In the midst of hard times, England and the world celebrated a royal wedding. People camped out for days, Americans got up early — and the news is everywhere.
Because every love story points to a deeper love story, the love story for which we were made. Our hearts are stirred because this earthly story taps into the music that began before the dawn of time, the music God put in our hearts.
In Jesus’ culture, a wedding feast lasted for days, and the wedding feast for a king’s son might last for weeks. Thousands of people would be invited and the preparations and expense would be akin, in that culture, to the wedding of Kate and William in ours.
But all these point in a dim way to the ultimate Royal Wedding. Jesus tells about it in Matthew 22. We are going to continue our study on overcoming idolatry, but I want us to see that it isn’t just saying no to our idols, but yes to the One who rejoices over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. I want to take you through this fascinating story that Jesus tells and have us help one another find strength in God. We will officially begin the new chapter of our idolatry study next week, but this week’s lesson is singing a similar song. God asks us to remain pure, so that we can be presented as a pure virgin to Christ. Idolatry is infidelity – and we must turn from it.
SPECIAL REQUEST FROM DEE
I have another request of each of you regular bloggers as we begin this new chapter of our study next week. I’m going to feature one regular blogger each week on a “Getting To Know You Section.” If you are willing, I’d like you to each send to me, via firstname.lastname@example.org, three things:
1. A picture of yourself, and/or you and your family
2. In 150 words or less, a few sentences describing your passion, your family, when and how you came to Christ, your ministry – whatever will help us know YOU.
3. If possible, in 100 words or less, one specific example from your life on how this study on idolatry is changing you.
BIBLE STUDY: MATTHEW 22:1-14
1. If you watched the wedding of Kate and William, what thoughts did you have?
2. What spiritual parallels do you see? (The Gospel Coalition blog made one – but there are several possibilities – you may see more after the study.)
THE INVITATION: Matthew 22:1-10
3. Read Matthew 22:1-10 and describe what happens.
4. Paul tells us that the Gospel went first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. What does Matthew 22:3 tell us about the response of those first invited?
5. God sent prophets to warn them. How, according to Matthew 22:4-6, did they respond to those prophets?
6. How did God respond to this according to verse 7?
7. What did God tell the servants to do next according to verses 8-9?
8. D. A. Carson believes that this parable alludes to Isaiah 25:6-9. Describe that wedding banquet.
9. How have you responded to this invitation and what hope does it give you?
THE WEDDING GARMENT
Historically, at a royal wedding in Scripture, not just the bride, but every guest was given a garment – fine linen, white and clean.
10. Read Matthew 22:11-13 and describe what happens.
11. Based on what happens to this guest, what do you think the white wedding garment represents? Why?
12. Another passage that talks about the wedding garment is Revelation 19:7-8, where the wedding garment is described as “the righteous deeds of the saints.” Calvin says: We do not need to debate about whether the garment refers to salvation or good works, for if you have salvation, you will produce righteous deeds. Thoughts?
13. A white wedding garment also represents purity, the purity we receive from Christ, and the purity that occurs as we walk, every day in repentance. How is this thought impacting you at this time in your life? How can we pray for you in regard to this?
MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
14. How does Jesus close this parable in Matthew 22:14?
For many, election is a difficult a doctrine. Like our discussion on hell a few weeks back, it can be upsetting when you think about people you love. The best messages I have heard on this are Keller’s, but you have to purchase them for 2.50 each. They are “Love Before The World I” and “Love Before the World II” and they are on Ephesians. Here’s the link: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=17573&ParentCat=6
15. If you do listen to the above, what thoughts persuaded Keller on the doctrine of election?
16. When a doctrine is difficult, what do you think is the best response for a child of God?
17. What is your take-away this week?