Sunday School 3/29/2020

Luke 14:15-24

Who would have thought that we would be having Sunday School online.  I’m not sure how this all works (Holly is taking care of the logistics) but am hoping that we will be able to have a little discussion on the lesson. I count heavily on class discussion!  I will try my best to give credit to the different commentaries that I use in our lessons.  It’s one thing to lead a class discussion, but having to put it all in writing…..OH MY GOODNESS!  Please pray!!!  I usually scribble and draw and cut and paste so this is going to be….not sure of the words.  Also, please do not pay attention to my grammar or punctuation. I usually use my hands a lot in class…oh my, getting nervous just thinking about it!  Okay, here we go…

Last week we were in Luke 14:1-14 and we concentrated mostly on verse 11…For whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  Spurgeon said “Humility is the proper estimate of oneself”.

Ouch!  Need to ponder on that for a while. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning! 

This week we continue on with Jesus, still at the home of a chief Pharisee’s, eating dinner. (by the way, I don’t think the Pharisees were enjoying the company too much!)

Luke 14:15

And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

 The Lord’s reference to the resurrection of the righteous as a banquet was not lost on the guests, who thought of that great future heavenly gathering.  That connection prompted one of those who were reclining at the table with Him to say in response, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”  This was a beatitude; a toast directed at himself and his fellow Pharisees, affirming that they will be among the blessed at the heavenly banquet in the kingdom of God…..Not only did they fully expect to be at that heavenly feast, but also to be in the seats of honor. (MacArthur).

We talked about those seats of honor in last week’s class. I am sitting here trying to visualize the man’s face as he made this toast.  I don’t think he really got the part about the humility that Jesus was just teaching about!  I’m thinking he was pretty smug with his toast.  I’m afraid that many of us look and sound just like him some days!

Luke 14:16-17

Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

So, Jesus begins another story to try to drive his point home.  In most of the commentaries that I have read, it is my understanding that when a banquet (feast, supper, wedding, etc) was planned and you were invited, you were not given the exact time and possibly not even the exact date of the event.  But you RSVP’d anyway saying you would come, Cause who would turn down an invitation to such a big event!  Anyway, when all the preparations and the food was ready, a second invitation came saying….Come; for all things are now ready.  (hmmm this sounds familiar – I wonder where I have read this before). And of course, usually everyone would come.

John 14:18-20

And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.

And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

And so the excuses begin. 

Gonna camp here for a minute.  Anyone good at making excuses? 

Working at the school for 30 years, I could probably write a book on excuses (from students, parents and teachers!).  Anyway, we are all pretty good at excuses.   I asked Google for some quotes on excuses.  Here are a few

  1.  Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t.
  2. In back of an excuse is a lack of desire (Morgan)
  3. He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else (Ben Franklin)
  4. Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them (John Wooden)
  5. To rush into explanations is always a sign of weakness (Agatha Christie)
  6. If it is important to you, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse (Daniel Decker)
  7. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves so that it doesn’t have to be our fault.
  8. Sorry, I can’t today.  My sister’s friend’s, grandson’s uncle’s fish died.  And yes it was tragic.

Any funny stories of excuses that you have heard? To quote Bro. Charlie…”My hair hurts!”

During this Corona Virus, I read a news article about a man that actually lied that he had tested positive for the virus so he wouldn’t have to go to work.  Wow, what an excuse!  He probably won’t have a job to go back to now.

Back to the story, Can you imagine what the servants were thinking…How are we gonna tell him that no one is coming! 

Luke 14:21

So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. 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 hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

Ever have a dinner or party or some kind of event and hardly no one shows up?  You’ve planned for weeks for this special event, put in lots of hours prepping and cooking and cleaning….only then the excuses begin coming in….We can all probably relate to the Master of the House becoming angry!  Especially if the event we planned was for one of our children and no one showed!  (actually, this story is about the Master’s only Son and how the Jews rejected Him! – I will let John MacArthur explain this to you later in this lesson.  I am so thankful for the men and women whom God has blessed with the insight and ability to expound on the Word)

Luke 14:22-24

And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Before I turn to John MacArthur to explain all this, I want us to look at the word compel. 

