The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost October 25, 2020
Text: Matthew 22:1-14 ILCW – A 20:2220
Theme: “Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen”
Twenty years ago, I preached on this text. Here is how I began it then. I wonder if in a few weeks, history will repeat itself.
“It’s still not decided. A week ago, we went to the polls to elect a new president and we still don’t know who it is. Allegations of fraud, ineptitude, deceit, and the threat of court battles fill the news as each side challenges the numbers count. Never in our country’s history have people gone to the polls to choose a leader only to have such confusion, anger, and finger-pointing take place. What a mess! One would think that in a country as free, strong, advanced, and intelligent as ours that it would be simple to choose a president. Yet, we still have none and confusion reigns.
“(Hanging chads, ballots thrown out, others disappearing – how embarrassing.) Oh, the frailties, the weakness, the ignorance, the ineptitude of man! We have not succeeded in choosing anything in this matter, except upset, confusion, (anger,) yes, even chaos.”
That was how this sermon began 20 years ago. Will our election process go any better next week?
Contrast that with what occurs in God’s election of those who will spend eternity with Him. God’s choice is simple, clear, and faultless. The Bible declares, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.” The outcome never waivers. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned.”
It is based on grace, God’s undeserved love, received by faith alone, in Christ alone. It is simple, complete, without confusion: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
God invites everyone to this. Sadly, many reject it. But to those who hear and trust His Word there is such sweet comfort and joy for, unlike our country’s election process, we know where we stand with God’s process and find peace in it.
But do not be mistaken. Not everyone is found in God’s kingdom in the present nor will everyone be found in heaven later, for the precious invitation by which He calls us and carries out His promise can be rejected and is rejected by many. Jesus said it most clearly, “Many are called but few are chosen.”
I. If some are not among the chosen, make no mistake about it, the fault is not to be found in God; rather, the fault lies in man. Jesus pictured this in our text with the story of a wedding banquet.
Imagine a palace buzzing with excitement. A banquet is being prepared for the wedding of a prince. His father, the king, has planned out every detail for the celebration. The king went carefully over the list of all who were invited to make sure no one was forgotten. The invitation went out. Everything was ready; the wedding day arrived. The king summoned his servants and said: “Now is the time. Go to all who were invited and have them come.” The servants went. “Come to the feast that the king has prepared,” they said. But those invited did not want to come.
If one receives an invitation to an audience with a king, he doesn’t turn it down lightly, unless he thinks too highly of himself. In Jesus’ day to refuse such an invitation was a deadly insult. Even so, this king was patient. He did not grow angry immediately. Instead, he sent other servants to repeat the invitation: “I’ve made everything ready,” he said. “Come to the banquet.”
Would you do that? If people flat-out refused a special invitation from you, would you send another, begging them to reconsider: “Please, I want you to be there!” We probably wouldn’t. This king did. He truly wanted people there. But those invited treated it like a joke. They shrugged their shoulders and said, “Count me out. I’ve got other things to do.” One left for the farm, another went to the marketplace to buy and sell. Some ganged up on the king’s servants, beat them, and left them for dead.
Now the king was angry indeed. He called his soldiers, saying: “Go and take care of those murderers. “Destroy their town.”
This reminds me of a Bible passage that says, “There is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a raging fire that is going to consume the enemies of God….How much greater punishment do you think will be deserved by the person who tramples the Son of God underfoot, who considers insignificant the blood of the covenant….The Lord will judge His people. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hb.10:27f).
Yes, God is slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. But He also does not let the guilty go unpunished but punishes them for their sins (Ex.34).
As the king in the parable was angry, God is angry too, at sin,
and at the sinner who spurns Him. I have heard people say that God loves the sinner but hates the sin, as though one can separate the act from the person. Ok, but beware of overstating that for here it is obvious that the king abhors the act of rejecting his invitation, and he is angry at the person who did it. Likewise, God’s anger burns hotly against sin and the sinner who continues in it.
Yet, here is exactly where we find our comfort. God’s fierce anger for sin burned so hotly in His heart that He did something. Wonder upon wonders, He directed His anger not at us, but at His Son for only Jesus was strong enough to endure it. God poured out the full extent of His anger for sin on Jesus that we might escape it. All who receive it in faith do escape it. But, to refuse the invitation to come to God through faith in Christ will bring down God’s anger on all who reject it. Again, the fault lies in man, not God.
