March 22, 2020
Pastor Andy Norris
The Gospel of Luke
Luke 14:1-24

Manners of the Kingdom

This sermon will start on 
March 22, 2020
10:00 am
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The Lord looks down from heaven. He sees all the children of man. From where he sits in throne he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth. He who fashions the hearts and observes all their deeds. The king is not saved by his great army. A warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The warhorse is a false hope for salvation. And by its great might, it cannot rescue Hold. The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive and famine. Our soul waits for the Lord is our help and our shield for our hearts is glad in him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love Oh Lord be upon us, even as we hope in you. That's from Psalm 33.

Oh God, those words have been a bomb to my soul this week. And God has we even now pray in our homes or we find ourselves as we are separated physically from one another yet bonded together through your Holy Spirit. And as we plead for you, Lord, to protect and to heal and to guide God I also also and ultimately asked that you would save through this time, that you would use this difficulty that we find ourselves in difficulty and confusion and uncertainty and fear and pestilence and pandemic that is affecting our city and our nation and our entire world that you got as you bring us to our knees, that our eyes would be lifted up towards heaven, and that many, many, many, many, many people would call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. God would you do that? For we know that we can't find our strength in our politicians. We can't find hope. In our research, we can't find rescue. In our intelligence right now, I'm good Lord God, we need you to save us and redeem us and rescue us and free us. Not only from this pandemic, but from the pandemic. That is affecting our entire world God would you bring many, many, many, many, many people into your kingdom? Garbage you encourage us your saints today as we gather together in this online format as we open your word and want to hear a word from you, Lord woods. I love the fact that there are churches all over the place right now streaming online, recording previous sermons that the whole internet is blasting forth with the good news of Jesus Christ God, would you encourage your people today as we gather together and hear from you? How would you do that even at Cottage Grove is we're gathered, gathering together digitally got to a mighty money thing we pray, ask the saints in Christ's name. Amen.

Well, good morning, Cottage Grove family. It is nice to be with you as I am just in a very cavernous sanctuary, but I do have some more loyal, loyal folks, I'm looking at Britney Garvey and Christina laying and James and Sarah and our tech team. And so they're going to help me out as we go through this. Excited to preach this morning, it's going to be different. I'm thankful that's a pastor recap figure out how to do this before me last week. So we'll see how this all goes. But I'm just thankful for you, we've been able to stay in contact via text via some of us zoom calls. Even just online videos, whatever we're trying to stay connected as a church continue to do that Cottage Grove. We just know that we're meant to be together. And this just cultivates that longing of who we're supposed to be the body of Christ first was together physically, this is not the way it should be. So we're, we're doing the best as we can, aren't we? I got some announcements for us. As I'm talking you guys can turn to Luke chapter 14. We're going to continue in this series together but few announcements. Number one, I think you guys have maybe seen this if you're on social media that we have started this really sweet partnership with the food bank of all Iowa.

