Full text of Derek Prince’s sermon titled “The Two Banquets”.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
The subject that I want to speak to you about this evening, I have given the title: ‘The Two Banquets’.
I’m going to be speaking about two banquets that are described in parables in the New Testament. In the parables of Jesus.
I’m going to base my message on three parables of Jesus. I think I should say at the beginning that this message is a warning. It’s a warning against presumption. It’s a warning that comes initially from Jesus Himself.
It’s a warning against presuming on a relationship with God that you don’t actually have.
It also raises two questions. The first is what kind of people receive God’s provision?
And the second is what kind of people miss God’s provision?
So I want you to be listening with those thoughts in mind.
Now I’m going to read the first parable, which is found in Matthew chapter 21, verses 33 through 46. It’s usually called ‘The Parable of the Vineyard’. It speaks about a landowner who rented out a vineyard to workers, vinedressers, but expected them to bring some of the fruit as payment for the vineyard. They refused to do that, and this describes how the landowner dealt with them.
Beginning then, in
‘There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now, when the vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all, he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son’.
But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize the inheritance.’ And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?’
Now we get the response of the people who were listening to Jesus.
‘They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
‘Then Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone? This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you (Jewish people) and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.’
Now, when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.’ They saw that it was directed to them, the leaders of the Jewish people at that time. ‘But when they sought to lay hands on Jesus, they feared the multitudes because they took Him for a prophet.’
So there is the story. And you see, the vinedressers made a mistake. They assumed that they could take over ownership of the vineyard for themselves. They didn’t realize that they were only stewards appointed by the owner and they had an obligation to the owner. And the real issue which was raised there is the issue of fruit. The vineyard is for those who bring forth the fruit.
And at that time, Jesus was telling His own Jewish people, if you don’t bring forth the fruit that God requires, the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of faith, the fruit of mercy, God will take this vineyard from you and give it to another nation.
Now, the word in Greek that’s used for a nation, ethnos, is the word that’s normally translated Gentile, or the Hebrew word is goy. And you need to know that the Jewish people, in a certain sense, tend to look down on the goyim, the Gentiles.
And so when Jesus said, you Jewish people are in danger of losing your inheritance. That which God has provided for you, this vineyard which He planted and provided with all that was necessary for bringing forth fruit. If you don’t bring forth the fruit, if you don’t give God the fruit that is His due, God is going to take it from you and give it to a Gentile nation.
Those were terrible words to Jewish ears. You probably haven’t lived amongst Jewish people. You’re not aware of this gap that they feel between themselves and the goyim, the other nations. And because of their special background and all the privileges that God had bestowed upon them, they couldn’t conceive that they would lose their privileged position and that the privileges would be given to another nation.
Now, I don’t believe that other nation is a specific nation such as Britain or America or New Zealand or Australia or any other nation. I believe it’s a new nation that God has brought forth.
For Peter wrote to the believers in Jesus and said, ‘You are a holy nation, a special people, a people who belong to God.’ (1 Peter 2:9)
And I believe that is the nation that Jesus had in mind, which is made up, of course, not only of Jews, or of Gentiles, but of both Jews and Gentiles.
But you see, the problem with these people was they presumed they had a relationship with God, which actually, by their misconduct, they had forfeited.
They presumed because of their background. For something like 14 centuries, they had been especially privileged people, a unique people amongst all nations on the earth. They could say, ‘Well, God gave us the law of Moses. God instructed us to build the temple. God sent to us all His prophets. We have the only priesthood that God acknowledges on earth.’
And all of that was true, but it didn’t mean that they could presume on their relationship with God. And actually, in the subsequent years, God did exactly what Jesus had warned them He would do.
He took that privileged position away from them and gave the kingdom of God, through the message of the kingdom and the Gospel, to what we would call today the church, a new nation formed out of many different nations, Jewish and Gentile.
And then Jesus reminded them that this had been predicted in their own prophets in Psalm 118. And He quoted there.
‘He said, ‘Haven’t you ever read, ‘the stone which the builders rejected’, And He was referring to Himself, ‘has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?’
And then He went on to say, ‘whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.’
So Jesus said, ‘These words are going to be fulfilled in Me. You builders, you rabbis, priests, scribes, elders. You may reject Me, but I am the chief cornerstone and the whole building depends on Me.’
And then He said, there are going to be two ways that any person can respond to this stone. This is the generally accepted interpretation of this Scripture, which I agree with.
