Summary Sunday 14th May

Sunday am mt 22:1-14, the parable of the wedding feast,
1 – the royal wedding feast
2 – the invitation declined
3 – the false guest

everyone loves a wedding … the kingdom = the king’s rule and the king’s realm, but what’s it like? “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son”, a wedding feast (not a fast, as some might claim about Christianity), and not just any feast – a royal wedding feast, a provision of abundance, from a God who’s plenteous, lavish and generous “My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready” … we have souls that are built to be satisfied and we live in a world that’s obsessed with finding that satisfaction – but what can satisfy the human soul? One response is to seek out experiences hoping for that satisfaction – another is to settle down into as comfortable a life as circumstances allow, denying there’s any great satisfaction out there to be found – Christianity is neither, this feast is a picture of that ultimate satisfaction, an abundance you can feast on … sins forgiven, reconciliation instead of enmity, the joy, peace, love and truth we so crave but can’t find (or find only fleetingly) – human souls as they were meant to be ‘restored to factory settings’, all through Christ, so don’t be deceived by the world’s fare, a counterfeit feast, a thin gruel, which satisfies only fleetingly, leaving a longing and an emptiness that’s even more acute behind – have you come to this feast, is this your greatest satisfaction? Or are you still hoping to find something out there? This is freely offered in the Lord Jesus, and so it’s unbelievable that … the invitation is declined! What?!? Yes, really, invitations go out in 2 parts, a general advanced warning and now this 2nd part “Come to the wedding banquet”, and the listeners (and we) can hardly believe that “they refused to come”, and we see this apathy, indifference and a devotion to other “business”, and even worse they “seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them”, and God’s response? “the king was enraged”, and undeterred, continues to order the invitation of “anyone you find”, and so here we are! But, there’s a false guest, who’s 3 – identified and ejected, how come?, well the guests are required to be dressed appropriately, but in a dress only he can provide “For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness”, and here’s one who has tried to come some other way … but there is no other way, only His way
prayer themes – finding all our satisfaction in Christ, don’t be led astray by the counterfeit feast, pray that neither apathy, indifference or other business will resist the invitation, are you enjoying the feast – are you dressed appropriately?

Sunday pm Attributes #12 the goodness of God, ps 37 we say something is ‘good’ but when we think about God as good, it’s a bit deeper than that ‘you are good and what you do is good’, his goodness being the essence and substance of his eternal nature – never been otherwise, can’t be better, never lapses, and we should strive to see his goodness and his other attributes in all his works as increasingly wondrous as we think about them, but how?, 1st in creation, not only the physical world but the human body, eg hands, or sleep, or food, 2nd in common grace, ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’, which we enjoy in multiple ways, health, peace, family, education etc, even 3rd the judgement on sinfulness, and the systems of justice and law enforcement, 4th the gospel, that he died to save us, and for the blessings we experience as a result, not only forgiveness, but a whole new life, adoption, church life, means of grace, the hope for the future, everlasting peace and glory in his presence and then 5th in his shepherding of his own, promises of provision and protection, different to that sought by the world, we must take care to value things correctly and resist the temptation to doubt his goodness, and appreciate how we’ve been brought to Christ, and are being grown into his likeness – not a ticket to prosperity, but yes, contentment, that we can rejoice in all circumstances “For I know the plans I have for you … to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”, and our response should be to “give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind”,
prayer themes – thanking him for all his attributes esp goodness, help to perceive his goodness (in the several ways outlined) that our faith might be stirred, resisting the temptation to doubt his goodness, letting God and his goodness inform how we handle life’s up and downs;