Introduction

Accepting the call of God — Have you heard and accepted the call of God?

In last week’s sermon – God is Bigger Than This – we took a look at the Lord being the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  As the Creator of all things known and unknown, we saw that the Lord still cares for mankind, especially the one who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at His word (Is. 66:2).

The Lord has reached out in the past and still calls out to mankind today.  The questions that some may ask is this:  why does God call out to us or what is God calling about?  Typically, when we think about someone being called by God, we usually think of preachers, and if not preachers, we consider those that have what we believe to be a ‘special’ gift as a sign that they were called by the Lord to use their special gift.

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

KEY VERSE – MATTHEW 22:14 NKJV

Now, I can certainly understand the idea of preachers being called and those who have a special gift(s) being called as well.  However, I feel I must ask all of you who genuinely believe in the Lord this question:  Do you not realize that you have also been called by God?  In fact, I would tell you that all people have been called by the Lord.  As Jesus states in our key verse for this week’s sermon, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  You see, all people have been called on by the Lord but the question is whether or not they have answered their calling.

So, what I want to focus on today is the call of God.  I want to focus on what that call is and also focus on why it is so important that we not ignore the call of God.

What is God’s Calling

In our text for today (Matt. 22:1-14), we will see Jesus continuing in His teachings from the chapter prior where He was speaking to the chief priests and the elders.  These leaders had questioned Jesus’ authority to do all of the things that He had done to which Jesus answered and also began to teach in parables.  Jesus, in a couple of parables, had spoken to these leaders about who were considered to be faithful and who would enter the kingdom of heaven.

The initial wedding invitation

In this chapter, we see Jesus continuing on the subject of the heavenly kingdom in one of my favorite parables – The Parable of the Wedding Feast.  Jesus opens this parable by saying that the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son (Matt. 22:2).

The certain king that Jesus speaks of in this parable is representative of God the Father.  The son that is spoken of in this parable is representative of God the Son – that is Jesus Christ.  The arranged marriage should also catch our eyes as we look at this parable.  The marriage that the king had arranged for the son was (emphasis on was) for the son to marry a chosen people.

Jesus then stated that the king sent his servants out to call those who were invited to the wedding (Matt. 22:3).  Who were those that were invited to the wedding?  Those who were invited were those who were chosen and those who were chosen represented Israel.  Israel was the first who were called and invited to marry God the Son.  Though they were the first ones invited, I want you to know that the Lord always desired to be married to His creation.

The call for obedience

The first time we actually see the call of God goes back to Adam and Eve in the garden.  We will actually see what the call of God is by going back to the garden so let’s briefly take a visit to the garden.  In the garden, we will see that the Lord desired for mankind to be fruitful (beneficial – a blessing) and multiply (Gen. 1:28).  To be fruitful, the Lord looked for Adam and Eve to be obedient to His wordThe one rule they were given to follow was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16).

Unfortunately, as we know, this call for obedience was not followed by Adam and Eve.  After sin entered the picture, we will see that God did not stop reaching out to mankind as He continued to look for obedience.  So, we will see that the Lord began to call for mankind to repent.  This is to say that the Lord called for man to turn away from sin (wickedness) and turn back to Him – be obedient and have faith.

During the sinful days of Noah, we saw this call of repentance made to man.  During the days of Moses and even during the days of the kings, we will see that the Lord called for Israel to repent from its sin.  Now, let us notice how this call was taken as Jesus touched on it in this parable.  

Jesus stated that those who the servants had called were not willing to answer the call or they made light of the call and went their way (Matt. 22:5) – they were not willing to repent.  Some were so wicked in their heart that they seized the king’s servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them (Matt. 22:6).  This was something that we saw happen throughout Old Testament scripture, especially during the days of Ahab and Jezebel where many of the Lord’s prophets were murdered.  So, Israel, I want you to understand, was treating the call of God like a phone call from an unknown number – they were ignoring and declining the Lord’s call.

Rejecting the Call of God

I want you to know today that the Lord is still calling out to all people, however, I wonder how many of us are doing as Israel did with their calls from the Lord?  How many of us are ignoring and rejecting God’s call?

God’s call today

We will see that Jesus testifies to the fact that the Lord is still calling out to mankind today, though we will see this call isn’t just to a specific group of people as it was in the Old Testament days.  No, the Lord is reaching out to all nations of people with His call.

Jesus stated that the king, again, sent out his servants to let people know that the wedding was ready, however, let’s notice that those who were invited were now considered to not be worthy (Matt. 22:8).  Instead of sending his servants just to those who were now not worthy, the king told his servants to go out into the highways and gather together all who they found (Matt. 22:9-10).

The highway is a representation of paths that go all over the place in every direction.  Before, the prophets delivered the call of God in one direction to all of Israel, but now, the new servants were to go out in every direction with the Lord’s call.  As we see Jesus state in the Great Commission, we, the new servants, are to baptize all nations of people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).

Today’s call, we should understand, is no different from the call of old.  Jesus told His followers to teach others to observe all things that He commanded us (Matt. 28:20).  What did Jesus command us to do?  

Jesus when He began His ministry began with this message:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).  Jesus commanded His followers to love the Lord with their whole heart and then to love their neighbor as they love themselves (Matt. 22:37-40).  So, let us understand that the call of the Lord is the same today as it was yesterday.  As we have said before, God does not change, so therefore, His message does not change.