It's kind of been amazing this past week because this moves super, super quick. But right now in our church, we have 360 meals ready to be given away to people in our neighborhood, which is just crazy. I'm going to be honest, you know, we kind of laid this out in the in the update video earlier on this week is that, that the rhythm by which we're going to be doing things in the season, and honestly, by God's grace, we're praying that this will be our regular rhythm for the life of our church is that we're going to pray and we're going to wait before we act. And this has been the story of this partnership with food bank. Some of our deacons, especially we're just praying kind of crazy prayers. One of them was Casey Kennedy. Like she was just asking for God to dis do crazy things. And we're just waiting on the Lord to show up and honestly he just did through this whole partnership with this food bank. I said this answered my phone and said yes, and and this is where we are now being able to be a distribution center in our city, partnering with the food bank of Iowa and we're actually working with other churches to Try to see distribution centers happen all over the place. Guys, this is what I believe the Lord is doing through his church. We're going to come alongside the food bank, and we're going to feed our city, as so many people are hungry right now, uncertain where they're going to find meals. So I know for some of us, even within our own congregation, we're experiencing some just hunger crisis. So this is not just for our community. This is for our church as well. So you can see online, you can go to our website, you can find that information where you can just click and get some help if you need it. And we're also looking for some volunteers. So if you would like to volunteer to help distribute some of this food. We're going to be given out food on Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Wednesday morning, Wednesday afternoons, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, you can go online and you can sign up so you could also email like Todd at I Todd at Cottage Grove DSM calm if you do want to sign up, he's kind of setting all the volunteers up. So do that guys. We're really excited to participate and caring for our city in this way. Secondly, we're going to be Sunday Night Live with Pastor recap and myself tonight. This is going to be kind of a new rhythm of ours at eight o'clock on Sunday nights after kids are in bed. You can jump on a video live stream podcast where pastor Rick habanero is going to be as well. We're going to be bringing other people in throughout this time too. But we just want to hit pertinent topics that are affecting us as a church right now as well as this kind of stuff we've been wanting to talk about for a long time and honestly now we just got a format to be able to do it because what else are we gonna do so excited about it? Be gracious to us, though. It's all unscripted. We're just showing up. Tonight we're going to be talking about how do we have wisdom and courage in this just age of coronavirus as a church. We want to make it interactive. So we're gonna have QA, we're gonna have polling we're gonna have this different interactions we can have with you guys. So eight o'clock tonight, tune in on all of our live stream stuff you guys can hop in with us. So that's Sunday night. And then Wednesday nights. We're going to be implementing prayer services here at Cottage Grove as well of just prayer and worship, our worship team and our deacons We'll become alongside together on 7:30pm on Wednesday nights to do these live stream prayer services. This is a quote from the book that pastor Rick has recommended before and I highly recommend it as well. It's from the kneeling Christian. It's a book on prayer. This is what it says, God wants us to pray. The devil does not want us to pray, and does all he can to hinder us. He knows that we can accomplish more through our prayers than through our work. He would rather us do anything else than pray. And right now, that's one of the only things we can do together is pray for the Lord to do a mighty work in our midst. And so this Wednesday night is going to be just that every Wednesday night we're wanting to just come together and do the thing that we undervalue so often, which is getting on our knees and the beseeching, the King of the universe to act on our behalf. So that's we're going to be doing every Wednesday night so you can tune in for that more information will be coming from You can hop on 7:30 Wednesdays.

So those are my announcements we're going to be reading from Luke chapter 14. Starting, it's going to be a little bit of a longer passage, we're going to read this together. I'll guess I'll read it over. So you guys want to read out loud, you can go for it in your homes, but starting in verse one, not gonna be reading all the way down to verse 24. And Luke chapter 14, here's something we decided this as elders, we're just going to try to keep something normal and all of this lack of normalcy that we're experiencing, all throughout our world. And we're just going to continue through a series of Luke, we're just going to let the text speak for itself and God minister to us through His Holy Spirit, as we continue to walk through expositionally through this series in the Gospel of Luke. So we're in chapter 14 today, starting in verse one is what it says, One Sabbath, when he went out to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully, and behold, there was a man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not, but they remain silent. They need to Kevin healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, which of you having a son or an ox that had fallen into a well on a Sabbath day will not immediately pull him out, and they can not reply to these things. Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor praying, saying to them, when you were invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor less someone more distinguished than you be invited by him. And he who invited you both will come and say to you give your place to this person, and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place so that when your host comes he may say to you, friend, move up higher than you will be in an honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he humbles himself will be exalted. He said also to the man who had invited him when you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives Rich neighbors, let's say also invite you in return and you'd be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the cripple, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just one of those who reclined at the table with him heard these things he said to them bless it is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God. But he said to him, a man once gave a great banquets and invited many. And at the time for the banquet He sent His servants to say to those who had been invited come for everything is now ready. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, I've bought a field and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused. And another set I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them, please have me excused. And another set I've married a wife and therefore I cannot come so the servant came and reported these things to the master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to a servant go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city. And bring in the poor and the crippled and the lame and the blind. And the servant said, Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there's room and the Master said of the servant, go out to the highways and the hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled For I tell you, none of these who were invited shall taste my banquet. So here's the title for this morning's message from Luke chapter 14. manners of the kingdom, manners of the kingdom. Let's pray God is that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart and be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock, and my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Would you the host of this mighty banquet be made famous this morning? Would people come to Christ this morning? Would your saints be encouraged this morning? Would you mobilize your church this morning? We pray all these things in Christ's name, amen. So manners of the kingdom.

