's the point of bringing all this up? The point is that this morning our passage is all about an invitation. An invitation not from Richard Nixon or from any other human being, but an invitation from Almighty God himself. And folks, that raises the stakes on this invitation a lot. An invitation that people will either say yes to or that they'll say no to. And their whole eternal destiny rides on what they say. I want to talk to you this morning about this invitation that God offers people.
Talk to you about how it affects your life and my life and the lives of people we love who haven't said yes to it yet, how we can help them do that. So let's look at the passage. Verse 15. Now remember that Jesus was at a banquet in the house of a very prominent rabbi. He'd already healed a crippled man on the Sabbath and made everybody a little angry.
He'd already rebuked these rabbis for their arrogance. And so the atmosphere right now is pretty tense, okay? I mean, you could cut it with a knife. And so this one man sitting there, I think maybe to fill the silence or maybe just to break the tension or, there are all those people out there who just love when everybody's mad at everybody to go around and try to bring everybody back together. God bless those people.
You know what I'm saying. So maybe he was just trying to say, all right fellas, let's bring up something we can all agree on, okay? And he blurts out and he says, verse 15, when one of those at the table heard this, he said to Jesus, blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God. The Jewish people commonly thought that heaven or the kingdom of God would be ushered in with a great banquet, with a great feast. And here was a man who said, well, you know, there's something we can all agree on.
How blessed the man will be or the woman who can eat at that great banquet. Can't we all agree on that so we can eat dinner? I mean, let's relax here a little bit. Let's chill out. Now, the man who said that, it's obvious, believed he was going to the banquet.
Did you pick that up? He knew he was going and he said, wouldn't it be great that all the rest of us rabbis sitting here in the room are going and we can all sit down together at the banquet. But remember, he didn't think he was going because he had embraced Jesus as Messiah, because he hadn't done that.
Nobody in the room had done that. He thought he was going because he was Jewish, because he was a rabbi, because he was working real hard to keep the Ten Commandments and all the other silly rules that they had. So he had a confidence he was going to heaven, but it was a false confidence. Jesus loved the man too much to leave him in that state, so he tells a story. And here we go, verse 16. Jesus said, there was a certain man who was preparing a great banquet and he invited many guests. At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to those who had been invited and he said, come, for everything's now ready. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said, I've just bought a field.
I'm expanding my earthly portfolio and I must go see it. Please excuse me. And another one said, I've just bought five yoke of oxen, man, I've got to keep my business going and I'm on my way to test them out and make sure that I didn't get beat on the deal, so please excuse me. And the other one said, well, I just got married and you know why I can't come. You understand?
Enough said. So all these people turning down to this banquet, they're not willing to in the slightest way change their priorities to go to the banquet. Now, I don't know if you ever got an invitation to something so special and so neat that excited you so much that you were willing to change all your priorities so you could go to it. The thing that pops to my mind is one time, just about 10 years ago, we were here, we were meeting in the little old building that we had. We just had one service and right after the service, I was greeting people in the back and this man came up to me. I'd never seen him before and he said, what are you doing on Tuesday? And I said, well, I don't know, what did you have in mind? He said, well, I'd like you to do me a favor. And I said, would you do it?
I said, well, it depends what it is. I said, Tuesday, usually I have my staff meeting on Tuesday, that's very important. And you know what, I got people coming in to meet with me, very important. He said, well, I'd like to know if you'd like to come down to the White House on Tuesday.
And I went, oh, okay, keep going, we're getting warm, keep going. He said, no, I'm in town because President Reagan appointed me ahead of the Civil Aeronautics Board and I'm being sworn in on Tuesday. And Sandra Day O'Connor is coming to swear me in right there in the Roosevelt Room. And he said, I'm a Christian and I'd like you to come down and have the opening prayer for this little ceremony in the White House. I said, oh, well, you think President Reagan will be there? And he said, I don't know. And I said, well, if you see him, would you ask him if he could come?
And he said, well, sure, I'll ask him. I said, I think I can make it. My staff meeting, they won't mind moving. And the people that are coming to see me, I'm sure Wednesday will be okay for them.