So, why is the Lord reaching out to mankind with this same message being repeated over and over again?  The reason why God continues to call out to man with this same message is because He desires for His Son to be married.  God does not desire for His Son to be married to a wife that is full of sin.  In other words, the Lord does not want His Son to marry a wicked bride.  

I suppose every parent can understand this thought as they would not want their children to marry someone who is wicked; they want someone that is good for their children.  The Father is holy; His only begotten Son is also holy.  In that frame of mind, the Father is arranging for His Son to take a bride that is good — the church will be the bride of Christ and so we ought to be holy.  The Lord is continuously calling for us to be obedient because in our obedience to His way, we become righteous and holy.

Blatantly choose to reject the call

Unfortunately, as this call has taken to the highway, some will suggest that they do not know of God’s call.  However, as we saw in my sermon last week, Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

Frankly, we are living thousands of years after the death and resurrection of Christ in the age of the church.  During the age of the church, the call of God has gone out into the highways in every direction.  I am pointing this out to you today because there is simply no excuse.  Even in the parable, Jesus points out that after the new servants were sent into the highways, the day of the wedding arrived and when the king went into the wedding hall, the wedding hall was full with many who were either good or bad (Matt. 22:10).

You see, there are many people who know of God but have purposely chosen not to accept Him.  So, when you have heard the call of God and blatantly choose to decline and reject His call, know that there is no excuse and there will be consequences to this rejection.

Those who brought great harm to the first servants and rejected the word of God, the king responded by sending out his armies and destroying them and their cities (Matt. 22:7).  This, again, speaks to something that actually happened as both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) were conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians.  As there were consequences for those who rejected the call of God in the Old Testament days, there are and will be consequences to those who reject the call of God during the church age.

Consequences to rejecting God’s call

Jesus points to the king who when he looked at the crowd in the wedding hall, he noticed that some in the gathering were dressed in the proper wedding garments while one particular man was not dressed in the proper wedding garments (Matt. 22:11-12).

So, why did this man arrive at the wedding hall not wearing the proper wedding garments?  Clearly this man had heard of the call but why did he choose to come dressed as he did.  When the king asked him this question, Jesus told us that the man was speechless.  

This exchange is representative of quite a bit, but first, I want you to understand that this man was not dressed holy – he was dressed in his wickedness.  He had heard of what to wear but chose to come dressed as he was.  After not being able to answer the king why he came to the wedding dressed as he was, the king immediately had him bound, removed from the wedding hall, and then cast (thrown) into outer darkness (Matt. 22:13).  

This part of the parable speaks to the Lord’s final judgments.  One day all of us will go and stand before the Lord – every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (Is. 45:23; Rom. 14:11).  Those who are wearing the proper wedding attire, will go before the judgment seat of Christ and be rewarded with being married to Christ for all of eternity because they chose to answer and accept the call of God.  

However, those who are out of attire because they chose to ignore the call of God and walk around in sin, will go before the Great White Throne and be cast out of God’s presence into outer darkness for eternity.  In other words, they will not be married to the Son and will not be allowed to dwell in the heavenly kingdom of the Lord.  This is the consequence that awaits all of those who reject the call of repentance and being obedient to the Lord – eternal darkness without the Lord.

The Call of God

A new season is beginning to bloom right before our eyes.  Trees are starting to wake up from their slumber and soon flowers will begin to bloom with grass starting to green again.  I liken the call of God to the season of spring but it is a spring for our soul.  You see, the call of God can and should wake your soul up from its slumber.

To be asleep, in this instance, means to be dead in trespasses and sin.  However, Jesus once stated, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).  In his writings, Paul wrote, even when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive – woke us up from sin – together with Christ (Eph. 2:4).  So, again I tell you that the call of God can and should quicken all people.

The reason why I say ‘should’ is because some hear the Lord’s call and simply don’t wake up out of their slumber; they love to stay asleep because sleeping feels so good to them.  You know how it is when your alarm goes off in the morning, you hate to hear it go off because you want just a few more minutes of sleep.  For the longest of times, people have been telling the Lord, ‘just a few more minutes’.

The reward of accepting God’s call

In the past, the Lord said to Israel, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14).  This call of the past is, again, the same today.  The Lord calls for us to humble ourselves, to pray and seek His face, and to turn from our wicked ways.

You see, there is a great reward that awaits all of those that accept God’s call.  When we wake up from our sleep, the Lord tells us that we are going to feel good; we are going to be healed in our soul and this healing of our soul will bring us great joy.  This is a joy that nothing and nobody can take away from those that wake up out of their slumber.  This joy, I want you to know, is better than the feeling of a good night’s sleep!

So, what is the call of God?  The call of God is to wake up from the trespasses of sin – repent, turn and follow Him – be obedient to His way.  Who has been called by God?  Everyone – that is every single person that walks the earth – has been called by God.  Yet, at the same time, only a few are called because only a few chose to answer and accept God calling us unto salvation through Him.

Today, I tell you that we are in a season of repentance.  In fact, we, mankind, have been in a season of repentance, as a whole, since Christ ministered repentance and salvation to the whole world.  The question for you today is this:  are you going to answer and accept God’s call.  I implore all of you who remain asleep today to wake up from your slumber and when the Lord calls, do not swipe to decline His call.

Thought: Accepting the Call of God

By Rev. Leo H. McCrary II – March 20, 2022
Responsive Reading – Matthew 22:1-14
Key Verse – Matthew 22:14

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