You may fall on the stone in repentance, kneel, cast yourself down upon the stone and cry out to God for mercy and you’ll receive mercy. You’ll be broken. Your pride, your arrogance, your religious assumptions will all be smashed, but you’ll be saved.
But if you refuse to bow before this stone and humble yourself and acknowledge your need of God’s mercy, the stone will fall on you and crush you to powder. It will destroy you.
So this stone, which is Jesus, can either become the place where you find mercy and salvation through brokenness, or it can become the instrument that crushes you in divine judgment.
And there are only two ways that anybody can respond to Jesus. There’s no third possibility. A lot of people don’t want to make a commitment, but they don’t want to be accused of rejecting. They want to find a kind of place of neutrality. Jesus ruled that out.
He said, ‘he that is not with me is against Me, and the one who doesn’t gather with Me is scattering’. (Luke 11:23)
So there are only those two possibilities. And I would like to ask you tonight, consider in your own heart, where are you in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Don’t presume. You may have a Christian background, you may be a member of a church, you may know a lot about the Bible, but that’s not the question.
The question is, where do you stand in your relationship with Jesus? Are you with Him? If you’re with Him, you’ll be gathering, you’ll be positively serving Him, doing what He commands.
But if you’re not with Him, then you’re against Him. Whether you know it or not. And being against Him, you’re scattering. You’re wasting; you might say, well, what am I wasting? You’re wasting everything that God has given you. Your life, your talents, your time, your money. They’re all being wasted. They’re being squandered. They’re being used on things that have no permanent value.
You’re missing the privilege of investing in the kingdom of God. And there are only those two situations.
And you see, history records the tragedy of the Jewish people. And I love the Jewish people. I’m not Jewish, but I love the Jewish people. I don’t say this with any attitude of arrogance or superiority. I simply say it as an objective fact.
They made this tragic error. They presumed on a relationship with God which they didn’t have. They presumed upon it because of their background, because of all the privileges that God had bestowed uniquely upon that one nation.
But you see, privilege is something that you’ve got to take very carefully. It’s not a cause for arrogance or for taking anything for granted.
On the contrary, privileges confer responsibility. Jesus said, ‘to whom much is given, of him much will be required.’ (Luke 12:48) So the more the privileges that you’ve received, the more God respects from you in return.
Consider yourselves as citizens of New Zealand. Think of the privileges you have: political freedom, just and impartial laws, liberty to assemble, liberty to proclaim the truth, liberty to worship. An almost endless supply of teaching, first of all in the Bible itself and then in all sorts of books and other teaching materials. That’s wonderful.
But remember, to whom much is given, of him much will be required. God expects much more from you people than He does from people who’ve never heard the truth or just have, like people in China, a man who has one page of a Bible becomes a pastor. They have one Bible between 100 believers.
And brothers and sisters, the fruit that’s coming forth out of their lives is amazing. How do you compare with them? With all the privileges that you have, are you being more fruitful than they? Are you spending more time in prayer than they spend? You have liberty. Most of them have to work hard from early morning till evening. There are very few times of free time that they can enjoy.
What are you doing with your time? Are you wasting endless hours before a television set? There’s very little on television that will make you holy, and there’s a lot that will do the opposite.
I tell people in many lands, if you really want to be a spiritual giant, you just have to exchange two things. Now, there are exceptions to this, but for most of you, if you really want to be a spiritual giant, I’ll tell you the secret.
Just exchange or reverse two things: the amount of time you spend in front of the television and the amount of time you’ve spent in front of your Bible.
Just change them and you’ll be surprised how you’ll grow spiritually. I’m not preaching against television. There are things on television that serve a useful purpose, but basically it’s not the place that you become spiritual.
We had a visitation in our local church in Fort Lauderdale in 1986, about six weeks of visitation. Most of the time we were on our faces on the floor before God. There was very little preaching. It was one of those rare occasions when we let God speak and all sorts of sin…
I mean, it was a good, respectable, charismatic church, I would say probably in the top 20% of such churches in the nation. But when God visited us, the sins that we had to confess amongst ourselves, not publicly, and I didn’t have personally to confess most of these sins. I want to make that clear.
But there was adultery, fornication, there was alcoholism, all in the midst of the church. But I think the sin that most people had to confess was idolatry.
And you know what the idol was? You can guess. The television set.
And I can’t count the number of people that had to confess the sin of wasting endless hours before the television set. Remember to whom much is given, of him much also will be required.
