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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                     The Wedding Feast (Mt 22:1-14)

INTRODUCTION

1. We come to the third of three parables Jesus told when challenged by
   the religious leaders in the temple during His last week...
   a. "The Two Sons" was told in regards to their rejection of John the
      Baptist - Mt 21:28-32
   b. "The Wicked Vinedressers" described how God would reject them
      because they had rejected His prophets, and ultimately His own
      Son! - Mt 21:33-46
   c. In "The Wedding Feast", the wickedness and rebelliousness of the
      religious leaders is even more vividly described - Mt 22:1-14

2. In "The Wedding Feast", the Lord is revealing Himself and the nature
   of their rejection more clearly than He did in the previous
   parable...
   a. There He was indeed the son; but here He is a royal son
   b. There they were rejecting what they rightfully owed by way of 
      contract; but here they are rejecting kindness which had been 
      graciously offered to them!

3. In this parable, we also see an expansion of the element of Divine
   Judgment...
   a. The previous parable described judgment upon Israel for rejecting
      God's Son
   b. So does this parable, but it also describes judgment upon those
      who have accepted the King's invitation, yet not in the way it 
      was intended to be received!

[Let's read the parable beginning in Mt 22:1 (READ).  Now let's spend
a few moments taking a closer look...]

I. THE PARABLE ANALYZED

   A. AN INVITATION SPURNED (1-10)
      1. The kingdom of heaven is likened to a wedding feast - Mt 22:
         1-2
         a. Isaiah had used the figure of a feast to prophecy of the
            Messianic age - Is 25:6
         b. The Book of Revelation describes a future marriage of the
            Lamb and His Bride - Re 19:7
      2. And yet the invitation is spurned...
         a. By those indifferent - Mt 22:3-5
         b. By those rebellious - Mt 22:6
         -- Jesus may have reference here to the Jewish nation, as He
            did in the parable of "The Wicked Vinedressers" - Mt 21:
            33-46
      3. The King's furious reaction - Mt 22:7
         a. Those who had so callously rejected His invitation, abused
            His servants, are themselves destroyed
         b. Many understand this to be a prophecy of the destruction of
            Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 A. D. - Lk 19:41-44
      4. The invitation is extended to others - Mt 22:8-10
         a. As in the parable of "The Wicked Vinedressers", the
            opportunity to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of God is
            extended to others - Mt 21:43
         b. This has reference to the offer of the gospel and the
            kingdom to the Gentiles - cf. also Mt 8:5-12

   B. A GUEST IMPROPERLY ATTIRED (11-14)
      1. Without a wedding garment - Mt 22:11-12
         a. It was customary for the hosts to provide their guests 
            suitable apparel
         b. To not wear the provided garment showed a lack of respect
            and appreciation
         c. No real excuse could be offered for not wearing one ("he 
            was speechless")
      2. The King's furious reaction - Mt 22:13
         a. The seriousness of the insult is seen in the reaction of 
            the king
         b. The punishment described is similar to that found in other
            parables - Mt 13:42,50
      3. Jesus' conclusion - Mt 22:14
         a. This summarizes the main point of the entire parable
         b. The invitation (call) of God is extended to many, but few
            receive it in such a way to be among the "chosen"

[This parable was clearly told in response to the rejection of the 
King's Son and His Kingdom by the Jewish nation.  However, elements of
the parable apply to us as well, for the invitation to attend "The 
Wedding Feast" is still being offered through the call of the Gospel!

With that in mind, consider a few more thoughts on...]

II. THE PARABLE APPLIED

   A. HAVE YOU SPURNED THE FATHER'S INVITATION?
      1. Through indifference?
         a. Many people do not know God because of a lack of interest
         b. Yet God has so ordered the affairs of life to encourage 
            faith and interest in Him - Ac 17:26-27; Ro 1:20; 1Ti 2:
            3-4
         c. For this reason, even those who through indifference do not
            know God and obey the gospel will be condemned - 2Th 1:
            7-10
      2. Through rebelliousness?
         a. There are many who know full well the Father's invitation
         b. But for whatever reason they rebel against it
         c. In so doing, they despise riches of God's grace and store 
            up for themselves God's righteous indignation - Ro 2:4-11

   [Certainly all should respond to the Father's invitation if they 
   desire to enjoy the spiritual blessings of the kingdom of heaven.
   But as we learn from the parable, there is more...]

   B. ARE YOU ATTIRED FOR THE WEDDING?
      1. Many seek to attend the "wedding" in apparel of their own 
         choosing
         a. Some, not knowing the righteousness of God, have sought to
            establish their own - Ro 10:1-3
         b. People do this today, when they expect salvation on terms
            different than those taught in the gospel
            1) E.g., trying to obtain salvation based upon their own 
               good works
            2) E.g., trying to obtain salvation on faith without 
               repentance and obedience
      2. We must be willing to put on the "apparel" that God gives us:
         a. We must "put on" Jesus Christ!
            1) First and foremost this involves clothing ourselves with
               Christ
            2) Which Paul explains takes place in baptism - Ga 3:26-27
            -- Have you put Christ on in baptism?
         b. We must "put on" the new man!
            1) Paul applies the figure of putting on a garment to the 
               development of Christian conduct and character - Col 3:
               5-14
            2) Do we wish to be found at the wedding feast adorned with
               the apparel of the "old man with his deeds"?
            -- Are you putting off the "old man", and putting on the 
               "new man"?
         c. We must "put on" righteous deeds!
            1) John described the preparation for glorious wedding of 
               the Lamb and His bride - Re 19:6-9
            2) We understand that the "righteous acts of the saints" 
               are not done to merit salvation - Tit 3:4-5
            3) They are done to bring honor to God, and therefore we 
               are to be ever ready and zealous to do good works - cf.
               Mt 5:16; Tit 3:1,8,14
            -- Are you doing what you can to "beautify" the wedding 
               garment of the bride?

CONCLUSION

1. We have truly been blessed to be given the opportunity to receive 
   the Father's invitation to the wedding feast of His Son!

2. But we learn from Jesus and His parables that the "kingdom of 
   heaven" is for those who thankfully and properly receive the grace 
   that God has to offer

3. The example of the nation of Israel should serve as a warning to 
   all, both Jew and Gentile, that while God's call of the gospel is 
   open to all, the saying of Jesus still remains true...

               "For many are called, but few are chosen."

You have been called, but will you be chosen?
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