Sermon Notes, 20th Sunday of Trinity, 30 October 2022 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
Matthew 22: 1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The heart of a Little Boy (I have written out for the benefit of those who may only read these notes):
A little boy was diagnosed with a severe heart deformity which demanded surgery, or the boy would surely die. The surgery itself also presented a dangerous threat to the little boy’s life. The very professional cardiologist explained, in gruesome detail and with a measure of cold detachment, the serious nature of the surgery. The little boy seemed unmoved by the discussion, so the doctor said (with apparent irritation), “Don’t you know that I might find a condition that could kill you?” The little boy responded happily, “I know what you will find, and it makes me happy to know it.” The doctor was dumbfounded at the apparent indifference of the boy but scheduled the surgery anyway.
Upon entering the chest cavity and seeing the little heart, the doctor was dismayed. The boys heart would require his greatest skill to repair. He worked professional and meticulously to undo a deadly condition that had afflicted the boy since birth. His professional pride, and not any sense of compassion, motivated the hands and mind of the cardiologist.
Against all odds, the surgery was a great success and the boy was restored with a normal heart at last.
As the doctor later explained to the boy the serious nature of the surgery and the damage he had found in the boy’s heart, the little boy smiled. The doctor, greatly puzzled, asked, “Do you mock my skills as a surgeon. Do you not believe what I have told you I found in your heart?”
The little boy replied, “You have not told me the most important thing you found in my heart which makes all the rest better – Jesus!” The cardiologist was shocked and humbled by this courageous little boy’s answer. As a result, he finally did find Jesus in his own heart.
The sermon text today is of a great man who was planning a grand wedding feast for His Son. He had gone to great expense and time-consuming preparation to insure that every detail was perfect.
Let’s examine the nature, first of all, of the nature of this invitation:
- it is extended to everyone, wide and far.
- it will be rejected by the heartless and indifference
- rejection provokes the justifiable ANGER of GOD! – Each of us exists either under His kind favor or His great anger. Under God’s anger, or under God’s love, we must be, whether we will or not. We cannot flee from His presence. We cannot go from His Spirit. If we are loving, and so rise up to heaven, God is there—in love. If we are cruel and wrathful, and so go down to hell, God is there also—in wrath. With the clean He will be clean; with the froward man He will be froward. On us, and us alone, it depends whether we shall live under God’s anger or live under God’s love.
The great King had composed a list of friends and subjects whom he had befriended with many kindnesses in the past. He was sure that they would be honored to come to the feast.
But these ungrateful acquaintances would not come.
The King was grieved that these people, whom he had helped so many ways, would not even honor His own Son. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
He was a King and unaccustomed to begging, but, for His Son’s sake, he besought the people to please come and honor His Son.
How did these vile people respond to the King’s pleadings?
5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
The Great Sovereign of all power was angered:
7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
In the year 70 A.D. (about 35 years after the crucifixion of Christ), the Roman commander, Titus, erected battlements against the walls of Jerusalem. After a prolonged siege in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem actually ate their own babies, the walls fell and Titus butchered every male, and took the females captive as slaves to the rough Roman guards.
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy
All who reject the invitation of Christ are unworthy of His Grace and Love.
God the Father is seeking a bride for His only Begotten Son. He sent prophets and priest to invite ancient Israel to come unto Him. But what was done to these righteous from Abel to Zaccharias?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Matthew 24:34-35
When the servants (prophets) were murdered by the King’s subjects (old Israel), the King sends forth his messengers to find others. None were to be ignored. Every persons, regardless of race, wealth, worth, or character were to be invited (the new Israel). All who will, COME. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
The Apostles went forth to all nations following the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, inviting all to come.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests
Many are found by the servants (evangelists) and are called, but simply being called to the throne of God is not enough: one must be chosen as well. God calls great numbers – in fact, all who will hear His voice, He calls. But hearing the voice of God requires, also, that we respond in obedience.
We may receive an invitation in the mail to visit with the President of the United States, but this will never happen unless we respond to the invitation.
We must come to Christ, not slovenly or sloppily dressed, but in our finest and most respectful apparel. And our demeanor must reflect that respect and reverence in His Presence as well.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
We should never be careless in our service to Christ. We must be animated by the strong love we have for our precious souls. We must be fervent and mindful of every detail (Commandment).
We dare not come before Christ, under any circumstance, as His enemy. He considers all who come His Friends unless they prove unworthy through dress (lifestyle) or manners (behavior and appearance).
Consider a member of a college musical band reporting for the performance with neither uniform, instrument, nor music? The works of righteousness are our garments and the righteousness belongs to our Lord – not us. In Persia even today, a wealthy man may send the wedding garment he expects to be worn to each attendee. It would be a grave insult to wear anything else. The garment of the Christian is that white Robe of Righteousness with which the Lord covers our nakedness just as the father covered the filth of his prodigal son, and the Lord covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve with the skins of an innocent animal. As we are told in the Book of Revelation:
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17-18 (KJV) and, a very clear description of the Marriage Garment:
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Revelation 19:8-9 (KJV)
The King rebukes the man who came unprepared to show respect for the King or His Son:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless
This man had not received willingly the white robe of righteousness(salvation) which the father offers as a covering for our nakedness (sins).
On that day when we go before the White Throne of Judgment, if we have been desperate sinners, we will be as speechless in our defense as the woman taken in adultery. So was this man.
Our decisions made here on terre firma will decide our destinies in eternity – either heaven or hell.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Are you, then, chosen? Prove it by diligent study and good works reflecting that benefit of salvation.