Paul said, we live our lives bearing in mind that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the things done in this body, whether they be good or bad.
No third category; it’s either good, and if it’s not good, it’s bad. And every one of us is going to have to give an account of ourselves. Every one of us.
Brothers and sisters, don’t waste so much time pointing out the faults of others, criticizing other churches or congregations, because you won’t have to answer for them.
There’s just one person you have to answer for. Who’s that? Me. That’s right.
Now, I want to go on to two other parables, which are the parables of the two banquets that I want to speak about.
The next one is in the next chapter of Matthew. Now, I have to make a statement here based on my knowledge of Greek. Now, anybody who says he knows all there is to know about Greek is kidding himself, because nobody does.
But I have learned Greek since I was ten years old and I studied it for 15 years, and I was qualified to teach it at university level. Now, that does not mean that I’m incapable of making mistakes, but it does mean that I’m entitled to my opinion. So that’s all I’m saying.
And what I’m going to tell you is there are two banquets, one in Matthew, one in Luke, and almost all the translations, there is one exception. I can’t remember which it is, call them both dinners. But that’s wrong.
The banquet in Matthew was not a dinner. It was a breakfast. The banquet in Luke was a supper. Anybody who knows Greek here, the first word is ‘ariston’, which is breakfast. Still is in modern Greek. The second word was ‘deipnon’ which is supper.
And the point of this is the first was at the beginning of the day. The second was at the end of the day. You understand? And if you miss that, you don’t get the full application of these two parables of the banquets.
And now we’re going to read them on in Matthew, chapter 22, verses 1 through 14. And I’ll just go ahead of myself and say I believe this parable was fulfilled in the Jewish nation because they were the people who’d had all the privileges. They were the people who’d received the invitation. Let me read it and then comment on it.
‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding. And they were not willing to come.’
They’d been invited. Their name was on the list of guests, but they wouldn’t come again.
‘Again, he sent out other servants saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”
But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm and another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully and killed them.’
In verse 4, it says, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner’ , but it’s breakfast. What it is, it’s the first meal of the day. It could be anything before midday.
‘The rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious.’ And the King is God. ‘And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers and burned up that city.’
Now, that has a historical fulfillment. It was fulfilled in 70 AD when God released the armies of Rome against Jerusalem and against the Jewish people.
And they took and… Rome burned the city, destroyed and burned the temple. This is because they refused the invitation.
Now, the wedding was scheduled. Do you notice how good I am at saying scheduled?
Somebody said to an American, ‘Where did you learn to say schedule?’
And he said, ‘I learned it in school.’
I’m bilingual; I just have to think what nation I’m in. All right.
The wedding was scheduled but had to be postponed because the guests didn’t come.
So here we have a wedding that was scheduled for the beginning of the day and it didn’t take place. Now, we’ve got to read on in the Bible to find out when it does take place.
Now, after the destruction of the guests who’d refused… And dear brothers and sisters, let me say it’s a terrible thing to refuse God’s invitation. It’s an insult.
Many, many years ago, my father was an officer in the British Army in India. And in the days when India had a Viceroy, you probably at least can remember that historically. And some British officer was invited to meet the Viceroy, which was the king’s representative, and he received an invitation which said from the Viceroy’s secretary, ‘I have been commanded to invite you to come.’
And he wrote back and said, ‘Thank you, but I’m not coming.’
And he got into terrible trouble for refusing this. So he said, ‘Well, I must have misread the invitation. I thought it said, I’ve been commanded to invite you, not I’ve been invited to command you.’
But if you get into trouble for refusing the Viceroy’s invitation, think what it means when you refuse God’s invitation. How can you insult God any more than refuse His invitation?
‘Now the king said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not ready. Therefore, go into the highways and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’
So their servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.‘
You see, when the Jewish people refused, Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Now go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (gentiles).’
So this is the point at which the invitation which had been refused by the first guests was extended to a multitude of other guests right out far away, not living in this privileged relationship in God’s land.
‘So those servants went out into the highways and gathered all whom they found,’ notice ‘both bad and good’.
It interests me that the bad are put before the good. Not all the people who accept the invitation are good people, you know that.
How do I know that? Well, I accepted it, and I wasn’t a good person by any means. And generally speaking, the bad accept before the good.
You know that? When the Gospel is preached, it’s the bad people that respond first. Jesus said that the harlots and the tax collectors go into the kingdom of God before the religious people.
