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Pastor Ronnie McDougall : An Invitation to the Banquet

Storyteller · 38:49 · Recorded August 29, 2021

An Invitation to the Banquet

Luke 14:15-24 (NIV) 15When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Everyone is invited to the banquet.

Luke 14:15 (NIV) When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Excuses we make

I don’t have time for this.

Luke 14:16-17 (NIV) Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’”

I’ve got more important things to do.

Luke 14:18-20 (NIV) “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’”

I don’t want a handout.

Luke 14:17 (NIV) “…‘Come, for everything is now ready.’”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (MSG) Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

I don’t want to be associated with those people.

Luke 14:21 (NIV) “…‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’”

Galatians 3:28 (TLB) We are no longer Jews or Greeks or slaves or free men or even merely men or women, but we are all the same—we are Christians; we are one in Christ Jesus.

The way forward

1. Quit making excuses.

2. Start getting comfortable with “everyone.”

Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT) “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

3. Receive the “handout” of amazing grace!

Talk It Over
  • Has there ever been a time when you felt someone should be excluded from God’s love and forgiveness? Do you still feel the same?

  • Pastor Ronnie talked about four common excuses we make. Which ones have you used? Are there others? Are you able to better know when it’s an excuse? What do you do when you realize it?

  • Reread Matthew 22:36-39. We aren’t “loving our neighbor as ourselves” if we are excluding someone from the banquet table. Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal anywhere you are keeping someone at a distance, making an excuse not to engage, or even have just given up on them.

  • Review the Parable of the Great Banquet. In this parable, who are the invited guests? Why don’t they come? What happens to them? Who eventually comes?

  • The three people in the parable accepted the initial banquet invitation, then backed out with flimsy excuses the day of the party. How would you have felt if you had been the host? Furious? Hurt? Indifferent? Understanding? Curious about the real reason?

  • What does it take to get into God’s banquet? Do you have a reservation? Make yours now! Let us know you’ve made a decision to accept God’s invitation by writing it on your Connection Card so we can celebrate with you!

  • Parents, talk to your kids this week about what it feels like to be left out. Ask if they’ve felt that way. What was it like? Did it feel good? When have they seen someone else left out? Talk about how Jesus invites everyone to the banquet – he doesn’t want to see anyone left out. How can they show Jesus’ love to others? How can they make sure that everyone is included? Help them talk through how to invite a friend to church or tell someone about Jesus.

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Talk It Over
  • Has there ever been a time when you felt someone should be excluded from God’s love and forgiveness? Do you still feel the same?

  • Pastor Ronnie talked about four common excuses we make. Which ones have you used? Are there others? Are you able to better know when it’s an excuse? What do you do when you realize it?

  • Reread Matthew 22:36-39. We aren’t “loving our neighbor as ourselves” if we are excluding someone from the banquet table. Spend time in prayer asking God to reveal anywhere you are keeping someone at a distance, making an excuse not to engage, or even have just given up on them.

  • Review the Parable of the Great Banquet. In this parable, who are the invited guests? Why don’t they come? What happens to them? Who eventually comes?

  • The three people in the parable accepted the initial banquet invitation, then backed out with flimsy excuses the day of the party. How would you have felt if you had been the host? Furious? Hurt? Indifferent? Understanding? Curious about the real reason?

  • What does it take to get into God’s banquet? Do you have a reservation? Make yours now! Let us know you’ve made a decision to accept God’s invitation by writing it on your Connection Card so we can celebrate with you!

  • Parents, talk to your kids this week about what it feels like to be left out. Ask if they’ve felt that way. What was it like? Did it feel good? When have they seen someone else left out? Talk about how Jesus invites everyone to the banquet – he doesn’t want to see anyone left out. How can they show Jesus’ love to others? How can they make sure that everyone is included? Help them talk through how to invite a friend to church or tell someone about Jesus.

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