Posted

“Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are now ready….”’” Luke 14:16-17 (Read Luke 14:15-24)

You have been invited to the greatest banquet of all! Even though you are a sinner and deserving of God’s eternal wrath and punishment, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s Law in your stead, and then to suffer and die on the cross and bear the full punishment for your transgression and sin. God calls you through the preaching of the Gospel and invites you to receive His pardon and forgiveness and to take part in His everlasting kingdom.

The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It tells us that “Jesus Christ … loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5); that “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7); and that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

And, the risen Lord Jesus even now is preparing a place for all who believe in Him, in the mansions of His Father’s house (John 14:1-3). Through the preaching of this good news, God calls you to come to Him and receive the everlasting blessings of His kingdom.

Even now, as you read these words, God’s Spirit calls you to “come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17); and to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Jesus told the Parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:15-24) to admonish His hearers for rejecting the salvation God was providing for them in His Son.

The Jews had the Old Testament Scriptures, which promised eternal salvation through the coming Messiah and Savior; but when Jesus, God’s Son, came into this world to accomplish the salvation God had promised of old — when the Gospel invitation went out: “Come, for all things are now ready” — the Jews excused themselves for various reasons. They were too busy with the things of this world to come to Christ Jesus and receive from Him forgiveness for their sins and eternal life. One bought a piece of land and wanted to go and see it; another had bought a yoke of oxen and wanted to try them out; and another had just gotten married and could not come (cf. Luke 14:18-20).

What about you? This same Gospel invitation has gone out to you: “Come, for all things are now ready.” Do you have time to come to Jesus and learn of Him and the eternal blessings He has won for you? Do you come to hear His life-giving Word and learn of God’s offer and promise of forgiveness for all your sins and of the everlasting joys of heaven? Or, are you too busy with the cares and concerns of this life?

What is your excuse? Are you too busy checking on land or property? Do you have to try out that car or truck or tractor? Do you have to try out that new tool or toy? Are you too busy with work or school or business to come to Jesus? Have you married a wife and become too busy with family concerns to take time for church services and the hearing of God’s Word? What is your excuse?

The excuses in Jesus’ parable angered the man who made the great supper (v. 21). He said, “None of those men who were invited shall taste my supper” (v. 24).

Will God accept your excuse? Is not this a warning to us not to become so busy with other things in this life that we neglect that “one thing [that is] is needed” (Luke 10:42).

Jesus admonishes us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). And Jesus warns: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him…” (Heb. 2:3)?

What did the master of the house in Jesus’ parable then do that his house might be filled with guests? He sent his servants out into the streets and lanes of the city to bring in the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. And, when there was yet room, he sent them out into the highways and hedges (where the poor often camped) to compel those there to come in (Cf. Luke 14:21-24.)

It is by the grace of God that we have heard the Gospel of Christ and come to trust in Him for forgiveness and life (Eph. 2:4-9); but “STILL THERE IS ROOM” (v. 22)! Our Heavenly Father sends His servants out into the streets and lanes, and to the highways and hedges, to compel them to come in — to call upon all, whether rich or poor, healthy or handicapped or sick, to come to Christ Jesus and partake of the blessings of His kingdom.

Jesus commands His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). They are to preach “repentance and remission of sins … in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47). They are to say: “Come, for all things are now ready!” (Luke 14:17). And, Jesus tells us: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

Dear LORD God, our Savior, grant that we not neglect and excuse ourselves from partaking of the salvation so graciously provided for us through the innocent sufferings and death of the Son, Jesus Christ. Fill us also with Your love for lost sinners that we may obey Your command and send men into all the world with Your saving Gospel and compel them to come in! In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom….” Luke 16:19-23 KJ21; Read Luke 16:19-31

We should note first of all that Jesus’ illustration of the rich man and Lazarus may be much more than a parable, for it is told by Jesus as if it is a true and factual account. Whether an actual historical event or a parable, we can still learn much from Jesus’ telling of it.

The rich man is not identified by name; but the poor beggar’s name was Lazarus, which means “God is help.” Even though Lazarus was poor and full of sores, we know that he was a true believer in God, as his name indicates, because he was taken to heaven when he died.

Even though the rich man was greatly blessed by God in material things, he did not believe or listen to the Word of God (Moses and the Prophets). This can be seen by the fact that there were no fruits of faith in his life in regard to poor Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, and by the fact that his soul went to hell when he died.

In addition to teaching that one’s soul goes either to heaven or to hell when he dies, Jesus warns against living life solely for the enjoyment of the good things of this world. One’s first concern should be to heed the Word of God and repent, turning away from sin and the selfish use of this world’s goods to faith in Christ, who died to redeem us from sin and death.

As a fruit of true repentance, we will then put to death our selfish and sinful desires and use the goods of this world to help those in need. We will not close our hearts to the poor and needy but will do all we can to help them.

One more important truth should also be learned. If one does not heed the Word of God during his lifetime, there is no other hope for repentance; for the Holy Ghost works through the Law to convince us of our sin and the punishment we deserve and through the Gospel to reveal our Savior and to assure us of eternal salvation through faith in Him.

If one, during his lifetime, refuses to turn from his sins to Christ Jesus, his Savior, there will be no more opportunity for repentance. His torment in hell will be forever!

But when one, by the grace of God, heeds the Word and repents, trusting in Christ for forgiveness and life, he is forgiven by God and his soul, at the time of death, will be transported by angels to the bosom of Abraham.

