Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday? (Part 5)

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Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday? (Part 5)

Luke 14:23

And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

As the missionaries go out into the “bush” or foreign field, we back at home are faced with the dilemma with ever declining church membership and attendance. Even in local church sanctioned ministries we are still affected with the decline of church attendance and slumping worship service participation. We, as conservative Christians, have noticed that even the contemporary non-traditional churches aren’t exempt from this epidemic. Seeing these trends, we must conclude that it isn’t the presentation but the message itself. We further conclude that since the gospel message is the power of God unto salvation, then it must be the hearts and minds of mankind. 

I believe that our text, above, will shed some light upon the subject and make us aware of the condition of man’s hearts. I find five things that clue us into the conditions as to why people began declining to attend:

Luke 14:7-30

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them:I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

This week I will cover the five excuses that people present when they object to attending the house of God and how to overcome them with scripture. 

  1. There Is No Knowledge Of How Quickly Things Are Changing
  2. They Are Too Busy With Business & Work
  3. They Have Personal Matters That Are More Important
  4. They Make An Idol Of Their Families 
  5. They All Have Misplaced Priorities

Join us as we learn “Why Is God’s House Emptier Today Than Yesterday?”

V. They All Have Misplace Priorities

In our text we see that there is a gross misappropriation of priorities in all the men in the story have something else that’s more important than this invitation. As I read this story, I find one phrase that sticks out to me like a sore thumb: 

“A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse.”

Did you see the issue in that text? Let me show you again so that it is crystal clear?

“A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse.”

There are three major things in this verse that identify misplaced priorities.

  1. There Was An Announcement & Acceptance
  2. There Was An Appeal & Alert
  3. There Was An Annulment & Abandonment

I. The Announcement was made by the man that made the great supper. He called all that would answer and according to the scriptures, they acknowledged that they would attend the event. So this man made plans to accommodate the great number of guests. I can almost imagine that he had killed and prepared the lambs and the goats for the feast. I imagine that he hired multiple other wives to help his wife prepare the meal for this great company. I imagine that these men all probably said to the servant that initially invited them “Yes, put my name down, me and my family will go.” So The Acceptance probably set the number of guests which in turn decided how much food was going to be prepared on this day for this meal. 

II. The Appeal or the call was given to the guests that had been bidden, as the bible says, to come because things were now ready. The servant was told to give The Alert to all of the people that accepted the announcement of the event. I can almost imagine that as the servant left, after inviting them, they thought in their minds; “I better start this or look into this while they are gone.”  Then as they began to plan to do what they imagined to do, here comes the servant to alert them that they promised to attend. Can you imagine their minds sharply reminding them of their obligation? I can almost hear them thinking “Man, I promised to goto this event but I’m busy doing this thing now. Maybe I won’t be missed if I decline the offer and ask to be excused. I’m sure that they can fill my seat with another.” Many of us never consider the labor, time and expense that others have put into special events or meals. 

III. The Annulment was made by the attendees because they had events come up between their acceptance until this time. This seems small to most people but this shows me their character when it comes to priorities. There was an opportunity for those invited to either attend but we see that their decision was The Abandonment of the whole invitation. The bible says that they all with one consent began to make excuse. This could mean a few things: 

A. They all agreed together that they would not go because of a unique situation. I find that if people aren’t comfortable with or don’t like something they will conspire together to not do it. Could it be that they came together and agreed together that they would make excuses not to go? 

B. What I believe that the bible is saying here is that they “with one accord” made excuses as to why they couldn’t go. I don’t personally believe that they all spoke to each other. If so, I believe the man that with the oxen that needed to be proved would have said that he was going with the man that bought the land that he had not seen. He would till his land for him while proving the oxen. We also see that the man that married a wife said “I cannot come”. This has always intrigued me because the others requested to be excused but this guy seemed very rude. Why is that? My theory, this isn’t bible, is that the other men were older and this guy was younger. Perhaps he didn’t see the importance of NOT burning bridges. 

Consider this:

Have you ever stopped to think why this man, that made the meal, invited these men in the first place? Obviously all of these men were wealthy. How do you know Bro. Willie?

  1. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.”  Who buys land before they see it? Unless you are confident that it is a good investment. Usually people are confident if they had lots of money.
  2. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.” Who buys livestock, or modern day farm equipment without doing a test drive or test trial first? Only those that are confident it will work out. Again, money.
  3. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” This one is a bit harder to see but in bible times a man didn’t get married unless he could provide. Also, that man or his family, had to pay a dowry for his wife. Again, this meant that he had something in the bank. Just my opinion. 
  4. Finally, the man that invited everyone. Look at what the bible says “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.” Who throws a party for people that don’t show up and also if he wasn’t rich, he wouldn’t have servants. Amen! 

When we respond to someone’s kindness and invitation and fail to follow up on our word, we inadvertently show arrogance and rudeness. These men didn’t see the importance of attending something that they promised to attend. This is much like Americans today. If you’re a preacher, layman or soul-winner the most disappointing thing is when you invite someone to church and they fail to show up. Worse still they don’t even acknowledge that they aren’t coming until the next day. These types of things cause remorse and resentment. Because they have misplace priorities, they will cancel and not have the common courtesy to acknowledge that they aren’t coming. Many pastors and laymen have dropped out of church because they faint because they aren’t refreshed by the fruit of their labors. People fail to attend church because they don’t see it as a priority! Where do they get that idea? Mostly, the deadness of their spirit but it also comes from the worldly agenda and finally the weak examples of other Christians. Until we make it a priority to faithfully attend the house of God, why should they consider it? It’s hard to invite someone to a church that you unfaithfully attend. Let’s make church attendance our priority but let’s make serving and honoring Christ our highest priority! Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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