LIFE OF CHRIST

 

Luke 14:1-24

MESSAGE TO THE RELIGIOUS

LIFE OF CHRIST #38

 

It is not wrong to be religious if you are a born again Christian

James 1:26-27 - If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. [27] Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

 

We return to the Life of Christ. Our Lord visited Mary and Martha, and some time after that was invited to the home of a religious person, a Pharisee.

 

Vs. 1 – In fact this Pharisee was a chief Pharisee.  He was high ranking, and important, and very religious.  The Pharisees made it a point to be outwardly religious, and put more stock in their religious adherence to the law and their man made interpretations of the law than they did faith.

 

This invite was on the Sabbath Day.  Jesus was invited because of religion.  These men were so religious that they wanted to watch him to see if they could find a reason to accuse Him and discredit Him. Jesus did not agree with their brand of religion, and they wanted to condemn Him.

 

It is in this situation that Jesus gives a message to the “religious”.  It is a message still applicable today for all who are religious.  Jesus basically tells these “religious” men four things:

 

DON’T SHUN GOOD WORKS – Vss. 2-6

 

Vs. 2 – There was a man in front of Him who had dropsy. 

His body was retaining water. He was obviously swollen, and probably terminally ill.

 

Because of the open nature of banquets in those days, this man could have come of his own accord.  But remember the “religious” people were watching Jesus.  This man was probably invited there on purpose in order to see if Jesus would violate their understanding of the Sabbath.

 

Vs. 3 – Jesus asked a loaded question “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”  There is no such restriction in the Old Testament Law.  But the additions that “religious” people made to that law made it unlawful.

 

Jesus had them in a dilemma.  If they said it was lawful they would have violated their own teachings.  If they said it was unlawful, they would have been viewed as narrow and uncaring.

 

Vs. 4 – So as not to incriminate themselves, the Pharisees said nothing. Jesus went ahead and healed the man.

 

Vs. 5 – Jesus then reminded the religious people that if one of their livestock were in jeopardy on the Sabbath Day, they would be helped. 

 

Of course, if it took work to rescue a farm animal, and that was acceptable, how much more acceptable was healing a sick man on the Sabbath Day!

 

Jesus’ message is clear.  Don’t shun good works in the name of religion.  Don’t let your religion keep you from doing good, and don’t let your religion cause you to shun those who do good.

 

Both the Jewish religion and Christianity are religions that stress good works.  If these good works can relieve human suffering we should not let anything stop us. 1 John 3:17, James 2:15-17 

 

Vs. 6 – Notice that the religious people were again silent.  They had nothing to answer because they were guilty of helping their own on the Sabbath.

   

DON’T SEEK YOUR OWN HONOR – Vss. 7-11

 

Vs. 7 – Seating was supposedly according to who was more honorable or important.  The closer one sat to the host, the more honorable the person was.  These “religious” men were seeking the best seats for themselves!

 

Vss. 8-10 – Jesus told these religious people not to seek the best seat a wedding feast. They should take the lower seat. It was likely that one could be “bumped” from the highest seat, and could be moved up from the lowest seat.

 

Jesus did not want them doing this with the wrong motives.

He wanted these men to be truly humble.

He wanted them to learn to put others ahead of themselves.

 

Vs. 11 – Jesus is saying that the proud will be humbled, and the humble will be exalted.

 

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 - In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gave three examples of what some religious people did to get honor from men.

They gave.

They prayed.

They fasted.

 

It was their habit to do these things so they could be seen.  

 

Jesus was telling them that they could seek and get their reward now from men, but if they humbly went about their business, they would be rewarded later by God.

Jesus is telling the religious people not to seek their own honor.  Sometimes honor does come even when we are not seeking it.  Let the honor come if it comes but don’t seek it.

 

DON’T SOLICIT FAVORS – Vss. 12-14

 

Vss. 12-13 – It was the habit of these religious people to invite their family, friends and those of high social and financial status. Most of these people will be able to invite you in return.  Jesus was saying, “Don’t invite people to dinner so you’ll get invited back.”

 

Jesus was not excluding the invitation of these people.