I've noticed this that meals in different contexts have different meanings. So I had the opportunity to be able to go to Zambia and eat meals with Zambians. I got invited to the house of novice and his wife, Katie Kaluga, who is the founder of the Hope Center that Cottage Grove has gone to before and we have some partnerships with. It's a very different setting, sitting down and eating in the house of novice and his wife, Katie, Kay, so he's, he's a well known dude in the area. And this guy brought out this insane amount of, of food over and it was one of these things, the most polite thing for us to do in that moment was to eat as much food as we possibly could, and kept on going and kept on going and kept on going and kept on going. They were so pleased. They were so thankful they were so excited to just give us way too much food. There was way too many leftovers. It was completely overboard. You're eating with your hands, you're just going crazy. It's it's all over the place. Very, very different than what it's like to eat at the john Hancock building in Chicago. Okay, I've been able to go there too with my with my in laws to go to this top level floor elite dinner I no business being there, but you're like super fancy. You're making sure you're taking your time the portions are kind of teensy, but you're just you know, in this extravagant situation. Reality is these contexts, like the context that you find you're in dictates the type of manners that are proper for the meal that you're having. Well, every context has different manners. Because in these homes, even even within the same country, we have different manners, right? Because the manners and the expectations of those manners are contingent upon the host and the manners that he wants us to exemplify he or she wants us to exemplify. So there's a code of etiquette that remains the same no matter which context you find yourself in. And those are the manners of the kingdom. Why? Because we have a king who is the host of every single table we find ourselves in Not as King Jesus, who's the King of the Universe, and who has invited us to his banquet and his kingdom, and he's the one who establishes what our manners should look like. Jesus establishes the etiquette for his kingdom. He establishes the etiquette for his kingdom. And in this text, he shows us what proper manners look like, within his new kingdom community that he is the host of. So I want to talk about two things this morning. I want to talk about the seating arrangement of the kingdom, and the guest list of the kingdom, the seating arrangement and the guest list. Here's the seating arrangement and Jesus if you notice, he's setting the table for how this whole thing is going to work. In Luke chapter 14. He's invited by Pharisees to join them for dinner and his ruler, the Pharisees invites Jesus over on the Sabbath and the text says that all the Pharisees are watching him waiting to see how he's going to interact on the Sabbath and this man who has dropsy walks him to dropsies like swelling of his appendages this guy just had this physical ailment. And Jesus looks around and we asked him this question, Is it lawful for me to heal this man or not? And the Pharisees respond very differently than it did in chapter 13. When there's a previous conversation about the Sabbath, they just shut their mouths this time. There's no conversation at this moment, if you notice, get there to silent. Luke says in the text. So Jesus grabs the man, he heals him, he sends him out. It was a very just, I mean, there wasn't even much going on it, just get over here, he'll leave. And then he drops this. And he says, which one of you if your son or your ox falls into? Well, you're not going to get them out on the Sabbath. So he's repeating the exact same review because he did in chapter 13. He's saying you guys are hypocrites. And they're shutting their mouths this times, but their hearts are no different. This if you notice the context is totally different that they're not debating in the synagogue, they're sitting at a dinner table. And this actually isn't a debate Jesus has totally shut it down. He is also no longer just a guest at this table. He's become the host. Everybody has Got their mouse, everybody's looking at him. Everybody is teaching no debate. It's a lesson right now. Also this dinner conversation got extremely awkward. Jesus is the guy who's decided to talk about politics at Thanksgiving dinner, right? So everyone is just listening to him. They're not wanting to talk. And he describes proper manners on how to sit at his table. Now, they're exemplifying poor manners. He's describing proper manners.

So he observes how these guests are scrambling to find a best seat at the table. He's watching them, they're all scrambling to get in. And in ancient Palestine, here's how this works. Most of the time, these these, these seating arrangements were like in a V. And the host was sitting at the head of the V, right, like the kind of corner of it all. I mean, everyone would would sit and arrangement from like farthest away from the host or closest to the host. And the closer you were to the host, that was the higher seat of honor and the farthest away, that was kind of the least seat of honor. So everyone's trying to get as close as they can. To the host. She's observing this. Well, this is the proper manners in our world is to sit at the best seat of the table. That's like proper manners. You like want to sit at the best seat of the table? Why? Because the best seat avails you to the best opportunity for recognition, respect, and acknowledgement. So maybe think of Leonardo DiCaprio. Okay, yeah, Leo, the man who's been snubbed over and over and over and over again, at these Academy Awards, especially the Oscars. I looked and he's been nominated seven times for like, these amazing movies over and over and over and over again. Well, he finally had his day in the hot sun. And he received an Oscar for The Revenant. Okay, which is a crazy movie and in fact, before Cottage Grove even began, and before social distancing was effect. Adam whites and I were actually on a retreat together. And Adam was like, This is the greatest movie I've ever seen. We need to watch I hadn't seen it yet. So we go downstairs in this basement, we start to move it like 11 o'clock at night like you do on a retreat. And and I'm like, this is great. And it goes, this movie's gonna jack you up. So just buckle up and be ready. So we start watching I can tell this is getting crazy. We get like to the bear scene. Okay, so spoiler alert, if you haven't seen it, that seems crazy. It'll mess you up. I look over Adam is asleep at The Revenant his favorite movie in the world apparently letting me watch this horrifying experience all by myself. Okay, so just leaving me to death. We were practicing socialists in that moment cuz didn't even exist at that time. So I had to watch the whole thing by myself. But that movie was unbelievable. And the dude finally got recognition for his amazing acting in that movie. That's what the Oscars are people just finally getting the credit that they deserve for their brilliant talent, their brilliant writing, their brilliant acting, whatever it may be receiving the credit for your work, your skill and your gifting That's sitting at the best seat. You're getting the recognition for what you've done. We all want credit and recognition for our abilities, our achievements, our wisdom, our strength, our intelligence, our creativity. sitting in the seat of honor is the explicit proof that we've made it and that others see it too.

It's actually what Genesis 11 is all about. Genesis 11 is the Tower of Babel. Of all of humanity coming together for this purpose. They want to make a name for themselves. So they build the highest seat they possibly can, a tower so that they could sit above the entire Earth making a name for themselves. This is the common desire, a main desire that all humans have, we want to be at the best seat because we want recognition and credibility for our strength and glory and the effort that we exemplify. Well, these are poor manners in the kingdom of God. Jesus is saying, He instructs the Pharisees who were scrambling to not take the best seat. If someone more important shows up, Jesus warns them, you're going to be put in the last seat. So what he's describing here is this woman scrambling to sit closest to the host at the head of the table. Well, if the host comes up, and he says, No, no, this dude's way more important than you, what would happen is you'd have to stand up and do the walk of shame, okay, to the end of the row, and everybody scoots in and takes your spot. And then here you are sitting the farthest possible distance away from the host, even though you're right up close next to him to begin with Jesus saying, Be careful that you're scrambling to get this because if the host shows up and he says, No, no, you're actually not that big of a deal. You're going to be humiliated in front of everybody else. So he's been Watch yourself.

Pride leads us to desire Best seat. And it sets us up for ultimate humiliation and embarrassment, high exaltation results in high humiliation. We believe it is by our own strength, skill and intellect that we've accomplished, what we've accomplished. We want the credit, we want the glory that doesn't belong to us. I tell you what, the person who's going to receive the greatest amount of credit, glory and heroism is going to be the researcher who finally discovers a vaccine for the corona virus. That person will become a global hero. Absolutely. Our entire all of our history books will have that person's name of who finally discovered the cure and the vaccine for the Corona virus.

But we as Christians need to recognize something. A cure for the corona virus ultimately won't come from human intellect, research or wisdom, it will be God's grace upon the researcher that allows him to discover the cure because that researchers intellect and hard work and opportunities to even get to the level of ability to research something as complicated as a Corona virus did not come from their own strength it came from his grace and His grace alone. So, whoever gets that that seat of the prominent table in this coronavirus situation, you got to realize the only person who deserves the honor and the glory for actually establishing the cure is Jesus Christ Himself. The one who created this whole world is the one who can cure this whole world. You see, everything that we have is a gift of grace. work ethic, intelligence, wisdom, skill, health. We can do nothing apart. God's grace, that's the only person who deserves the seat of the host of honor at the table is God Himself. It's about glory. That's it, the best seat is for. So how does God respond to those of us who want to take credit for only he deserves? I think one of the best examples of that is what God says to the king of Assyria and Isaiah chapter 10. This is what he says starting in verse 12, which by the way, the king of Assyria gloating in his ability to just wreak shop and wreak havoc upon any nations that come near to him. He's gloating about all of that whole reality is what he says, My own powerful arm. I've done all these things. With my own shrewd wisdom. I have planned it. I have broken down the defenses of nations and carried off their treasures. What God consistently speaks up by the way, though, about this king of Syria has gloating about all of his strength. Is that good? God calls him his tool for destruction. All throughout the book of Isaiah so God responds to his boasting in verse 15, by saying this, but can that axe boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saw cause can rod strike unless the hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself. Therefore the Lord, the Lord of Heavens, armies will send a plague among a serious proud troops, and a flaming fire will consume its glory. God humbles and humiliates people who exhibit these poor manners of exhibiting or desiring the seat of honor than only he deserves. He opposes the proud.

