THE RIGHT TIME TO BE SAVED IS NOW by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
There are people here this morning that know that they are lost. They also know that Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross for them. They also know that they have to make a decision to be saved. But for one reason or another, they keep pushing it off. For some reason they think that they will live forever or God will wait for them forever or something else.
Luke 14:16-24 16Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So that servant came and reported these things to his master. 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 here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Overall Background: During Jesus’ earthly ministry of 3 ½ years, many people received His teaching with an open heart. Mark 12:37 tells us “the common people heard Him gladly.” But then there were those who were self-righteous who thought that they didn’t need to be saved. They mocked Him, questioned Him, criticized Him, and ultimately rejected Him. Jesus gave to them this parable (a short story given to make a point) to illustrate how God saw their rejection.
In fact, Jesus told this parable at the home of a Pharisee – self-righteous Jewish leader. The Pharisees trusted in their own good works to get to heaven. They had a long list of do’s and don’ts. They had endless rituals and traditions and religious standards. They had a tough time trusting in Jesus. Such a one had invited Jesus over – not to get to know Him but to trap Him. Jesus knew that. At one point when Jesus was teaching them of the resurrection of the just, one of them said in Luke 14:15 “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” This man was just making a toast. Three cheers to that great day when we’ll sit around that grand dinner banquet in heaven with our friends and family. All our burdens will be lifted. Only problem: this man did not believe that Jesus was the way to heaven.
Application: There are a lot of people who think that if they are good enough in their own eyes that they are on their way to heaven. “After all, I haven’t murdered anybody or raped anybody. I always try to help people. I occasionally drop a couple of dollars in the offering plate. My good will outweigh my bad.” Some think that since they had a hard life that God will just let them into heaven. Some think that as long as you feel you are going to heaven, then you must be.
For e.g. One time I was at a funeral and there were a couple of drunks there. Then they began to sing Squire Parsons “Beulah Land” and those drunks began to cry. They thought they were going to heaven but there was no evidence in their life. It was funny but sad.
When Jesus heard this toast, He said – “Wait a minute. Let me tell you a story.” This morning the Holy Spirit is telling you the same story. Listen to Him and respond. There are 4 parts to this parable:
I. THE INVITATION OF GOD
16Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
Background: The word for “great supper” is deipnon – a grand dinner banquet. Jesus’ listeners were quite familiar with such banquets for wedding or birthdays or a promotion. The host would send out an invitation, much in advance. The servant would come and read the announcement and give the date of the banquet. The actual time was not given but it was assumed that it would be late in the day. It was a big honor to be invited to this banquet. Of course, the answer would be “yes!” Now the work began for the host – he had to order the lambs, hire the cooks, make seating arrangements, get things fixed around the house and an endless list of things.
Why did Jesus invoke imagery of a banquet? Because heaven is God’s banquet for us. In the Old Testament Isaiah 25:6, 8says,“…The Lord of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow…8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces…” Jesus repeatedly talked about heaven as a banquet. Matthew 8:11 “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down (recline) with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” In the last book of the Bible – Revelation 19:7, 97“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. 9Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ”
Heaven is a grand banquet and God is the host who has sent out the invitation. The invitation is the cross.
Application: Has the invitation to this banquet come to you? Have you heard God’s announcement to join Him for the great feast? Is there an expectation in your heart for that great feast?
II. THE EXCUSES OF SOME PEOPLE
17and (the Master) sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’
Background: The day of the feast (grand banquet) would finally arrive. This was a hectic day to say the least. Very early in the morning, they would start preparing the food – the meat, the vegetables, the bread, the fruit, and the drinks. Not only that but the decorations had to be done and the banquet tables had to be set. Sometime in the mid-afternoon, the host would check with the head cook to determine the time for the feast. Once again the servants would go to the home of the guests. But this time there is no long invitation. Just a quick reminder that dinner would begin at 6 or 7 that evening.
But listen to what happened: 18But they all with one accord began to make excuses. Jesus’s listeners would have laughed at this point. Who in their right mind would make excuses to miss such a grand dinner banquet?
