2022. “The Wedding Was Furnished With Guests.”

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No. 2022-34:253. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, May 6, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

The wedding was furnished with guests. {Mt 22:10}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2022, “Wedding was furnished with Guests, The” 2023}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3328, “Guests for the Royal Feast” 3330}
   Exposition on Mt 22:1-14 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2809, “Faith: Life” 2810 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 22:1-28 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3532, “Christ’s Great Mission” 3534 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Our discourse will follow the lines of the parable. A king desired to honour his son very royally. He loved his son well, for he deserved richly of him; and therefore, since the most fitting time had come, he resolved to honour him. His son was about to take to himself a spouse; should not his marriage, which is a great event in life, be celebrated with honour? The father determined to honour his son on the joyful occasion by inviting a large number of guests to a sumptuous banquet. Not by the infliction of pain, or the pressure of taxation, but by liberality and festivity, would the king honour the Crown Prince. It should be an extraordinary feast. Surely, it would be the simplest thing in the world to gather together a grateful company of guests. One would expect a competition for admission; everyone in the royal domain would eagerly ask for an invitation. But it happened otherwise; there was a disloyal feeling abroad, and it now expressed itself; those who were invited would not come, and means had to be used to secure the result spoken of in the text, so that “the wedding was furnished with guests.”

2. The parable is plain. The great Father delights to honour Jesus, his only-begotten Son. The Father loves the Son with whom he is one. The Son has deserved well at the Father’s hands, for he has been “obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” It is the Father’s intention in the work of grace to glorify his Son, who, as God and man in one nature, is the channel of grace to fallen men. He proposes to do this now that the Lord Jesus takes his church into marriage union with himself. The incarnate God calls a chosen company, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, and celebrates so early in the day this happy union by a wedding breakfast, to which he invites multitudes to come. It is a feast of mercy, grace, and peace; a marriage feast of delight and joy. The feast is for the glorifying of the Lord Jesus Christ in a very special manner. Can any of us measure the glory which comes to our Lord Jesus by his union with the church? Angels, and principalities, and powers, intelligences now existing, and all intelligences yet to be created, will wonderingly gaze upon the riches of his inheritance in the saints. What a spectacle this is! The Word made flesh so that he might dwell among us! Emmanuel, God with us, taking to himself a company of chosen men, to be one with him for ever. In the union of Christ and his church all wisdom centres, all grace shines out. “The excellency of our God” is to be seen in the salvation of the elect and the joining of them to the Christ. Our glorious Second Adam was like the first Adam in the garden, for whom no helpmeet was found. Neither cherubim nor seraphim, angels nor spirits, could be suitable companions for him. He says, “My delights were with the sons of men.” He willed that his chosen church should stand to him in the same relationship as Eve stood to Adam, to be the solace of his heart and the rest of his love. He chose men to be his companions, his friends, his joy, his crown.

3. One would have thought that every man hearing that manhood was to be so honoured by union with Godhead would flock towards the marriage feast. It would have seemed certain that all would desire to know this heavenly mystery, and as soon as they knew it would press forward to be partakers in its bliss. Alas! this is not the case; and this morning my business is to tell you the story of how the purpose of divine love appeared in peril, but how, in the end, it is accomplished; and, according to the language of the text, “the wedding was furnished with guests.”

4. I. Our first point is, that IT SEEMED AS IF NO ONE WOULD COME. The wedding feast was prepared: oxen and fatlings were killed, all things were ready; but where were the guests?

5. Those first invited, and naturally expected, would not come. Previous notice had been given to them of the festival, and afterwards a summons had been sent to say that the hour was come; but, instead of joyfully responding, they would not come.

6. These were, first of all, the Jews, to whom the gospel had been given by the law and the prophets long beforehand. “He came to his own, but his own did not receive him.” Israel was not gathered: few out of the chosen nation recognised the Messiah. He came with a feast of mercy for them, but they would have none of it. He called, and they refused.

7. Today this same class will be found among the children of godly parents; dedicated from their birth, prayed for by loving piety, listening to the gospel from their childhood, and yet unsaved. We look for these to come to Jesus. We naturally hope that they will feast upon the provisions of grace, and like their parents will rejoice in Christ Jesus; but, alas! how often it is the case that they will not come! Some such are here this morning. We greatly grieve over you. You do not choose your father’s God, nor accept your mother’s Saviour. Ah me! if you will not come, who will? If you, who are taught concerning salvation by grace, still refuse it, how can we wonder that the children of the godless and the profane reject our message? Who will come if you will not?

