What do you think heaven will be like?
I find way too many people have a boring, unbiblical view of heaven.
They think it’ll just be sitting on the clouds or singing in a choir.
But, we’re going to see in our passage today, that one of the ways that Jesus describes heaven…is as a great banquet feast.
This is a fairly common description in the Bible.
The Book of Revelation describes it as the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Jesus)
Even Jesus’ very first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding feast.
Jesus wants you to know that heaven is going to be like a glorious party.
Like the best celebratory feast you ever been to…but a million times better.
It is the feast to end all hunger…the party to end all sadness
And yet, you’re going to see today…that people, here on earth, actually make excuses as to why they don’t want to attend that party.
Let’s take a look at our passage from God’s Word as we are continuing in Luke chapter 14 this week.
The passage is a continuation of last week’s passage…where Jesus was at a party hosted by a Pharisee…
If you missed that message, you can check it out on our website, or our app, or Facebook
Jesus had just encouraged the host of the party to invite people who could not pay him back next time.
(Luke 14:15-24) – NIV
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
THE IN-BETWEEN TIME
So, a certain man is planning a great banquet…and the invitations had already been sent out days, maybe even months before.
In those days…when you planned a big feast…you just let your guests know the DAY of the party, not the time.
There were no clocks anyways in those days.
The host simply needed to know how many people were coming so he could butcher enough meet and provide enough food
And then, when the food was finally ready, he would send his servants out to tell the guests (who had already RSVP’d) that it was time to come to the party!
So, AS the story begins, were in this “in-between time”
Much like we are here on earth.
You’ve been invited to “Jesus’ Great Feast in Heaven.”
What a joy that is!
But we’re not there yet, are we?
And sometimes we grow antsy for it.
Just this week, after a rainy Tuesday and a cloudy Wednesday morning, I found myself, tired from working at home in my basement, looking out the window longing for the sun to come.
I knew the forecast, I knew the sun was coming…but it wasn’t here yet.
I was just looking…and longing…that’s what these days can feel like
But there are still others who know that the Feast is coming…
But when the servants say, “It’s time…follow me!”
They give an excuse on why they have now changed their mind, and won’t be coming after all.
THE EXCUSES WE GIVE GOD (and what’s underneath them)
And this, honestly, where the majority of Americans are.
This is actually a perfect parable for modern-day America
Imagine a bell curve
Sure, on the other end you have the atheists, the agnostics, those who speak out against Christianity
And on the one end of the bell curve you have people who are sold-out, followers of Jesus
But in the middle, the big part of the curve, sit the vast majority of Americans.
Happy that God has invited them to the feast…
They’re mildly interested in coming…
But when the invitation to come and follow actually comes…they say:
“Uh, well, I just bought this piece of land…and, uh, I gotta go check it out”
They give their excuse to God.
And what’s underneath that excuse is the fact that God isn’t really that important to them.
The man who bought the land…is working on building his own Kingdom…not God’s Kingdom.
For others, the excuses are different.
The 2nd says, “Well, I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen…and I’m on why way to try them out…”
In other words, “I’m going this way, this direction, with my life, and now you’re telling me that if I really want to follow you, I’ve got to go back that way.”
When God calls people to start following Him (to surrender to Him)…the excuses tend to fly.
And what’s underneath this excuse?
The man doesn’t want to surrender to God’s ways…to the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ.
We see this a lot, even in our church.
I’ll give a chance for people to stand up and accept Christ.
And many will stand.
They’ll say, “Yes! I want to go to that party in heaven! Sounds fantastic!”
But when they read that God is saying, “now stop pursuing this, repent of your old life, and walk this way with me.”
They say, “Eh…sorry, I gotta go check on my oxen….I’m going to have to decline your offer after all”
But my friends, be careful about making excuses to God.
You may make excuses to your Christian friends about why you haven’t really come to church lately…or why you’ve stopped reading your Bible…
And your friends may even fall for them.
But be careful of making excuses in front of a heart-searching God.
He knows the truth that’s in your heart.
You’d be better off just saying, “Lord, I haven’t been following you lately because I think the world, and sin is going to make me happier”
Okay, now you’re telling the truth.
Now we can get somewhere.
Some of you have been coming to church once a month for the past 2 years…or reading your Bible 10 times a year…
And you always have an excuse.
“Well, work is crazy”
“My kids schedule is crazy!”
“I have so much to do around the house on the weekends”
“I’m just so tired…”
God is not falling for your excuses.
You need to tell Him the truth.
Say, “God, deep inside, I just haven’t been believing you’re important…that you’re #1…and I’d rather do the things of the world.”
God can work with that.
The truth will set you free.
He can and will forgive you.
And He’ll show you that whatever party the world thinks it can throw you is nothing like walking with Him.
