John Wesley was a great man, but he made some tragic mistakes concerning children. In 1748, he established Kingswood School. The children in the school were required to get up at 4:00 A.M., winter and summer. There were no recess periods, no holidays, and no play of any sort on any day. A dreary and austere approach to education, it was not very successful.
This is the way some people think of the church. A place of ‘do nots’ … a forbidding and unwelcoming place. Joy and love are absent … a sad place to be that doesn’t foster loving relationships. If you think of the church that way, I have good news for you.
When Jesus describes His kingdom it is not dreary – it is a spiritual and eternal joy.
The kingdom is not a long, dreary funeral procession. It is a festive occasion of warm fellowship and unheard of delight…Christ makes it clear that He did not come to darken an already gloomy world. ~ Neil Lightfoot
In Luke 14 we read a parable that expresses both the joy of the kingdom – and the incredible truth that many people will excuse themselves out of it! It begins like this…
A man gave a big banquet and invited many people. When it was time to eat, the man sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come. Everything is ready.’ ~Luke 14:16-17
Use whatever superlative you would like, there are no words to describe the beauty, wonder, joy, excitement of this Kingdom feast to which God has invited us. It is so valuable that nothing in this world has more value. Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
It has such a strong appeal that the Apostle Paul considered himself torn between the desire to pursue his life and his “desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…” (Philippians 1:23).
The feast to which you have been invited is a place where all of the spiritual blessings you need in your life are provided (Ephesians 1:3). In fact, it is such an amazing place that words fail…there is no description of the spiritual reality of the Kingdom of God.
…What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him… ~1 Corinthians 2:9
To receive an invitation like this is that for which our hearts have always longed. In Jesus’ parable, however, one is surprised to read…
But all the guests made excuses.
More on that in the next post. Audio of this entire message can be heard HERE.
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