Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 1 January 2016
Page 15

The Lord’s Invitation

Jefferson Sole

Jefferson SoleBefore Jesus told the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24), a man who had heard His teaching said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). The Lord’s invitation to become part of the kingdom of heaven, which is the church, is a blessed invitation. The word translated “blessed” is joy that is not dependent on outside circumstances and is derived from one’s relationship with God. To be invited is a joyful moment, but the benefits of the invitation are only realized if the feast is attended. This man knew that blessings resided in the kingdom of God. In fact, all spiritual blessings are found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). How does one get “in Christ?” One is added to the body of Christ by submitting completely to the Word of God (Romans 6:3-4). When the choice is made to attend, there is reason to celebrate (Acts 8:39; 16:34).

The invitation to attend the feast is a royal invitation. In a similar parable that Jesus spoke during the week prior to His death, the “man” who sent forth the invitation was a king (Luke 14:16; Matthew 22:2). The king in Luke 14:16 represents God the Father. Very few people would reject an invitation extended by royalty to attend a banquet. Perhaps even fewer would reject an invitation to attend a meal with their favorite actor or actress. Yet, the God of heaven desires all to attend His feast (John 12:32; 1 Timothy 2:4) and has invited them (Revelation 22:17), but only a few will attend to enjoy the bountiful blessings (Matthew 7:14). The King of kings has invited you. Have you heeded the invitation?

The Lord’s invitation is a timely invitation. The servant said, “Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). The establishment of the church was prophesied (Daniel 2:42), and God waited for the opportune time to send forth His Son to establish the church (1 Peter 1:20; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:3-4). Jesus promised that His church would be established “with power” (Matthew 16:18; Mark 9:1), and that power came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11). The feast is now ready! The church has been established (Acts 2:47)! For what are you waiting?

It is evident from the Scriptures that God calls mankind to “attend the feast” through the Word of God (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15). Don’t wait for a special event to serve as God’s invitation; it will never truly come. Don’t make excuses for disregarding or delaying your attendance (Matthew 22:5-6; Luke 14:18 -20), there is nothing in this world worth the price of your soul (Matthew 10:35-37; 16:26). Instead, answer the Lord’s invitation that has already been extended in the Gospel of Jesus Christ by submitting to Him (Mark 16:16). It is a blessed and royal invitation, and there is no better time than now to accept it!

Saved to Serve

S. Allen Turner

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul once wrote to Timothy a familiar verse: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV). What is not so familiar is the next verse, where he wrote: “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

Paul understood a couple of things of which he wrote in these two verses: (1) That he was the chief among the sinners of his time, and thus he needed the salvation Christ offers, and (2) that he had received that mercy for a reason – he had work to do.

Like Paul, each one of us has been set apart from the world for a purpose. Paul also wrote “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). No doubt, the church is holy – that is, the church (which means you and me individually as well as collectively) has been sanctified, set apart for God’s special purpose. What purpose is that? The Scriptures say that purpose is good works. The obligation is placed upon every one of us to fulfill that responsibility.

In Romans 12:4-5, we are told that each individual within the church is a member of the body of Christ. This means that every individual has a job to do. In my arm and hand, there are hundreds of parts including individual bones, muscles, tendons, the nervous system, skin, etc. Yet, they work as one arm in order to accomplish my goals. If one part refuses to work, I cannot accomplish what I wish. This is comparable to the church.

If we are to grow and accomplish what our Lord has commissioned us to do, every member must work according to his and her abilities! The church is a system – every part relies on the other. If any part of the system doesn’t work, the task is not accomplished and the system is shut down because it is no longer profitable to the rest of the body.

This is also why division amongst us is so terrible! If my thumb and my index finger decide they can no longer get along, and they choose to cut ties from each other, then I can no longer write this article, because my thumb and finger will not work together to hold the pen. They then both become unprofitable to me, and the work does not get done.

This puts a great deal of responsibility on each part. We have the duty to work – and we are held accountable for that duty. This brings to mind Jesus’ Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Indeed, “Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16b).

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