Yeah, I can be there. And so I went, because that was pretty important, important enough to change what I had planned. You understand? By the way, I'll tell you something funny. I got there and I went up to the gate to go in and I gave my name to the guard and he said, I went down the list and he said, I need some ID, please. I gave my driver's license. He said, it says here on the list you're a preacher. I said, yes, sir. He said, you don't look like a preacher to me. I said, well, what are we supposed to look like? He said, I don't know, sir, but you don't look like one of them. I said, well, I'm telling you the truth, I really am. Would you like me to preach your sermon or something? I said, no, sir, and the whole way I'm walking up the driveway, I look back and this guy's staring at me.
I'm like, write me a letter and tell me what we're supposed to look like, okay? Anyway, it was a great ceremony. President Reagan didn't show up, but it was still fun. But that was so important that I was willing to change all of my priorities to go.
Have you ever had something like that happen? Well, you see, that's the basis of this story. The whole idea of the story is that this banquet that the host was throwing, that it was not important enough in these people's minds that they were willing to change their plans in order to go. That's the whole point. It just wasn't that important to them.
So they said no. Now let's stop for a minute and ask, who were the invited guests here in Jesus's story? Why, they were the Jewish leaders. They were the rabbis who were having this banquet with him. They were the Jewish establishment who had been invited to the banquet. They had been invited in the Old Testament.
They had a written invitation. And God said, all I want you to do is wait, and when it's ready, I'll send somebody to tell you. Who was the servant that God, who was the host, obviously, had sent to tell them that the banquet was ready? Wasn't it Jesus Christ who was here on earth walking around saying the kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and trust me, the kingdom of God is at hand? Isn't that who the servant was? And what was the invitation that God, the host, wanted them to respond to?
Isn't it the invitation to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and Messiah? That's what was going on. And what did they say? They said, no, absolutely not.
Now, let's go on. Verse 21. The servant came back and reported this to his master, and the owner of the house became angry.
How dare they turn down this gracious invitation? And so he said to the servant, he said, go out quickly into the streets and into the alleys of this town, and bring in the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame. Now, who were these alley people? Well, they were Israelites, but they were the riffraff, the people the rabbis considered to be the riffraff of Israeli society, the people who were never going to get into heaven by the rabbi's account. These were the tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus. They were the prostitutes like the woman in John chapter 8 and Mary Magdalene. They were the uneducated like Peter and James and John and Andrew.
They were the poor and the sick and the lame people. Jesus said, go get them and tell them there's a banquet. And many of them came, but there was still more room. Verse 22.
Sir, the servant said, what you ordered has been done, but we've still got room. Then the master told his servant, go out on the roads and the country lanes, people who aren't even in this city, people who've never even heard of me, and make them come in. Compel them, the Bible says, to come in so that my house will be full. Who were these complete strangers that the host said, now go get? Well, folks, these are the Gentiles.
These are the rest of the world. These are you folks, you people, people who had nothing to do with the original invitation, who knew nothing about the Old Testament, were not a part of the nation of Israel, whom God had not been cultivating for 2,000 years to accept the Messiah and recognize the Messiah like he had the Jewish people. But the Jewish people, the originally invited people, they refused to come to the banquet. So instead the host said, all right, go out outside of the city to the people who've never even heard of me and tell them about the banquet.
Maybe some of them will come. Verse 24. I tell you, Jesus said, not one of those men who were invited to the banquet but turned me down will get a taste of my banquet.
Pretty ominous way to end, huh? Jesus said, you guys, you rabbis, you think you've got a monopoly on the kingdom of God? Well, let me tell you some things that are going to upset you. Number one, you're not going to be the only ones going in. We're going to have a whole bunch of the riffraff that you don't like going in. And to be worse than that, we've got a whole bunch of Gentiles going in that you don't even think belong in there. We're going to have a bunch of them in there. But to make things even worse, I'm telling you that not only will I have some Jewish riffraff in there and not only will I have a bunch of Gentiles in there, but most of you rabbis sitting right here at the table listening to me tonight, you're not going to get in.
You're going to be shut out. And you know, this isn't the first time Jesus told them that. Look back to chapter 13, verse 28. Jesus said there will be weeping there and gnashing of teeth when you who turn me down, you rabbis, see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God in heaven, but you yourselves are thrown out. And people are going to come from the east and the west and the north and the south and sit down and eat with all these people like Moses that you love and you're not going to get in. Folks, we can never say, don't you let anybody ever tell you, Jesus didn't warn these people that they were in danger of getting left out. He warned them all the time. And the reason they were in danger of being left out is not because God didn't love them and not because they weren't given a fair chance and not because God didn't give them mercifully chance after chance after chance, but because, listen, deliberately of their own free will, they made the decision to say no, no, no, no, no to his invitation. Jesus said, you guys who tell me no that much, you're not going to get into the banquet.
You're not getting in. Now that's where the story ends, but of course it leaves us with the really important question. You know what it is, don't you? What is it? So what? Right. Now maybe it's my heritage, I admit it might be my heritage, but you know one of the nicest things a person can do for you, I think, is to invite you out to eat and then even nicer when they invite you to go, they offer to what?
To pay for it. Now maybe it's my heritage, but I think that's a great night out. You know what I'm saying?
And so they go out and they go, it's on us, it's on us, and I go, really, it's on you? Can I have a lobster tail? You sure you don't mind? No, no, go right ahead. We're going to have chopped sirloin, but help yourself.
Have a lobster tail. I think that's a great night out. That's a great way to show somebody that you care about them. Now this is exactly what the host here was doing. Do you understand that? He was offering people a banquet and the meal was on him, except what he was offering them was eternal life. What he was offering them was personal salvation, and he said, the meal's on me, I paid the price.
On the cross, I bought this dinner. I'm offering it free. Do you want it or don't you? Now friend, why would anybody refuse that kind of offer?
Why would anybody in their right mind turn down that kind of invitation? Well, the people in the story give three reasons, don't they? Number one, earthly possessions.
The first guy says, I just bought a field. I'm building my earthly portfolio. I don't have time to worry about my heavenly portfolio.
I'm too worried about my earthly portfolio. That's one reason. Second reason was business. Second guy said, well, look, I just bought some oxen for my business and my business. I mean, I gotta make, you know, gotta be in the black, man. Gotta turn those dollars over, gotta meet those quotas. You know how that goes. Business is first, business is everything.
More important than anything. That's another reason people say no to God. The third guy said, well, look, you know, I just got married and you know how that is and I can't come, I'm sorry. Well, you know, there was a, in the Old Testament, there was a command or a provision that said, if you just got married, you didn't have to serve in the army or you couldn't be sent to war for a year. But it didn't say anything about banquets.
He could have come to that banquet. And I know a lot of people who use family as an excuse for not putting God first in their life. Let me say to you, family is very important. The most important thing on this earth, except God. And God will never accept you putting your family first as an excuse for why God isn't number one in your life. That's what this guy did. Now, these same reasons, these three reasons are the ones that form the foundation of why people still say no to God today.
But I'd like to bring it into the 90s and kind of use a little more 90s approach to this. And let's talk about when you go out to share Christ, when you go out to offer the banquet to people, why do they say no? And more importantly, how can you help them get past that so they can say yes? If you really care about people, you don't want to accept no as an answer, do you? I don't. So how are you gonna help them say yes?
Let's look. Let me give you four reasons why people say no when you offer them Jesus Christ. Number one, many people that you come across when you offer them Jesus Christ will tell you no because they've never heard about the banquet before, number one. They didn't even know a banquet was happening. They didn't even know there was such a thing going on. That's why they said no because they didn't even realize it was an invitation happening.
You say, now come on, Lon. In America, Christian America, you really mean there are people who don't understand there's a banquet happen? Are you kidding?
Are you kidding? I was 21 years old before I ever heard there was a banquet going on. And I was with the Jews for Jesus board meeting this weekend and one of the ladies there said, I was 35 years old before I ever heard there was a banquet going on. And folks, there are people all over America who don't know there's a banquet going on.