In academia, you are punished for plagiarism. taking credit For an idea or writing that isn't your own, you get your publishing rights revoked. You get your scholarly reputation completely ripped to shreds. You're usually sued and your career is completely over. And God's kingdom, he takes plagiarism eternally seriously. God humbles those who desire the credit that only he deserves. He'll put us in our place, and it'll be a humiliating process. So Cottage Grove, a question for all of us to ponder is how are we striving for the best seat that Jesus ultimately deserves? It's a question for all of us to ponder right now. So those are poor manners that our world exhibits. Here's the proper manners of the kingdom in terms of which seat do we sit at at his table? Well, it tells us to take the lowest seat. Look in verse 10, verse 10, he says, but when you're invited, go and sit in the lowest seat so that your host when he comes he may say to you friend move up higher, then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. So there are two reasons why ready to take the lowest seat. Here's number one. It's proper recognition of our hosts authority, proper recognition of our hosts authority. God is the one who promotes or de Moche. He decides where people sit because it's his table. He ultimately makes all these decisions. Often we actually really struggle which seat we find ourselves in, especially when someone that we feel like we're maybe better than sits at a higher table or a higher seat than we actually are. It makes me think of Kyrie, when he was on the Cavs with LeBron James, this was Gary's team. He was at the head of the table for a very long time. And when King James showed up, the dude was demoted. He was now second best. He couldn't handle it. He couldn't handle his seat at the table. So the dude ultimately said, I'm out. I'm going to leave. And he decided to leave the Cavs so that he could actually be at a higher seat of the table and let's be honest, that he's not doing a lot for the Brooklyn Nets right now. Neither is anybody in the NBA at this moment. Thanks coronavirus. So with the the reality is this. We all want to find ourselves at a better seat of the table. And it's difficult for us when we see someone ahead of us. It's hard for us to be okay with it. Envy comes in jealousy comes in. We think of ourselves more highly, perhaps, than we thought.

We actually asked the same question that Peter asked regarding the position john was going to have and Jesus's New Kingdom. He asked this question of Jesus after Jesus had risen from the dead. He says Lord, what about him? Why is he getting a better seat than me? Why is his seat there and mine is not above him or beside him or wherever I feel like it should be. And Jesus's response was kind of striking. He says to Peter, what is it to you? Come and follow me. What is it to you Come and follow me. When we place ourselves in a humble position, it's an acknowledgment that our seat at his table isn't ultimately about us, it is about him. And we're going to be okay with whatever seat we find ourselves in because it's not about our glorification. It's about his glorification. So we say to ourselves, I'm delighted to be in the seat that I find myself in because my ultimate role for being at this table is to glorify my host not glorify myself. It's a proper recognition of our hosts authority, but it's also a proper reflection of our hosts actions, say humbling yourself leads to being exalted. It says, The path to honor and exaltation is you For this is the path our Lord took himself This is Philippians chapter two were called to count others more significant than ourselves having the same attitude of Christ Jesus, who had the seat of honor, yet chose to take the lowly seat of becoming a common human human being. Jesus had the seat of honor and gave it up to take the lowest seat, tech not even a seat at all. He became the person serving at the table. That's what ultimately led to his exhortation is what Philippians chapter two says, God exalts the humble. Humility is prepper etiquette, and the Kingdom of God because we're this fall in the footsteps of what our Lord did. We're not looking to be the highest person in the room, we're looking to be the servant in whatever room we find ourselves in. That's humbly reflecting the etiquette of our king, in the manners that he exemplified is us asking, How am I humble in this situation? How am I humble in this work environment? How am I humble in this family? interaction, how do I take the posture of a servant? That's Kingdom etiquette. That's what Christ calls us to do. That's how we interact at the table. But then Jesus talks about the guest list. And he talks about this, you're going to host some people and he describes Who are the people we should be inviting to the dinner party that we have our son prints, invite some friends over. And we have expectations for him to exemplify as he hosts, the different friends that he has in our home. Jesus, the host of our table that we find ourselves in, gives us instructions for how we exemplify the same thing when we host others. But he talks about the proper manners in the world first. That's in verse 12. Where he says that when you you also said this to the man who had invited him when you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors less they also invite you in return, and you'd be repaid. He's describing proper manners in the world right now. What we do proper manners in the world is that we invite our friends, our brothers, our rich relatives and our neighbors. Those were the closest to relationally historically, culturally, socioeconomically? Why do we usually invite them? Why do we want to invite people who are like us people that we can benefit from? it because we know that these people can pay us back, right? emotionally, financially, socially, it's just like the business world. You do networking with people so that you can get something from them. More business, more access, more insights, more wisdom on how to just manage the business world. That's the purpose of networking. It's about you actually. So when you invite people who are like you, it's usually because you can benefit from them. The guest list is designed primarily for us, and we benefit from others. And it's easy to associate and do community with those who are like us. We desire community, we desire to be around people. Because we're made for it. We are experiencing that right now. We're made to be in community and the easiest pathway to be in community is to participate in community with people who are like us. People who are like us, like attracts like.

