The Chosen Few

Home Church Service 5/29/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. “And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”‘ “But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. “But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. “Then he *said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’

 “Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”                                                  Matthew 22:1-14 (NASB)

Think back to your childhood to a time when you heard about a big party that everyone was talking about and had been invited to attend. Do you remember waiting anxiously for your invite to come but it never does? The heartache is almost unbearable. But there is one that is worse, the time you were planning a party and invited all your friends to join you. You had games and activities planned, pizza and chips as well as pop and ice cream. But then it happened, no one showed up. They were all too busy with plans they had already made, doing “chores” for their parents that turned out to be an excuse not to come, going to a family event they had to attend, the excuses were endless.

In our passage today we see the same thing happening to a king throwing a wedding feast for his son, only this time the stakes are much higher because this king is none other than God Himself. The first to be invited ignored the invitation and when the king sends a personal invitation, well, it gets worse! The king sends a second invitation to the misfits of the world, evil and good are invited to fill the wedding hall. Some will respond in an inappropriate way but others will be separated and remain because many are invited but only The Chosen Few respond properly.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who sent a wedding invitation that was rejected by those invited. A new invitation was sent to those both evil and good to fill the wedding hall. The Chosen Few enjoy the feast while those who are not properly clothed are thrown into the outer darkness.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who called his own to attend his son’s wedding. The call is declined by his own, so the king calls the misfits of the world, both bad and good, to enjoy the feast. The Chosen Few will remain while those who are not properly prepared must be separated into a place of darkness.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How do we become one of The Chosen Few?”

The Chosen Few hear the call, accept the call and properly respond to the call.

1). The Chosen Few may not come from among the first to be called.

Many who are called will be unable to hear the call because they are “too busy.”

In this passage we must take note of the sovereignty of the king, the unique position of the son and the nature of the kingdom – this is a wedding feast, a celebration, not a funeral! As is customary the king sends his servants out to announce the time has arrived and all is in place for the wedding feast – the invited guests should now come. Who in their right mind could pass up a chance for free food?! Especially barbeque!!

The original recipients refused to attend the wedding feast – they ignored the invitation, they went to their farms, they went to their businesses – they were simply much too busy! Matthew goes on to tell us the servants were mistreated and killed, thus enraging the king who now sends his armies to burn their city. It is hard for us as Christians not to see the judgment of God on the nation of Israel for the rejection of Jesus. This is the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple at the hands of Titus in AD 70.

It is clear to see that God is the king in this parable, the son is Jesus, and the feast is the kingdom of heaven. God has prepared a lavish feast – the kingdom of heaven – for His Son, Jesus Christ. However, those who had been invited – indicating the nation of Israel and the Jewish people who have, from the very start been invited to this feast – decline the invitation for a variety of reasons- turning a deaf ear to the servants, too busy doing God’s work, too busy keeping the Law, the list goes on and on. In fact, those invited become hostile toward the servants – John the Baptist, the disciple – and mistreated and killed them. It is easy to see Israel in this parable.

We do the same in the church today. God has sent out an invitation to His kingdom, but we too have a variety of reasons not to accept the invite. We are too busy building a career, too busy raising a family, too busy serving the church, I only have one day a week off and I want to spend it relaxing not in church, my kids get bored, the sermon is too long, the list can go on and on. So, we reject, mistreat those who are servants of God coming to invite us in person. How do we mistreat them? In any number of ways; we gossip about them, we hold grudges because they are some sort of religious freak, they have a bad past and should not be in the church, I think you get the point.

When it comes to those in leadership, especially pastors, the treatment is even worse. Far too many in the church think the pastor is there to do the heavy work for them. They are the employee, and the people are their boss! Therefore, they must do what the people tell them to do and how they tell them to do it! The sermon must be entertaining, short enough to let us stay awake and make us feel good. God has judged these churches as He has judged Israel, they have effectively rejected His Son by rejecting the placed authority of God in the pastor sent to lead the church into a deeper walk with His Son.

The Chosen Few hear the call, accept the call and properly respond to the call.

2). The Chosen Few come from the good who must be separated from the evil.       

Many who thought they were chosen will find themselves cast away!!

There is a second invitation extended to the good and the evil, a clear picture of the kingdom of heaven now opened to the Gentile nations and the mixed church that will not be separated and pure until the return of Christ. In this second group one man clearly stand out – he has not put on his wedding clothes. It was customary for the king to provide wedding clothes for the guests, this would prevent anyone from feeling ashamed because their own wedding clothes were not appropriate or others being boastful because of the quality of their wedding clothes. This put all the wedding guests on equal footing.

