What is your Christian identity based upon? Maybe you attend an excellent church, listen to the best teachers, embrace the right doctrines, and serve in the noblest ministry. Those are all good and integral elements of a healthy Christian walk. But they don’t make you a Christian.
It may seem like I’m stating the obvious, but we underestimate how our Christian identity can easily and imperceptibly begin to take root in the “Christian” things we do. We may not share the overt works-righteous religion of the Pharisees, but we can fall into the same kind of false confidence about our works and our standing with God.
Of all the people Jesus encountered during His incarnation, none were so confident in their glorious eternal reward as the Pharisees. They were supremely confident that their religious preeminence would continue from this life and into the next. But Christ continually rebuked and warned them concerning their delusional self-confidence.
John MacArthur’s sermon “An Invitation to God’s Great Banquet” examines one such occasion where Christ warned the religious gatekeepers of a seismic reversal that would take place in God’s kingdom. John’s messageexamines the parable of the great supper found in Luke 14:15–24.
Christ’s intent was clear. He spoke the parable at an earthly feast where esteemed guests were jostling for the preeminent seats around the table (Luke 14:7). And His words were in response to the statement of a man who said, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). As John explains, Christ’s story deliberately assaulted anyone who wrongly presumed his or her rightful place at the great heavenly feast.
Jesus always sought to shatter false religious hope. He never put His arm around a Pharisee and said, “Well we worship the same God, we’re both going to be there, you’re my brother.” . . .
He never put His arms around a synagogue crowd and said, “What you’re doing is really good, God’s going to accept this religious effort in His name as enough.” Every time, Jesus exploded the false religious security of the Jews at every level—at the level of the Pharisees, the scribes, and at the level of the people in the synagogues. Jesus always sought to shatter false religious hope. This is critical in all evangelism. This is being honest. Anybody who lives under some kind of misguided assumption that they’re headed for heaven needs to know that it is not true.
John’s message goes on to explain the warning of Christ’s parable and its application—both personally and corporately. It provides a powerful cautionary tale to all who presume upon the favor of God and their right standing with Him.
Click here to listen to “An Invitation to God’s Great Banquet.”
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