Do you know what? There are people sitting in churches on Sunday morning who don't understand there's a banquet going on. They've been told that the way you get into heaven is you work hard, you try hard, you keep the 10 commandments, you're on a performance jag. They know there's a performance jag going on but they don't know there's a banquet happening that's free. Nobody told them that. Their preacher's not telling them that. Their church liturgy's not telling them that.
There are people all over this world who don't understand there's a banquet going on. You say, Lon, what's the solution to that? Well, it's pretty simple, isn't it? Tell them. Tell them. Be aggressive enough to not assume people understand this. They don't. Tell them that Jesus Christ's offering them a banquet, salvation, completely free. It may be the very first time they ever heard it.
Second of all, we'll come across people when we try to share Christ with people who even when we tell them there's a banquet going on, they'll say no. You know why? Number two, because they're content the way they are. They're content the way they're presently living.
They're happy with their life the way it's going. They'll look at you and they'll go, well, you know, maybe I need a little Band-Aid here. Maybe I need a little Band-Aid there. Maybe I need a little Band-Aid up here. But basically, I'm okay. I just need a couple Band-Aids.
Friend, listen to me. Jesus Christ is not offering Band-Aids to people. He's offering radical surgery to people. And the people he's looking for are people who are saying, I'm just not okay and need a few Band-Aids.
My life is a wreck and I need radical surgery. Then you're a candidate for Jesus Christ. But if you're not there yet, there's not a whole lot Jesus Christ can offer you. And there are people out there who really don't sense that kind of great need, who really don't sense any eternal danger, who don't sense any kind of real peril in their life.
You say, Lon, I know those kind of people who don't sense they need any radical help. What do we do? How do we help them say yes to God? Well, I'll tell you how, prayer. You say prayer, prayer. Get on your knees for those people and say, God, you know my friend, Susie, or you know my friend, George, they don't really understand how much they need you. They don't really understand how deeply they have to have you involved in their life. Lord, what I want you to do is I want you to move on their life and I want you to convince them how badly they really need you.
And then stay close, be a friend because when the bottom falls out of their life, they're gonna need you there to tell them how to get to the banquet. You say, will God honor that prayer? Oh, buddy, will he honor that prayer? Will he honor that prayer? I don't believe there's a person who ever gets saved but that some Christian somewhere wasn't praying for them, a mother, a father, an aunt, an uncle, a brother, a sister, somebody praying for them and saying, God, show them, show them that they need Jesus Christ because they don't believe it right now. And God does it.
Number three, even when a person's willing to admit that they have a need, a lot of times people aren't willing to say yes to God because they're too socked in, they're too locked in to their lifestyle. They're too committed to the present way they're living. They love the things they're doing too much to give them up.
And even though those things may be self-destructive and harmful, they're too locked into the way things are going for them. They say things like, well, what's it gonna cost me, huh? What's it gonna cost me?
What am I gonna have to give up? I've heard about you Christians, it's don't, don't, don't, don't, don't and can't, can't, can't, can't, can't. You people have no fun at all. You people lock yourselves in a little old box and you never come out again till you get to heaven if there is one and I don't wanna live like that.
If I become a Christian, what am I gonna do for fun? You haven't met people like that? What do you say to somebody like that? Well, my friend, you say to them that Jesus Christ right here characterized a relationship with him as a banquet. He didn't characterize it as a labor camp. He didn't say there's an invitation to a labor camp that I'm giving out or an invitation to a ball and chain.
He called it a feast, a banquet and use your own life as a testimonial to say, listen to me, listen to me. Jesus Christ doesn't bring incarceration. He brings freedom. You don't know what real freedom is. You think you know, but every bit of fun you've got comes with guilt. That's not fun. Real fun comes when you can with joy and without guilt enjoy life and that's what Jesus Christ brings you.
If the son of man makes you free, John chapter eight, he makes you free indeed. You know who Ricky Van Shelton is? Anybody know who Ricky Van Shelton is? Okay, not very many country music fans here.
