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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.



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 comments@deebrestin.com, 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.



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?


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?


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?

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  1. I have never heard it taught like this before and am going to listen to it again before going on to the second part.

    I liked how he fully explains free will-how the doctrine of election isn’t necessarily against it when we see it from God’s perspective.

    I loved how he approached all the objections. I think Election has not been communicated as thoroughly as I just heard by going through each objection and giving biblcial answers to them..seeing them how God does. Maybe that is why we don’t really dig into this doctrine. As Keller said it is all over scripture. It is hard to escape from.

    I can’t wait to hear the second one.

  2. Who was it that was called the Prince of Preachers? Was it Spurgeon? I think God has raised up another one. What an awesome, freeing sermon.

    The last line of my notes explains much to me. He loves to go after the foolish!

      1. Yes, I also see great humility and think that is why God reveals so much to him.

        I have heard it said that humility is shy and flees as soon as she is noticed. That is why I do not believe it when humility is part of a sermon. What I mean is I hear it from the pulpit and now see that she has totally run away.

        I have to be very careful speaking of spiritual things with my oldest because he just shuts down. I can see that he is running and so fearful but there seems to be no way to communicate with him. Today I have begun to wonder if I could bring up the subject of Calvanism and predestination. He surprises me with deep wells of knowledge about many things, in fact I always fall in over my head when I bring something up, but I wonder if this could be some common ground for us. Even if he doesn’t know what it is, it might be nonthreatening enough that we could discuss it.

        1. Yes, please pray. Thanks!

  3. 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?

    I am so thankful for the purity of Christ imparted to me. How often do I stain it up? I don’t even know. I can get the train going on the right track and before I know it, I am completely derailed. So often it is in the motives of my heart that this happens. When ministry begins to happen, self moves in and she derails me into pride at a heart level. The things I know in my head never come into the equation. So I walk in the halting steps of a toddler. Stopping and starting as I repent and begin again. I think my biggest need is for eyes that see my sin before it takes root and derails me. I would like to keep my dress clean.

    Keller’s sermon today was really helpful in freeing me from the ‘performance’ trap. God did not choose me because I perform well so who am I trying to fool?

  4. Just listened to the 1st sermon. I could listen to him all day! Some of the points I liked most:
    1. You cannot make yourself a Christian–you won’t even want to be one unless God opens your heart.
    2. He foreknew=He foreloved
    3. When God challenges my mastery over an area of my life–do I obey?
    4. The doctrine of God’s ultimate choice is that He pulls the blindfold off.
    5. It is only unfair if everybody deserves this.
    6. My motivation to follow is to be love, not fear.
    7. Does He want to save everyone? Yes. Could He? Yes. Why doesn’t He–we don’t know…but He has a reason.
    8. It’s not about us–we cannot earn it, therefore we cannot lose it.

    I think what hit me most was #5–I feel so unworthy to have received this gift. And I also thought–what have I done with it and what do I do with it going forward–I know this is impossible, but I don’t want to have His gift “wasted” on me! I don’t mean that in a works/performance way–just that I feel a renewed sense of wanting to show my gratitude for the Gift.

    I too love Keller’s humility–it is what attracts me most to him. It’s ironic. I struggle with pride and yet those I admire most are the most humble ones.

    I liked this too–“the doctrine of election means you will always have a sense of humor about yourself”!

    1. Elizabeth, Great notes!

      Loved this: “I too love Keller’s humility–it is what attracts me most to him. It’s ironic. I struggle with pride and yet those I admire most are the most humble ones.”

      I have observed a true biblical sense of humility in Keller. Where he considers others needs above his own. So much so that he tailors the way he communicates with them on tough topics-speaking the truth in love. I am sure his flesh cries out sometimes but God has given him a gentle spirit. I also see a confidence in him like Paul and it isn’t a fleshly confidence. You know what I am talking about I am sure. 🙂

      Oh and I am not saying this to puff you up, but just want to be honest. It takes a humble person to admit they struggle with pride. I see humility written all over your posts Elizabeth and especially this one. God has been doing a great work in your heart sister! 🙂

      1. Rebecca, He uses you so much in my life to offer encouragement when I need it most. Thank you being so sensitive to His Spirit and allowing Him to use it to bless others–you truly are a gift!

        And what a discerning listener you are! I will have to listen for that passionate pause of Keller. Have you listened to both sermons? I haven’t gotten to the 2nd one yet, but hope to get a chance tonight.