What were their excuses? The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ At 7 in the evening, when it will be dark in an hour, you want to go to see a piece of land? By the way, who would buy a piece of land without seeing it first? Can it not wait till tomorrow? What a lie.
19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Didn’t he have all day to test his oxen? Didn’t he test them when he bought them? Can’t he wait till tomorrow? What a lie.
20Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ This was the most ridiculous one. Can you picture any newlywed saying: “Let’s eat at home”? Free food? Someone else is cooking? Let’s go!
Meaning: It was obvious these people were blowing off the invitation.
When it comes to getting saved, people make all kinds of excuses:
- Crazy busy right now – when things settle down, I’ll come. One of these days, I’ll surprise you.
- Give up my bad habits – If God expected you to change, you wouldn’t need Jesus.
- If I get saved, all my fun will stop – destroying your life and going to Hell forever is not fun. Finding Christ and getting saved is the real fun and adventure.
- I will when I feel like getting saved. You will wait forever.
- Hypocrites in church – “I know some people who go to church on Sunday and cuss on Monday. If a hypocrite is keeping you from getting to God, just remember that the hypocrite is closer to God than you are.
- Bible Questions – where did Cain get his wife? How did Noah get the animals on the ark? Then they have a dozen questions about the Devil.
Application: What is your excuse? What have you been hiding behind?
III. THE GRACE OF GOD
21So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry
Background: Any wonder that the Master was angry?!! He knew what they were doing. It was a terrible insult. In eastern culture of the time, to reject a banquet invitation with some lame excuse was as good as declaring war. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, this could be a family feud for generations.
What happened next:(The Master) said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ The Master could have shut down the banquet but, in his grace, he didn’t.
Meaning: Jesus was saying to the self-righteous Pharisees, scribes, and the religious leaders that since they had rejected the Messiah, God had thrown open the door to the outcasts of the Jewish people (the shepherds, the fishermen, the tax collectors, and the prostitutes.
Application: Are you self-righteous? If you think that you are good enough to go to heaven, then you fall into the ranks of the Pharisees and the scribes.
But this wasn’t enough – 22And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ (Meaning: The Outcasts of Israel are in but there’s still more room.) 23Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Meaning: Jesus was giving a prophecy of things to come. Not only were the Outcasts of the Jewish society welcome but now the door to the banquet was thrown open to those who were not even part of the Jewish society – the Samaritans, the Greeks, the Gauls, the Persians, the Chinese, the Indians, the Africans, etc. These people would have a hard time accepting the invitation so anakatsw them, which means strongly urge, persuade, explain, and compel them to come in. They will reject at first but don’t give up.
Application: Right this moment, the Holy Spirit is compelling you to come to the banquet. You say – “I’ve been a bad person. You won’t believe the things that I have done.” You are the perfect candidate for the grace for God. Will you come this morning and be saved? “I don’t understand the Bible.” That’s all right. Just come to the banquet.
IV. THE WRATH OF GOD
24For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Background: Now the parable shifts from the third person, where Jesus is telling the story, to the first person, where Jesus is speaking. There is anger in His voice. “It is a terrible thing when love is angry.” (Scroggie) No longer the issue is that you are not coming. Now, I’m not going to let you come.
Sometimes we are so presumptuous of the GRACE OF GOD. I don’t know what it means:
- When the flood came and the door of the ark was shut. People beat on the door but it did not open.
- When Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Later he repented and tried to get it back with a lot of tears but he could not get it back.
- When the 5 foolish virgins returned and beat on the door but it do not open.
- When the Lord says, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.”
For e.g. Young man who made fun of dad and the deacon who went by to see him.
For e.g. Satan was having a special meeting with his demons. How can we keep people from getting saved? #1 “Let’s tell them there is no God.” #2 “Let’s say the Bible has mistakes.” #3 “Let’s tell them that Jesus was not that Son of God. #4 “Let’s tell people that there is plenty of time.” That’s it. That will work.
Application: If you haven’t received Christ, you are under the wrath of God. Now is the time to accept His invitation.