Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land, part 27 - Predestination - what is love? Jos 14-17.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: The allotment of the land, part 27 - Predestination - what is love? Jos 14-17.  


Announcements / opening prayer:  



There is no conceivable human attitude or conduct which can unequivocally be designated by the name of "love." Love lies beyond man's disunion with God and so we must go beyond man on onto God to find it.


What is love? The Bible does not fail to give us the answer.


1JO 4:16 God is love


The emphasis is on the word God and not love. Only he who knows God knows what love is. We do not come to first know what love is and then find and know God.


No one knows God unless God reveals Himself to him. Man cannot seek for God. And so, no one knows what love is except in his own revelation of God from God.


Those who search for God in the hope of finding Him have missed something very important to their quest. If in their search for God they were to actually find Him then they would have already had to have known what He looked like and how could he have known that? If he already knew God then why was he searching for Him? In every case of this, where man imagines he has some idea of who God is, has in his soul a god of his own making.


No man can find God, and that is quite the conundrum. Left at that then no man is saved, but it wasn't left at that. God sought for man and He did so through the person of Christ. This is true for the OT as well, for God's promise of the Messiah was given at the beginning. Christ came into the world to reveal the Father and He has sought out every man for whosoever may come to His table. So then, we should be asking those who are attempting to find God, "Who has sought you out the most and invited you to Himself?" And never fear the answer, because only in Christ is it an invitation. In all the other gods or religions there is a heavy cover charge.


To illustrate this we turn to the parable of the wedding banquet. First, we must understand the background.


Christ offered the covenant kingdom and had been rejected. As a result He no longer offered it, but spoke of its postponement and the severe judgment that was to fall upon the nation.


During this period in His ministry Christ had to face the reality of His rejection even though the covenanted kingdom had been offered and that offer adequately authenticated by both His words and works. The leaders influenced the nation to reject both Christ’s person and offer. As a consequence Christ was no longer publicly offering the kingdom but was announcing its postpone­ment and telling of the severe judgment that was to fall on the nation.


The question persisted as to what would happen to the genera­tion that was guilty of the sin of rejecting Christ. Another ques­tion was, "Who will be accepted into the kingdom that will be instituted after the time of the postponement has passed?" This was addressed in the parable of the vineyard owner, vv. 33-45.


In the parable of the wedding banquet Jesus is using familiar wedding customs of the east.


At the time of the betrothal an announcement was sent to the bridegroom’s friends to inform them of the forthcoming wed­ding, and the friends were invited to attend the wedding banquet that would follow. Customarily, twelve months intervened be­tween the betrothal and the wedding itself; therefore, the invited guests had had ample opportunity to prepare themselves to attend the wedding banquet. In His parable Christ commenced the story when the king, the father of the bridegroom, sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come. This would have been the second invitation, since the first invitation was given at the time of the betrothal. Thus it was sent out to those who had previously been invited. This second invitation announced the date for the wedding and the wedding banquet. Now the guests were expected to attend the wedding banquet. In Christ’s symbolism of the parable, those who had been invited refer to the nation with which God had made a covenant, promising them a Messiah who would institute the kingdom of peace and righteousness in which they were privileged to have a part. The response of the guests to this second invitation was quite unexpected, for “they refused to come.”


MAT 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying,


MAT 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son.


MAT 22:3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.


MAT 22:4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited," Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' 


The graciousness of the host is seen in the fact that he consid­ered the possibility that the invited guests may not have under­stood the urgency of the second invitation. The host graciously sent more servants to inform the invited guests that the dinner had been prepared. The servants, indeed, made the banquet most attractive, for they informed the prospective guests that those who came would dine sumptuously on oxen and cattle that had been fattened to provide food for the banquet. And the invitation was pressed on the guests with the servants urging, “Come to the wedding banquet.”


In light of their rejection, the king has no obligation to them, yet he still sends out servants to press them into coming. The Lord sent prophets to Israel in order to prepare them for the coming of Christ and then He sent John the Baptist immediately before the public ministry of Christ. This is the graciousness of God.


MAT 22:5 "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,


MAT 22:6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.


The reason for the rejection of the invitation is given. The people are preoccupied with their own affairs. We see that preoccupation with the pursuit of material things prevented these people from heeding the invitation to attend the banquet. Some who received invitations used violence to remove any fur­ther pressure to attend the banquet; they mistreated and killed the servants who were urging them to attend. In this part of the parable Christ was referring to the death of John and to His own approaching death as indicating Israel’s rejection of the kingdom that had been offered.


MAT 22:7 "But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire.


Judgment is swift and Jerusalem would be destroyed in 70 AD with the death of over one million inhabitants.


MAT 22:8 "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.


MAT 22:9 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'


MAT 22:10 "And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.


Both the evil and the good were gathered. Since no man is good this refers to the evil and good as defined by man through his fallen knowledge of good and evil. Man imagines that some are worthy of salvation and others are not, but the truth is that no man is worthy and that Christ has come for every man, the evil and the good.


Strictly speaking eschatologically, this parable is for Israel and we would refer the invitation to those on the main highways as likely referring to the time of the Tribulation when the nation will be again invited. Yet, that doesn't mean that there is no application to us in the church age. The rejection of Christ has always been the same in all dispensations as has been the means of salvation. We never search out God and find Him. He always comes to us and invites us.


MAT 22:11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes,


Nothing more need be read into this than that this man is there by some other means than accepting the invitation. With a year's time between the first invitation and the feast, the man had ample time to prepare clothes. It is fruitless to look for other explanations since the reason he is there is not given. He lacks wedding clothes and so he did not respond by saying yes to the invitation. He has no explanation of why he is there without the proper attire. We can think of a hundred reasons why he would all of a sudden crash the wedding, but what is sure is that he didn't come due to the invitation. Like the parable of the Shepherd and the sheep-fold, the robber tries to get into the fold, not by the gate, but by some other way. This man cannot understand what it is to wear the proper clothes because he is in disunion with the king. The fact that he is an unbeliever is clear by the instructions given by the king.


MAT 22:12 and he said to him,' Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless.


MAT 22:13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'


MAT 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."


The entire nation of Israel was invited and many in Israel believed that they were saved by birthright or by simply being born Jewish. Genetics is no qualification. Only the blood of Christ is the cost of redemption.


Man cannot find God. He is not in union with God by birthright. Christ comes to every man through the common grace ministry of God the Holy Spirit and when a person believes in Jesus as his Savior then he has been foreknown and has been given the status of a saved person. He is now able to know Christ and therefore know the love of God.


Once you know Him through faith in Christ then you may search out His person and work with all of your heart.


Another analogy used by the New Testament is being inducted into a mystery. Ancient fraternal orders had mysteries that only members knew, and using this fact, the Bible draws on it in analogy, the believer has been inducted into union with Christ and the fraternal order of the royal family of God. He may now fully search out the person and work of Christ.  


Love is the revelation from God. And the revelation from God is Jesus Christ.


1JO 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.


God's revelation in Jesus Christ, God's revelation of His love, precedes all our love towards Him. Love has no origin in us. It is only in God.


1JO 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


Only in Jesus Christ do we know what love is, namely in His deed for us.


The Romans nailed thousands of men to crosses, but the believer knows the deed of Christ in willfully being judged for the sins of the world though He was guilty of none of them.


1JO 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.


Love is defined, not in some general way, but in a deed - Christ laying down His life for us. It is not only a deed, but a person, and in fact, this one deed cannot be separated from the person of Christ since it was His entire life, both spiritual and physical that was given up so that man could be saved.


Love is defined as wrapped up in the person and the deed of Christ. This is love and by reconciling us to Himself, God has given us this love.