I can’t remember where I read this (maybe David Guzik)…..Jesus said “compel” to indicate God’s great desire to fill His House, and because these wanderers and outcasts needed to be convinced that they were welcome, compelled by love.

In the culture of that day, only the rich and famous (so to speak) were invited to the banquets and such.  And only those that could return the favor of an invitation to their next event. The people that were compelled to come in from the street didn’t have such.  I’m sure it took some convincing that they were actually invited!   Can you image their faces?  Me? You want me to come? I can’t come, I’m not good enough to be at that banquet.  Besides, I can’t pay back the favor…People will look at me strangely… I don’t have anything to wear…I could go on and on with the excuses that were probably given. 

So what does that mean for us today?  Compel.  Are we taking on that challenge to compel people to come into the Kingdom.  Compel by love. Think about it. Yes there will be excuses, our feelings will probably get hurt, but we still need to compel them to come in with love.  This should be an everyday occurrence in our life, compelling, telling others about Jesus and His love.  Are we doing this?  When we hear the words, Come, for all things are now ready! Will we be ready? Will our family be ready? Will our friends be ready? Will our neighbors be ready? Will that person we meet at the grocery store (6 ft distancing please) be ready? 

I’m now going to leave you with John MacArthur’s comments on this section.

John MacArthur says…The head of the household represents God, who issued the invitation; the banquet represents salvation in His eternal kingdom; the pre-invited guests are Israel (and Gentile proselytes); the first invitation was delivered by the Old Testament prophets. The guests initially said yes to God’s invitation; they accepted the Old Testament revelation that they were God’s chosen people and would therefore enter the kingdom (even though they rejected and murdered the prophets (Luke 13:34).

At the dinner hour which Jesus called the “favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19), the second invitation was delivered by John (Matt 3:2) and Jesus (Matt 4:17) .  Everything was ready. But like the fictional guests in Jesus’ illustration, those invited refused to attend.  They had no interest in the banquet of God if Jesus Christ was the door to the banquet hall.  They were not interested in Him, or His message.  When He presented the true gospel of salvation, they sought to kill Him (Matt 26:59; Mark 14:1; John 11:53).  And like the guests in the illustration, they offered foolish excuses.  Two of those excuses had involved material possessions, the third a relationship.  Both of those types of excuses have been offered throughout history by those who are more interested in the things of the world than God’s invitation to salvation.  For that reason Jesus warned “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple….So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:26,33).

Like the guests in the illustration, Israel said yes to God’s original invitation, and no to the second invitation; they said yes to God’s promises, but no to His Son. Uninterested, indifferent, and self-satisfied, they clung tightly to the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world (Luke 8:14; Matt 13:22; Mark 4:18-19) and missed God’s heavenly banquet.  As a result, God was angry with them and abandoned them to judgment, leaving their house to them desolate (Luke 13:35).  Spiritual judgment comes on all unbelievers at death.  Physical judgment fell on that generation in AD 70 when the Romans massacred tens of thousands of Jews and destroyed the temple.  Judgement continues to fall on all who reject God’s invitation to salvation in Jesus and thus dishonor His Son.  In John 3:36 John the Baptist warned, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”. 

Instead of experiencing God as gracious host, those who reject His invitation to the heavenly banquet will one day face Him as sovereign judge and forever be shut out of His heaven (Rev. 20:10-15).

But the spiritually bankrupt, destitute, and humble, symbolized by the town (the believing Jewish remnant) and highway (believing Gentiles) dwellers, will be included in the banquet.  These are repentant sinners, who acknowledge that they have the attitude of the publican, who “was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13).  They are so acutely aware of their unworthiness that the gospel messengers will have to compel them to come; that is persuade strongly, urge, and constrain them to respond to God’s invitation to salvation.

Everyone who refuses God’s invitation to salvation will be excluded from the kingdom.,  Like the foolish virgins, they will be left outside in the dark when night falls on the day of opportunity and the door to the kingdom is shut. (Matt 25:1-12)

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