This is a picture of our righteousness in Christ. All will be wearing the same white clothes; all with be on equal footing for no amount of money, good deeds or personal accomplishments will gain anyone entrance into the kingdom of heaven; all will be equal in God’s eyes, no more male or female, no more Jew or Gentile, no more slave or master, only children of God!

The man who tries to enter the feast in his own clothing is saying, “My best is good enough!” He has ignored the provision of the wedding clothes, insulting the host and showing his personal complacency – His best effort is good enough, no more is required! There will be those who seek to enter the kingdom of heaven on their own merit, be it good works or personal accomplishments. This is precisely the issue we face as humans; we are NOT FIT to be seen before God, let alone enjoy the wedding feast of His Son!

We find here a second case in which someone is addressed as “friend.” Remembering what we learned in The Call for Kingdom Workers we know this person is in the wrong and is indeed speechless. This points to everyone’s accountability in their response to the invitation from Jesus to join the kingdom of heaven. While this originally pointed at Israel and the judgment to come for their response to the kingdom, we must remember this applies to everyone, for not all will respond from the heart.

As the Father, God has provided this feast – a wedding feast – for His Son. The invitation has been sent out far and wide, if you decline or reject the invitation, you will miss the party! If you think your best – good works or personal accomplishments – are good enough, God will have you thrown from the feast. There are many who have been invited, but few show, by their proper response, they are The Chosen Few.

The Greek word for many is usually translated as “everyone” or “all” and in using the expression “many are called,” Jesus points out the invitation to the kingdom of heaven is a universal invitation. The chosen or “the elect” are the true disciples of Jesus. There is no specific number mentioned here but rather it points to the sovereign choice of God in salvation.

The Chosen Few hear the call, accept the call and properly respond to the call.

We have all felt the childhood trauma of waiting for the big invitation that never comes or worse yet, sending the invitation that is ignored and no one comes when invited. It seems to be a part of growing up that not many of us missed.

Our passage examines a much more important invitation sent out by a king for his son’s wedding. This king is none other than God who has prepared a feast for His Son, Jesus. The first invited ignored the and declined the invitation but the second invitation went out to the misfits of the world, both good and evil. You see, many are called to the kingdom of heaven but only those who respond appropriately will be among The Chosen Few.

The most sobering aspect of this parable is the fact that those who are most severely condemned are the “insiders.” Originally this parable was addressed to the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the day. Today it would be addressing the church leaders – pastors, elders and lay leaders – but certainly has application to anyone who calls themselves Christian. Many in the church forget it is God’s desire that all come to repentance and the petty attitude exhibited by many Christians tends to chase away those who are earnestly seeking the Lord.

It is not ours to judge how a person looks or sounds when they respond to the invitation of the kingdom. When a person responds to the call it is our responsibility to walk beside them, showing them the love of Christ as the Spirit works to change them from within. We are to pray for them and with them, answering those questions that we have already asked and had answered. It is our job to nurture and make disciples by teaching them the commandments of our Lord.

This parable should cause all of us to pause and examine our own membership in the kingdom of heaven. Are we trying to gain entrance on our own merit? Has our response been from the heart and a true desire to belong to the family of God? Are our lives “too busy” to hear the call and respond appropriately? If you have responded appropriately, are you helping others who have heard the call? Or are you turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to those earnestly seeking the Lord?

We are all responsible for our individual response to the opportunity to become members of God’s family, but we also have a responsibility to those who do not know the Lord. Many on the outside of the church are turned off by “Bible thumpers,” those who continually harp at them and throw Scripture around. And while the use of Scripture is important and should always be used appropriately, we must remember we are all sinners saved by grace – SO SHOW IT!!

The church does contain people, who may be long standing members of the church, who do not belong to and are not true members of the kingdom of heaven. There are friends and family members of these “insiders” who have never responded properly to the invitation of the gospel message. We must, therefore, allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, giving Him free reign and access to our deepest darkest thoughts and desires. We must allow Him to remove those things that prevent us from bearing fruit, this will demonstrate to the world His power in our lives.

Our lives must bear the fruit of good works done for the glory of God, not an effort for salvation; our lives must bear the fruit of a Spirit produced transformation; our lives must bear the fruit of the making of new disciples as outlined in the Great Commission and our lives must bear the fruit of a life that bears witness to the reality of the kingdom of heaven.

We do all things to the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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