DRESS CODE: The first part of the Wedding Banquet parable is not all that surprising, in fact we see it played out on a regular basis. God's Gospel invitation has gone out for the last two millennia, yet most people (especially the 'invited guests,' God's chosen people Israel) ignore the invitation because they have better things to do. But then there are those, like us, whom God has brought into His feast by His grace. The surprise comes when the King comes into to see the guests and has one thrown out because He's not wearing wedding clothes.
It's very important to respond positively to the invitation God has given. We receive that invitation as the old hymn goes, just as I am, without one plea. But God will not - can not - accept us in our deplorable, filthy, sinful condition. Paul builds on this idea in Ephesians 4 (which we just covered in an evening service) by instructing us to "put off our old self." This means repenting of our sins and placing those sins on the cross, just as a filthy beggar would need to wash himself before coming into a wedding banquet. But this is only step one. Even if the beggar washes off the filth, he can't come into the banquet in his broekes (underwear), he needs new clothes. In the same way, after putting off our old selves, we must put on our new self, which consists of Christ's righteousness. This is a lifelong process of sanctification, which means looking more and more like Jesus in the way we think and act.
IT'S A TRAP: The next four sections of this chapter all have one thing in common: either the Sadducees or the Pharisees (two very different Jewish sects, united only by their hate of Jesus) set out to catch Jesus saying something which would violate the Torah. Jesus expertly navigates these landmines and in each case leaves them speechless (v22, 33, 46). If these two groups of experts, each of which came from totally different perspectives, could not trap Jesus in His words, it makes a very compelling case that the words Jesus spoke were holy and true.
IMMUTABLE: One of my favorite attributes of God is that He is immutable, literally meaning that He can not mutate (change). Jesus makes that clear in v32. It's not that God was the God of the patriarchs, but now is revealing Himself to be something different. Today many would say that the God of the Old Testament is vengeful and angry, but the New Testament God is loving and kind. This isn't the case at all. That's why the primary name God gave as He introduced Himself to Moses is I AM (Exodus 3:14). God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead but of the living (v32).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself (v37-39).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
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