We live in a world and a generation of great darkness. I do a little colporteuring from time to time, and I meet various people. I can tell you that there is a lot of darkness, but I can tell you as well, there are also some bright lights. It is like the night sky. As you look into the heavens, the majority of what you see is darkness, but interspersed between the darkness, is the light.
God wants you and me to be part of the program to spread the light. There is one thing, and only one thing, that helps us bear the darkness in this world, whether it is physical darkness or spiritual darkness, and that is light. When it is dark, there is just something about light.
There Will be an End
Three or four things that I am going to mention have something in common about them. See if you can identify the common denominator. All of us, at sometime, have begun reading a book, and we have found it so interesting that sometimes we did not want to put it down. Is that right? This has something in common with making a dress, building a front porch or going on a vacation. They all share a commonality. Have you found it? There is something that is the same within all of those tasks,—there is an expected end in view. When you pick up a book, you know that there is going to be an end. And if it is a good book, the more you read, the more desirous you are to get to the end. When the ladies make a dress, as they begin cutting the fabric and putting it together, the further along they get the more desirous they are of getting it finished. Is that right?
It is the same with building a porch, and it is the same with taking a vacation. The closer we get to our completed project, the more excited we become. Is that right?
That excitement is like the experience God wants us to have with Him. You and I can gain in earnestness and desire only as we progress in the Gospel truth. As we choose to walk in the way with Jesus and make progress in the Christian life, we are going to grow in earnestness and desire to reach the expected end.
God says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, . . . thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. You see, God has something in view for you and me and for all humanity, if we are willing to respond; He has an expected end in view for us.
No Power without His Righteousness
In Romans 1:16, 17, Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
You see, the power of God for salvation is in His righteousness. There is no power unto salvation without His righteousness. Paul makes that very clear.
If we want power in our lives, we must have the righteousness of God within—period. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an invitation from God to all humanity. God is not in the business of coercing us into heaven. He will not twist our arms. He will not force us, but He will invite us, and He is inviting us.
There may be some reading this who have never accepted Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour. I tell you that God is beside you, and He invites you to come to Him today. There are some of us who have accepted and responded to the invitation, but God is calling us to a greater commitment. He has an expected end in view. Do you? We must have the same view that He has. We must be in harmony with His mind if we are going to reach His expectation.
The gospel is an invitation to “Come.” “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live.” Isaiah 55:3. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.
God has a high expectation for humanity, higher than most professed Christians understand in this generation. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.
It is an invitation, brothers and sisters, by the God of heaven to His created in this world. How you and I respond to this invitation will determine where we are when we see the reality of the expected end.
The expected end is revealed in Revelation 19:9: “And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” “These are the true sayings of God;” God does not lie, and what God says will happen, will happen.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
There will be a marriage supper of the Lamb. It is the expected end that He has in view for you and for me. How we receive the invitation, brothers and sisters, will depend on whether or not we are at that supper.
Jesus brings to view the reality of the expected end in the marriage supper of the Lamb in Luke 22:29, 30. “‘And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me; That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
Jesus wants us to someday sit down at His table, at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There we will eat and drink with the rest of the redeemed. I do not want to miss this supper. Do you want to be there?.
Jesus, the Servant
Jesus gives us a startling revelation in regard to the marriage supper of the Lamb. He lifts the veil a little bit so we can catch a view of the expected end. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” Luke 12:37.
Who is going to be one of the servants to serve the redeemed at the marriage supper of the Lamb? Who will come over to you and ask, “Would you like the pineapple, the watermelon or the cantaloupe?” Our Saviour Himself will serve us!
It is all reality, brothers and sisters, because what God says will happen, will happen. The question is, are you and I going to be a part of the happening?
He wants us there. He has a place, if I may say, a placesetting, that He wants to put out for you and for me at His table. Jesus said, “‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1–3.
The Royal Table
I would suggest to you that it is more than a mansion that Jesus is preparing; it is a place at the table of the Lamb. It is reality, brothers and sisters, because these are the true sayings of God.
In Matthew 22, Jesus brings to view the marriage supper of the Lamb through a parable. This parable is fraught with all kinds of warnings for us. “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. 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. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid [invite] 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.’” (Verses 1–10.)
What a hard time the God of heaven has! You can sense it right there, can you not? He has a hard time getting humanity to respond to an invitation to eternal life. It is hard to understand! “‘
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him in the outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Verses 11, 12.)
