Sunday, August 10, 2014

Many are called, but few HAVE chosen: How the kingdom of God relates to us.

      Matthew 22 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

22 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 thingsare 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 themBut 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 to the marriage. 10 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. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

      I love the KJV. Unlike the modern mistranslations of scripture, it is an exact word for word translation of the scriptures. However, not all the words in the KJV are from the original manuscripts. These words are all in Italics. These were added by the translators in an attempt to aid our understanding of the scriptures. Many times, these italicized words are fine- meaning they go along with the scriptural words just fine.
      However, in this case, they got it wrong.
      In the parable here, we find a king about to have a wedding party for his son. He sends forth for all the “somebody's” of the kingdom to come and share in his celebration. Unfortunately, all the “somebody's” had very little respect for the king and his son. So, they found other things to do, rather than answer the kings bidding. Because of this, the king was angry and destroyed them.
      Still wanting to celebrate, the king throws open the doors of the castle and sends his servants to invite “whosoever will” to come. When the wedding feast was in full swing, the king noticed a man who wasn't wearing a wedding garment. This meant he had come in a different way (he snuck in) and either had not been invited, or had chosen to not follow the instructions of the king in order to enter in. When asked, the man had no answer and was summarily thrown out- bound hand and foot.
      Given the context of the verse, the italicized word in verse 14, “are”, is the wrong choice. It should read, “Many are called but few HAVE chosen.” The nobles lost their lives and positions because they made the wrong choice. The man in the party that had no wedding garment, entered a different way, and therefore didn't receive the proper covering for the party. He made the wrong choice. (He wasn't born again-Acts 2:38 and given the garment of holiness to cover him) The king did choose every person mentioned in this parable. It was they who chose wrong. Therefore, “Many are called, but few (have) chosen,” is the correct way to verbalize this.
      Now, notice something else about this parable in 22: 1-14.
      When the king destroyed the nobility, he was destroying the whole governmental structure (as far as personnel goes). All of his dukes and earls. All of his judges. All of his generals and high ranking officers. All of his advisers. All of his leaders in industry. Everyone of any importance in his kingdom was now gone.
      So, what's a king to do? You don't go on the street corner and find a general, do you? You don't go to the market and find a judge, do you? You don't go to the fish market and find a duke, right?
      Or do you?
      He hadn't changed his kingdom's organization. So, he had a whole kingdom full of empty positions that needed to be filled. Yet, all he had to fill it with were the ones that society called “the rabble.” Yet, the king brought them all into the feast, anyway.
      The people coming into the feast were surprised enough to be invited and given new clothes worthy of attending the prince's wedding. They were awestruck at being able to eat and drink in the same room and out of the same fine china as the royal family. They were amazed at being seated for their meal and being able to see the fine linen table cloth's and the rich tapestry's and paintings on the walls.
      But, the king had another surprise for them: They had all just been promoted! A lowly stable hand was now the keeper of the kings livestock. A lowly farm hand was now the chief gardener. A deck hand, who just yesterday was swabbing the decks of a warship, was now the captain of the vessel! And on and on it went. Some were appointed as generals, some dukes, some earls, and some judges. Yet, most of them new little to nothing about their new jobs.
      They were now an important part of the kingdom, but understood little about how to carry out their commission. But, the king wasn't looking for more educated advisers and leaders who may or may not obey his wishes. No, he was raising up a people who would be loyal to him. He was lifting up a grateful populace that would willingly do their jobs the way the king commanded them to do it.
      There were no longer any career politicians, whose families were associated with the court for generations (and who looked at the king as temporary in the grand scheme of things). No, the new court would serve him out of genuine love and devotion.
      But, their new positions (callings), that they were totally unqualified for, would require that they spend many hours studying the kings proclamations and laws. It would also require they spend much time with the king himself. After all, words on a page do not fully capture the true intention of the king. Only by spending that time with him, could they truly understand the depths of the kings proclamations.
      In this way, through study and spending time with the king, they could become qualified for the position that the king had called them into.
      My friend, may I tell you that this situation is a perfect example of who we are. The “qualified” people of the world (by and large) aren't really interested in God's invitation. The ones with the pedigrees have been “in the way” for so long that they are (many times) getting “in the way.” The folks with the perfect pasts, spend most of their time glorying in their own perfection.
      So God is turning to folks like me and you. He's invited us to enter into his feast. He's cleansed us and washed us in his blood- giving us holy robes so that we can be qualified to stand in his presence. But, he's called us here to do more than eat and drink at his table.
      He has a job for us to do. A job that we are unqualified to do. But, if we will spend the time in his word, we can learn. If we will take the time to linger in his presence through prayer, he will teach us the heights and depths of his proclamations.
      No, God no longer calls the qualified. He qualifies the called.
      If he's called you into “the ministry,” he's given you an awesome responsibility. Study his word. Spend time in prayer. Allow him to change your attitudes, redeem your past, and lead you into the future.
      It will be hard. It will be challenging. It will require everything you have and more.
      You will endure much criticism from people who kno

      w how you used to be. You will be mocked and jeered. You may be beaten, arrested, or beheaded. But, keep your eyes on the prize of the high calling of God- the call home, where you will hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant...” Then, it will be worth every tear shed and every burden borne.
      Make up your mind and heart that he's not just your savior, he's your Lord (supreme controller) over every part of your life. Follow him. It will be worth it all.