Series: Your Priority Decides your Destiny| Title: General | Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: December 10, 2017
We are reading from Luke 14:15-24
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But 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.’19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So 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.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then 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. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”
Here we read a parable where Jesus was sitting at a house of leader of the Pharisees on a Sabbath day. It was not just an ordinary settings, usually we see miracles taking place when Jesus used to be in the synagogue, preach in synagogue. I am giving you setting now. We are reading from Luke chapter 14 and there is an important message for you and for me, that message says “Your priority decides your destiny”.
Think about Jesus sitting in the house of a Pharisee on Sunday morning. Jesus was not going to the temple but instead Jesus chose to be in the house of a Pharisee. There was a man sitting in front of Jesus. Bible says he was a man who had a special sickness called Dropsy, in the current terms we can call it as Edema, a man suffering with swelling all over his body – excessive fluid collection. Jesus was trying to handle the argument there because day being a Sabbath day, Jesus was opening the question “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Jesus was a little naughty there, he was just throwing that question for an argument and Jesus healed him perfectly.
Then he was talking about humbling ourselves when we are invited to a wedding, Jesus was saying, you just go and sit at a lowly place. Don’t go and sit at the place of honor, so that if you need to be honored, somebody will come and lift you up to honor you. Today, at times we try to take honor by ourselves, we don’t wait for the God to lift us up. Jesus was teaching very clearly to take the place that is lowly.
Then Jesus talked about this parable of the great supper. One of the man who sat there said, Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
Then Jesus opened His mouth with this parable that we read.
It says, a certain man hosted a supper and he invited many people. At the time of the supper he also sent one of his servants, to go and tell everybody that the supper is ready – also sent a reminder. But Bible says, they all together made excuses.
- The first one came and told the servant, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I need to go and see it’.
- Second one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them in the field’.
- Third one came and said, ‘I just got married, and I want to spend time with my new wife’.
- Three person came with three different excuses.
- The servant came reporting that to the master, Bible says the master became really angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring here the poor and the maimed, those who got hurt and the lame, those who couldn’t walk and the blind, those who couldn’t see’.
- Servant did as exactly, what the master told. He brought everybody into the supper hall.
- Servant said, ‘We still have room’. And the master said, ‘Go out into the highways and the hedges, and compel everybody to come to the supper, that my house will be filled’. He did so.
- Finally he said, ‘For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper’.
End of the parable was not that great. Jesus said, ‘I invited many but they did not come. They had enough excuses to tell. Those who did not come, they are not going to taste my supper’. Jesus talked about this supper of lamb of God. Jesus talked about, they are not going to get into heaven.
Life priorities taking over kingdom priority:
Master invited people for a supper. What is that supper refers to in the biblical context. It is an opportunity to have fellowship with God, it also means it is an opportunity to hear the Lord- breaking bread and sharing bread refers to the Word of God, supper also means taking time of prepare ourselves to take part in the Holy Communion – supper of the lamb of the God. Don’t miss communion Sunday. You need to be in the house of the Lord on the day of communion. We don’t know how many communions we’ll be able to have together on this earth but we need to be there, don’t miss any opportunity.
What are life priorities?
- Think about the first one, come and told the master, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it’.
- Second one told, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them’.
- Third one came and told, ‘I just got married, and I want to be with my wife, I cannot come’.
Three things that we need for our daily living – a place to build a house, a livelihood or a business, thirdly a wife. All those three things are really necessary necessities for life. Yes, they are very necessary.
Is there anything wrong in buying a land? Is there anything wrong in buying a business ? Is there anything wrong in getting married ?
Some of the churches preaches that too. You cannot have a land on this earth, you have a hold, you cannot go to heaven. That’s not right, that’s wrong. Some of the churches preach against buying a business and doing a business. You need to be careful about whom you partner but God is able to bless you through your businesses. Some of the churches even talk about not getting married. Three things Bible is talking about and these three individuals came with reason, why they are not able to come for the supper. There is nothing wrong, they need to go after these things which are necessary for their life.
What is the problem here? Why Master/ God has to get angry when people said excuses?