Nothing like it.
For others of us, we come with an excuse like the third man.
And we say, “Nah, I can’t, I just got married.”
Which is to say, “Actually, right now, I’ve got a more immediately gratifying relationship than I believe the Master offers…so sorry, no, I won’t be coming”
Or, you might even say that excuse is like saying, “I’m satisfied with what this world is offering, so I don’t think I even really need you”
These 3 aren’t coming to the Banquet because they don’t think they need to.
And I want you to notice something about them…
They are the rich and happy of society
The first guy is buying land…who can do that, but the rich?
The other guy owns 10 oxen?
Most people were just living day-to-day…meal to meal.
And Jesus warns us repeatedly in the Gospels that it’s incredibly hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
And in case you were wondering, I’ll solve the dilemma for you right now…
Yes, please know that you are rich.
You are richer, and live with more luxury & entertainment than the Kings & Queens of the middle ages did.
You have more stuff than 99% of people in all of history have had.
And the rich, the educated, and the powerful, have always had a hard time with Christianity…throughout history.
Because unlike every other religion, Christianity says, “you can’t save yourself. You’re a miserable sinner. Repent. Only Jesus can save you”
And too many of us were NOT brought up to think of ourselves that way
We think of ourselves as special, or unique, or successful…
And that thinking will be the eternal downfall of many
Jesus has invited you to the Great Feast for the Humble…
But too many of you will refuse it because you aren’t convinced that you are in desperate need of it.
The very first verse of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount is helpful here:
(Matthew 5:3) – NIV
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
That means, that those who are humble in spirit…those who don’t think they bring very much to the Table of God’s banquet…
…they are the ones who will receive heaven.
But if Jesus were giving this sermon to modern-day America, he might say:
Blessed are the poor in spirit…but cursed are the middle-class in spirit.”
“For they are stuck in the middle.
“not rich enough to acknowledge it”
“and yet rich enough to think that they are fine on their own…
“because of their comforts, their successes, their good morals they were raised on…”
“They don’t really, truly believe that they need me
“and so when I call on them to really follow me…to abandon themselves to me…
You know, there are things we need to be learning from this Coronavirus Season of Life
Americans have gone for 6 or 7 weeks now…without…
Without many of the luxuries that they’re used to
They’ve gone without the assurance of a paycheck, or the luxury of feeling in control…
And our culture feels like a powder keg that might burst right about now…after only 6 or 7 weeks of difficulty.
And yet, billions of people all around the world live every day without the luxury of knowing what tomorrow may bring.
They’re poor. And that’s really hard.
But often that leads to being poor in Spirit…to not look to the things of the world to give you life
And when the “Poor in Spirit” hear the invitation to come to God’s Feast…they readily accept it
And my friend, as God reveals to you more and more during this season that the world cannot give you what you need…
May you see this season as a blessing.
May you see that the world can not make you rich in anything of significance.
But Jesus can make you rich in eternal life.
The great Feast is with Him…now and in heaven…it’s NOT found in this world.
HIS INVITATION IS FOR ALL
And his invitation is for everyone.
Jesus is originally telling this parable to the Jews…God’s chosen people.
And he’s telling them that many of them are going to reject my offer of salvation…and so I’m going to go send my servants to the streets…to the poor.
But not only that, He says He’s going to go send His servants out to the roads and the country lanes”
He’s going to leave their land and invite in the Gentiles (us), the non-Jews to the party.
This invitation is for all.
God wants everyone at the feast with His son.
If one of my kids is having a birthday party…and one of their friends replies… “I can’t come.. I have a soccer game. I will be out of town”
I want as many people to be there…so we’ll just invite someone else
God is the same way…He wants as many people as possible at his party!
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how much you’ve screwed up your life.
If you feel like you’re the messed up person who’s been walking away from God your whole life…
He’s coming up to you on the road of life today, and He’s saying:
“All of these church people are ignoring my invitation…because they don’t really think that they need me…”
“Or, they think they’ve got more important things to do than really follow me.”
“But, my friend, would you like to come?”
His invitation to you is free.
And his invitation is this:
God sent His own Son Jesus to die on the cross for you.
And Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for all of the sins you’ve committed in your life.
And the Bible says if you believe in Him (that He died in your place), and you become a follower of His…
You let Him because the Lord and authority in your life…
He will forgive all of your sins…ALL OF THEM…
He will walk beside you…
He will love you, guide you, have a relationship with you.
And you will be with Him, at the Greatest Feast, one that will last for all of eternity, in heaven.
If you’re believing that for the first time today…
And you want to give your life to Jesus Christ, would you let us know so we can help you get started?
Either comment or send us a message on Facebook…or text Information to 31996, and we’ll get you some resources to get started.
Let me pray to end the message.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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