You know why the religious people have a hard time accepting? Because they think they’re good enough already. That’s their problem is being good.
Anyhow, the bad and the good were all invited. Verse 11 going on.
‘When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.’
Now, you need to understand in that culture, at that time when you were invited to a wedding, the man who invited you provided you with the appropriate garment to wear at the wedding. You didn’t have to provide it at your own expense. It was part of his hospitality.
So the man who didn’t have the garment, it wasn’t because he didn’t have enough money. What was his problem? Should I tell you? He presumed... he presumed that he could get in without the appropriate garment.
‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.’
That’s the end of the man who presumed that he could get in without a wedding garment. He ended up cast out forever in a lost condition into outer darkness.
It’s dangerous to presume that you have a relationship with God that you don’t have.
Now, the wedding garment represents salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and being clothed with His righteousness, not your own.
In Isaiah 61, verse 10, it says, ‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul will be joyful in my God because He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with a robe of righteousness.’
That’s the wedding garment. It’s a garment of salvation. And when you get a garment of salvation, you also get a robe of righteousness. Not your own righteousness, but the righteousness of God, imputed to you through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, ‘God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.‘
Not our own righteousness, not our religiosity, not the best we can do, but the righteousness of Jesus received by faith. Because on the cross Jesus bore our sins. He was made sin with our sinfulness, that in return, through faith and no other way, we might be made righteous, reckoned righteous with His righteousness.
One of the most beautiful pictures. And the prophet says, ‘I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God.’
I tell people, if you’ve never got excited, I doubt whether you’ve ever worn the garment of salvation or the robe of righteousness.
Some people laugh at us because we get excited about our religion. I’ll tell you, I was a professor of logic. The only logical thing to do is get excited. There’s no other logical response.
Here you are, clothed in the filthy garments of your own righteousness, and the Lord says, ‘Take them off and I’ll cover you with a garment of My own righteousness. And you can come before Me without shame, without diffidence, knowing that you’re covered with My righteousness.’ You don’t get excited about that. You’ve never really believed it.
That’s the truth of the matter.
Now I was brought up in the Anglican Church in Britain. I thank God for many good things I received in the Anglican Church, but I never met the Lord then. I’m sure He was there, but I never met Him.
And as a boy and a teenager growing up, you know teenagers tend to be rather critical. I appreciated the beautiful words. They’re really lovely words.
But when I looked at the people, I said to myself, I wonder if they really believe what they’re saying? And I had this little mental picture. I thought of one of these dignified ladies at the end of the service walking out of the church and dropping her beautiful lace handkerchief. And I pictured myself running behind her, picking up the handkerchief and saying, ‘Madam, here’s the handkerchief you dropped.’ And somehow I thought she’d be more excited about getting a handkerchief back than she would about all the wonderful things she’d been saying about God through the service.
If you could get excited about a lace handkerchief, wouldn’t it be reasonable to be excited about being clothed with a total robe of Christ’ righteousness?
Every time I get to this truth in Scripture, I get excited. And I’m not basically an emotional person. You really never appreciated what God is telling you. I don’t see how you can help being excited.
There you are, in rags, filthy, just unattractive, and you’re invited to this wedding breakfast. This wedding breakfast? That’s right. And all the people there are in beautiful garments. You think, I’d love to get in there, but I’d be so conspicuous.
And when you get to the door, the servant says, ‘Take all that stuff off, we’ve got a robe for you. And you can walk in and not feel ashamed.’
See, when we’re all wearing Christ righteousness, none of us can feel superior to the others. If you think you’re superior to other Christians, I don’t think you probably are wearing the robe of righteousness.
Well, the final lesson is: ‘many are invited, but few are chosen’. Few meet the conditions.
Now you might be sitting here this evening and saying, ‘Well, Mr. Prince, I don’t think I’ve ever heard about this garment of salvation and this robe of righteousness. I really don’t know what to do, but it sounds wonderful.’
Well, I want to tell you very briefly what you have to do. You have to have a personal transaction with Jesus Christ. There’s no other way.
You can be leading a good life, doing nobody any harm, paying your bills, even going to church. But that’s not a substitute for this.
The Bible says in John’s Gospel, ‘as many as received Him, to them He gave the privilege of becoming sons of God.’ (John 1:12)
It’s not enough to just believe about Him. It’s not enough to repeat the Creed or say the Lord’s Prayer, all that’s good, but it’s not sufficient. You have to receive Jesus personally as your Savior. And that will change you, that will transform you, receiving Jesus.