        Blessings to you friend~

        1. elizabeth, YES..You just described it for me. I was struggling to describe it. It is a “passionate pause”. Of course all of this teaching is profound, but I caught myself getting ready to write when he made that pause. 🙂

  5. Elizabeth,

    I have to tell you also that I love it when Keller is teaching and he wants to make a point and gets passionate and kind of stumbles with his words..I always get ready to write because I can tell something profound is ready to come out. Like right before he described what free will is. LOVE IT! 🙂

    1. lol! I will keep that in mind Rebecca and listen up!

      1. Anne, 😉 Yes, I think Elizabeth phrased what I was trying to say by calling it a passionate pause. That is what it is.

  6. 15. If you do listen to the above, what thoughts persuaded Keller on the doctrine of election?
    I think the first step was that he had to let go of objections and just accept that he was chosen and rejoice in the love that brought that about. He began to understand that election is based on God’s love, not merit. He realized that no one would choose God if left to their own desires. The desire must be placed there by God.

    16. When a doctrine is difficult, what do you think is the best response for a child of God?
    The thing that has worked for me is to tell Him that I don’t understand. Sometimes that is all I have to do and eventually He brings understanding to me. It never happens right away though, at least not for me. It seems that He first wants me to trust Him with it, to believe that He knows what is best. I think the only thing we can do is pray for revelation, seek wise counsel and stay in the word.

    17. My take away is the understanding that God chose me out of His great love and mercy. It is because of who He is. Through choosing me He chose many of those around me because He knew that I would ask for them also. It is such a mind expanding doctrine when I think about it. It is the power given to us by the Lord and He wants us to use it.

  7. 16. When a doctrine is difficult, I believe the correct response should be respect for the other person to express their views without fear of being told their particular views are wrong.I read the book of Mark earlier this week and came across the verse where the disciples tell Jesus THEY had forbade another from casting out demons in the name of Jesus because the man was not following THEM. I loved Jesus’ answer, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of me. For he who is not against us is on our side.” (Mark 9:39-40)

    17. I have not had oppportunity to listen to the sermons so I appreciate everyone’s gleanings. My take-a-way this week is Elizabeth’s list of points from the first sermon particularly numbers one and four. There is much we cannot understand about God’s ways on this side of eternity but HALLEJUAH one day he will make everything clear

    1. Tammy, Great point: “There is much we cannot understand about God’s ways on this side of eternity but HALLEJUAH one day he will make everything clear.” – I SO agree!! My husband and I were talking about this last night.

  8. Just completed your request, Dee, for picture and testimony. It was hard! I think I’m a “wordy” person, and to try to shave it all down to 150 words or less was hard! Of course, when it comes to my children, I could go on forever…..each one is a gift from the Lord, each one so unique.
    Looking forward to the ‘getting to know you’ posts in the upcoming weeks!

  9. I ordered Tim Keller’s two sermons for this week’s blog right away and haven’t gotten them yet. So, I can’t wait to listen to them when they come.

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY everyone! Tammy, have a wonderful day too! We love you!

  10. My husband hasn’t heard Keller’s first sermon and he REALLY wants to hear it. He has always embraced this doctrine. I was getting ready to tell my husband what Keller said in regard to the objection that says, “If everyone is chosen then why share the gospel?”

    Before I could share my husband passionately said, “It is out of a love for God. I don’t share about Jesus to someone with the ‘goal’ of them being saved. Yes I desire that they would know him but I am not focusing on the ‘result’ of my sharing rather my sharing is wrought out of a love for God and a gratefulness for what He has done for me- I did nothing to deserve it. I don’t know why God chose me, but he did and I am grateful. I have confidence that if He is working in their heart then He will use this and the seed will be planted deep.

    Then we went on to talk about how we have heard from others how we should be focused on work/rewards. Then we both came to the conclusion that the bottom line is that when we rest in his love for us that he chose us before the foundation of the world-there was nothing we did to be saved and there is nothing we can do to lose it-Our focus is taken off ourselves and onto Him. What comes out of that is that our love for Him grows deeper and we want to share about Him with others.. We will live in that gratefulness for what He has done for us. Of course then we will be seeing things through His eyes and better see others and life through the lens of scripture.

    I can’t explain it well so I apologize, but the way Keller explained this is really starting to free me from some things. Maybe I will get my thoughts better organized at some point to explain specifically the areas he is beginning to free me in. Election and Free Will really do weave beautifully together.

    Oh I chuckle when I look back and recall some of the books I used to get. I used to pick up books like, “How to witness in six easy steps, etc..” ;-0 Oh my…I am glad God is patient with me.

  11. Happy Nurse’s week this week, Anne!

    1. Joyce, thank you! You are so thoughtful! We got a present Friday at work 🙂