The Marriage Garment
Text: – “When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed.” “Matthew 22:13” King James Version
Scripture: – “Matthew 22:1-14”
Today I’m sure that the that God wants to be “challenging, thought provoking, and perhaps at times uncomfortable” but that is true of any relationship.
I believe that it is the “heart of God” to challenge us once again. Why does He do it? The reason is very simple “Because He loves us and desires the very best for us!”
In all of us today there is “unrecognised and unrevealed promise.” I was meditating and, considering what Jesus has done for us in both His Life and Death. It became very clear that through Him “You are a Mighty Person in the Making, A Masterpiece in Progress and a Miracle in Motion.” Do you believe that of yourself today.?
However, you may be in this place today for the 1st time, or you may have been coming and “sizing us up.” If so, either way “it’s not an accident you are here” it is by the “very appointment of God” because He has something to say to you.
I want to tell you that “Eternity is Coming” and that “Our lives will not last forever.” We need therefore to be absolutely certain that when we reach the end of your earthly journey that our “Eternity is Secured.” In the hands of a loving God. Even though there are many that will refute the idea that does not alter the truth that it is “Possible to be sure of our Eternal Destiny.”
I want to centre you’re thought around a passage of the Bible which may or may not be familiar to you and it relates to the “Story of the Wedding Banquet” and it is our theme today.
“Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a King who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come! He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feat!” They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The King was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city. Then he told his servants, “We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet. The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless.” And so the banquet was on every place filled. When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, “Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!” The man was speechless. Then the King told his servants, “Get him out of here fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.” That’s what I mean when I say, “Many get invited; only a few make it.” – “Matthew 22:1-14” The Message
What has this portion from the Bible to do with me today? You may say. Well! Let me explain first the context of this parable that Jesus told.
In 70 AD the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple and Jesus is foretelling this ruin of the Nation of Israel and He is painting a very vivid picture that it represents the rejection by the nation of Israel by God Himself. This by the way did occur as Jesus declared. However, at the same time Jesus is basically telling them that their “extra special position” has gone and that God’s desire is to make His blessings available to all and that the invitation to Heaven was “open to all.” I will tell you right now however, that only those who have a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ will be admitted into God’s Heaven!
The King in the parable is God and He sends his servants out to find other guests to come to the wedding celebration. Many people start to fill the banqueting hall for the celebrations. However, the King notices a man in the company who does not have on a wedding garment. This man is cast out of the wedding celebration. What it is pointing to is the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ.
Many preachers have preached on these Bible Verses and although the Bible doesn’t say a lot about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb there is one aspect about it that comes from “Verse 8” and it is the special aspect of the way in which people are dressed. The garment is of the utmost of importance and if you are not dressed properly, or you will not be admitted.
It was common in weddings in the days of Jesus that the wealthy would provide each of the invited guests with a white wedding garment. When the guests accepted the invitation, they would be given their garment, and they would then wear it to the wedding when the day arrived. The garment, proved they had a right to be at the “Wedding Feast.”
It is this garment that I want to focus on today. I want to ask you: – How Are You Dressed Today?
Allow me to share briefly four things to consider from this passage and out text today.
The 1st thing we notice from the Bible Passage is: –
1. The Wedding Garments Availability
In the portion of the Bible that was read to us earlier we are told in “Verses 9” – “Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.” What does that tell us? Very simply that it is a case of “Whomsoever will may come.” The King wasn’t interested“Character, Past, or Failings” he wasn’t’ interested in whether those being invited were “Rich, Poor, Popular, Despised or Sick in Mind or Body.” Their “Social Standing” their “Religious Affiliation” had no bearing what’s at all on the invitation that was given. All that mattered was that they Accepted the Invitation and had the right Garment.
The image that is being portrayed here in “Verse 10” is a portrayal of the work of Jesus Christ and the plan that God had for you and me in His plan of salvation.
