Twentieth Sunday after Trinity 03 November 2019 A.D.

Twentieth Sunday after Trinity                        03 November 2019 A.D. 

                                                           Holy Communion

    The Epistle. Ephesians 5:15-21                             The Gospel.  Matthew 22:1-14

                               O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful                                    goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that                                    may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul,                                    may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou                                                     commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

        In today’s Epistle and Gospel reading we find some hard sayings; sayings and precepts that have many times been taken out of context.   Why don’t we unpack them at this time and see what is being discussed by St Paul and Jesus as recorded by St. Matthew.
      St Paul is writing to the church at Ephesus, where great commercial activity took place, a wealthy city in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, and yet a thriving Christian enclave existed.  Paul was reviewing what characteristics should be seen by the unbelievers in the city. 
     A circumspect people, using time wisely, not given to wine, that is drunk with wine, and notice how he ties that into a spiritual sense of living.  “ not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit...”    He is saying don’t let the spirit of wine rule you, let the Holy Spirit of God rule you instead.     And how do you nourish that wisdom and understanding of the will of the Lord ?      You speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and here is the neatest part of that nourishing nature....  “....singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord...”

15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

      I remember, as a young boy growing up overseas, we had a lady who worked for us several times a week. Her main job on Monday was ironing the freshly washed laundry.  Gwen would come to our house about 8 o clock in the morning, she would gather up all the ironing {before the days of perma-press} and begin to sprinkle water on the clothes in preparation to do the ironing.  All the while Gwen would be humming or singing gospel songs and hymns.   I remember how positive she was, didn’t matter if her bus was late, or it was raining or if it was super hot, she was singing and making melody in her heart to the Lord.
    I know one day I will see Gwen again.   She lived, breathed and exuded her faith every day.   
 In her every day life she was doing what Paul was instructing the church at Ephesus to do.
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
       The parable of the wedding feast is a direct indictment of the rejection of Messiah by the Jews.   The king is God, the Son is Jesus, the wedding is the consummation of the ages in the body of believers are finally brought to reconciliation with their Creator.   All this is in the process of being worked out in the three and a half years of Christ earthly ministry.
  Time and again Jesus would present himself to the Children of Israel, time and again they would reject him.   Now individuals, disciples, followers, those healed, those forgiven, they would believer Jesus and his message.  
    But those who thought they knew better, they had the Scripture, they had the Law, they had Tradition; they knew that this couldn’t be the One.  
 Why ?   Because the god of this world had blinded them to the prophecies, the types and shadows which predicted the coming of the Messiah.   Those who rejected God and his Son would abuse, ridicule or even murder the messengers who were sent to call God’s chosen to him.    In light of that, God then turned to others, he sent out the message to the rest of the world, calling all who would come, to join the feast. 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.  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
     Now notice that both bad and good were called, then bad would be culled out ... “....when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.”   The king (God) has him removed from the feast.   Here is another hard saying.  After the guest who wasn’t prepared was removed and cast into outer darkness, now comes the saying: many are called but few are chosen.      This and similar sayings from the Scripture should give warning, that there is not a universal salvation.  Not everyone is going to heaven.   
 Yes I know that is a hard saying. 
 I don’t determine who is going to heaven.   If you go back to the middle of the parable you notice that many were called, THEY rejected God’s calling.  From the human viewpoint, they made a choice.   They told God by their actions that they did not believe or did not care that God was calling them.      So the saying   “...Many are called but few are chosen..” can take on an entirely different meaning.    We do not determine the mind of God.  
        When we read of Jesus parables we should understand that he is teaching us both by story and by example, as to what we should do as believers.  I ask you to re-read the passage from Ephesians, that is what we are to do, the passage from Matthew is why we are to do it.
       As believers we are to live our lives as an example to the dying world.   We are to show the way, the truth and the life wherein all are to be saved.  
  The determination is how someone acts upon those warnings and teachings that they have heard, seen or experienced.

Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
O God, who art the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom; Defend us Thy humble servants in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in Thy defence, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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