1. When the necessities of life becomes as excuse for not meeting the kingdom priorities.
Not just one person doing this. Verse 18 says, But they all with one accord began to make excuses.
So when the necessities of life becomes an excuse for not meeting the kingdom priorities, that’s where the problem began.
What are the kingdom priorities?
- Coming for the supper when invited.
As I said, supper is the time of fellowship, supper is the time of hearing Word of God, supper is the time of being united through Holy Communion with Lord God. At times the kingdom priorities change. Your priority may not be my priority but all of us have kingdom priority.
What else is the problem?
2. All these three life priories that they talk about, were just new and fresh, they are interesting to explore.
He just bought that land. He just bought that the yoke of oxen, he wanted to test. He just got married. All these life priorities were new and fresh, interesting to explore. When life priorities become more interesting than the Word of God, than seeking God’s presence, then there is a problem. When we are not saved, God tells us, you need to give your life to Jesus. We think that’s all we need and we give our life to Jesus. But when we become children of God, God tells us, ‘I want you to move further, I want you to get involved in the ministry, I want you to share the love of God, I want you to sing, I want you to do this or that’. If we don’t do those things it becomes a problem. When we do all this kind of things in our life, God tells us at some point of time, what ever you did in this world is enough, now separate yourself for the work of God. This morning, ‘I am talking to you not to anyone else’. Our God is a God who demands as you yield your lives more and more, the demands of God is so heavy on your life.
3. There is no excuse when it comes to the matter of God.
All three of these individuals asked for excuse, but they were not excused. When we say excuses to God, we take it granted that God accepts our excuses but that’s not true. Their excuses were not accepted. If their excuses would have been accepted –
- The supper would have got cancelled.
- Probably he would have said, ‘I am postponing supper to another day’. But he did not do that.
When it comes to the work of God, if we say excuses, God is not going to wait for us. The precious salvation God brought to his own Children – Jewish people, it was rejected. God did not wait. He invited everybody like you and me. Salvation became so acceptable and available for Gentiles. Our excuses cannot stop God.
The alternate plan of the Master:
Verse 21 says the Master of the house became angry. Think about it, our excuses at times makes God angry.
- the excuses never stopped God from getting angry
- the excuses they asked, never allowed God to give them another chance. There was no other chance given to them.
There are two measures taken by the Master:
Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed (injured) and the lame and the blind.
Who are they? They are the people who are living in the streets. They were not the invitees, they are the Gentiles. They were not the original people of God. They are non Christians. They are not believers.
Initially they were invited but now the measure master is taking, is go and BRING the poor and the maimed (injured) and the lame and the blind.
If we are not available for the work of God, if we can say many excuses in the presence of the God, God is going to bring some people who are living in the street, the poor, maimed and the lame and the blind.
- God is not really pleased in our appearance – God is looking for commitment, people who are committed for the cause.
- God is not really pleased in knowing who we are – God is looking for your availability. God can use anybody. God is not pleased in our spiritual level, but God is pleased when we say, Lord, I am available for you.
Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
First one was INVITED, second one BRING, they were brought and third one COMPEL them or force them. The master was made aware that, there are more rooms in the supper hall and master told the servant, ‘Go and compel everybody to get into so that house is filled’.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
We are living in a time where we are compelled to give priority to God. Why do we say that? You need to do this, God has called to do this, you are supposed to be available because it is forced. At times I am forcing you to do certain things because I am forced to do certain things. God has not given us that as an option in our hands, we are forced to do the work of God.
I was in need of help of a commentary there, often I use to refer Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
The violence denotes a strength, and vigor, and earnestness of desire and endeavor, in those who followed John’s ministry, else they would not have come so far to attend upon it. It shows us also, what fervency and zeal are required of all those who design to make heaven of their religion. Note, They who would enter into the kingdom of heaven must strive to enter; that kingdom suffers a holy violence; self must be denied, the bent and bias, the frame and temper, of the mind must be altered; there are hard sufferings to be undergone, a force to be put upon the corrupt nature; we must run, and wrestle, and fight, and be in an agony, and all little enough to win such a prize, and to get over such opposition from without and from within. The violent take it by force. They who will have an interest in the great salvation are carried out towards it with a strong desire, will have it upon any terms, and not think them hard, nor quit their hold without a blessing. They who will make their calling and election sure must give diligence. The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers (who take things easy), but to be the rest of them that labor. It is a blessed sight; Oh that we could see a greater number, not with an angry contention thrusting others out of the kingdom of heaven, but with a holy contention thrusting themselves into the kingdom of heaven.
