- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2000

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Bud R. Calvert at Fairfax Baptist Temple in Fairfax, Va.

Can you imagine being invited to a royal wedding? It would be like what we saw on TV with Princess Diane and Prince Charles. You would have enjoyed being there, seeing all the people, the regalia, all that took place.

Here, in Jesus' parable of the wedding [Matthew 22:1-14], we have a royal event set up by a king a king named God. If God the Father had any of the anticipation I did when my son was married, then I know He looks forward to the day when His son Jesus Christ takes His bride, those who are born-again believers. It is the great wedding day of His return.

It will be what we often call "a marriage made in heaven." … The marriage in this parable is a picture of the soul's union with the Son of God. The church becomes the bride. This story presents us with a Bible truth: God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come into the world to give His life, a "ransom for many," to die in our place that we might be able to have eternal life, forgiven of all our sins.

The parable also tells us that God sent out His prophets and servants to invite the world to the wedding. And this is the call to all of us who are believers, to deliver the good news to every doorstep.

Jesus says, "He sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding. And they would not come." Here is God the Father, pleading with the world. "I have sent my Son, so come everybody to this wedding. Put on the wedding garments of heaven." But then we read, "They made light of it." They turned down the royal wedding. Is it possible that people could turn down heaven and accept eternal punishment just to enjoy the pleasures and lusts of this life?

How could anyone scoff at this opportunity to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ? To "make light" of a person is to slight a person and not value him. And so sinners make light of Jesus Christ and His most gracious invitation… . Each of you who has rejected the Lord Jesus has made light of it.

The people in the parable "went their way, one to his farm and another to his merchandise." They were consumed with their careers and their things. Whatever you value more than God is "making light" of Him. We may rise to the top of our careers, and have all the goods we would want, but it all disappears someday… .

What do you have by way of a relationship to God the Father? You don't go to heaven by building on your righteousness, you only go by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Now notice in Verse 6, the servants commission given to us… . Jesus says, "Go ye therefore into the highways and the hedges, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage." So the servants went out, assembling both the bad and the good. They were to let them know of the open door for them to become a Christian.

It is unimaginable for any of us to have a wedding and nobody who was invited comes. Unimaginable. But that is what happened in this parable… . God wants to use you as His emissary, His ambassador, to tell everyone you can that Jesus saves. Hey, you're a Christian, that's your job. Why wouldn't we feel compelled to tell people about the royal wedding?

There will be no party crashers at this wedding. Verse 11 says that when the king came, he saw a man with no wedding garment, as was the tradition then. For us the garment is putting on Jesus Christ as our savior. Those who wear it will be at the wedding. When the king asked the one why he had no garment, "He was speechless."

This person has not accepted Christ, and God will say to him, "You have no garment." The parable ends, "Many in that day will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not do miracles in your name?' " I went to church. I was religious. And He says to them, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."

Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Emil M. Thomas at Zion Baptist Church in the District of Columbia.

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