Sabbath, October 24, 2009
УI counsel thee to buy of me Е white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;ЕФ Revelation 3:18.
The divine invitation repeated
1. What special object lesson did Jesus use to illustrate the gospel invitation? What responses were received from the invitees?
Matthew 22:1-3 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
УThe spiritual banquet has been set before us in rich abundance. We have had presented to us by the messengers of God the richest feastЦthe righteousness of Christ, justification by faith, the exceeding great and precious promises of God in His Word, free access to the Father by Jesus Christ, the comforts of the Holy Spirit, and the well-grounded assurance of eternal life in the kingdom of God. We ask, What could God do for us that He has not done in preparing the great supper, the heavenly banquet?Ф Ц(Review and Herald, Jan. 17, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1097.
2. How did the invitees respond when they were again called to attend the kingТs feast? In what various ways were the kingТs messengers treated? Consider carefully how this applies in our own circles and in society today.
Matthew 22:4-7 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
УЕ Children, come to Jesus. Give to God the most precious offering that it is possible for you to make; give Him your heart. He speaks to you saying, СMy son, my daughter, give me thine heart. Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; for I will cleanse you with My own blood. I will make you members of My familyЦchildren of the heavenly King. Take My forgiveness, My peace which I freely give you. I will clothe you with my own righteousnessЦthe wedding garmentЦand make you fit for the marriage supper of the Lamb. When clothed in My righteousness, through prayer, through watchfulness, through diligent study of My Word, you will be able to reach a high standard. You will understand the truth, and your character will be molded by a divine influence; for this is the will of God, even your sanctification.Ф Ц(The YouthТs Instructor, June 30, 1892) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1162.
New guests invited
3. Why were the first invitees so indifferent, unwilling, and even insolent? Whom did they represent?
Matthew 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
УAmong the Jews the sacred feast was connected with all their seasons of national and religious rejoicing. It was to them a type of the blessings of eternal life. The great feast at which they were to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while the Gentiles stood without, and looked on with longing eyes, was a theme on which they delighted to dwell. The lesson of warning and instruction which Christ desired to give, He now illustrated by the parable of a great supper. The blessings of God, both for the present and for the future life, the Jews thought to shut up to themselves. They denied GodТs mercy to the Gentiles. By the parable Christ showed that they were themselves at that very time rejecting the invitation of mercy, the call to GodТs kingdom.Ф ЦChristТs Object Lessons, p. 219.
4. What would we have done if we were in the kingТs place? What did he do?
Matthew 22:9, 10 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Mark 16:15, 16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
УIn the providence of God, we are daily brought into connection with the unconverted. By His own right hand God is preparing the way before usЕ. As co-laborers with Him, we have a sacred work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places; we are to extend to them the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast.Ф Ц(Southern Watchman, March 15, 1904) Counsels on Stewardship, p. 186.
Requirement of the wedding garment
5. Although some people had been called directly from the street and had no time for preparation, what was made available to them all and required? What does the wedding garment represent?
Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.
УOnly those were accepted who had obeyed his requirements and put on the wedding garment. So it is with the guests at the gospel feast. All must pass the scrutiny of the great King, and only those are received who have put on the robe of ChristТs righteousness.Ф ЦChristТs Object Lessons, p. 312.
УA banquet has been prepared for us. The Lord has spread before us the treasures of His Word. But we must not come to the repast clothed in citizenТs dress. We must have on the white robe of ChristТs righteousness, which has been prepared for all the guests.Ф Ц(Manuscript 70, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1097.
УBy the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which ChristТs true followers will possessЕ. The fine linen, says the Scripture, Сis the righteousness of saints.Т Revelation 19:8. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal SaviourЕ.
УOnly the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in GodТs presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul.Ф ЦChristТs Object Lessons, pp. 310, 311.
6. How can it be explained that, although many had been called from the street, only one did not have the wedding garment? What did the kingТs question to the man imply?
Matthew 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
УIn the parable of Matthew 22Е, the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before the marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Matthew 22:11; Revelation 7:14. He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing of work in the sanctuary above.Ф ЦThe Great Controversy, p. 428.
УThis robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. СAll our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.Ф Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sinЕ. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the lawЕ. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey GodТs commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees Е His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.Ф ЦChristТs Object Lessons, pp. 311, 312.
7. Who was represented by the man who did not have the garment of grace and righteousness? Consider the value of oneТs own merits, without the garment of righteousness given by God. Why do you think such a character could never enter the heavenly kingdom?
Matthew 22:13, 14 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
УRemember that every one who shall be found with the wedding garment on will have come out of great tribulation.Ф Ц(Review and Herald, April 17, 1894) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1097.
УIt is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. СHe that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.ТЕ 1 John 3:24; 2:3. This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness.Ф ЦChristТs Object Lessons, pp. 312, 313.