I feel sorry for you. But anyway, Ricky Van Shelton is one of the hottest names in country music and I was watching television, I was watching a video actually someone gave me off of a network television program with an interview of Ricky Van Shelton. I knew very little about him. And he tells on this video about how when he hit it big, people didn't know it, but secretly he was addicted to alcohol. Alcohol was ruining his life. Alcohol was just killing him and his wife finally got two Christian friends together and they began praying for him and praying for him and praying for him that God would convince him of his need for Christ. And finally, he said about three years ago, God broke through in his life and he was able to quit drinking. And he had a comment to make about how he wondered when I quit drinking, how am I gonna have any fun anymore?
And all my friends think, if you quit drinking, how are you gonna have any fun anymore? And that they don't understand the freedom in Jesus Christ. And I want you to see what he said. Can we roll that video?
Thanks. Understanding perception and realize, hey, there's more to life than drinking. You know what? When the good Lord took that desire to drink away for about two months, I was worried inside of me, I'm not gonna have any fun anymore. Or what am I gonna do for fun? And I was worried about that.
And I've talked to other people that have quit drinking and they go through the same thing. Well, I'm not gonna have any fun anymore. What's there to do?
Grow up, wake up. There's a million things to do. And you are alive and you are happy. I'm free now. I'm happy and I'm free.
I can go do whatever I want to do. I'm not under any kind of bondage now. And see folks, that's what we have to tell people. That's how you have to confront them.
You have to say, look at my life and understand you're not really enjoying life. You may think you are, but this is bondage. Christ offers freedom.
Fourth and finally, there are people that will go out and talk to you about Christ who'll say, well, I know I need help. I really do, but I would do it. If it was up to me, I would do it.
But you know what? I don't think I can do this to my mother. I don't think I can do this to my father.
I don't think my relatives could handle this. I'm not willing to pay the price I'm gonna have to pay with friends and relatives or a husband and wife that it's gonna mean if I accept Jesus Christ. You say, now, Lon, really? People don't really say that kind of stuff, do they? All the time.
All the time. People are not willing to face the heat that comes from accepting Christ. And folks, listen, if you were raised Jewish or if you were raised hardline Catholic or if you were raised Mormon or Muslim or Jehovah's Witness, this is no trivial matter. This isn't.
And we work with a lot of international students down in Georgetown who come from Japan and China and Taiwan and Korea, from families that are Confucian and Buddhist and Shintoist. This is no small matter for those people. This is a very important thing. And yet, what do you tell these people? My friends, you tell them what Jesus said.
Matthew chapter 10, verse 37. Jesus said, he who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves daughter or son more than me is not worthy of me.
You tell them, wait a minute, you have to make a comparison here. I know you love your parents, but can your parents forgive your sin? Can your parents give you eternal life? Can your parents give you joy and meaning and purpose and contentment and make life something worth living?
The answer is no, of course they can. Only Jesus Christ can do that. So then you've got a choice to make. And as much as you love your parents, why choose them and give away the person who can do all these other things for you. Choose Christ and Christ will take care of your parents.
And that was a decision I had to make and a decision that a lot of people out there really struggle with in terms of coming to Christ. What's this gonna do to my marriage? What's this gonna do to my home life?
What's this gonna do to my family? Yeah, but what is it gonna do to you if you go out of this world and you don't have Jesus Christ? That's what you have to think about. Now, if you go out this week to share Christ, you'll run into those objections all the time. And those are some of the responses that'll work.
But I'd like to make one more comment. And that's based on what Jesus said here in the very last verse. He said in verse 24, I tell you, not one of those people who were invited and said no will get a taste of my banquet. Friends, we need to also tell people, we need to also make them understand that the invitation of Jesus Christ is the most important single event in their entire life. And that for them to say no to God's invitation is an incredibly serious matter. At some point, if they say no often enough, God reserves the right to withdraw the invitation, shut the door and say, I'm sorry, the invitation is no longer open to you. Now, usually that happens at the point where we die, but nobody knows when they're gonna die, do they?