Honestly, it's extremely easy, so easy, the animals do it. This is called a herd mentality. That's why all flocks of geese and ducks all come together because it's easy to flock together, you can see each other you understand how each other work that they all come together. What's also fascinating about the animal kingdom is that even fake similarities can form communities. That's actually a hunting strategy is you use a duck decoy, meaning you can create a gigantic flock of ducks on the pond that you want to go to by placing a fake duck in the middle of the pond. And all of these ducks now come together because they see something that is like them. A homogenous community is not compelling. Any But he can do it, including animals. Now, actually what's compelling is something completely different. And just being around people who are like us and trying to be around people that we can benefit from, is poor manners in the kingdom of God. In fact, James chapter two were warned against that type of favoritism of favoring those who can benefit from showing partiality towards the rich and ignoring the poor and the median or missed. This is not the way our host functions. He functions completely differently. And that's what's described in the second half here, the port, the proper manners of the kingdom is to invite not your own but the others. The poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, the others are the people who are the farthest away from us. Those who are socially, economically, spiritually, and financially, far, far, far, far, far. away from us. And it is hard for us to invite these people into our midst. Because these folks can't pay us back. In fact, they do the opposite. They drain us. They exhaust us. They require things from us, like our time, like our money, like our social capital, like a reputation, perhaps even our own health.

They can't pay us back. We actually get nothing in return often when we care for these people. So they drain us. That's a big reason why it's difficult for us. Well, another reason why we actually never invite these people in to our table. And I think that this is perhaps even worse, is that we haven't even noticed them to begin with. When I lived in the Chicago area, going downtown Chicago is kind of a tumultuous experience because you're kind of overwhelmed with the homelessness in the city. And it's this front and center. When you're walking around downtown and often what you feel like is the best thing to do is just to ignore homeless people sitting on the street because you don't want to be rude to them. Right? Like, like they're asking for food or asking for money, whatever it may be. And you're just basically just ignore it just kind of walk ahead. Well, buddy of mine worked for CCD, a Christian Community Development Association in Chicago. And we were talking about that and I was asking him just like, What What should I do? When I interact with that? I think the best thing for me to do is probably just ignore him and wait for somebody to actually help out and he goes, No, that's actually one of the worst things you can do is to ignore them. It's actually better for you to say no to them, because at least you're acknowledging them as a human being, or having a conversation with them. Often for us in the church, we actually do something even worse, is that we just straight up ignore and don't even acknowledge the fact that there are others in our midst and around us. Thus, if the others are on the guest list, the dinner this is what's hard for us. The dinner will be primarily about them. Because it's, it's about us pouring ourselves out for them. And that means that it's going to be a self sacrificial dinner. They're going to benefit from us. So it's hard. It's hard for us to do. In fact, it's downright impossible sometimes, for us to invite others into our midst. diversity of cultures coming together is hard enough having a dinner table, surrounded by people who look differently than you is a very, very, very hard thing to manufacture. What is sometimes even more difficult is having a diversity of classes around you. Meaning high class people and low class people sit at the exact same table. Very, very difficult for that to happen. But when this is done, when people do come together like that, when the Lord does this reconciling work, and brings those folks who are far apart actually together, that's a compelling community. Because you can't do that just by reading Right in the curve of like attracts like. There has to be something supernatural coming together to bring people far apart together. That's why Ephesians three talks about the manifold wisdom of God being on display. When the Church of Jesus Christ comes together, and that beautiful array of diversity. It's a compelling community when the people of God come together like that. So therefore inviting, caring, loving for those who are unlike us, and and provide us with no benefits in the process. These actions are proper manners, and the Kingdom of God, because it's showing something that's impossible to our world. And it's reflecting something that our Lord does for us. But the reality is when we invite others to our table, who are physically emotionally in need, we're actually experiencing what it's like for our Lord to invite us to his table while maybe temporarily draining. That makes it eternally fulfilling for we're actually being discipled by the needy, as we remember and recognize our need for him, for when we love and are hospitable towards those who can't pay us back. In fact, you might lose something if you do that. We're reflecting the manners of our Lord and what he's done for us that it is in fact a straight miracle that he's invited us to his table. We are on his invite list. Which brings us to the final parable that Jesus lays out in this text. He describes his invitation process in this parable of a wedding banquet and he describes two different types of people. Here the first types of people some are invited but they're not super interested in the banquet citize those guests that he's invites that comes up with all these list of excuses. I just bought land. I need to go check it out. I just bought livestock. I need to go check those out too. Please excuse me. I just got married. Hey, I need to go be with my wife. Excuse me. By the way. Am ancient Palestine those were terrible excuses. No one would ever buy a land without expecting it first. No one had ever buy livestock without expecting it first. And in Palestine, the banquet the wedding banquet was far from done if you got married, so that was a terrible excuse as well. Now this was actually just spitting in the face of the person who invited them because they probably RSVP said we'll come and then the last minute they dumped on equivalent you RSVP for a wedding and then not showing up. So now that that host is stuck with the seat that he purchased for you, and the plate that he bought for you and the food that was prepared for you. So it was a it was a rejection of the host and insult to the to the host of these invite list folk who decided to not show up in the last minute. They were inadvertently rejecting him as they build at the last minute.

