Message: Series Title
‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Table Talk’ pt.2 Text: Luke 14:1-24
PP: Photo of John Wesley/George Whitfield
What you see, is a well worn, but actual photo of John Wesley and George Whitfield… They were contemporaries in the 1700’s. (Just kidding about the actual photo)
PP: Here’s another look.
Two of the greatest preachers in England in the 1700’s were John Wesley and George Whitfield.
They disagreed over a point of doctrine concerning salvation.
A newspaper reporter wanted to stir up the religious debate, so he asked George Whitfield the “Do you expect to see John Wesley in heaven?”
Whitfield replied, “I don’t expect to see Mr. Wesley in heaven.” The reporter gleefully wrote those words down knowing it would fan the flames of controversy even higher. Then Whitfield continued.
“No, I don’t expect to see John Wesley in heaven because He is such a faithful servant of God that he will be so close to the throne of God and I will be so far away, I don’t expect to see him.” That was an answer that revealed Whitfield was a humble man. (adapted from David Dykes)
In our passage today, Jesus has a lot to say about godly humility, to a bunch of men who were full of themselves.
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Background: Jesus will continue His teaching about life in the Kingdom of God, as He sits around the table of a ruler of the Pharisees.
Today, we’ll get three more views of the table:
PP: 2. Luke 14:7-11 A table of selflessness
Now He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.””
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Jesus looks around and notices that there was a lot going on about, who sat where, at the table. It’s as if they were jockeying for the best position.
PP: It’s not all that different at a wedding reception today.
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A major difference is… in Jesus’ day there were no place cards telling you where to sit. Which is why there was all the jockeying for the best seats. The men wanted to be seen as more honorable than the guy sitting next to him.
Jesus addresses this ‘pride fest’ by telling another parable. Parables are made up stories that reveal a spiritual reality. The spiritual reality behind this parable is this:
Humility, selflessness, is a chief character trait, of those who dwell in God’s Kingdom.
This is what Jesus says:
Instead Jesus says:
Jesus then gives a principle, a truth about kingdom living.
PP: The apostle James puts it this way Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:10)
Here’s the big idea, something to take home with you:
PP: The apostle Paul writing to a church full of prideful Christians said: …What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7b, ESV)
All of it… all of it, is a gift from God.
But as humans that rubs us the wrong way.
But… imagine a world, a church, a family,
It’s possible. It is possible. It’s commanded. And when Jesus is at the table, it’s a table of selflessness.
PP: 3. Luke 14:12-14 A table of compassion
He said also to the man who had invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.””
Understand that Jesus is NOT telling a parable here. He’s speaking directly to His host about who he had invited to the table.
Jesus’ main point is this:
Let’s jump into the text.
Remember the context.
Jesus was invited to the home of a wealthy ruler of the Pharisees.All the other invited guests were prominent religious leaders in the Jewish community, except one:
He was only there to see if Jesus would break their Sabbath law and heal him.
Jesus is calling his host out on not inviting the
Who were they:
Jesus is saying, when you do that, you’re making your home, your table, a place of compassion.
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If you want God’s blessing in life, if you want the blessing of being in His presence, in His Kingdom for all eternity,
That’s who you show generosity to, that’s who you care for.
If you want the applause of men, keep inviting, showing generosity, keep caring for only those who can reciprocate… but, that’ll be the only reward you’ll get.
I think as a church we do that pretty well. When we post a Dinner 8… anyone can sign up. And when we get together, if bringing something to the meal might be a financial burden, we say, don’t worry about it, just come.
But, apart from Dinner 8’s… who do you make a habit invitingover, going out to dinner or doing some other activity with?
Is your table a place of compassion?
PP: 4. Luke 14:15-24 A table of urgency
When one of those who reclined at table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But He said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”” (Luke 14:15–24)
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One of the Pharisees senses things are getting pretty tense and attempts to lighten up the mood by saying Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!Unfortunately, it will only make things worse for them. Here’s why.
But Jesus tells them another parable that in effect says… no, not really.
Jesus says a man planned a great banquet…
Anyway, the man planned and sent out invitations well in advance.
So, on the day of the banquet, he sends his servant out to tell the invited guests it’s time, come, eat, dance, rejoice with his master.
Only to have those he invited come up with all sorts of excuses why they had to say no. Three in particular stand out:
Sounds like pretty good excuses on the surface but they all had one thing in common…
In that day, to accept an invitation to a banquet and thensay no, was a grave insult.
So the master of the house told his servant to go out and not just invite, but bring… the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.
BTW, notice that when the master told the servant to go… he didn’t say ‘Ahhh, I have a family event, my kids got a camel race to attend…. No, the master said go and the servant went… no excuses.
The servant returned and said OK, done. But there is still room at the banquet tables so the master sent him out again into the highways and hedges and compel; influence strongly, thepeople to come to the banquet so that his house might be filled.
Then, we’re told that because the people he had originally invited refused to attend, the master said they will never taste the food at his table.
OK, lets take a closer look at the spiritual reality of this parable.
And they came, and are still coming. PTL!
And by application all Gentiles who reject Jesus will also be excluded from God’s Kingdom.
And listen, everyone in that room, at that table understood exactly what Jesus was saying.
BUT, don’t miss this. Jesus wasn’t saying they, individually,won’t be in the kingdom. Only those who reject the invitation. They still have the opportunity to accept it… Once again, Jesus extends grace.
I want to end by making a few comments on the table of urgency that I didn’t fully develop.
Rick Warren wrote something that I couldn’t say better. He said:
The creative force behind all great art, all great drama, all great music, all great architecture, all great writing is passion.
Passion is what energizes life.
God created you with the emotions to have passion in your life and He wants you to live a passionate life.
You’ve got to have passion in your life.
The excuses the men gave for not coming to the banquet showedthey had passion, just not forGod.
The first man whose excuse for not going to the banquet was because he bought a field, had passion for his business, but not for God.
How often is that an excuse today for both the unsaved and saved.
The second man whose excuse for not going to the banquet was because he bought 5 yoke of oxen, had a passion for his possessions, but not for God.
The third man whose excuse for not going to the banquet was because was he got married, had passion for his family, but not for God.
Unsaved or saved, we’re a people of passion, even great passion. But where is our passion
Jesus, in this parable is expressing a great sense of urgency… do you see the words He uses?
To the unsaved He’s saying: The feast is ready, the kingdom is ready, there’s no time to lose. If you’re going to accept the invitation, do it soon.
To the saved Jesus is saying: We need to develop a sense of urgency with the Gospel, with how we serve here at CBC.
We need a passion for the lost and make that passion a priority in our lives and at the very core of our church fellowship.
We can’t be like the Pharisee at the table who glibly says Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God…
No, like the Master’s slave in the parable,
That’s servants of the One True God, is our mandate, found both in Matthew 28 and Acts 1.
So… No matter who you are, no matter where you are on your journey of faith…