O Jesus, who my debt didst pay and for my sin wast smitten, within the Book of Life, oh, may my name be also written! I will not doubt; I trust in Thee, from Satan Thou hast made me free and from all condemnation. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn 611, Verse 5)

[21st Century King James Version (KJ21) Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13a

The Bible clearly tells us: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13-14). Therefore, we are not, in this petition of the prayer which the Lord Jesus has taught us, asking God not to tempt us; for He “cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

Rather, since we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own sinful longings and desires, we ask our Father in heaven to lead us in such a way through our daily lives that we are not tempted — to be led on such a path where we are kept safe and protected from our own sinful longings as well as from the enticements which the devil and the world put before us.

The Bible also assures us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Though God does not send temptation to evil, He does permit temptations to come. Yet, He limits the temptations and provides us a way out so that we may be able to endure and overcome them. Thus, we ask our heavenly Father to lead us in such a way that, when temptation does come, He would lead us safely through it and give us the victory.

Connected with this petition to our heavenly Father is the prayer that He would also deliver us from the evil one.

Again, the Bible tells us that we are to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Pet. 5:8-9).

The devil — or Satan — is the father of lies and the deceiver. He seeks to keep us from God and His truth (cf. John 8:44). Like the roaring lion who stalks his prey and seeks out one that is weak or straying, so the devil watches for our weaknesses and attacks us when and where we are most vulnerable to his ploys. He seeks to keep us from God our Father and life everlasting through faith in Christ Jesus by causing us to doubt God’s Word and by leading us into a life of disobedience and sin.

Therefore, we are in constant need for the protection and deliverance of our Father in heaven; and we humbly pray: “deliver us from the evil one.”

And included in this petition, we pray that, when we do fall into sin and disobedience, God would graciously, for Christ’s sake, deliver us from the grasp of the devil and bring us to repentance. We pray that we would acknowledge our sin and disobedience and turn to the LORD God for His mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ Jesus and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead.

The Bible says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).

When we repent of our sin and turn to the LORD for His mercy and forgiveness in Messiah Jesus, He delivers us from the grip of the evil one and brings us back into His eternal kingdom for Jesus’ sake.

As believers, we take heart in the words of St. Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:18): “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

Dear Father in heaven, lead me through life in such a way that I do not fall into temptation and sin; and deliver me from the attacks of the evil one upon my soul and upon my salvation in Your Son, Jesus Christ. And, Father, when I do fall, mercifully bring me to sincere repentance and faith, and preserve me for Your eternal kingdom. I ask this for the sake of Jesus’ blood shed for me. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories

Posted

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

Though the LORD God provides for the needs of both believer and unbeliever, God desires that we look to Him and trust in Him to provide us with food, clothing, and all we need day by day. As the Gospel of Luke says, “Give us day by day our daily bread” (11:3).

God taught His children that very thing when He led them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. When they needed food, He provided them with manna from heaven, sufficient for all to eat. But He also commanded them to gather only enough for each day.

When some disobeyed His commandment and gathered more than needed for a single day, the leftover manna bred worms and stunk on the next morning. On the day preceding the Sabbath, God commanded that they gather enough for two days; and it did not spoil as on other days. Again, when some did not listen and went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, there was none. Cf. Exodus 16.

Thus, God taught His people, who had grumbled and complained because they needed food in the wilderness, to trust Him each day for their daily bread.

Moses told the people: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deut. 8:3).

God even let His people suffer hunger that He might teach them to look to Him for their daily bread, and to His Word for their very life!

The Bible teaches us that we should be satisfied if we have the food and clothing needed for each day. Paul wrote to Timothy: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8).

Yet we are often fearful if we do not have our needs supplied for months, or even years, in advance. Jesus would have us trust our heavenly Father and look to Him to meet all our needs each and every day of our lives. He would not have us worry about what we will eat, what we will drink, or what we will wear. Rather, He would have us, in faith, turn to Him who knows our every need and so graciously provides (cf. Matt. 6:25-34).

Indeed, He may even let the cupboards be bare and the closets be empty to teach us to trust Him day by day. God would have us cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7).

And thus, Jesus teaches us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Dear Father in heaven, we look to You to provide each day our daily bread. Keep us from worry or complaint and teach us to trust You to care for our every need, day by day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10b

In heaven, all live in accord with God’s perfect and holy will. The psalmist writes: “Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure” (Psalm 103:20-21).

On earth, since the fall of mankind into sin which is recorded in Genesis 3, it is not so; but man, as he is by nature, rebels against God’s perfect will and seeks to go his own way. Again, the Bible tells us: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).

Jesus, in the prayer which He has taught us to pray, directs us to pray that God’s will be done on earth — in our own lives — as it is in heaven! And what is God’s will? We find His perfect will recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures; God would have us faithfully believe and teach God’s Word and live according to it, submitting our will to His perfect will for us.

Jesus, God’s Son, faithfully carried out the will of His Father in heaven, even praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42), and being “obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). We, on the other hand, so often say with our words and actions, “Not Your will, but mine be done!”

But God the Father laid all our sin and guilt upon His Son, Christ Jesus; and Jesus paid the just penalty for our sins (Isa. 53:6). Jesus died on the cross, making full atonement for our sins and the sins of all, and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

God’s will for us is that we repent of our rebellion and sin against Him and trust in Christ’s shed blood for forgiveness and life. And, as a fruit of our faith in Christ, God desires that we conform our lives to that of His Son.

This is His will for all mankind (cf. 1 Tim. 2:3-6). And thus we pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Dear Father in heaven, I am by nature sinful and rebellious. I have not lived in accord with Your holy and perfect will. Forgive my sins for Jesus’ sake. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and grant me both the desire and the strength to live in accord with Your perfect will. “Not my will, but Yours, be done”! “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories ,