Thank you Alex. Hello, Good morning. Um, if you are someone who’s brand new to seller, you might not know me. Um, but I would still love to meet you after the service. If you’re around. My name is Sam, I am the church plant resident here, which means I’m never here. So, so if you recently star start attending, you probably haven’t met, but I’ve been tasked to help to plant a church with a great cooperating church located in Bennet Nebraska called country bible church. And we’ve actually got some representatives here from country bible today. So if you happen to see them, uh, say hello, give them a big sewer welcome. Uh, because I love them. I’m not gonna ask them to stand up or anything like that because I love them or wave or anything. But if you see anyone who is, you know, wearing like a light plaid shirt and cowboy boots or one of them decided actually to wear a nice salmon sweater today. He’s the only one in attendance who’s, who’s doing that And he pulls it off really well but make them feel at home. This is the, these are some, some amazing guests, some elders who have uh, come with their wives. And so we’re so happy to have them today. Um, I’ll update you guys a little bit on our church plant. So we’re endeavoring to start a church plant a church in the city of Hickman and we feel that the Lord has called us to do this because there’s not a um, there’s not enough gospel presence in that town right now, we need, we need the gospel to be there. And the Lord has been raising up some incredible servants, uh, to bring the gospel there in new and profound ways. And as we look at what the Lord has prepared, it’s really amazing. Um, it’s obvious that he’s had this on his mind infinitely longer than any of us have had it on our mind. And so, uh, we’re so thankful for that as we’re progressing into things we are praying about and, and searching for the best possible place that we could all meet. Um, and so you could join us in praying for that pray that we’d be able to raise up some leaders pray also for just for country bible church in general. It’s a difficult task in sending out some of your best leaders also pray for us as we, uh, we’re trying to decide on a good church name, which probably happened this week or so. Um, much to mike’s dismay, we’re not gonna call it irrigation church, which was his first idea. Um, and I also have some insights from Pastor john here as well. Pastor john said you need to pick a name. Uh, that would encourage you to storm the gates of hell. And so we might name it church or something. Probably not, But uh, we thank you all for your, your ongoing prayers for us and for all the support that you’ve given us. I feel like a man must be the most supported church plan out there with all these people who care about us. So thank you very much. Um, I’m gonna go ahead and pray and then we’ll launch into uh, into the message. So father, we thank you for what you’ve done for the people that you brought together for the work that you’ve done for, the work that you um will do and father, we just thank you for bringing us all together for sort of a celebratory. Uh sunday I pray that you would just use your words here to speak to the hearts of all the people who have come today. Lord, we pray this in the name of jesus christ amen. So we’re gonna start off actually just where you guys left off last week. And so this is luke chapter 14 starting in verse 12 and jesus is in the exact same place he is in a meal that he’s been invited to buy some Pharisees sitting around the table uh and he begins to speak to them. So I’ll go ahead and read the first part here. This is starting in verse 12, he said also to the man who had invited him when you give a dinner or banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors unless they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled the lame the blind and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you for, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just and as I’m thinking about that the first time I read that part of the passage remind me right away of the Starbucks, pay it forward lines, you ever been stuck in a Starbucks, pay it forward line, It started off and it was really kind of cool, like someone would pay for the person behind them and so then that you get up to the window and they say your your drink is free and you think wow, that’s that’s great, free coffee. Um but what started to happen is you know us culturally if someone gives us something we feel like we better just pay it forward, like now I have to give something to someone else and so we would have someone pay for the drink behind them and continue and continue and continue on and these things would go on for days and it got really weird after a while because if we’re honest, this is just someone who can afford a luxury coffee drink, buying a luxury coffee drink for someone else who can afford a luxury coffee drink. Um so it’s not really generous at all, but um but what what would be generous is if they pull up to the to the window and maybe order a gift card along with their drink and then the next time they see a friend who maybe can’t afford Starbucks, they give them the gift card. So it’s like, no, you’re actually getting a free coffee, I’m sacrificing something for you. Um So you can sort of see it in a first glance at this passage that jesus is talking about generosity, you think be generous, but when jesus says something like that, rarely, is it just this one little snippet of information be generous rarely, is it just that. And in this situation, he’s sort of confronting the Pharisees who would go from house to house together, eating with wealthy people and they wouldn’t have to pay for all the meals themselves because they knew their other wealthy friend would just pay for them when they went to his meal and they could just sort of go round Robin and always be eating these expensive luxurious meals and they really never had to pay very much for them. They could main their wealth and they never had to invite anyone who they actually have to serve and worse than that, uh they didn’t have to like invite anyone who they’d be dishonored to be seen with. So someone who’s poor someone who could never afford that meal. But when jesus is talking to them about inviting people up, he paints this sort of glorious picture about, you’ve been gifted with so much you are seated at a high place. What I want you to do though is to go into the streets and invite those who would never be able to experience this type of luxury, They’d never be able to buy a single meal that you’re eating, let alone have it every single week. So he’s saying bring them up into an undeserved grace and so that’s the picture that he’s painting here, it’s of grace and it’s really a beautiful picture of the gospel. Um So it’s beyond just generosity, but in the most pure and beautiful form of generosity that we’ll ever know which is the good news. Um and then some commentators think it got a little bit awkward in the room, We don’t know for sure, but a man decided to speak up um maybe he was trying to lighten the mood, maybe he was just one of those guys who says things. Um we all know that person, but man speaks up when one of those who reclined at the table with him, heard these things, he said to him, blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God sounds pretty good, Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God. And jesus does something amazing. He takes this comment and he turns it into a question. He says, you say blessed are all those who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God who will eat bread in the kingdom of God because there is this massive assumption in that phrase that the man saying it will be in the Kingdom of God and everyone around him as jesus can see their hearts, the Pharisees sitting around the table, they are all convinced that they will be eating bread in the kingdom of God and jesus, if some of those undesirable people also are there, that’s fine. But we know we’re in and so we’re gonna, we’re gonna sort of rejoice um about that. And the Pharisees make this assumption and it’s it’s cultural for their time. But I’d argue it’s also cultural for our time. So, um, in those days, what they would do is they would look at themselves and say, okay, look at me, I’m educated, I’m wealthy, I’m clearly blessed to be in this position and God must take special favor on me. Like I am above those people in the streets. And it’s because God loves me more. And uh, it reminded me when I read that of something that we found when we were doing research into the church plant. And so we uh, country bible basically looked at the area. They paid to have some analytics done on the people in the place, we’d be planting the church. And they got some demographic information and they wanted to see what um, you know, how would people maybe react to us planting a church in their community. Uh, some of the things weren’t shocking. Like it’s a lot of white people like that was pretty obvious. Um, could have told you that affluent whites, Yep. Um, but then there was something sort of interesting that we found in the statistics. So we looked at it, it said within the past six years. So since 2017 there had been a 400% increase and people who believed in multiple gods. Mm that’s puzzling. I didn’t think that was based on a large and growing hindu population in Hickman. Nebraska, probably not. But what we could draw from that is probably that people in that area have gone over and are believing in, uh, in new age beliefs. So they would mark themselves if you have a religious spectrum, they would say, I am spiritual, might hear someone say, well, I’m not religious, I’m spiritual and new age sort of takes, uh, takes from Eastern religions in some ways and some stuff is, is more just made up to be new age. But to just summarize this belief that they have is in karma. And so just broad summary of karma, you put good things into the universe and get good things back out of the universe and then you put bad things into the universe and then bad things are gonna happen to you because you put bad things into the universe. Um, but if that is your worldview, that’s really what you believe, then why would you serve anyone in the streets, Why would you serve anyone who’s less fortunate than you because they clearly deserve it. You should just let them stay in their, in their punishment forever. There’s no