I think we do the exact same thing in various ways the things and priorities in our lives. makes us just really not super care about the banquet we've been invited to, and we often bail on it. Often it's because we feel like we are good to go financially, socially, emotionally, materially. And we're distracted by these things, blinded by the things that we believe is better than the beautiful feast we've been invited to. We downgrade the significance of the invite in that process. We think that being invited to this banquet really isn't that big of a deal. And in fact, the banquet isn't that spectacular. We could have bought the ticket ourself, but what we're doing is actually more important, and brings us more fulfillment. It's a better situation. It's equivalent to this thinking we we've been invited to a pancake feed at the VFW. Who cares? I'm going to make pancakes in my house. That's not that big of a deal. The reality is we haven't been invited to a pancake feed. We've been invited to a black tie affair at the White House.

Very different situation. But we're not that interested. In attending a banquet that were invited to, because we downgraded the significance of it, we don't think it's that big of a deal that we've been invited. So there are some who get invited but they don't really care about going to the banquet, but there are others who are blown away that they even got an invite. The poor, the crippled the lane, the marginalized and outs in the outcasts are in the hedges in the highways and the byways, no ability to pay for their ticket, had no business to be invited by this generous host. no business being there. When I was a junior in college, I got invited to the Sanford Gala. Kay Sanford up in Sioux Falls was this huge hospital system and they had this gigantic gala every single year. That was the primary funding mechanism for the whole hospital system. Okay, huge money celebrities would show up. It was crazy. I got invited to this thing. Okay. I barely had learned how to tie a tie myself. But I put that one tie on and I show it to this thing and I'm trying to figure out how to function in this place that had no business being there. I'm with Emily there to where we just look like complete idiots. You know, I barely had a, you know, I couldn't even grow facial hair at that time it was I had no business being in this Gala. This was way out of my league. The only reason I was there. The only reason I even got in is because I was invited by the host, my father in law, who put on this entire Gala. That was the only reason I even got a ticket and was able to step foot into this gala banquet. That was way out of my league, Cottage Grove, you need to know this. We indeed are the needy outcasts undeserving of an invite having no ability to purchase a ticket to the banquets of our God, but Jesus Christ in this greatest act of humility, left to seat of honor at his table. To invite you and me to the banquet and purchase a seat for us. You have been invited in. And this act was so immense, that it cost his entire life to get you to be at this table, the price of that seats was the ultimate cost. And that was the life of Jesus Christ on the cross for you. But because of this humble sacrifice, God raised him, exalted Him from the dead and brought him as the host of the banquet as the King and Lord of all and those who have no business being at his table can feast alongside him praise be to God that we've been invited to space. We have no business being there. We have no ability to purchase our way in, but he bought a ticket so that we can sit next to him at his table. For he's our host Oh, it sometimes takes us losing everything to see the beauty of the feast that we've been invited to. And in this crazy time and miracle, it's, it's a crazy miracle that we've been received that we've received an invitation. But when we lose everything, we see that miraculous reality, I think that's what's happening. There's an element of God's grace when we experience crisis. There's an element of God's grace right now, even in this pandemic, as we realize we are needy. We are in desperate need of his help of health, of healing, of even financial disarray that so many of us are finding ourselves in. It's like our blinders have come off, and we can see clearly the reality that we are needy people. And yet we worship a generous God who sees us who provides for us who cares for us and has invited us in to the glorious banquet feast of this kingdom. There's a we're seeing clearly right now, Cottage Grove Have all of this, that's an act of grace, somehow, in the midst of this very, very difficult situation, we've received his hospitality. And in the same way in exam concluding, he calls us to reflect that hospitality to others. There's a friend of mine who works for General Mills, which by the way is everything's kind of going poorly in the whole United States right now, General Mills stock is going up like 15% because all they do is make food. And that's what the whole world needs right now is some food.

