Almighty and most merciful God, keep us by your bountiful goodness, we pray you, from all things that may hurt us, so that we always be ready both in body and soul cheerfully to accomplish whatever you would have us do; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Word of God
Matthew 22: 8-10
Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Luke 14: 22 - 23
“Sir,” the servant said, "what you have ordered has been done, but there is still room." Then the master told his servant, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full."
THE INDISCRIMINATE INVITATION
“God invites all men to himself, without a single exception . . . As no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open to all men; neither is there any other thing which keeps us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief.”
How explicit is the free offer of the gospel enunciated by the two excerpts from the compared versions of the parable of the great banquet. The heavenly invitation is extended emphatically, boldly, vividly from the lips of the Savior himself.
There is a universal, wide-open appeal to all persons to heed and receive the gospel promise. How strong this appeal is in the message spoken by the Lord Jesus. It is to be conveyed where ever there are people. Not simply special, polite, important and privileged places, or convenient places, but very definitely the streets, roads, out of the way lanes and byways where “all sorts” mingling in daily routines and business are to be found - not just the respectable, but the lowly who walk the thoroughfares and pathways also, and where the unacceptable loiter - from the Strand to Skid Row - God equips his servants suitably. The Church, in the breadth of its membership, receives this commission, and possesses divinely bestowed skills in the many who constitute the People of God. It is not Christians who should discriminate: make them all come in, both good and bad. The goal is to make Master’s house full and as day follows day “still there is room”.
The required wedding garment is provided by the host. The only barrier to entering is personal unbelief, the sense that I do not require the garb of grace and the robe of repentance. Sinners themselves consign themselves to final shame and exclusion from God. We ask ourselves, for how long shall the invitation be current?