And the Scripture says you’ll be born of God, you’ll have a new birth, a new life will come into you. You become a new kind of person.
This happened to me in the last days of July 1941 in an army barrack room. I didn’t know anything about the new birth, but when it happened I was changed. My fellow soldiers said he’s become religious, but it wasn’t true. I got saved. That’s what happened. I was born again, and that’s nearly 50 years ago. And I want to tell you it lasts.
Furthermore, it gets better and better. There’s nothing stale about it.
Another Scripture that’s important is, if you want to be saved, you have to believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. And you have to confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’.
Many good churchgoers believe in their hearts, but that’s not enough.
With the heart, man believes to righteousness. But with the mouth, confession is made to salvation. (Romans 10:10)
You’re not saved until you make a public confession of your life committed to Jesus. There are some here tonight who’ve never done that. You’ve believed in your heart, but you’ve never had the courage or never been instructed that you’ve got to make a public confession of your faith in Jesus.
We are going to give you an opportunity to do that here tonight before this meeting closes. So be ready when the time comes.
Now, I want to go on to the third parable, which is in Luke, chapter 14. And this is a supper. This is not a breakfast.
We’re not speaking now about events at the beginning of the age, referring to the Jewish people.
Listen to me carefully. We’re talking about a supper, a meal at the end of the day. This is the end of the age.
And now the Jewish people are not in the focus, because for more than 19 centuries the privileges have been offered to Christians. And we can look back over 19 centuries where we’ve had the Bible, we’ve had the church. The gospel has been proclaimed.
Many of us have grown up in an atmosphere of professed Christianity. But you see, we’re in danger of making the same kind of mistake that the Jewish people make: presuming that we have a relationship with God because of the privileges we’ve enjoyed.
Can you see how totally the roles have been reversed? Now we are the people who think we’ve got it all.
I remember, I hope this won’t offend anybody, but probably 30 years ago, my first wife who was Danish, and I were in Denmark, in the land of Hans Christian Andersen, in the very city where he came from. And I was preaching in a little Pentecostal church.
And in the church there was a dear elderly lady who was a widow. She was sick, she was poor, she didn’t have much. And I remember in a conversation, she said in Danish, [vi har det hele] We’ve got it all.
And I looked at her and I thought to myself, dear Lord, if that’s all, it’s not much.
Now, she was a sweet person, but she had been taught in her congregation that the Pentecostals have it all.
Brothers and sisters, none of us has more than we have. I’ve met a lot of Christians who said, I’ve got it all. I got it all when I was born again. If so, you’re different from the apostles because they had to seek God.
But I say to those people, if you’ve got it all, where is it all? Let’s see it. Don’t just tell us about it, show it. The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)
Anyhow, let’s read this quite brief parable now. It was prompted by a remark by one of these pious religious remarks that people make.
Luke 14:15: ‘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 the bread in the kingdom of God.’
I’m sure he thought it sounded good. But Jesus took him up and gave him a very strict warning.
‘Then Jesus said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are ready. But they all with one accord, began to make excuses. The first said to him, I’ve bought a piece of ground and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’
That’s a ridiculous excuse. Who buys a piece of ground without ever having seen it?
And then another one said I bought five yolk of oxen and I’m going to test them. Ask you to have an excuse.
Who buys a yoke of oxen without trying them out first? See? It’s just an excuse.
The third one said, I have married a wife and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry… and notice the reaction. When the invitation is rejected, it is always anger.
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. And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’
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. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’
Not one mouthful.
Now, what’s the application? As I understand it, it’s the end of the age. The privileged ones are not the Jewish people. The privileged ones are the professing Christians. And they are in terrible danger of making the same mistake that the Jews made at the breakfast of presuming on a relationship with God, which they don’t walk out.
And since the time they received the invitation, they’ve got busy with other things real estate, business, social relationships and they’re just not prepared to respond to the invitation. They are too busy.
Does that sound like people we know? Does it sound like some of us.
You see, Jesus said about the days prior to His coming. And I just read from Luke 17:26-30: ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. But on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed’ , in the day when Jesus returned.
What was the problem of the people in Noah’s day and Lot’s day, as recorded here? They married, they were given in marriage. They ate and drank, they built and planted, they bought and sold.
Is there anything sinful in any of those acts? No, they’re all legitimate.
What was the problem? They had become so engrossed in them, they were not ready for what God was going to do.
