Posted on Monday, Aug 30, 2021 by Vertical Worship
There is a sweetness that fills the house when the dinner table is full of guests. The menu is planned to perfection; the house is sparkling clean. The demands of the work week are quieted and the lengthy to-do lists are put away from view. The guests are welcomed and coats are taken.
At my house, a new tradition began a few years ago - Friendsgiving. On this special night, dear friends gather around the table, each bringing a dish to add to the feast. The conversation is never awkward. The food is delicious. Laughter is in great supply. Friendsgiving is a celebration of loyalty, of doing life together, of forgiveness. Sharing a meal with my brothers and sisters in the Lord is, to me, one of the sweetest blessings the Father has given to His people.
"Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”Revelations 19: 7-9
Let us rejoice and exalt
And give Him the glory,
For the marriage of the Lamb has come,
And His Bride has made herself ready;
It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure-
For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb,” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
John describes a feast to which no Friendsgiving could compare. The church, the Bride of Christ, gathers around the table to sit with her King. The one for whom our hearts have longed is sitting across the table in this heavenly scene. We are clothed in fine linen, the “righteous deeds of the saints” and adorned in the love of our Father. The conversation is full of rejoicing. The food, beyond description. Joy is in great supply.
But if it wasn’t for God’s grace, I have to wonder, would I be at that dinner? Sure, I would still be invited, as all are. But, I have ways of resisting the invitation. We all do.
In Matthew, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast a king gave for his son. When the feast was prepared, the king sent his servants to call those who were invited to the celebration but the guests resisted.
"But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them." - Matthew 22:5-6
Again he sent out his servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited ‘See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business.
The guests knew the king, knew of the exquisite feast that awaited them, and still chose another pursuit. They paid no attention to the invitation. It’s easy to read this parable and judge the foolish guests passing up such a gift and not see how similarly I resist God’s invitation to me, paying His grace such little attention. If I really believe I have a place at the table with the King of the universe, then why am I so concerned with my place at the table at work? If I know the heavenly company awaiting me at the table, then why am I so anxious when my earthly company rejects me or disapproves of me? If the invitation is sent and the King is waiting, then why do I delay so I can have more time to relax, to enjoy some “me-time”, to explore all the world has to offer me?
Thank the Lord for His grace given without obligation. Though I was lost in my sin, He invited me to share in His goodness. Though I resisted, He relentlessly pursued. Though I was so far from Him, He welcomed me even so.
"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus." - Ephesians 2:4-7
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
If you know the One whom to know is life eternal, the marriage feast of the Lamb awaits you, too. The cross gave you a seat at that table. God’s rich mercy looked beyond your shame and reputation and through the death and resurrection of Jesus gave you a new identity. His blood sealed your heavenly destiny. This is the real future awaiting God’s children. Do not resist the invitation.
“These are the true words of God.” This real future is what we, as believers, cling to when God’s voice is quiet and when the allure of the world is loud. When our hearts are heavy with the concerns of this life, we hold on to the true words of God. When sin is crouching at the door of our hearts, we hold on to the true words of God. When circumstance is bleak, we hold on to the true words of God. He IS the real thing. Our eternal future IS the real thing.
"See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him." - 1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
And so we are.
Father, thank you that I belong in Heaven’s destiny. Thank you for the cross. Keep my heart ever mindful of Your great love for me.
When you sit down for a meal at your dining table, take a moment to remind your heart that this table is temporary and an eternal table is awaiting you in Heaven.
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Based in Chicago, Vertical Worship is a collective of worship leaders & songwriters from multiple campuses across Harvest Bible Chapel.
Article reposted with permission from Essential Records