When Adam sinned God was not caught by surprise the Lord formulated His plan of Salvation long before that. Look with me at what we are told in “Ephesians 1:3-4” “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.” The Message
In “Romans 10:13” it says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God Almighty, has through Jesus Christ prepared a way that is open to all and the garment of righteousness is available to anyone who desires it. Notice also however, that the provision of the garment was available only by invitation. The servants in the parable were told to go out everywhere with the invitation. Let me ask you today – “What are you doing about His invitation to you today?”
In “John 6:44” it says “The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me, that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End.” The Message
If you are here today today and have taken Jesus as your Saviour then this verse is speaking of you, but equally so; if you are here today and have never given your life to Christ then I can assure you that He is “Calling You Today”. Today, Yes! I will say it again “Today is the Day of your Salvation.” He is inviting you to “Come Out from Under Your Burden” and find the “Sweet Release” that only He can give.
If the Lord has been calling you to be saved, come today! Do it now, while there is still time to get right with the Lord.
2. The Wedding Garments Acceptance
I mentioned earlier that it was common in weddings in the days of Jesus that the wealthy would provide each of the invited guests with a white wedding garment. When the guests accepted the invitation, they would be given their garment, and they would then wear it to the wedding when the day arrived.
You may have been told on numerous occasions that you have a need of Jesus Christ in your life but have hesitated to ask Him into your life. There could be many reasons for that.
You might feel “Oh! I’m not good enough” if so “You are completely right!” – You may have said “I’ve done some awful things” or “My sins are too great for God to forgive me.” Notice however, what we see in “Verse: 10” where it says “The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless.”
Let me tell you today – “You Cannot Buy the Wedding Garment” it is a “Gift of Faith” and “Faith Alone.” It’s true today “You are not good enough. You have done some awful things. Your sins are great” and on your own “You are completely lost” but you are not alone.
Jesus Himself has paid everything that God required for you, He has “atoned for your sins and failures.” Your eternal future is secured on the Basis of Faith and Faith Alone. In “Romans 10: 9-10” it says “If you openly admit by your own mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and if you believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” For it is believing in the heart that makes a man righteous before God, and it is stating his belief by his own mouth that confirms his salvation.” J.B. Phillips Translation
You can do nothing of yourself except Accept Christs Work it says in “Ephesians 2-8 – “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” The Message
The great thing also is that it’s All Absolutely Free – You and I cannot with all the Riches, Works, Popularity or Religious Observances purchase the Garment of Salvation. Understand this please today, it does not matter how much “money or resources a person has, nor does it matter how little one has.” Faith is all that matters! Along with the acceptance of the “Free Gift.” We are reliably informed from “Romans 5 :18” “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” King James Version
You might be saying in your heart, “Well! That’s okay for them they have a Religious Background or come from the Right Community”Well! If that is what you are saying, then let me tell you “That the Garment Made by God for You Will Fit No Other” it is a “Tailor Made Wedding Suit” and is a “Work of Art”.
The garment made fits the young and the old, the tall and short, fat or thin, rich and the poor. It fits everybody perfectly.
No one was ever made worse off by receiving Jesus Christ! No life was ever ruined by a personal relationship with Jesus. In fact, every life ever truly touched by His hand of grace and power was made far different and better than it could have been otherwise! Yes, He changes lives. Look at mine for instance.
3. The Wedding Garments Ability
In “2 Corinthians 5: 17” we read some absolutely wonderful words of encouragement and it says there “For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new.” J.B. Phillips Translation
But what does that mean for you and me? Well! It means that it both “Changes and Covers” our lives on-going.
How many times have we when we have reached a new year made resolutions only to find they are broken almost immediately? Imagine for a moment that you have a “White Shirt”. You have it on and you see a slight mark on it. You have however slightly dirty hands. If you try to remove the mark on the shirt with those “Dirty Hands” the mark becomes worse.” So it is with our lives in our own strength.