And I believe God sometimes even shuts that door sooner in his own sovereignty to people. My dad, I had the privilege of leading my dad to Christ the week before he died. He had been in the hospital with his fourth heart attack when he died, but when he had his third heart attack, the doctors didn't think he was gonna live through the night. And I went down to the little chapel there in Atlanta, Georgia in the hospital, and I got down on my knees in the chapel and I prayed and I said, God, I said, I'm not asking you to heal my dad, but my dad is unconscious, he's in a coma, he's in intensive care, he can't respond to me. What I'm asking for, God, is just that you bring my dad around to consciousness enough that I can share Christ with him one more time. That's all I'm asking, just show him that mercy.
That's all I'm asking. Well, God not only brought him around to consciousness, God raised him up out of the bed and gave him two more years to live. And we were out a number of months later, I was visiting Atlanta, we were out at the Red Lobster together. He was paying, by the way, and I was having lobster tail, you know how that goes. And we were talking. And I told my dad this story of what I prayed for him and I said, now dad, I wanna tell you something. God has given you one more chance, but you need to understand this may be your last chance.
You need to understand that this is not a game. And the next time you have a heart attack, what am I gonna pray for you? I've already prayed God show you mercy and give you one more chance and you've got it. But if you'd say no again, what am I gonna pray for you?
There's nothing left. So what did he say? He didn't say anything. But it was only a few months later he received Jesus Christ as his savior. And folks, I think that we make a great mistake when we imply to people that coming to Christ is a very relaxed and casual thing that they can just do whenever they feel like it and take their time with. There was an urgency. There was an intensity about what the host said. Remember what he said in verse 23?
He said, go out in the country lanes and in the roads and make them come in. So other translations will translate it and compel them to come in. Now you can't make somebody except Christ, but that Greek word means to beg somebody, to plead with somebody, to implore somebody, to urge this somebody. And this is what Jesus said the servant ought to do. Go out there and beg and plead and urge them to come in. And God forgive us as Christians for the many times that we're so cavalier about other people saying no to Christ. We need to look them lovingly in the face and as gently as we know how, implore them and make them understand what Jesus said that there may come a day when you say no enough that the invitation is not available anymore. This is real.
It happens to real people. And I wonder, and I'll leave you with this question. I wonder how intense you feel, how urgent you feel about your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your wife, your husband, your children, your friends, your coworkers that don't know Christ. How urgent do you feel about them? I mean, how urgent is your prayer life for them?
How intense is your concern for them? God forgive us because so often we're so casual, but we need to understand Jesus told us this is an urgent matter. He didn't leave us here on earth to expand our portfolios and increase our creature comforts and make a name for ourselves.
He left us here to be urgent in bringing people to accept the invitation to the banquet. That's why we're here. Everything else is secondary, everything. How urgent are you for your friends?
Something to think about. If you're not urgent enough, I got good news for you. God will help you get more urgent.
Start tomorrow if you'll ask her his help. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thank you for the word of God, which challenges our hearts, challenges our thinking about what we're doing here and what life is all about. And Father, yes, there are people out there who give every one of the excuses we talked about this morning. And there are people out there that no matter how hard we try to respond properly, they're gonna still say no until it's too late.
That's tragic. But Lord Jesus, there are other people out there who are willing to say yes. Maybe they got some questions. Maybe they need a little bit of patience and a little bit of work and a little bit of helping them through their objections, but there are people out there who wanna say yes. And I pray, Lord Jesus, that you would send us out this week and every week as your people, as your servants, to go out and say, there is a banquet, the invitation is free.
Can I help you say yes? That's our job. And thank you, Lord, we don't do that job alone, but you work with us. But we have to be willing to put ourselves at risk enough to make those kinds of statements to people. And Father, I pray that you would take us as a church family and use us in this Washington area to see many, many, many people make the decision to say yes to the invitation of God.
That's what it's all about. I wanna pray for people who may even be here this morning who've never said yes to your invitation, that you would impress upon them this morning the urgency and the seriousness of doing this and draw them to Christ to a decision for you even today. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that for those of us who have said yes, there's a great banquet that awaits us. Lord Jesus, help us to tell others so there can be lots and lots of company when we get there. We pray these things in Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-08 08:45:34 / 2023-08-08 09:01:50 / 16