reason You don’t want to ruin your own Karma. Um, Jesus deals with this belief, not new age, but the cultural belief that those who are wealthier were somehow had a special favor with God, that others didn’t, he deals with it in John Chapter nine and this is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture, I’ll summarize it really quick, Jesus and his disciples are going through a town and they come across a man who was born blind and the disciples of jesus, they say, was it this man who sinned or his parents? Those are the only two options that they give jesus because that’s what they believe. Surely it was either him or his parents who sinned and he’s suffering for it. And Jesus said, and I have to read this one exact because these are words I do not want to butcher, Jesus responded, It was not that this man’s sin or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. So we don’t have time to unpack the depth of that passage right now. But the quick and obvious takeaway is don’t let unbiblical cultural beliefs rule your thoughts, but look to the providence of God in all things. So other religions, we can draw a line sort of in the sand here, we have um, on one side is get close to God. So if you get close to God, if you’re good enough, you can climb this ladder to heaven and then you will eventually, if you’re good enough reach God whatever your God is, maybe it’s a tree, maybe it’s a dog, whatever it is, you can reach him, jesus is on the other side of the line and he’s saying, you will never reach God, I have come to you. And so he takes this man’s comment and he springboards into parable, I’ll go ahead and read the first few verses of it. A man once gave a great banquet and invited many and at the time for the banquet, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, come for everything is now ready. They all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, I’ve bought a field and I must go out and see it, please have me excused. And another said, I bought five yoke of Oxen and I go to examine them, please have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife and therefore I cannot come and I gotta be honest, that last one tends to get more empathy from all of us, but it might be the worst excuse of all, We’ll look at that here in a minute. So, um, and I’m sure looking at this, I’m sure that these guests, if you’d asked them the week before, I’m sure that they would have said of course we’re coming to attend the banquet, we’ve been looking forward to it for so long. Of course we’re looking forward to going out to this wonderful party. Um and really they had been looking forward to it for a long time. So if we think back to biblical times, it takes a long time to get a feast together. So if you were gonna throw a truly amazing party or banquet, it’s gonna come with two invitations. So the first invitation go out to everyone and you say, we are gonna throw a banquet, it’s gonna be amazing. Can I count on you to be there? And then the second invitation is the banquet has been prepared. Please come and enjoy with us And to the Pharisees. This is sort of an exact mirroring of what their beliefs were because if we look way back and I’m talking way back to the beginning of time when man first sins in the garden in Genesis three and the Lord’s reaction is to slaughter an innocent beast to clothe the sinful nakedness of man. In doing so. He sends an invitation. He says, I am not gonna be in the destruction business with all of you right now. I’m in the restoration business, I’m going to restore you and it is going to culminate in a glorious banquet. Will you come? You’re invited will extend an invitation to you and he kept sending servants people to remind the people of Israel about this coming banquet, it captivates the majority of our bible throughout this entire uh group of scripture and then we come to the time of the banquet when jesus shows up and that’s the rest of scripture. But will they attend now is the question the Kingdom of God is at hand, will you attend? I don’t think the three excuses that the men made are pivotal to the story, but I think they are important. They do teach us some lessons. So we look at the first excuse man says, I bought a field and I must go and see it. So this guy’s got his real estate portfolio, he’s building up, his kingdom is looking real nice earth side and he can’t stop looking at it. So when the invitation comes to go to this banquet, he says, I’m busy, I’m looking at my kingdom, can’t you see it? It’s beautiful. And then the second excuse about five yoke of Oxen and I must go examine them. So if you have ever studied livestock in the ancient near east cultures or if you’ve ever played Oregon trail, you know, You know for a fact that a yoke of Oxen is a pair of oxen. So that’s two. So this guy’s talking about, I have 10 oxen means he’s extremely affluent, he’s been blessed with a lot of cash and what he’s gonna go do is he is going to go look at his things, he’s gonna go look at his possessions and marvel at them. And he’s so infatuated with these things that he does not have any time to go to the banquet. Have you ever had something that was so nice and new that you just couldn’t stop looking at it, You