8. Dear hearers, some of you are not privileged with godly parents, but you have been for many years willing listeners to the Word of life, and yet you do not accept Christ Jesus as yours, nor accept the provisions of his grace. You do not rejoice with him in his union with his chosen, for you do not love him. How sad this is! Well may the dispirited preacher mourn, and fear in his heart that the great festival of love will prove a failure! If such as you are will not come, how will the wedding be furnished with guests?

9. The outlook grew even worse when they did not come though they were reasoned with. When they would not come, the king sent other servants to bring them to a better mind; and this was the form of his reasoning: “Behold, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage.” No kinder argument could have been used: there was an appeal to all that was noble in them, and had they been worthy they would have come at once. I can well understand that the servants would repeat their lord’s message with special eagerness, as they thought of his waiting in the palace, and watching for the guests. They would cry to those who hesitated, “You have waited long enough, come at once. The marriage cannot be delayed, why should you delay? Wait no longer. Today if you will hear his voice do not harden your hearts.” Still they made light of it. When you have been invited to Jesus many a time, when tearful earnestness has pleaded with you, and yet men of God have had to return to their Master, saying, “Who has believed our report?” it becomes a sorrowful business, and our anxious fears cannot see how the wedding will be furnished with guests. This would have been an overwhelming surprise to us if Jesus had not declared concerning men in his own day, “You will not come to me so that you might have life.” If they refused his pleadings we cannot wonder that they reject our sayings. Still it is a mournful fact, that “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

10. The case looks even darker when we notice that, though reasoned with by new messengers, they did not come. It is said, “He sent out other servants.” I tell you from my very soul that, if my Lord will only bring you to the banquet of his grace, I do not care who shall be the successful messenger. If you will not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life through what I have to say, may the Lord remove me, and send someone else, to whom he will give power by his grace to reach your hearts. I shall be glad to remain in this pulpit for years to come, but not at the cost of a single soul. If someone else can preach to you more efficiently, if someone else can get at your hearts better than I have done, may the Lord allow me to retire for your good! Do you wish it? “He sent other servants.” A preacher may be too rhetorical: let a plain-speaking person be tried. He may be too weighty: let another come with parable and anecdote. Alas! with some of you the thing needed is not a new voice, but a new heart. You would listen no better to a new messenger than to the old one. After so many good and true men have spoken; after Paul, and Apollos, and Cephas have all failed, how shall the wedding be furnished with guests?

11. If you look at the various characters who would not come, you will see more and more reason for sorrow. Of some we simply read that “they would not come.” They made no excuses or apologies, but curtly said they would not come. That was the end of the matter. Many dismiss the gospel at once; they are not to be reasoned with: they do not want it, and will not have it. A large class of the community have heard of the way of salvation, but they care nothing for it. It is not lack of information with them, but lack of inclination. They have neither mind nor will for heavenly things.

12. A second class made light of it. They were indifferent to royal honours and duties. They were taken up with the care of what they had owned, and went their way, each man to his farm, saying, “I have worked hard to get my farm, and I cannot afford to let it lie idle.” Another was taken up with the care of getting an estate, and went to his merchandise, saying, “I have no one to keep my shop. I must look out for the best opportunity. If you do not look alive, everyone will run over you. I must attend to my buying and my selling.” The worldly-wise make up a very numerous class. The rich man cannot be religious, his position in society prevents it; the poor man cannot attend to the things of God, he is worn out by earning his daily bread. So they all make excuses. Lord, when so many are unwilling, and so many more are occupied with other things, how shall the wedding be furnished with guests?

13. A third class were violently opposed: they would not be bothered, they had no patience with pious religious platitudes: they “took his servants, and treated them spitefully, and killed them.” These are not so numerous as the others; but yet they are found among us. Sceptics, swearers, revilers of godliness, and “modern thought” men: these revile the cross, and are ferocious against the gospel. When we see these raging and raving, we are apt to ask very mournfully — How can the wedding be furnished with guests?

14. The most dreadful thought of all remains: some of the invited had already perished. The king in his wrath sent his troops and killed the murderers of his messengers, and burned their city. While I have been preaching, many of my hearers have died. Where are they now? If they died without Christ they are now past hope. Ah me! they can never enter now, for the door is shut. If they died in their sins, they are in the outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When you think of it, this is a dark prospect. Men are dying, dying without hope; and those who are still alive are resolved to perish in a similar way, for they are earnestly invited to the feast of love, but they refuse to come. How can the wedding be furnished with guests?