I’m a “New Person Today because of Christ’s Salvation” I’m not perfect by any means – just ask the friends who really know me. But, what I do know is that there is an “Internal Work of Renewal” going on and marvellously although there are many times when I may fail – God looks at me and sees the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST and forgiveness and grace are mine.
It is interesting to note – in our day and age a Bride dresses to outshine everybody else. In the East however of Jesus day everyone looked the same. When the servants went out into the streets to give the invitation there would have been all sorts – “some were dirty, others may have been beggars dressed in rags, some may have been well and in all the most fashionable clothes that money could buy.” But, whatever their appearance when they accepted the invitation they all put on the same wedding garment.
It covered everything! Gone was that which set them apart from God and all that could be seen was the white, cleanness of the wedding garment.
4. The Wedding Garments Absence
Unfortunately, I now have to declare something to you which amounts to a solemn warning. In the parable the guests arrived for the wedding and were all milling around. The King however saw a man who had no wedding garment.
Three terrible things then happened.
4a. Not Having the Right Garment Produced a Great Showdown between the Guest and the King
Everyone here today needs to be told and also to remember that there is a day coming when every person will face God “one on one!” For those who know Jesus as Saviour, it is going to take place Christ’s Judgement Seat “2 Corinthians 5:10.”
If, however you are not a Christian today, that judgement day will be a dreadful day. It will be before God Almighty Himself – it will be the Great White Throne Judgment spoken of in “Revelation 20:11-15.” If you find yourself in that one, then there’s “No Coming Back from It.”
Every single person throughout “History or the Future” found without the wedding garment will have to stand before God and give account for their life and deeds. All will be found wanting.
4b. Not Having the Right Garment Produced a Great Shock for the Guest
When the man in the wedding reception saw that he was not hidden from the King, the Bible says that he was speechless! That is, he made “no excuses for his condition and he offered no apologies.” The bottom line is that when he was confronted with the truth, there wasn’t much that he could say about his condition.
If that day should befall you then “No Excuse Will Suffice, No Appeal will be Heard, No Promise will be Heeded, even the Cry of Repentance will fall on deaf ears at that time.” This is the lot of all those who die without Jesus. Don’t be deceived the time to be saved is right now!
4c. Not Having the Right Garment Produced a Great Seclusion for the Guest
The guest at the wedding in the parable we are told was “cast out into outer darkness.” This is an image of Hell! I hate to say this so bluntly to you today, and it’s true that many Churches throughout the World resist from the blatancy of this truth. But it does not alter it.
Every person who dies “clothed in their own garments of sin and not in Christs garment of righteousness” will stand “naked” before God and will spend eternity in Hell apart from the Lord who died for them and made a way for their salvation.
It is an awful place, but it is the destination for every lost soul in this place today if you are without Christ’s Salvation Garment. – “2 Thessalonians 1:9”– “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” Authorised Version
As I finish today let me ask you an important question – “How are you dressed today? Are you dressed for the wedding?” “How do I know?” You may ask.
The answer is simple – It all depends on what you have done with Jesus. If you have never received Him as your Saviour, then you are “Naked, Dressed in Filthy Rags, Lost” and must be born again.
If, however, there was a time in your life when you heard the invitation and gladly accepted and called on Jesus by faith then you are saved.
Religion won’t help, Good works won’t help, Being good won’t help, Being kind won’t help? The only thing that will cloth you in such a way as to make you pleasing to God is for you to receive Jesus as your Saviour and for Him to cloth you in His Garment of Righteousness.
When we stand before God we will not be admitted on the basis of what we did or did not do. We will be admitted purely on the basis of how we are attired. It has been said that the clothes make the man, I don’t know if that’s really true but I do know that how you are dressed when you leave this world will determine where you are in eternity.
If there is the slightest doubt in you today about the condition of your soul, I challenge you to come to take up the offer below and get it settled.
Are you ready for the wedding? You can be, but you must be dressed in Jesus and His righteousness alone. Will you come if the Lord is calling you?
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