He just wanted others included who could not pay them back.  The poor and the handicapped were to be invited.

 

When was the last time you invited anyone over to dinner who couldn’t return the favor or who were not on the same level socially as you?  We generally feed those who don’t need it and never think of those who do need it.

 

Vs. 14 – Meeting the needs of those in need is a quality of the Christian.  When the Christian is resurrected, then he will be rewarded for the kindnesses shown to the ones that he could not pay back.

 

The bottom line is that we should not do favors for others so they’ll do them for us.  Instead we are to show favors to those who can’t repay us.  This is what is pleasing to God.

 

DON’T SNUB GOD’S INVITATION – Vss. 15-24

 

Vs. 15 – Some sanctimonious person said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”  There were probably “Amens” from many.  The implication was that these religious people were all planning to be in God’s Kingdom.

 

Jesus cared too much for these men to let this statement go without comment.

 

Vs. 16 – A man made a great supper.  Many had been invited.  The custom was to have two invitations.  The first invitation would give the day.  And a person was to R. S. V. P. 

 

On the day of the dinner servants would go to the guests again and tell them that dinner was ready.  Those who were bidden to come on the day of the banquet had already accepted a first invitation.

 

Vss. 17-20 - So, on the day of the dinner, the servant went to get the guests and every one of them had an excuse for not coming. These were all lame excuses.

 

A man bought a piece of ground.  He had to go see it. But the man would not buy a piece of property without seeing it. It was just an excuse for missing the banquet.

 

Another man had purchased 10 oxen.  He now wanted to “prove” or check them out.  Again, the purchase of that much livestock was a major purchase.  The man would have tested them before buying them.

 

The third man had just gotten married. And although Jewish men were excluded from having to go to war after just being married, they were not banned from going to banquets.  He was using his wife as an excuse.

 

What is the meaning of this?

The Jewish people said they wanted to enter the Kingdom of God.  By virtue of their Jewish religion they had accepted an invitation to enter God’s Kingdom.

 

But now the King was among them and they were rejecting him.  He was there and they didn’t want Him!  They would, in a short time, crucify their king.

 

They were snubbing the invitation.

 

Vs. 21 – The servant returns home and reports to his master.  Those who had been invited and accepted an invitation had made excuses and would not attend the dinner.  He was rightfully angry.

 

He told his servant to go out into the city and bring in those who were the social rejects, the poor and the handicapped.

 

Vss. 22-23 – This was done and there was still room. So the servant was sent to the highways and country lanes and he was to compel them to come!

 

The Jews had refused God’s invitation.  So the socially and physically unacceptable were to be invited to the feast.  Those in the highways and hedges represent the Gentiles.

The Jews rejected Jesus, and the Gentiles have been invited! Ephesians 2:11-13

 

Vs. 24 – The ones who were bidden to the supper and turned it down would not partake of the supper.

   

The point for today is obvious.

There are religious people today who are too wrapped up in other things and use them as excuses for not accepting Jesus’ invitation of salvation.

 

It is Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

It is Jesus Christ who is risen from the dead.

It is Jesus Christ who will change your life and give you a new life now and heaven later.

Many have snubbed the invitation.

Have you?

 

John 3:16-18 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

If you have not snubbed God’s invitation, that’s great.

I’m so glad that you have accepted it and are going to Heaven.

Accepting the invitation puts you in another category, however.   

You are now a servant who has the invitation in your hand so to speak.  You have the message of the Gospel to share with others.  Mark 16:15, 1 Peter 3:15

 

If you, as a Christian, do not share your faith, you are in a real sense snubbing God’s invitation.  You are helping to keep people out of Heaven instead of helping them in.

You know the way to Heaven. Shame on you if you don’t share it with others who need it.   

 

Jesus message to the religious applies to us.

 

DON’T SHUN GOOD WORKS – Vss. 2-6

DON’T SEEK YOUR OWN HONOR – Vss. 7-11

DON’T SOLICIT FAVORS – Vss. 12-14

DON’T SNUB GOD’S INVITATION – Vss. 15-24

 

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