54 Luke 14.15-24
What’s Your Excuse?
v Opening Illustration:
Ø Food Network
§ One of my 4 stations I watch
· Had a special on Emeril’s 1,500 show
¨ On it Emeril said,
Ø “When I was approached to do a cooking show on a 24 hour food network, I thought the idea was crazy! It would never last!”
v A 24 hour food network is crazy, isn’t it?
Ø Yet it has lasted more then 10 years now!
· Because we love food
¨ Eating (6 years of life!)
Ø We take pleasure in it
Ø We look forward to it
Ø We think about it
Ø We talk about it
v In out text today, heaven is compared to a feast
Ø A feast that should be looked forward to
Ø A feast that should be thought about
Ø A feast that everyone is invited to
§ But as we find out
· Not everybody wants to go to…
v Re-orient on where Jesus is
Ø Invited to meal at Pharisees house
Ø Confronted with healing on Sabbath
Ø Talks to guests about being humble
Ø Turns to host and confronts him about proper reason to invite people to party
§ Then a person blurts out a comment…
· We don’t have the context of why he blurts it out
¨ But maybe to break the tension in the room
v Whatever the reason…
Ø The person’s comment is referring to Heaven
§ So Jesus decides to tell a parable about heaven using the banquet imagery
v Throughout Scripture heaven is depicted in many different ways
Ø As a Garden
§ Garden of Eden was “heaven on earth”
§ Inside temple decorations
Ø As a Throneroom
§ Isa 6:1-6 ~ Isaiah’s call experience
Ø A City
§ Rev 21 ~ New Jerusalem
v But a very common image that is used for heaven is of a great feast
Ø In fact, that is what the man is referring to in his comment to Jesus…
§ The Wedding Supper of the Lamb
· When all is said and done, righteous will sit down with Jesus for a feast
¨ Heaven as a place of sumptuous eating
Ø And isn’t that a wonderful image
§ Since eating is such a pleasurable experience
Ø Hollywood has done us no favors here
§ Depicts heaven as a place…
· Full of bumbling angels (It’s a wonderful life)
· Angry, distant God
· And a rather boring place
¨ David (age 7)
Ø Heaven is kind of big and they sit around and play harps. I don’t know how to play a harp, but I suppose I should learn how to play that dumb thing pretty soon.
· That is the picture that many people have of heaven…BORING
v But here, Jesus describes it as a feast
Ø I am a concrete thinker
§ I need to imagine what this feasts will be like
· Fun dinner party
· Lots of laughing and interesting conversation
· The best and favorite foods
¨ Filet Mignon, Roast beef, Mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, Lima beans
¨ Boston cream pie and cheesecake
Ø Hey, this is my view of heaven, not yours!
Ø It will also be the kind of dinner party that you won’t want to leave
Ø Q: Have you ever been to a dinner like that?
§ Where you sit back and are totally satisfied
· That is the great banquet that I am looking forward to
¨ Who knows if there will be an actual banquet or not
Ø But the image that God is trying to get across to us is that…
§ It will be 100% fulfilling
§ Totally satisfying
§ Fun and interesting
§ Something to look forward to, to be excited about
§ A place you won’t want to leave
§ A true blessing to attend
· And that is what Revelation 19:9 tells us
v Rev 19:9
Ø “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb”
v However, according to what Jesus says here…
Ø Some people do not want to go
§ And they give very weak excuses…
v The first excuse (READ v. 18)
Ø The False Excuse
§ No one would buy a field without prior inspection
· Obvious lie
¨ Making up a bad excuse on the spot
Ø Displays the utter distain and disrespect that the person had for the person throwing the banquet
§ Like the girl who does not want to go on a date and wants to make it obvious not to ask again
· She tells the man…
¨ “I’m washing my hair”
Ø Telegraphing to the man…
§ I don’t want to go and don’t ask me again
§ That is what this man is saying
· Many people simply do not care about what is after this life
¨ And when they are confronted with the Christian Gospel
Ø They make up an excuse that says…
§ I don’t care
The second excuse given (READ v. 19)
Ø The Mammon Excuse (The “Things” excuse)
§ This excuse shows that things of this world, can obscure what is really important
· Man’s oxen were more important than attending the heavenly banquet
§ We can’t understand how a person can get distracted by new oxen
· But how about a new car
· A new house
· A new boat
§ The point is…
· The things of this world can become so attractive and so captivate us
¨ That they slowly become more important than the things of God
In his book Feminine Faces, Clovis Chappel wrote that when the Roman city of Pompeii was being excavated, the body of a woman was found mummified by the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. Her position told a tragic story.
Her feet pointed toward the city gate, but her outstretched arms and fingers were straining for something that lay behind her. The treasure for which she was grasping was a bag of pearls.
Commenting on this, Chappel wrote, "Though death was hard at her heels, and life was beckoning to her beyond the city gates, she could not shake off their spell...But it was not the eruption of Vesuvius that made her love pearls more than life. It only froze her in this attitude."
Ø We too come get frozen in this attitude
§ Reaching back for the world
· 1 John 2:15 admonishes us…
¨ Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him
Ø This excuse shows that the man loved the things of this world more than the promise of the next
The third excuse given shows that even good things can hinder when not put in their proper place (READ v. 20)
Ø The Obligation Excuse
§ Marriage and family is a good thing
· More here
¨ But the warning here is that even that can become an idol
Ø Idol by definition is something that you place above God in your life
§ It can be anything
The founder of McDonald's, Ray Krock, was asked by a reporter what he believed in. "I believe in God, my family and McDonald's," he said. Then he added, "When I get to the office, I reverse the order."
