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Evangelism: Anyone You Find
by Pastor John

Matthew 22:1-10
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' 5 "But they paid no attention and went off-- one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

When inviting people to the Lord's party we will find…

1. Stubbornness.  Look at verse 3.
3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

His slaves are witnesses, people like you and me who are called, equipped, and qualified by God to invite our family members and friends to the party. But many people we know are unwilling. They're stubborn.

These verses are teaching us that the Jewish people were the first to be invited. Christ came to this earth as a Jew. John 1:11 says that Jesus came to His own people, but His own people did not receive Him. A few did, of course. But the Jewish people as a whole rejected Christ and His message of grace. They were so proud of their own goodness and religious heritage that they saw no need of His grace. (See Romans 9:31-10:4.)

It's the same today. Why won't our friends come to Christ? Often, it's self-righteousness, and religious pride. By nature, we think too highly of ourselves (John 3:19-20). That's why we tend to devalue Christ and His cross. This is why God by His power must break our stubbornness.

Invite people to the party and you'll know rejection in the form of stubbornness.

2. Busy-ness. Others have been too busy to come. Look at vv. 4-5.
4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' 5 "But they paid no attention and went off-- one to his field, another to his business.

Notice what these servants were to tell those who were invited. "Everything is ready."

We don't have to make ourselves ready for the party. We don't have to get busy trying to establish our own righteousness to earn our salvation and rewards from God. In fact, God's Word forbids this. It tells us that our salvation and everything that comes with it is already prepared and ready because Christ has done it all. He met every condition for our salvation. IN fact, on the cross He said, "It is finished!" All we have to do is come.

But some don't come, do they? Many would rather chase after the things of this life. They are indifferent. The wedding is no big deal. The farm and business demand attention. These people were preoccupied with their profits. In other words, they were willing to give up the beauty, grandeur, and honor of being invited to this party for the sake of their everyday, mundane, self-serving lives. They were not concerned about the king's desires, but only about what they thought was in their own best interests.

That's the way it with people today. They think, "How's that Jesus stuff going to help me in the here and now? I have kids to raise! I have a degree to earn! I have a business to run! I have a movie to watch! Don't bother me with an invitation to a party that isn't going to happen for a long, long time - if it's going to happen at all!"

Invite people to the party and you'll know rejection in the form of busy-ness.

3. Abusiveness. Some have persecuted those who have invited them to come. Consider vv. 6-7.
6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

This was aimed right at the Jewish religious leaders. Prophets had been persecuted and killed for their message of repentance to the Jewish people. Telling people to repent and get ready for the party is never a popular message. And Jesus is looking into His own future here, too. He knew that a cross was coming. He knew that the religious leaders would mistreat Him and, with the Romans, kill Him.

The result? God's wrath poured out. You won't come to the party honoring My Son? You dare dishonor Me and My Son that way? Destruction's coming! Jesus' words were prophetic. In AD 70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The Temple was demolished. More than 1,000,000 Jews who had crowded into the city died. As a political entity, Israel ceased to exist.

If you have rejected the invitation to the party - if you are not a passionate follower of Christ - then you have to know that there is a limit to God's patience. There will be dreadful destruction of those who do not honor the King's Son, Jesus!

Now, if you're headed to the party and you're inviting others, there's a possibility that abuse will come.

I read once about a young Pakistani girl named Saleema. She is a Christian who was arrested in 1997 for inviting a friend to follow Christ. Her friend trusted Christ, converting to Christianity. After that friend started following Jesus, she was killed by her own family for her faith in Jesus Christ. Now get this. Because Saleema had shard her faith with that friend, she was also charged with the death of her friend.

Saleema is now grown up and has been passed from court to court - going higher each time in the Pakistani judicial system. She has been in a care facility for some time, and a recent report said she is in great pain. Saleema has unable to attend court because of health problems due to police beating and torture in June of 1997. She is unable to stand and walk. Her back, hip and ankles are sore and full of pain. We ought to pray for her. She's suffering abuse simply for inviting people to the party.

Both Saleema and her Christian convert friend suffered horribly for their faith. But they will never suffer an eternity in hell.

This kind of abuse is very, very rare in our culture. What's the worst thing that happens when we start sharing our faith? Someone might decline your efforts. Is that so tragic? Is that a soul-shattering event for you? In our country, the worst case scenario is that someone will say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Some of us are so paralyzed by rejection that we aren't even trying. Some of us are gutless when it comes to thinking of new ways of reaching people. It's just old fashioned gutlessness! Don't ever give up on inviting people to the party! If a teenage girl in Pakistan is willing to go to prison for inviting people to the party, then surely we can face a little rejection here, can't we?

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad. For great is your reward in heaven."

When inviting people to the party…
We will experience some rejection.

But we will see some respond. vv. 8-10
8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The Jews for the most part rejected Jesus. So, God sent the good news out to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. Other people were brought in. This is great news for most of us! We who were not God's chosen people became God's chosen people and were invited to the party! This was God's purpose from the beginning. God is calling out a people from every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.

Notice who comes to the party: people both evil and good. God is making no distinction between open "sinners" and the "morally correct." Everyone is invited. It does not make any difference whether people have a respectable reputation or are a dishonorable one. No matter who they are, if people have a need, whether they are of good reputation or not, they are invited. "Whosoever will may come," says God's word.

We are to go to the highways, to find people, and to invite them to the celebration. If we keep inviting, people will respond.

The reason that some will respond is because the gospel - the good news about Jesus - has power. Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."


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