However, instead of just like hoarding their business skills and their insight and how they're actually managing all their business, they're actually like, publicly broadcasting to their competitors, on how people can be more efficient and pumping out food so that we can feed our country in our world. But that's just all tourism. Human do Gooding, that's prompting them to do that to say, like, we're just going to be good, we're gonna be hospitable. We're gonna care. We're just gonna for no benefit of ourselves. You're just going to get this thing done. If a secular organization motivated by human do Gooding can be that hospitable? How much more should we recipients of God's infinite glorious banquet feasts that he we have no business sitting at? We have, we have access to all of his glorious blessings? How much more should we be that type of radically hospitable, and the way in which we're living our lives right now? We must be motivated, not by goodwill, but by good news to reflect his marvelous generosity. So I'm asking you today as as I finish up, have you received his marvelous hospitality? You've been invited in even though you did not deserve it. Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you if you've experienced his hospitality Have you taken in that reality that though you were an outcast, tossed to the side needy and without hope? He's invited you in All you have to do is just accept it and say, Lord, although I don't deserve any of this, I receive your invitation I receive the salvation that you've achieved on my behalf. And you can be at his table feasting with him now and forevermore. Have you rejoice in the fact that you've been invited in that you're sitting at his table right now that he has purchased your seats with his blood? Are you rejoicing, that profound reality? Not not rejoicing in your own effort, but actually rejoicing in the effort that he's won on your behalf? And then are you reflecting his profound hospitality? May we be a church that is, especially in this time reflecting that radical hospitality of our host, and the manners of his kingdom that he exemplifies on our behalf?

Let's pray Jesus, we love you. Thank you for loving us first. Thank you for inviting us in. Thank you for purchasing our ticket to be at your wedding feast. Marvelous banquet, where all of your glorious might and wonder and love is on full display. Oh God, would you for those who are sitting in homes and hearing this Lord that day, perhaps for the first time, receive the invitation that you've given to them to come you who are needy, you who are poor, physically, emotionally, spiritually, receive my glorious generosity and hospitality as I've given you my entire life so that you could be at my table. Oh God, for some of us, we do not rejoice enough that we've been invited in we actually downgrade the significance that we have access to your table. And how do we rejoice in that profound reality today? By your blood, you've purchased our seat at your table. Oh God, we we reflect that radical sacrificial, humble hospitality that you've given test would you unleash your church even? Especially right now in this season, even our church comes growth, to have a radical hospitality, as our city is in need, as our world is in need, and God would our tangible displays of radical hospitality and care and love, be a reflection of the radical sacrificial generosity and hospitality that you can Jesus have displayed to us. Would our display of that powerful work, be a proclamation to an unbelieving world that there is a God who loves that radically and wants a relationship with them? All they need to do is accept his invitation to come to a state Oh God, do a marvelous work. Would we respond properly and rejoicing in the fact that we have a seat at your table? We'd love you for the seats in Christ's name. Amen.

Join us FACE TO FACE in the Virtual Foyer!

Our Virtual Foyer is a place for people to gather after services and visit briefly with others that attend our church.  If you're new here, this is a great way to get to know us better and if you're already a regular, it's a chance to reconnect with familiar faces.

We'll meet weekly directly after the Sunday morning services for about 25 minutes. Simply register below for a link to be sent to you prior to the start of the 10:00a service and we will be waiting for you after service is over! Once you join us in the Zoom room please change your displayed name to your real name so our host will know who you are.

Here are some things to know about Zoom if you have never used it:

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That’s it! We hope you will join us Sunday morning in the Zoom room after you've participated in the live-streamed service.

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