got a new iphone and you go, oh did I get a text, nope? You ever do that? I do that sometimes. What these men is, they’ve been so, so just fascinated with their things. They love their things and it’s caused them in their selfishness to turn away from the giver of the feast. And then we look at the third excuse, I have married a wife. Therefore I cannot go pretty straightforward. Um what he is almost guaranteed to be referring to is in Deuteronomy 24 5, God lays out the law or moses in this letter, but through the inspiration of God lays out the law um about marriage. And I’m gonna read it off to you and since we’re talking about a wedding and it’s romantic, I’m gonna read in the king James um when a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, nigh, shall he be charged with any businesses, but he shall be free at home one year and shall cheer up his wife, which he has taken. The man takes one of the most beautiful and precious gifts that God has ever given to man. And he uses it against him. He used it against the giver of the feast and this is something that the Pharisees were sort of known for, they would take the law and they would distort it to mean whatever they wanted it to mean and to place them at higher places within society, they would distort the law that God gave to them and for them for his glory and make it into something that wasn’t that um, I think there’s one quote that really just sums us up very well. This is, this is from john was a pastor. He says we aren’t lost because God hasn’t bothered to find us. We’re lost because we’re determined to look for lasting purpose in passing things. So ask yourself what captivates your affections. Jesus is telling this to the Pharisees because he sees their hearts, they’re infatuated with their riches and indifferent towards the god that they say they worship. Are they invited to the banquet of course, but they do not accept. Have you guys ever watched the Bachelor? I know you’re lying. I know this because some of you added me to a bachelor group chat last year. And so I watched a little bit of it and it actually correlates very well with this part of the message. So every single season on the bachelor, it goes there’s this cadence where it goes in the same order. It’s like a liturgy if you will and what happens is you got um if you haven’t seen it, then that’s good. You don’t have to like I’ll just sum it up in about 30 seconds. Um You have a bachelor and you have a bachelorette and they have about 30 suitors that they bring for them. And they sort of speed date the people until they find out which ones they like. And then they begin to to tell them things about their relationship. So they’ll say um I like you To about 30 of them, I like you. And then as they whittle it down a little bit, they move on and they say, I have feelings for you. Like you know, I have feelings for you, right? And then they move a little further and they say I’m falling for you, that’s the next step. Um which is the most annoying step also because you’re thinking brother, get those banana peels off your feet and commit already stopped falling. And then eventually they do something really embarrassing. They go to their uh the hometowns of the women and they visit them and uh the man has to ask the father for her hand in marriage. And most of the fathers do what any man should do, who’s worth his salt? And they say no, you may not have my daughter’s hand in marriage for a reality show, but eventually they get past it. They say I’m falling, I’m falling for you and then the last two and they say I love you and we’re at the next level that I love you level and there’s a dramatic breakup for one of them and one of them gets proposed to, they say will you marry me and then there’s this pageantry in this fanfare and they make it as romantic and as beautiful as possible. And you really convinced at the end of every season that this is a legitimate love story that these people really love each other and then consistently you find out two months afterwards they broke up and not just they broke up, but from the beginning they were always just in it to be an influencer and to get big on social media and instagram and to have some fame and some fortune. Now obviously our romantic relationship is, is not with God, but we do have a relationship with God in the most pure and meaningful sense of the word relationship. And so the lesson I bring out of this is man, don’t have feelings for God, don’t have feelings for jesus, we love him, wet ourselves to him, don’t have feelings for jesus, everyone has feelings for jesus, you guys, anyone on the street, if they feel good about jesus, 99% of them are gonna say yes, I love jesus, but they don’t mean it, so love him ultimately we must make that decision, I’m gonna go ahead and read sort of the last half of this parable um says so the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant go out quickly to the streets in the lanes of the city and bring in the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame and the servant said, sir, what you commanded has been done. And still there is room and the master said to the servant, go out to the highways and the hedges, couple people to come in that my