15. The King tells us the real reason why they would not come: they were not worthy. Those who were especially invited, and about whom there was the greatest hope, had nothing in them to encourage that hope: they were not loyal, they were not kind-hearted, they were not honest, they were not worthy, otherwise they would have come to do honour to the son of their King. Their not coming revealed the enmity of their hearts. It was a wretched way of showing their spite to the Prince on his wedding-day. It is horrible that men refuse Christ and heaven out of enmity towards God. Rejectors of Christ are unworthy of pardoning grace, unworthy of a dying Saviour, unworthy of those marriage bonds into which Jesus enters with believing hearts. They are not worthy in the gospel sense of worthiness, and of course they were far less worthy in a legal sense.

16. The most mournful spectacle in the world is a heart which refuses the mercy of God. Objection is sometimes made to the doctrine of total depravity. I do not know what adjective can be too strong to describe human depravity when I perceive that it refuses God under his loveliest aspect: God in the greatness of his love, God not sparing his own Son. If men turn away from God in anger I can understand it; if men turn aside from God in justice I can understand it; but when they so hate God that they will not even have his salvation, when they refuse pardon through the precious blood of Christ, when they will sooner be damned than reconciled to God, this shows that their heart is desperately wicked. The rejected cross is the clearest proof of the depraved heart. There I leave this mournful subject, and go a step further. Certainly it did seem as if the wedding would not be furnished with guests.

17. II. Secondly, IT WAS A MOURNFUL PROSPECT. Imagine that there had been no guests at the wedding feast: what then?

18. First, it would have been greatly to the king’s dishonour. The Crown Prince is married, and no one comes to the wedding! The feast is free, costly, plentiful, but no one will come to it. What an insult! The banqueting hall is prepared, and the minstrels are in their place, but no eyes or ears are charmed. Oxen and fatlings make the tables groan; but none are there to make the hall resound with shout and song. What a wretched spectacle! Empty halls, unfurnished benches, food untasted carried out to the dogs! History does not record a more deliberate and unmistakable insult. Let me translate the parable. If no souls are saved, if the great plan of redemption does not save, what a farce the whole business will be! What a dishonour to the name of the great God! Look at the supposition, so that you may see the impossibility of it. Think for a moment of a defeated, disappointed, dishonoured Jehovah! Can it be? And yet, if the wedding had not been furnished with guests, the king would have been disappointed and insulted in the tenderest point. If the chosen are not saved, if men are not brought to Christ, then the glorious name of the God of grace is dishonoured. Do you think it can be so?

19. In the next place, suppose no one had come to the wedding feast; then the king’s son would have been grieved. His wedding, and no one there! If it were your own, perhaps you could put up with it; for you do not stand in so public a position as the king’s son, and you have not provided so vast a banquet. But the king’s son! Only imagine that it is his wedding-day, and the servants are mustered in the hall, but not a single guest arrives. He has no one to congratulate him upon the happy day, no one to wish him well, no one to welcome the bride. Now, the same is true of our Lord Jesus Christ: if he dies, and men do not believe in him; if he rises again, and men do not accept him; if he enters heaven as a Prince and a Saviour, and yet no one receives repentance and remission, where is his honour? where is his glory? Look at the dreadful supposition, and think whether it can happen. I am sure, as you gaze upon it, you will say, “Impossible! A bleeding Saviour cannot die in vain. Our Christ could not in death have paid down the ransom price for nothing. He could not have stood a substitute for men, and yet see men lost after all!”

20. If no guests had arrived, how disappointed would the Bride have been! She, too, would have had to share in the failure of the day. Her wedding would not have been remembered with pleasure. She would have been happy in the bridegroom, but also unhappy because of the unkindness shown to him. In vain her rich apparel, and her costly ornaments, for there are no eyes to gaze upon them. If souls are not saved the church misses her greatest joy. When men believe in Jesus, how delighted we are! Our hearts leap for joy when men repent. But if sinners are not saved, if the preaching of the gospel is in vain, if they will not come to Christ, then saints are full of heaviness, and the church cries out in her anguish, “Have you forgotten to be gracious?”

