Perry Duggar |

In Luke 14, Jesus tells the Parable of the Great Feast, teaching that everyone is invited into the Kingdom of God, but we must accept the invitation and not make excuses.

Jesus at the Center of Our Future
Invitation • Message 8
Perry Duggar
May 26, 2024


A. Introduction: We continue our series, Jesus at the Center of Our Story (survey of Parables).
Luke 14:15. C/R: Luke 14:1-14

Our title for today is Invitation.

Theme verse: Luke 16:16b (NLT)“…the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, [an invitation issued] and everyone is eager to get in.” [Are you?]

Today, we will focus on the Parable of the Great Banquet (Feast in some translations).

Parables (the focus of this message series) are illustrations of the nature of the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven, which is a synonymous term).

The Kingdom of God, mentioned in the New Testament (Romans 13:1;14:17), particularly in the Gospels, refers to God’s sovereign rule over the universe (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 4:3).

It includes God’s spiritual rule over the lives of people, who through faith (John 3:3,5-7) and repentance
(Matthew 4:17), willingly submit to His authority and guidance. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Setting and context: In Luke 14:1-14, while eating dinner on the Sabbath in the home of a Pharisee, Jesus healed a man, offending the religious leaders gathered there (vv.1-6).

He rebuked them for taking seats in places of honor, not letting the host seat them (7-11). 

He asserted that God, at the resurrection, would reward a host who invited people to dinner who could not reciprocate—the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind (vv.12-14).  

Luke 14:15 (NLT)[beginning our passage]Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”

Jews conceived of the Kingdom of God as a banquet with the Messiah, as well as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets as honored guests.

This speaker, likely a Pharisee, was implying, “what a blessing it will be for us to attend God’s heavenly banquet” (and, of course, he thought, “to sit in places of honor”).

Every Jew wanted to attend heaven’s banquet… (but don’t we?), so let’s discover…

B. How to enter the Kingdom of God? (Luke 14:16-24)


1. Receive the invitation. (Luke 14:16. C/R: Romans 1:16-17; 10:13-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20)

Luke 14:16 (NLT)—Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.” (This was a grand event given by a very wealthy person.)

In Jesus’ day, an initial dinner invitation would have informed recipients of the day, but not the exact hour, of the meal. (ILL.: Like “save the date.”)

Invitees’ responses enabled the host to determine the number of guests to plan for.

During Jesus’ day, food preparation was a lengthy process which began with butchering animals, grinding grains, and picking produce. (No refrigerators, supermarket-prepared meals or food delivery services to drop off extra food in case provisions were depleted.)

The host symbolizes (who?) God the Father, the feast represents (what?) His heavenly kingdom (which begins on earth and continues into heaven).

We must be extended an invitation by the host (God) to enter His kingdom.

What are these invitations? Communications of the Gospel message, which is believing the

death of Jesus is sufficient for forgiveness of our specific, individual sins so that by faith (reliance on Jesus’ sacrifice), we can gain admission into God’s kingdom (and heaven).

Romans 10:13–14,17 (NLT) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?...

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

These invitations arrive in Sunday morning messages, conversations with friends, reading a Bible, perusing a pamphlet, watching a video, reading a blog, street preachers or YOU!

APP.: Have you heard the Good News about Jesus? How? What did you do with it?


2. Reject excuses. (Luke 14:17-20. C/R: Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 8:34-37; Hebrews 2:3)

Many people use excuses to escape responsibility for their actions.

ILL.: Statements given by motorists to an insurance company to explain accidents:

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle and vanished.

Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have.

The pedestrian had no idea which direction to run, so I ran him over.

The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.

The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.

Luke 14:17-20 (NLT)— “When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. [Every one of them!] One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’” [Samples of excuses.]

These expected guests, who’d already agreed to attend, offered insufficient, inexcusable reasons for not showing up.

The first guest said he needed to inspect a field he’d already bought!

Another guest wanted to try out ten oxen he’d already purchased!

No one would buy land or livestock without a close inspection before closing the deal, and the purchases would be available for examination after the banquet!

The third expected guest said He couldn’t attend because he’d just gotten married, but in that culture, wives, who were not invited, did not dictate their husband’s actions. [ILL.]

None of these excuses adequately explained or justified their rude, offensive conduct.

The people who accepted, then refused, their invitations represented Jews who received Old Testament teaching that they were God’s people, invited into God’s kingdom, but they rejected the call by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17) to come: “Repent of your sins and turn to God [not in Greek], the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” [mĕtanŏĕō – “to think differently, to change one’s way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude regarding sin and righteousness”]

These religious leaders thought they knew and fulfilled God’s standards; they were confident of their righteousness, so they were certain they had no need to repent.

The need to repent establishes the necessity of forgiveness from God for the wrongs we have done; since we are unaware of all our sins, it confirms our need of a Savior.

People use various rationales to reject Gospel invitations today:

“I don’t know if the Bible is true (hence, the Gospel is untrue)”—then investigate the historical, scholarly evidence of the life of Jesus and the origin and accuracy of the Bible, as well as an abundance of personal evidence from people with changed lives!

“There can’t be only one way to heaven”—unless there is one way—through Jesus—

because the truth is narrow, but the Gospel includes an invitation to all with no conditions.

“I’m a good person”—Compared to God, none of us are good, so we need forgiveness.

[The opposite.] “I’m not good enough”—None of us are, so we all need a Savior.

“I want to have fun”—God loves us and only asks us to give up what would harm us.

“I’ll do it later, before I die—We never know when our lives will end. We miss out on the lives of freedom, peace, comfort, and hope God planned for us.

APP.: What is your excuse for refusing God’s invitation? Will you stake eternity on it?

Hebrews 2:3 (NLT)So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself and then delivered to us by those who heard Him speak?


3. Recognize [need] and respond. (Luke 14:21-24. C/R: Mark 2:17; John 3:3,36; Hebrews 2:3)

Luke 14:21 (NLT)—“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious [due to the disrespect displayed. Because he didn’t want to waste the food] and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’” [As already suggested to the Pharisee’s guests, v.13.]

The master invited needy, hurting, hungry people who would be intimidated by the invitation—knowing they didn’t belong and could never comply with the social obligation of repaying the hospitality (vv.12-14)—but they would come, eager to be fed!

Luke 14:22-23 (NLT)— “After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. ’”  

The servant was sent to invite everyone they found outside of town, which implies an even lower class, homeless, deprived, perhaps Gentiles, to replace the original invitees.

These people would have to be compelled to come because while they would be aware of their need (their hunger), they would be so convinced of their unworthiness, so conscious of their shame, that they would be reluctant to respond.

What about us? When we hear the invitation, do we think of how unqualified we are to enter God’s Kingdom?

Mark 2:17 (NLT)—…Jesus… told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” [Who shows us we are sinners? The Holy Spirit!]

Like these undeserving outsiders, do we have to be compelled to respond? Yes, by the Holy Spirit who reveals our need by convicting us of sin (John 16:8), then compels us to respond by faith by confirming the truth of the Gospel (revelation experience; John 15:26).

Back to the banquet: Luke 14:24 (NLT)—“‘For none of those I first invited [and had accepted!] will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

The original invitees (proud Jews) would be cut off, and their invitation would be issued to those who were aware of their status and their need, including Gentiles. (Romans 11:1-24)

APP.: The warning applies to us as well: “You’ve received an invitation. Don’t delay. Recognize your need and respond while you have the opportunity.”

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