Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wedding Invitation From A King: A VIEW OF THE JUDGMENT

A king prepared a wedding banquet for his son. Long before the feast, the invitations had been given; and when the supper was ready, the servants went to call the guests. But those bidden did not appreciate the invitation.

"They all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come."

 The king had sent forth servants to gather everyone who had been given a wedding invitation but they would not come. He sent forth other servants to the invited ones with the message that dinner was prepared and everything is ready. “Come to the marriage” was the message.

Two of those who were invited, one a farmer and the other a seller of merchandise, made fun of the message and continued on with their preoccupations. The others who had received invitations took the king’s servants and were hostile towards them. They physically abused them, disrespected them and finally killed them.

 When the king heard about it, he was very, very angry. He sent forth his armies and they destroyed the murderers and burned up their city. The king then said to his remaining servants, “The wedding is ready but those who were invited did not come. Go out into the highways and as many as you can find, invite them to the wedding feast.

So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together as many people as they could find both good and bad. Thus the wedding was furnished with guests and the guests were provided with special wedding garments.

 It was a mixed company. Some of them had no more real regard for the giver of the feast than had the ones who rejected the call. The class first bidden could not afford, they thought, to sacrifice any worldly advantage for the sake of attending the king's banquet. And of those who accepted the invitation, there were some who thought only of benefiting themselves. They came to share the provisions of the feast, but had no desire to honor the king.

The scene changes. The king comes in to examine the guests; and he sees one who has come to the table without the wedding garment, which he himself has provided for every guest. He is clothed in his old citizen's dress. Why should he insult his lord by refusing to wear the dress that has been prepared for him ? Addressing the one who has thus dishonored him, the king says: "Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment ? And he was speechless.

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness.

When the king came in to view the guests, the real character of all was revealed. For every guest at the feast there had been provided a wedding garment. This garment was a gift from the king. By wearing it the guests showed their respect for the giver of the feast.

But one man was clothed in his common citizen dress. He had refused to make the preparation required by the king. The garment provided for him at great cost he disdained to wear. Thus he insulted his lord. To the king's demand, "How camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" he could answer nothing. He was self-condemned. There was the wedding garment, provided at great cost, but disegarded, by the self-satisfied one who preferred his own ideas, customs, and practices, and in his self-importance took his seat among the company without the wedding garment. He considered his own garments appropiate for the occasion.

The story of the wedding garment opens before us a lesson of the highest consequence. By the marriage is represented the union of humanity with divinity. The wedding garment represents the character which all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding.

The guests at the marriage feast were inspected by the king. Only those were accepted who had obeyed his requirements and put on the wedding garment. So it is with the guests at the gospel feast. All must pass the scrutiny of the great King, and only those are received who have put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. By the king's examination of the guests at the feast is represented a work of judgment.

The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples. Those who do not cooperate with Christ to experience a change in character, though claiming the privilege of being called Christians, have not on the wedding garment. They will share the same fate as the unbelievers who have flatly rejected the King’s invitation to the wedding.

Those who make a profession of faith, and yet remain unchanged in habit and practice, are represented in the parable by the man who came to the feast without a wedding garment. There are many who, while they believe what they read about Christ, do not believe in Christ. They do not receive Him as a personal Savior. Their names may be registered on the Church roll, but they do not bring Christ into the daily life; and God can not accept them. They choose to wear their own garments.

Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ's righteousness covers no sin unrepented of.

He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment. Nothing less than repentance for sin and a genuine working faith in Christ will pass the judgment.

No one can enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb without the righteousness of Christ, the heavenly wedding garment. This garment is the Christ-like character that all must have in order to enjoy heaven and to be trusted in heaven.

Those who have on this wedding garment, this robe of Christ's righteousness, will not question whether they should lift the cross, and follow in the footsteps of the Savior. Willingly and cheerfully they will obey His commands for obedience to Christ is a pleasure when a person loves Him and it develops a Christ-like character. 

How can you appear in the last great day without the robe of the righteousness of Christ ? The word is spoken; Why are they here without the wedding garment, which I gave my life to purchase for them ? Take them out of my presence. It is not possible for them to love and enjoy my presence here. They have not educated themselves to be at home in heaven. It would be no place of joy to them. It does not harmonize with their habits and their tastes. Nothing here can harmonize with the characters they have formed.

If you are to sit at Christ's table, and feast on the provisions He has furnished at the marriage supper of the Lamb, you must have a special garment, called the wedding garment, which is the white robe of Christ's righteousness. The righteousness of Christ consists in right actions and good works from pure, unselfish motives. Only by receiving God’s grace daily can you begin and continue to wear this robe. Jesus chose to die to provide an atonement for your sins. He offers to let His perfect character take the place of your sinful character in the judgment. Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior right now ? Will you let His love for you soften and subdue your heart and change your character in preparation for a home in heaven ? 

Reference: Matthew 22:1-14