Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2020.11.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 22:1–14

Read Matthew 22:1–14

Questions from the Scripture text: How was Jesus speaking to them (Matthew 22:1)? What is this parable describing (Matthew 22:2)? What has the king arranged for his son? What is Jesus using this marriage to describe? Whom does the king send out in Matthew 22:3? Whom are they to call? But with what result? Whom does the king send out in Matthew 22:4? What does he tell them to say? How do they respond in Matthew 22:5? To what do they go instead? How do others respond in Matthew 22:6? What do they do? Who hears about this (Matthew 22:7)? How does he respond to this, and what does he do? What is the situation in Matthew 22:8? What does he say was wrong with those originally invited? Where does the king send them to invite guests now (Matthew 22:9)? Whom do they gather (Matthew 22:10)? Now what is the condition of the wedding hall? But what does the king see in Matthew 22:11? What does the king ask him in Matthew 22:12? How does the man respond? What does the king say to do in Matthew 22:13? Into where is the garment-less man cast? What is Jesus’s summary (Matthew 22:14) of why the first invitees, and also the garmentless man, were destroyed?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Matthew 22:1–14, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place.

Either destroyed in wrath outside or blessed in the marriage of the Son. Those are the only two outcomes that people have in this parable. There’s no neutral location to end up. The non-blessed outcomes in the passage are either being destroyed and burned (Matthew 22:7) or outer darkness in weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). That means that it’s extremely important to know: how can you end up in the blessed group? 

You would think that the answer is to be worthy. But all those who receive invitations initially are unworthy (end of Matthew 22:8). They show their unworthiness first by lack of interest in the kingdom (Matthew 22:3), then by positively making light of the kingdom (Matthew 22:5), and in some cases even abusing and killing the servants of the kingdom (Matthew 22:6).

So, are the ones who end up inside worthy? Well, they may be made worthy by the garments that are given to them, but they obviously did not have these garments from themselves. We know this because of where they are found (Matthew 22:9Matthew 22:10). They are not there because of their worthiness. But, the ones who are properly there are all made worthy. Matthew 22:11-12 shows not that you can “get into heaven then kicked out” but rather that there is a requisite holiness that God gives to all whom He brings to heaven. “Without holiness we will not see the Lord” (cf. Hebrews 12:14). 

Ultimately, the point of the parable is not difficult, because Jesus brackets the whole thing by telling us just what that point is: “The kingdom of heaven is like” (Matthew 22:2)… “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). 

That is to say: God does much inviting of unworthy people to heaven, but it is only those whom He chooses to give the ability to respond rightly, and the proper outfitting for glory, who will enjoy His glorious blessing instead of enduring His glorious wrath.

For you, there are many important applications here: Abandon all illusions of your own worthiness. Guard your heart against being over-impressed with your property and tasks in this world, or under-impressed with communion with God and service to Him. Know the danger of transferring resistance to God’s Word onto resistance to God’s messenger. Trust only in Christ as your worthiness, but pursue holiness to be made fit for that for which He is worthy. Pursue that holiness in dependence upon Him. Be sure that whether or not you belong to Jesus is infinitely more important than anything else for you. Treat other people as if it is the most infinitely important thing for them as well. And, rejoice that even though absolutely none of us is worthy, He still chooses to save from among the many who hear the call.

If you go to heaven, how will you have gotten there? What will He have done for/to you to get you there?

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH425 “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place”

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