What it means is God is looking for such people, who don’t take things easy, who takes matter of kingdom of God seriously. Who will not try to push people away from kingdom of God but instead they will try to push people into the kingdom of God.
Master wanted his house to be filled. God is not happy when we have empty chairs here. As I used to say, church is not for believers, if you think church is for believers, you are wrong. Church is for unbelievers, those who are lost in the world. Jesus came to this world to save which was lost in the world. Jesus did not come for those who are healthy, those who are healthy don’t need a physician, Jesus came for those who are unhealthy. If we don’t have a non believer in our worship service, I believe the time that we are here is a waste, when we have such empty chairs God is not happy about it. We cannot please God by our dancing and worshiping, we need unbelievers to be here because only they need cross. Today if we die, we may go to heaven but what about those who are living in the streets. God wants his house to be filled. God is not looking at our outward appearance, spiritual levels but God is looking at those who are available. Even if they are not available, we can go out and bring them into the presence of the God, if we can force somebody, open the door and push people inside, that’s what is expectation of the master. God is looking for those who are:
- Socially neglected
- Whom we consider so low, if we look at somebody with all tattoos and earring hanging in their ears, we think that they are designed, determined, destined for hell but that’s not true. We look at outward appearance, the soul inside of him is so precious, we cannot neglect. There are people in the world around us today, God wants us to bring them into the presence of God because God wants his house to be filled.
Matthew 20:16 Jesus said,“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen”.
Do not neglect anybody. Churches are talking about separation, it is true that you need to be separated form the sinful world but Jesus never ever asked us to stop loving somebody. Jesus was considered as friend of sinners, he was sitting was Pharisees, he was sitting with the woman who was a prostitute. People who were keep on saying excuses, they were losing their opportunity. God is going to replace them. This is a message to you, stop saying excuses when work of kingdom is about to begin. I can hear your excuses but God is not going accept your excuses. Nothing can stop us, always the kingdom work takes the priority. You are called believers because you belong to the kingdom and your king takes the priority, nothing else.
The Result of telling excuse:
Verse 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper”.
How painful it was, I thought who were invited they were church members, congregation of the church but they all said excuses, now the master says; none of them is going to enter into my supper. That means even after getting saved, even after coming to church regularly, even after worshiping God, we can go to hell:
- If our priorities don’t becomes the priority the kingdom. God wants to set our priorities right. It’s not important how many hours we pray, prayer is important, living holy life is important, meditating the Word of God is important but what is the priority of God in your life. You need to understand the priority of God in your life, the reason why God chose you, called you from that surroundings. Your family is still not living in a Christian way, biblical way, but God pulled you out of that situation. There is a reason for that. If life priorities become more important than God’s work, we need to question our destiny. People those who were invited they had different priority, they could not consider the kingdom priority higher than their own priority. Today, all of us have priorities in our lives but Bible say when there is kingdom urgency, God wants us to keep our priorities aside. God wants us to take the priority of kingdom of God.
- If we continue to say excuses in the God’s matters, verse 24 may come upon our lives.
- If we refuse and reject invitations God is sending to us, to work in God’s kingdom, Verse 24 may come upon our lives.
- If we continue to fail to be diligent to make our call and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Once in a while you turn back and see the reason, why God called you? We often forget but God wants you to think about the reason why God chose you? If we fail there, Luke chapter 14 verse 24 may come upon our lives.
Not only God can find somebody else to do the job but there is a punishment. If we don’t set our priorities right , there is punishment, that punishment is eternal. I believe God wants to set our priorities right so that our destiny is determined by what we do.