Luke: Table Talk (Part 2) 09/09/18

Message: Series Title

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Table Talk’ pt.2   Text: Luke 14:1-24

Introduction:

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.

Whitfield embraced Calvinism, which says God Elects/chooses those who will be saved. Wesley leaned toward the Armenian side, which said we have the freedom to choose to accept or reject Jesus. Their disagreement was a matter of public record.
There was great animosity between their followers over this debate.

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.

PP: Next Slide

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.

Last week at His table talk, Jesus showed that when Jesus is at the table, it’s a table of healing.

Today, we’ll get three more views of the table:

A table of selflessness
A table of compassion
A table of urgency

PP: 2. Luke 14:7-11 A table of selflessness

TWO SLIDES

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.””

PP: Next Slide

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.

At the table in that day, thepositions of honor were the ones closest to the host.

PP: It’s not all that different at a wedding reception today.

Usually, the people seated at the head table are the bride and groom, and the bridal party.
The tables closest to the head table are immediate family.

PP: next Slide

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:

In God’s kingdom, honor is given by the host and not taken or presumed by the guests.

Humility, selflessness, is a chief character trait, of those who dwell in God’s Kingdom.

This is what Jesus says:

Don’t assume you’re the most important, most respected person in the room.
Because if you do and you take the wrong seat up front, your host will embarrass you by making you get up and move to the back.

Instead Jesus says:

Show some humility… take a seat at the back of the room.
And if the host wants you to sit closer, he’ll come and ask you to change seats.
Your host will honor you with a better seat.

Jesus then gives a principle, a truth about kingdom living.

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

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:

Humility at its core, is the recognition that everything good, everything we have,
is an undeserved gift from God.

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)

It doesn’t matter how hard you worked.
It doesn’t matter what success youve found.
It doesn’t matter what you sacrificed.
It doesn’t matter how many letters you have after your name.

All of it… all   of  it, is a gift from God.

Don’t pat yourself on the back
for what God has given to and done for you.

But as humans that rubs us the wrong way.

Humility/selflessness, not our strong suit, not in our wheelhouse.
Humility/selflessness… not a reality in far too many Christians lives.

But… imagine a world, a church, a family,

Where I see others as more deserving than me.
Where I promote the accomplishments of others rather than my own.
Where I try to out serve (if you will) the people around me.

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.

Remember from last week I said Jesus would speak to him about that.

Jesusmain point is this:

Understand the motives behind your acts of generosity.
Don’t give to others, in whatever way it’s shown, just because they can return the favor.

Let’s jump into the text.

Jesus is not saying you can’t invite your family, friends, co-workers or people with money to a meal at your home.
He’s saying they shouldn’t be the only people you invite.

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:

The man with dropsy/edema.
Who, by the way, the host never intended to stay for the meal.

He was only there to see if Jesus would break their Sabbath law and heal him.

After Jesus did heal him, Jesus sent the man home because He knew His host lacked compassion.

Jesus is calling his host out on not inviting the

people who truly needed a good meal,
people who needed to hear about who God was and how He worked,
even if they could not return the favor.

Who were they:

The poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.

Jesus is saying, when you do that, you’re making your home, your table, a place of compassion.

PP: Next Slide

If you want God’s blessing in life, if you want the blessing of being in His presence, in His  Kingdom for all eternity,

then invite the lost, the disenfranchised, the unloved, the weak, the social outcasts, the poor, the broken,

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, thatll 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

Three slides

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)

PP: Next Slide

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.

The man’s assumption was that everyone at the table that day, would eventually be at God’s table; eating, rejoicing in the heavenly kingdom.

But Jesus tells them another parable that in effect says… no, not really.

Jesus says a man planned a great banquet…

there it is… more food.
You thought CBC was Calorie Baptist Church, well there will be great feasting going on in the KOG… only it won’t have any calories!  

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:

First: I bought a field, I need to go check it out.
Second: I bought 5 yoke of oxen and I need to check them out.
Third: I got married, I need to stay home.

Sounds like pretty good excuses on the surface but they all had one thing in common…

What they felt they had to do, was for them, a higher priority than going to the banquet.
Resulting in no sense of commitment to attend the banquet.

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.

Sound familiar? Jesus is reinforcing what He said about compassion and is showing what it looks like.

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.

God is the master of the house.
We are His servants.
Those originally invited to the banquet were the people of Israel.
They knew they were invited to God’s kingdom, but when the entrance to His kingdom was finally made available in Jesus, the Messiah, they said… no, I have other plans.
Knowing of their rejection, Jesus speaks to the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame, to the tax gatherers, the prostitutes, the sinner who did welcome Him as their Messiah. They were the ones who came from the streets and the lanes in the parable.
But there was still room in God’s Kingdom.  So the door to the kingdom is opened to the Gentiles, to those who were on the highways and hedges.  

And they came, and are still coming. PTL!

But the Jews who reject Jesus,
even though they were originally invited, even though they were God’s people,
because of their rejection will not have a seat at the table in God’s Kingdom.

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.

The poor, the crippled, the blind and lame, as well as the Gentiles will enter the Kingdom of God… but they wont.

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.

Conclusion

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.

Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion.
Nothing great is ever sustained in life without passion.

Passion is what energizes life.

Passion makes the impossible possible.
Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and go, “I’m going to do something with my life today.”
Without passion life becomes boring. It becomes monotonous. It becomes routine. It becomes dull.

God created you with the emotions to have passion in your life and He wants you to live a passionate life.

Passion is what mobilizes armies into action.
Passion is what causes explorers to boldly go where no man’s gone before.
Passion is what causes scientists to spend late night hours trying to find the cure to a dreaded disease.
Passion is what takes a good athlete and turns him or her into a great athlete where they’re breaking records.

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.

For the unsaved it’s, let me get my financial ducks in a row and then I’ll come to church and be a Christian… we rarely see them.
For the saved it’s let me get my financial ducks in a row and I’ll come to church regularly and I’ll commit to serving later… and we rarely see them.

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.

For the unsaved it’s, I have my boat, my vacation home, my RV, my fishing gear, my garden, my… whatever, I can’t come to church now, I’ll become a Christian later.
For the saved it I have my boat, my vacation home, my RV, my fishing gear, my garden…whatever, I’ll come to church regularly and commit to serving later… and we rarely see them.

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.

For the unsaved it’s, I need to spend time with my family, my children, to see that they’re involved in many different things so that they’re well rounded.
When they grow up and leave the house I’ll come to church and become a Christian …and we rarely see them.
For the Christian… well, by now you get the idea… it’s the same and we rarely see them.

Unsaved or saved, were a people of passion, even great passion. But where is our passion

for God, for being a follower of JC, for living out that passion in the community of the church?

Jesus, in this parable is expressing a great sense of urgency… do you see the words He uses?

Go out quickly and bring in
Go out and compel people to come in.

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,

we must, w/o excuses, go,
we must bring,
we must compel people to place their faith in Jesus..

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…

no more excuses.