II. But, to return to the parable…. The king told his servants, “The banquet is ready, but the guests we invited do not deserve to share in it. Go out and get people from all walks of life. Invite them to enjoy my feast.” So, the servants went out to the crossroads and every nook and cranny they could find to invite people. Soon the hall was filled with guests, to the delight of the king and his son.
As the king walked among the guests, he came across a man who did not wear the correct clothing for a king’s feast. “Friend,” he said. “How did you get in here without the proper clothing?” The man was speechless. What made this worse was that hosts in ancient times provided the proper clothing for guests to wear. For the man to enter without the right clothing was more than a blunder, it was an insult at the king and his son. So, they threw the man out.
This also reminds me of a Bible passage, actually, two of them. The first says that when we come to God, clothed with all the good things that we think we have done, our own righteous acts, He sees us dressed in nothing but filthy rags (Is.64:6). Even the best things that we think we do are not enough for cleansing because a holy God demands perfection. And we just don’t have it on our own.
So, He provided the clothing that we needed – His Son. He says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ” (Ga.3:27).
Christ Jesus Himself is our garment of righteousness that we need to cover our sin. Clothed in Him brings us into the banquet of His Kingdom now and into the heavenly feast later. One needs the clothing otherwise he will be thrown out into eternal punishment.
This does not mean that God is unwilling to save everyone. No, He wants all men to be saved. Sadly, many are those called who will miss out on eternity because they refuse to respond to the invitation in faith. And “the reason they are not saved is this: they do not listen to God’s Word at all” (FC Ep.XI 12).
It’s a matter of grace through the Gospel: invited by grace, chosen by grace, sanctified by grace, elected as the result of unmerited grace. If one says in the heart that Jesus is Savior and confesses that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, he is among the few who are chosen, dressed, and ready for the feast to begin. Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen. Thank God for grace that invites, clothes, and brings you in.
The election process and choosing of a president in our country may be confusing and shot full of holes. But God’s process is not. He calls by grace through His Gospel invitation. God grant that we receive it in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost October 25, 2020
“Many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Come! All Is Ready! You receive an invitation to a wedding. You knew the young lady as a child. You were close to the family. But they moved away. Now the little girl whom you once knew is getting married. Something tugs at your heart. It’s an invitation you can’t refuse.
God also sends out invitations. Indeed, He invites all people to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Jesus made it possible to be there by paying the price for our sins. “I’m expecting you,” God says. “Come! All is ready.” God’s invitation tugs at the heart. How could you refuse it?
God grant that through His Holy Spirit we look again and again at His invitation to life eternal that comes to us through His Word. Feel the Spirit tugging when you hear it. It’s an invitation we shouldn’t refuse.
To that end we pray: “Grant, O merciful Lord, to Your faithful people, pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sin, heed Your call, and serve You with a quiet mind; for Jesus sake we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 25:6-9
God compares the happiness found in His kingdom to the joys experienced at a great banquet. Everyone is invited to His feast where He gives the best spiritual treats. Those who heed the invitation rejoice and praise their heavenly Host for His saving blessings.
The Epistle Lesson: Philippians 4:4-13
The Apostle Paul invites Christians to rejoice with Him in the Lord for He gives good things eternally. His blessings help us learn to be content in every circumstance in life and to leave all our cares in His hands.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 22:1-14
God compares His kingdom to a wedding banquet. He sends out His invitation many times over. But some feel that they have other things to do that are more important. Others mistreat those who bring the invitation and mock the inviter. These will be left out. And everyone who comes not dressed rightly in Christ will be cast out.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: The fellow in Jesus’ parable did not wear the assigned robe. Oriental kings always supplied the robe that the guests at banquets and royal festivals wore, especially if the guest did not have one. But this fellow did not wear the robe! He refused it. He was an intruder who imagined that he could take part in the king’s festivities on his own terms, just the way he was. But he was badly mistaken!
Likewise, there are those who want to enter God’s kingdom and get to heaven. But they want to pass through the gates on their own terms. To them God’s plans and provisions are not taken seriously. They will put on what they want, not what He graciously provides. But man’s “clothing” is never enough. Only God can provide exactly what we need. We need to wear the robes of God’s righteousness. It is a righteousness that comes from God by faith in Christ Jesus. No other garment will do. By faith clothe yourself in Him.
