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The Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost

"Eternal Fashions in Fall Colors"

Matthew 22:11 ff.  

Rev. Wayne Dobratz  

Suggested Introduction: Every year Mr. Blackwell publishes his list of the best and worst dressed celebrities. He not only takes to task the celebrities who dress poorly, but he also tells the fashion world what’s IN and what’s OUT, as far as he is concerned.

The Bible makes it clear that something similar happens in ETERNAL FASHIONS. You must have the right clothing to enter eternal life–One must be clothed in Christ’s righteousness to enter the Banquet Hall in our Father’s House.  


1) What’s in–Isa. 61:3; Rom 3:22-24; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 4:22-24; Rev. 3:4-5; Rev. 19:7-9

2) What’s out– Rom. 13: 12-13; Eph. 4:22 & 25; Col. 3:4-9.

3) What’s the difference? Matt. 13:30, 25:31-34; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Jude 1:6 & 13; Rev. 21:27.

From Barnes Notes on the New Testament (Matthew 22:11): 

A man which had not on a wedding garment—In ancient times, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of changes of raiment to their friends and favorites, to refuse to receive which was an expression of highest contempt, Gen. 45:22; 2 Kings 10:22; Est. 6:8; 8:15. It was, of course, expected that such garments would be worn when they came into the presence of the benefactor. 

The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes, and it was the custom of the person who made the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This renders the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common and ordinary dress, as he was taken from the highway: and though he had not a garment of his own suitable for the occasion, yet one had been provided for him, if he had applied for it. 

His not doing it was expressive of the highest disrespect for the king. This beautifully represents the conduct of the hypocrite in the church. A garment of salvation might be his, performed by the hands of the Saviour, and dyed in his blood; but the hypocrite chooses the filthy rags of his own righteousness, and thus offers the highest contempt for that provided in the gospel. 

He is to blame, not for being invited—not for coming, if he would come, for he is freely invited but for offering the highest contempt to the King of Zion in presenting himself with all his filth and rags, and in refusing to be saved in the way provided in the gospel.

From MacArthur, John F., Jr., MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16-23

Since Cain’s first attempt to please God by offering his self-appointed sacrifice, men have been trying to come to the Lord on their own terms. They may fellowship with believers, join the church, become active in the leadership, give generously to its support, and speak of devotion to God. Like the tares among the wheat, they freely coexist for a while with God’s people. 

But in the day of judgment their falsehood will become obvious and their removal certain. Some will dare to say to God "on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then [Christ] will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’" (Matt. 7:22-23).

The proper wedding garment of a true believer is God-imputed righteousness, without which no one can enter or live in the kingdom. Unless a person’s righteousness exceeds the hypocritical self-righteousness that typified the scribes and Pharisees, he "shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20). The only acceptable wedding garment is the genuine "sanctification without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).

Many of Jesus’ Jewish hearers that day would have recalled the beautiful passage from Isaiah which declares, "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10). Sincere Jews knew that, contrary to the man-made, legalistic traditions of their rabbis, God not only requires inner righteousness of men but He also offers it as a gift.

God’s eyes, of course, can see into men’s hearts to know whether their righteousness is of their own making or His granting. But even outwardly a true believer’s life will evidence right living and reflect right thinking. The Lord not only imputes but imparts righteousness to His children. Only He can see the internal righteousness that He imputes, but everyone can see the external righteousness that He imparts. A child of God is characterized by a holy life. Peter made that fact clear when he described salvation as "obedience to the truth" which has "purified your souls" (1 Pet. 1:22).

Just before Jesus declared that prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles in His name may be false evidence of salvation, He had said that true evidence of salvation will always be apparent. A person’s spiritual condition will be manifested in the fruit of his living. "Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?" He had asked rhetorically "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matt. 7:16-17, 21-23). A holy godly life cannot help bearing righteous fruit, because it is the natural outgrowth of the work of the Spirit within (Gal. 5:22-23).

Jesus surely would have been pleased had one of His hearers interrupted and asked, "How can I be clothed in the proper garment? What can I do to keep from being cast into the outer darkness like that man?" He no doubt would have said to that person as He had said many times before in various ways, "Come to Me, that you may have life" (John 5:40). As Paul explained to the Corinthians, God made Christ "who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). That is the wedding garment that God demands and His Son provides.

 Rev. Wayne Dobratz

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