Quite a revealing parable, to say the least, in regard to the marriage supper of the Lamb, which is the expected end that God has in view for His redeemed at the beginning of their eternal life with Him. You and I have the potential, by our choice, to make Jesus glad or sad in regard to this invitation.
Jesus is Preparing for You
There are seven things in this parable I want to review with you. Let us go back to some of the statements Jesus made.
“‘All things are ready.’” (Verse 4.) “‘Behold, I have prepared My dinner.’” All things are ready? Yes, God the Father, the Son and the Spirit have made all things ready that are necessary for us to be there at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Everything has been taken care of. Everything! God has not missed one point. He has taken care of it all. He is waiting for you and for me to choose to be in harmony with His readiness. They are ready, are we? Are we getting ready?
“‘But they made light of it.’” (Verse 5.) They made light of the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. You see, ultimately, you and I choose whether we are going to be earnest or whether we are gong to make light of it. It is our choice. They made light of it. They came to a decision within themselves to think it was not all that necessary to make all of these preparations to be ready for the supper. They allowed their minds to be focused somewhere else.
But, they remained being professed people of God. There is a total distinction between being professed and being possessed. God wants a people who are possessed with His righteousness. It is the only thing that will prepare us for the supper.
“‘They were not worthy.’” (Verse 8.) The wedding is ready, but they, which were bidden, were not worthy. Why were they not worthy? Because they were not ready. To be worthy is to be ready. Again, our choice is involved.
They went out in the highways and the byways and they gathered in people. (Verse 10.) There were two categories of people who responded to the invitation. What were they? the bad and the good. Now, do you and I have the ability to distinguish between those two categories within the church? No, God does. God reads the heart. God knows why you are reading this article. God knows where your thoughts are as you read. God knows where your heart is at this moment.
The Wedding Garment
As you read on in the parable, you find that heaven views those who are not putting on the wedding garment as bad. All you have to do is be reluctant to put on the robe of His righteousness to be deemed of heaven as one of the “bad ones.”
This should alarm us, brothers and sisters, because in every congregation of professed Christians, God tells us there are bad and good. The ultimate question is, which are you; which am I?
So, Paul, the great apostle, says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” II Corinthians 13:5. It does not matter if you are in the church. It does not matter how faithful you are in coming to church. Examine your heart, whether you are in the faith. Faith has everything to do with His righteousness, as we read in Romans 1:16, 17. Look at this phrase: “‘Which had not on a wedding garment.’” (Verse 11.) He came in and saw one of the guests. In the parable, this is the only item that is given that qualifies for sitting down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Do not miss it. It is the only thing. It is the wedding garment. We must understand what that wedding garment is, and what it is not, if we are to some day sit at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
There will be no excuses. When he found that there was no wedding garment on this man, he asked him about it (Verse 12). What was the man’s response? He was speechless. There was nothing to say. All the excuses, all the self-justifying had just vaporized, and this man knew why he was lost. In the second resurrection, after the millennium, when God brings up every soul who is lost, who chose not to receive the invitation, there is no one with a voice saying, “I did not have a chance. This was unfair.”
There is no voice raised in that vast crowd, that sea of lost souls. Sad to say, they are speechless, because they all know why they are where they are. Then, in verse 13, Jesus says of those who will be lost: “‘Cast him away into outer darkness.’”
This parable brings time to view, brothers and sisters. There is a time to get ready, a time to be ready, and then there is no more time. The time will soon come when it is too late; it is over. Those who die no longer have a choice. It is over. It is done. There are no more choices; there are no more opportunities in the grave. So now, while we are living and breathing and moving, oh, what an opportunity we have to accept this invitation extended by a marvelous God. It is sad to see what a slow response God is getting.
Now, I want you to notice something. When the king came in and he saw this man, this guest, without a wedding garment, the man had come into the marriage supper believing he was all right. I have heard some people, as I go from door to door colporteuring, say, “I am good. I am ready. I am ready to go. I am good to go, I do not need any books.”
Well, this man thought that he was good and ready. The man was deceived. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. God can. So David, in Psalm 139:23, 24, says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Believing Does Not Make it So
That is the attitude you and I need to have. That is the spirit you and I need to have. Do you want to be at the expected end that God has in view for you? I do. I want to cooperate. You see, apart from God’s grace upon our hearts, we will be deceived. Our hearts will deceive us. I do not care how long you have known the Gospel truth; I do not care how much of the truth you know. If you walk outside of God’s grace, you are opening the door to being deceived by your own heart into thinking everything is right when everything is wrong.