Sum that problem up in one word: materialism. Is that a problem that affects Christians in this nation and in other Western nations?
Oh, yes, we got the invitation. We’ve heard about Jesus and the cross and the Gospel, and we’re members of a church. But at the present moment we’ve got a lot of other interesting and exciting things to do. We want to make money, we want to enjoy ourselves.
And what happened? They didn’t come.
And what was the response of the king who gave the banquet? He was angry and he said, they’re not going to taste my supper.
And then he said to his servants, go out quickly in the streets and lanes. Bring them in. People who’ve never darkened the doors of a church, people who don’t know anything about Christianity, just go out and bring them in.
They brought them in and still the place was not filled. So the king said the second time, go out in the highways and hedges, as far out as you can go, and make them come in.
Do you know that that’s what’s happening today? I’m a witness of it.
A lot of professing Christians are not prepared to come to the banquet. They are more interested in other things. They think if they sit and listen for 45 minutes to a sermon, they’ve done God a favor.
You go to China and they listen to you for six or 7 hours. In one case, they stole the preacher’s luggage, took it away from him so he couldn’t leave. He finished preaching at 11:00 at night and they were up for a prayer meeting at 05:00 a.m. next morning.
They said, no, we haven’t heard enough. We want to hear more.
I’ve been in places in the Third World where they would sit on narrow benches just about six inches wide. And you’d speak to them for three or 4 hours and you’d say, begin to draw to a close.
They’d say, ‘Why are you stopping? We haven’t heard enough.’
Even in Hungary, Ruth mentioned that church in Hungary they were so persecuted they had to meet in secret. They shut themselves in, closed the window, and then they began to worship God. And they would sit on narrow benches, literally, and worship for an hour or 2 hours before you even began to preach them. Five or 6 hours was a short meeting.
Can you see?
Are you in danger of missing the banquet? I want to read to you when the banquet is going to take place.
Revelation 19. Just two verses seven and eight.
Revelation 19:7-8: John says in verse 6, ‘I heard, as it were a voice of a great multitude and the sound of many wards and the sound of mighty thunderings saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come and his wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed (listen) in fine linen, clean and bright, which is the righteous acts of the saints.’
Nobody is going to get into that marriage supper without fine linen, clean and bright. And the fine linen is the righteousness which God imputes to his people through faith in Jesus and which they work out by walking by faith, that’s going to be the climax.
Now, what is the lesson?
I want to take just two brief verses from the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:3: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.’
Blessed are the people who don’t think they have it all the people who are not so sophisticated that they just don’t need anymore.
The people who say, spiritually, we are poor. We need all that God has for us.
And then ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.’
I want to ask you tonight, frankly, are you hungry and thirsty for righteousness? I meet lots of people who are seeking healing and blessing and deliverance and prosperity and thank God for all those blessings, but they aren’t the ones that are blessed.
The ones that are blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
Shall we consider for a few moments here tonight where each of us stands with God?
I would ask you just to shut yourself in with the Lord and meditate briefly on what I’ve been saying. And I want to present a challenge.
There are some of you here who claim to be Christians, churchgoers and so on, but you’ve never put on the wedding garment of the righteousness of Jesus. And you are not saved. You are not born again.
And tonight you’ve really heard the truth. I don’t believe you can have any excuse of ignorance. God loves you. He wants the best for you. He’s taken infinite pains and care to bring you here tonight that you may hear this message.
Now do you want to respond? Do you want to accept the invitation? Do you want to get your wedding garments here tonight?
You can do it. If you do, think it over for a moment. I want to pray for you.
But you’ve got to be willing to make that public confession. And so there’s just one thing I want you to do. You are here tonight. You’re not saved. You’re not born again. You haven’t got the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness, but you want it. Thank God for your sense.
We want to help you. We want to pray for you. But you’ve got to make a commitment. You’ve got to indicate your decision and your needs.
And the way I’m asking you to do that here tonight is very simple but very important. Wherever you are sitting in this auditorium, on the ground level or in the balconies, you make that decision here tonight. I want you to do just one thing. I want you to stand to your feet right where you are. Say, God, tonight I want to be saved. I want to be born again. I don’t want to refuse Your invitation and make You angry. I don’t have enough righteousness of my own. I don’t qualify. I’d be ashamed to walk into that banquet wearing the kind of righteousness that I have.
Would you just stand to your feet, if that’s your choice? Tonight, wherever you may be. We’re going to wait a few moments, but not long.