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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost
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.
I. 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
II. What’s out--Rom 13:12-13; Eph 4:22 & 25; Col 3:4-9
III. 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 who was not wearing a wedding garment--In ancient times, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of a change in clothing to their friends and favorites. To refuse this 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 clothing would be worn in the presence of the King.
The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes, and it was the custom of the person who prepared the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This makes the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common and ordinary dress, as if he had just come off of the highway: he was given the right clothing; he just refused to wear it.
This beautifully represents the conduct of the hypocrite in the church. A garment of salvation might be his, given by the Savior, 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.
MacArthur's New Testament Commentary: Matthew 16-23: 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.
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The day is coming when you’ll be out of high school and that some of your friends will be getting married. Couples choose friends to be attendants at their wedding. That means that if you’re a girl, you have to pay for the dress you’ll be wearing; if you’re a guy, you’ll have to pay to rent the tux you’ll have on for the wedding. That’s just the way it is.
Now imagine that the wedding is your wedding. Everybody else has done what you and your future mate have asked them to do; everybody except one guy, that is. He shows up in blue jeans that have the knees torn out. He’s wearing an old flannel shirt and a jean jacket that has seen its better days. There’s a motorcycle logo on the back of the jacket.
Now what would you do? You’d call those two big guys you chose to be ushers at your wedding and you’d have that guy thrown out. That’s what you would do.
Jesus says that his return will signal the beginning of the greatest wedding celebration in history. You’ll want to be wearing the right clothes. He has taken away our dirty clothes of sin and gives us his white clothes to wear. Don’t be caught dead without them! Forever is a very long time.+ + +
Point: God is never too busy for us, continually inviting us to feast on/with Him.
Problem: We are oftentimes too busy for and/or indifferent to God's invitation, a deadly sin which could result in us being cut off from His mercy.
Promise: Christ for/instead of us was cut off from God's mercy, thus extending our invitation to the Eternal Feast and, through the Holy Spirit, urging and empowering our subsequent and continual invitation to others to join us.
Everybody wants to go to heaven, but not everybody wants to go to worship--or whatever. Reminds of a Rita-ravaged family who visited my study last week asking for aid, afterwards saying "We'll try to be in worship on Sunday." "Try?" said I. They didn't show up. |c;
Though "refusing to come" and "pa[ying] no attention" is a common rant of preachers re: this parable, let's choose instead to focus on a new(?) application: Jesus as the"man there who was not wearing wedding clothes." "What are you giving Jesus for a wedding present?" we could ask. Refusal? Ignorance (two-pronged meaning)? Pre-occupation--pun intended ("one to his field, another to his business")? That's bad enough but, truth be told, it's worse than that as far as we are concerned: like "[t]he rest," we seize his servants ("That nagging pastor!"), mistreat them and, worst of all, kill them--er, Him! (No pastoral exemptions here, so don't get so self-righteous, you worship-because-you-must/it's your job preachers!) It's bad enough that we wear the wedding garment made for Jesus but, horror of horrors, we stoop so low as to "[t]ie Him hand and foot, and throw Him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Talk about a monster/monstrous mash--er, bash! Yet, resurrected, He stoops lower than we to re-extend the invitation--again and again and again.
Talk about High Way Robe-ery!
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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 10:50:17 AM