§ We all do this to a greater or lesser extent
· We believe one thing, but act another
¨ We say that God is first in our lives…
Ø But our actions do not bear that out
§ We put our obligations, good and bad, before God in our lives
v In our parable, the servant returns to his master with the bad news…
v These excuses make God angry!
Ø After all the preparations he has made
§ The people that he invites create lame excuses and do not come
v But before we are too hard on these people…
Ø We are all prone to excuses, aren’t we?
Ø We all give excuses to God, don’t we?
§ We make excuses why we don’t come to church
§ We make excuses why we don’t tithe
§ We make excuses why we don’t pray
§ We make excuses why we read our Bibles
§ We make excuses why we don’t help the poor, the homeless
§ We make excuses why we don’t volunteer in the church
Ø If you are here today and don’t know Christ as your savior…
§ You have an excuse for that as well
· Perhaps they are theological
¨ Jesus wasn’t God
¨ How could one man die for my sins?
· Perhaps they are more practical
¨ I don’t want anyone telling me how to live
v But why do any of us make excuses at all?
Ø Because we want to do what we want, when we want, how we want
§ We make excuses becasue we are all selfish
· Don’t tithe…
¨ Because I want to spend my money on what I want
· Don’t come to church, pray or read your Bibles…
¨ Because that takes up a lot of MY TIME
· Don’t give your life to Christ…
¨ Because this is MY LIFE
v We cannot help being selfish
Ø We cannot excuse our way out of being selfish
v But there is one person who was totally selfless in order to forgive our selfishness
Ø Totally selfless in order to forgive our selfishness
§ One person who made no excuses
· That person is Jesus Christ
Ø Isa 53:7 speaking of Jesus says…
§ He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
· Jesus was totally selfless on our behalf
¨ When he came before his accusers Pilate, Herod and the Sanhedrin
Ø He was silent
¨ He stood before them as a totally innocent man facing the death penalty
Ø Yet he gave no excuses
§ He was so selfless that he gave his life for ours
During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell never rang so the sentence was never carried out.
The soldier's fiancé had climbed into the belfry and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking. When she was summoned before Cromwell to account for her actions, she said nothing but showed him her bruised body and bleeding hands. Cromwell's heart was touched and he said, "Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!"
v This is the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice for us!
Ø Curfew never rings for those who put their trust in Christ Jesus
§ Christ did not cling to a clapper, but was crucified to the cross
· He took the penalty for our sins on the cross
· Isa 53:5
¨ But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
v Jesus Christ selflessly gave his life so that we could live
Ø Jesus wrote our invitation to the great banquet in his own blood
§ He is inviting you on this day to come and accept his invitation
· So, What’s Your Excuse?
§ In fact, eating plays a prominent role in Scripture
· First Command in Genesis
· One of the last images we are left with in Scripture
§ Luke 19:38-40 ~ Triumphal entry, Jesus wept going into Jerusalem, stones will cry out if people do not
Ø Heaven will be perfect!
§ Scripture describes it
· Beautiful, Paradise
· There will be no tears. Rev. 7:17; 21:4
· There will be no sickness. Rev. 22:2
· There will be no pain. Rev. 21:4
· There will be no death. Isa. 25:8; 1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 21:4
· There will be no more thirst or hunger. Rev. 7:16
· There will be no more sin. Rev. 21:27
· There will be no more judgment upon sin. Rev. 22:3
· There will be no night.
Ø Augustine wrote…
Loving the created world is not wrong as long as our loving God is not diminished. To love the world and fail to love God would be like a bride, who, being given a ring by her bridegroom, loves the ring more than the bridegroom who gave it.
Of course, she should love what the bridegroom gave her, but to love the ring and despise him who gave it is to reject the very meaning of the ring as a token of his love.
Likewise, men who love creation and not the creator are rejecting the whole meaning of creation. We ought to appreciate the creation and love the creator because of it.
§ This man’s excuse shows that he loved the creation more than the creator
Ø Think of the preparations God has made in order to invite you to his banquet
§ He sent his son to live and die in your place
· The invitation is written in Christ’s own blood
Ø He has prepared this great banquet for the Jewish people for thousands of years
§ Starting with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
§ Through Moses and Joshua
§ Through the times of the Kings and the Prophets
§ Finally consummating in the birth of his son Jesus Christ
Ø And talk about preparation!
§ The whole of redemptive history is preparation for
Ø It is a sad fact, but a true one…
§ Not everyone wants to go to heaven
· You see…
v It is said that there is no one in hell that does not want to be there
Ø And that is what we see in our text today
v Illustration: Young Adult Fellowship
Ø I worked with 20’s and 30’s singles for 12 years
§ Probably the flakiest people on earth
· I would plan a big event
¨ People would all tell me they are coming
· Do all the preparations
¨ Take time out of my schedule
¨ Set up
¨ Spend the money
Ø And sometimes just a trickle of people would come
Ø I would see them later and they would give the worst excuses
§ “Something came up”
§ “So-and-so called and so I went with them”
· Of course you can’t scold them about their failed commitment
¨ This is ministry
Ø You are to turn the other cheek, etc.
§ But I would get mad!
v That is exactly how God feels…MAD!