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Today’s Order of Worship: Morning Praise: Hymnal pg.45
Opening Hymn: #380
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #23 Hymnal pg.72
Duet: Blessed Are They Which Are Called
Sermon Hymn: #337
Sermon Text: Matthew 22:1-14 Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen
Lord, Accept Our Response
Hymn: #265 “Lord, Have Mercy” (In place of the Te Deum Laudamus)
Prayers, Lord’s Prayer & Prayer for Grace Hymnal pg. 50
Lord, Bless Us
The Benediction Hymnal pg. 51
Closing Hymn: #331
The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 25:6-9 – A Banquet Prepared for All People
6On this mountain the Lord of Armies will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of aged wines, with the best cuts of meat, and with the finest wines. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that covers all peoples, the burial cloth stretched over all nations. 8He has swallowed up death forever! The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face. He will take away the shame of his people throughout the earth. For the Lord has spoken. 9On that day it will be said, “Look, here is our God! We waited for him, and he saved us! This is the Lord! We waited for him. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”
Epistle Lesson: Philippians 4:4-13 – Rejoicing in the Lord in Godly Contentment
4Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if anything is excellent, and if anything is praiseworthy, think about these things. 9The things that you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: Keep doing these things. And the God of peace will be with you.
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord now that you have revived your concern for me once again. Actually, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I lack anything; in fact, I have learned to be content in any circumstances in which I find myself. 12I know what it is to live in humble circumstances, and I know what it is to have more than enough. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, while being full or hungry, while having plenty or not enough. 13I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 22:1-14 – Parable of the Wedding Banquet
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables. He said, 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent out his servants to summon those who were invited to the wedding banquet, but they did not want to come. 4“Then he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and my fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet!’ 5“But those who were invited paid no attention and went off, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6The rest seized the king’s servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7As a result, the king was very angry. He sent his army and killed those murderers and burned their town.
8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9So go to the main crossroads and invite as many as you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those servants went out to the roads and gathered together everyone they found, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wearing wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13Then the king told the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.” The Evangelical Heritage Version of the Bible, EHV, New Testament & Psalms ©2017
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Ting Wang (316 NOW) Retirement Service on Zoom
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
End Time 1: Reformation Sunday
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Are you worried about what the future holds? Are you sure of your heavenly inheritance? Are you dressed for reception into the heavenly wedding banquet? Thanks to Jesus and His perfect life and substitutionary death, we confidently answer all three questions in the affirmative. What a grand and glorious day it will be when we find ourselves seated at God’s heavenly banquet table!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 22:1-14 (answers are found on the back side)
- God has invited everyone to His heavenly wedding feast, but so few attend. Why?
- Is it possible to sneak into God’s heavenly wedding banquet without proper attire?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; the Dave Ballou, at home; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father; Bill Buchanan; Lois Wiese; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam undergoing knee replacement surgery tomorrow; Casey Milam, of work with a foot fracture; Jodi’s sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and other family hospitalized and at home with COVID 19.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know
This Afternoon’s Ting Wang Service Ting is a Chinese member of WELS in the Twin Cities area whom the Lord has used in a mighty way over the last 15-20 years as the WELS organization, China Partners/316 NOW, has sought to reach out with the Gospel for the training of church workers in China. Ting has acted as translator, organizer, recruiter, encourager, and guide to our teams that travel to China. Although retiring, it is difficult to think that Ting would not be involved in some way in this ministry to her people in China. But it seemed appropriate to have a Service of Thanksgiving to God for her tireless work. You are invited to join us at Zion this afternoon at 4 pm for a ½ hour worship service to be followed by a ½ hour time of remembrance and greetings to Ting from pastors, teachers, and students from around our country. If you can join us, please come a bit early since this service will be broadcast over ZOOM and we would like to be set and ready to go by 4.
Health Ordinance With Springfield and the Greene County Health Dept. extending the mask requirements until January, we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service at this time, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 14; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: – ; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 3; Offering: $1,250; Chris Bruck Memorial $40.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
First Sunday of End Time – Reformation: Daniel 6:10-12,16-23; Galatians 5:1-6; Matthew 10:16-23
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Many people simply are indifferent and apathetic to God’s urgent call. Others are distracted by their own private, earthly affairs. As in the parable, some even go to the extent of being hostile toward the messengers of God’s invitation.
- Impossible. God has provided a wedding garment of spotless righteousness and purity for every sinner that he has invited to the feast, courtesy of his Son, Jesus Christ. The garment is required to cover the filth and nakedness of their sin. All intruding wannabe’s will be detected, sentenced, and thrust into the outer darkness of hell.