By Pastor John Mateos Ong
It is season of parties once again. Left and right, you get invited to celebrations because people want to get together. But if you need to attend a party everyday, it already becomes a chore. You have to know which parties to attend and which parties to skip altogether. Some people will say that they were not invited to any party. But even in the Old Testament, God has already invited you to feats with Him.
Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” God’s invitation is free. You have to know what is important from what is not. Some people work so hard only to waste their earnings on feeble things. God says there are two kinds of people, the wise and the foolish. And you have to know which one you are.
How a radio works is truly amazing. If you look at the wind, you cannot see anything. But if you have a radio and you tune it in, you can pick up airwaves that can either bring you the news or allow you to listen to music. The air around you is so full of radio waves. But you need a device that will help you focus. Sometimes, when you are not really tuned in, it can be full of static interferences. The problem is, sometimes, you are in the wrong channel. If you are not tuned in to the correct channel, you will not pick up the message, the invitation. Some people are in the wrong channel and that is a problem. But the bigger problem is being in the wrong channel and actually enjoying it. The refers to the people you hang out with. It is alright if yo9u are making them your ministry and wanting to share the gospel with them. But if they are actually pulling you into their mission, then there’s the rub.
What does the world that offer makes men stumble? It is not their strength. Everything nowadays is instant. Instant reward. Instant gratification. So men take it. It is important that you are tuned in to the correct channel. Fill your mind with things of God. And fill yourself with the right things. If you wakeup in the morning and the first thing you open is your Facebook page, before you know it, the morning has passed and you already spent hours browsing. How will you find the time to fill yourself with God’s word? No wonder you cannot hear from Him and do not receive His invitation. Even if God is already shouting at you, you cannot hear Him.
One time, Jesus was invited to the house of the pharisees and He tells this story. Luke 14:16-20 says, “Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” Everybody had an excuse not to come. The Bible says it is not bad to work; it is impertinent. But it becomes bad when you use it as an excuse not to be with the Lord. The story continues in Luke 14:21-24: “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” There were still seats at the table so the master asked his servant to call anyone and everyone.
God wants His house to be filled. - Heaven has so much space. Do not think second thoughts about inviting others into God’s kingdom. Force them into coming. Those who do not want to come need to be forced to hear God’s word. It is your responsibility. Until everyone has heard His word, Jesus will not come. He s inviting you to live with Him in eternity. God’s invitation is so beautiful; but men choose the pleasures of this world. Nothing compares to what God has prepared for you in His kingdom.
Everyone is invited. - There are no exceptions. You not only invite the people you love; invite everyone around you.
You are the messenger. - You are the servant in the story. God is asking you to call onto unbelievers. It was the helper who told the master that there were still empty seats. God has space for everybody. Are you doing your duty as a middleman of God and the lost? Maybe the reason why some people did not receiver their invitation is because there is a problem with the messenger.
Matthew 22:11-13 says, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Even if you go to the banquet and have already eaten, if you are not properly dressed, you will be thrown into hell. You might have accepted Jesus as your Savior but if your life did not change, you will still be thrown into hell. You come to church with all the wrong motives. Your thinking is wrong and your heart is also wrong. Proverbs 4:23 tells you that everything you do flows out from your heart. Your heartbeat needs to be the same with God. Lastly, you have the wrong spirit and it comes out. If you have these things, then you still have time to work on that.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Everybody is a work in progress. You still get mad and disappointed. But the Holy Spirit is continually working in you. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Many are invited but not all of them come. Many still make lame excuses. They say there is a new normal after the pandemic. So many things have changed; but there are things that will forever stay the same:
the Great Commandment (Matthew 24:37-40) - love God with all your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself
the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) - go and make disciples of all nations; be part of a small group
The Great Collaboration (Ephesian 4:4-6) - “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Denominations divide the church. But no one denomination can save the whole world.