house may be filled for I tell you none of those men who are invited shall taste my banquet. It reminds me of sort of a corresponding verse. This is in Matthew, it’s chapter 3 8 and nine says therefore produce fruits consistent with repentance. And don’t presume to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father. If we desire christ we must die to ourselves and live for him and to die to ourselves, means to sacrifice our worldly kingdoms and service to God to tell him that whatever he would have us do, jesus is always worth it guests who made the excuses were invited, but as his passion says, they shall never taste his banquet. And yet we turn ourselves to the others, we see a completely different story. The servant is sent out first to the streets to invite the undesirable people. People who are blind, poor blame and crippled. And I’ll tell you these people are easy to look down on. But they sure do understand reality better than almost anyone else. They understand Grace when they see it, and that’s what this invitation is. This invitation, Miss Grace, God’s Grace to a broken and a sinful people and his Grace doesn’t stop with the people in the streets. The servant is sent to the highways and to the hedges. And this is to say not only to the jews, but also to the gentiles. And I always get excited when it says gentiles in the bible because that’s us. He’s come also to us. And even as we sit by the roadside and we’re blind and lame and crippled and poor, we received this invitation of Grace were summoned to the king’s table and not just as a one time thing, but as an eternal guest and a family member, a chosen people. I have a favorite word actually in this passage. My favorite word is compel, he compels the service servant says, I compel them to come. He doesn’t suggest it’s not a light, you know, come on, if you if you can, he compels them to come. He desires the presence of all those in the streets of all those in the hedges and along the highways. The master of the feast desires your presence. He wants you to join this feast because of the ultimate joy that he knows is only found in him. William. Barclay is a Scottish theologian and he said this about feasts about attending feasts. It is the most significant thing that jesus thought of the kingdom in terms of a feast. We must always remember this. There’s no healthy pleasure which is forbidden to the christian. For a christian is like a man who is forever at a wedding feast. Another pastor kevin de Young, sums it up. Well, he says the question every grateful christian should ask, is this, why was I made to hear God’s voice be given a place at his table? He made a part of his family. So back in sort of more traditional times and really traditional churches, all of the hymns that they would sing on the day of the sermon would be about the passage and there’s one that I find particularly beautiful and it’s about this uh passage in luke chapter 14 it’s called How sweet and awful is the place. And of course it means full of awe. Doesn’t mean awful is the place. How sweet and awful is the place with christ within the doors while everlasting Love displays the choicest of her stores while all our hearts and all our songs join to admire the feast. Each of us cry with thankful tongues. Lord, why was I a guest! Why was I made to hear thy voice and enter while there’s room when thousands make a wretched choice and rather starve than come. Twas the same love that spread the feast that sweetly drew us in else we had still refused to taste and perished in our sin, pity the nation’s o our God constrain the earth to come. Sendai victorious word abroad and bring the stranger home. And in closing I want to draw our attention to the servant and as jesus is telling this parable, the servant is nameless, but we can be so thankful to know his name today, the servant’s name is jesus. And to be a follower of jesus is not simply attend the banquet, but to show up to the banquet and surrender at the feet of the master of the house. To tell a master I am here. Please take me as your servant. Send me wherever you desire and I will go from the streets in the lanes of the city to the highways and the hedges that your banquet may be full. His invitation is grace. Will you accept this invitation to the feast? Says in Romans 10: verse nine. If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you’ll be saved. Will you endure the trials of this world and fix your affections upon jesus and to all that do there is a great feast and all of us will have a seat at the table If we accept that invitation, let’s pray together father. We’re thankful for we thank you for sending this message to us. We thank you for all that we find in scripture and most of all we just thank you for making us a desired guest at your feast. Not because of anything that we’ve ever done, but because of you and because of your grace Father, we thank you for your forgiveness for your mercy, for allowing us to be a part of your household, even though we’re not deserving of such an honor. We thank you Lord and I pray that if there’s anyone here who has not decided to follow you Lord with all their heart that they do so, and we pray this in the name of jesus christ. Amen.