Title: “When you are invited”
Luke 14:1, 7-14
August 28th 2016
Introduction: My Father called the other day to tell me that one of my cousins had gotten married out in California and that she would be coming east sometime during the month of October. While she is in the east, she and her new husband plan to have a black tie wedding reception in Virginia Beach, Va. My Dad and step-mother plan on attending. It supposed to be a very fancy event!
It put me in mind of the text we have for this week and the lessons we can learn from such events in our lives. I see two lessons or parables for us in the text that are characteristics of the Christians life. The first lesson is humility and the second lesson is hospitality. These may sound like obvious parts of the Christian life but I believe there is more here for us to learn and consider both as individual believers and as a community of faith.
Ill. I tried to think of something in our modern day world that might go along the same lines as the banquet mentioned here in our text. I thought about the times that I have been traveling by air some place and the long lines of security that we endure. How taking off shoes and emptying pockets and walking through scanners and the possibility of being subjected to a search. For someone like me this is an unusual event. I fly maybe once ever other year or so. When I am standing there in the line I notice people who seem to get special treatment. They zip right through without having to seemingly do anything accept wave hello and keep right on going. My guess is that they are frequent flyers and are known or some kind of badge or card that gets them to the head of the line so to speak. Who can do what and when at the airport is the banquet table of our time. Jesus would note perhaps that we should not move ourselves to a higher boarding number or faster security line. We should wait to be invited. Of course, such an invitation is a long time coming. And there is the difference between society and the kingdom of God.
Ex. The Bible speaks a great deal about humility. Both the Old and New Testaments talk about true, Godly humility and false humility that is really just a cover for pride.
Proverbs 22:4 says, “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.” 15:33 says, “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” And in 1 Peter 5:5&6 we read, “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1. When we honestly examine ourselves and our lives, when we take stock of who we are and are honest with ourselves, we must answer the question, just what or who is that motivates us?
2. As a believer in Jesus Christ we must acknowledge him as the Lord of our lives.
3. This carries with it the concept of dying to selfishness and rising to Christ-likeness.
4. Literally setting aside our wants, wishes, and desires in favor of the things that Christ Jesus is calling us to.
5. Far to often we pursue what we in our natural selves want and then ask for God’s blessings upon.
6. When we experience success we all to quickly think, see there it was God’s will because it was a success.
7. Taking the time to truly consider God’s will for our lives can change everything, it did for me!
Ill. The early Brethren took very seriously the Biblical admonitions of humility. Considering everyone to be above them. Often in writing a letter they would conclude with such words as, “Your humble servant in Christ” or some such phrase.
B.) Put in your place.
1. The host of a party always has a feel for the position of the people that have been invited to the party.
2. If Jesus had stopped with the lesson on humility he would been a good etiquette coach or social director.
3. But Jesus explodes the notion of rank.
4. He says, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind.”
5. What is he saying here?
6. I understand this to mean that all people deserve to be treated with respect and honor!
7. This story isn’t about where we will be seated in God’s kingdom.
8. It is about where we stand in relation to God’s kingdom.
9. We are to invite people who never get invited or acknowledged as to their value and worth in God’s eyes.
10. In Luke’s real world experience of banquets and beggars, they are lucky to even get near the door, where they can feast on the scraps from the tables at the banquet.
Conclusion to point #1: What would a banquet/party be like if all the guests were blind to one another’s status in life? If everyone present were crippled and had to help one another to the table? It would be a banquet the loves, not because God wishes brokenness, but because God already knows the brokenness in our the reality of our lives and that without Jesus as the Lord of our lives we will never be whole. We must be fed at the mercy table alongside all the other honored guests.
Ex. 1 Peter 4:7-11 says, (turn and read) pew Bible page 1060
A.) God is just
1. By this I mean that we do not need to order our actions with the expectation of being rewarded or paid back some how.
2. The love and peace of God in our lives is reward enough.
3. We can trust God to reward us for our faithfulness in showing hospitality especially to those who can never pay us back.
4. Jesus grounds this trust in the resurrection, but not as an “in the sky by and by promise” of acting today in order to ensure a reward tomorrow.
5. Rather it is a matter of trusting that God is just and that an act of hospitality will be valued by God, especially if we serve those who can off no payback what so ever.
B.) We offer hospitality and respect to everyone.
1. We never know when the one we are treating is an angel of God in our midst.
Ill. Story of the traveler in the house.
Ill. Hospitality is taken very seriously in many cultures around the world. Middle Eastern culture looks at strangers as guests who may in fact be messengers or angels sent by God. Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures are full of stories of such events. Abram and Sarah and the 3 angels who visited them is one such story.
Conclusion to message: We could equate all of this to the golden rule that many of us were raised with. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Times have changed for sure but simple truth remains the same. God loves all of his children and desire that we treat each other with humility and hospitality. With respect and dignity.