21. Had no one come to the marriage feast, a quantity of provisions would have been wasted. The King says, “My oxen and my fatlings are killed.” See the young bulls roasting whole! See that fatted calf killed for the feast! Note how the sheep are led to the slaughter! All this will remain untasted. Those dainty dishes, and flowing bowls, and luscious fruits will have no one to enjoy them. It will be a wretched business indeed! I want you to look at the dreadful picture until it vanishes out of sight. Can it be that Jesus has made himself the heavenly bread, and no one will feed on him, or at the best a very few? Can it be that he has provided a robe of righteousness, and no one will wear it? Is heaven prepared, and will it remain half occupied? I only suppose it for the moment, to make you see what a melancholy fact a failure in the scheme of mercy would be.

22. Would it not have meant, also, the enemy’s triumph? The king’s foes would have heard of it, and laughed him to scorn. At a royal wedding he could not command guests! How they would scoff at his wasted provision! “Ha, ha! Ha, ha!” The story would have been told on every ale-bench. The sons of Belial would make rare mirth of it. The King, the Prince, the Bride would all have been ridiculed, because of a wedding in empty halls, a feast with phantom guests! I do not believe that God intends to let Satan triumph in this way. I cannot imagine that he will allow the powers of darkness to open their wicked mouths against him like this. If free will refuses the gift of God, free grace will come in and win the day. I have shown you already how free will threatens to empty the banqueting hall, and dishonour the King, the Son, and the Bride; and if the business had been left to the free will of man, this is the result which would have come of it: a God dishonoured, and men preferring to die rather than accept life through Jesus Christ. Then it could never have been said that “the wedding was furnished with guests.”

23. III. Let us go a step further and notice that in the parable THIS CATASTROPHE WAS GRACIOUSLY PREVENTED. “The wedding was furnished with guests.”

24. We are very much in the same situation today as the servants were in when the invited ones would not come. We preach and teach the gospel, but we have to complain that so many will not come to the banquet of grace. God gives us many souls, but not as many as we desire. We are eager for many more, and we begin to be afraid lest, after all, God should not be glorified as we wish that he should be. In the parable an unfurnished banquet was prevented, and so it will be in the reality. How was the calamity averted?

25. It was prevented, first, by a fuller invitation. At first the heralds only called those who had been previously invited, a kind of aristocracy of hopeful people. Since these would not come, we read, “Go therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, invite to the marriage.” They went out, not to a select band, but to all whom they might find. Brethren, it is a grand thing when we get a clearer idea of what the gospel really is. The more evangelical our notions become, so that we are prepared to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and to say, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved,” the more we may hope for large success. If, by my preaching, I lead a man to look at himself, to see whether there is anything in him which entitles him to believe, I practically hide the gospel from him. If I preach up character unduly, so that the man mainly enquires whether he has that character, I fix his eye upon himself; and this is not what I should aim for. If I go out and gather together as many as I find, both good and bad, then their thoughts are on the banquet rather than on themselves. We want men to look to Jesus, and therefore we cry, “Whoever wills, let him take the water of life freely.” When we preach the gospel clearly and only, we may expect to see the arm of the Lord revealed, and the wedding furnished with guests.

26. Again, the invitation was now given more publicly. They had simply gone to the houses of the invited guests, and said, “All things are ready: come.” But now the servants go to the chief places of concourse; and they cry aloud, and do not spare among the crowds of men. One has gone to the market place; another is preaching where four ways meet. Listen to the voice of one upon the village green, and to the songs of others as they traverse the back slum! You cannot now go along a street without hearing the news of the great wedding feast. Many will be brought in when many are eager to bring them in. God is pleased to reward the means which he has himself ordained. The more constant and public the proclamation of the gospel becomes, the more numerously will men be saved through the Spirit of God. Then the set time to favour Zion is come. We are not to hide our lamp under a bushel. He who knows the gospel should speak it out as plainly as he can, and let his voice be as the silver trumpets of jubilee, so that every ear may hear. It came to pass that the king’s message was more widely made known, and so “the wedding was furnished with guests.”

27. Another matter assisted: the servants were now thoroughly motivated. I am sure I should have felt dreadfully agitated to see all those provisions and no one coming to eat them. Think of the halls decorated, the cooks working day and night, the big fires burning, young bulls roasting, the wines on the lees poured out, and yet no guests. It would have worried me greatly, and you too. You would have said, “It cannot be, it must not be, we cannot bear it. The king, how sadly he must feel! The good prince, how bitter it is for him! The dear bride, what must be her sadness when this great insult is put upon her! Here, I must fetch in some guests, or die in the attempt.” I am sure we should have travelled six ways at once if we could; we should have invited with a thousand mouths if possible. Getting hold of one man’s coat and of another man’s sleeve, we should have compelled them to come in. This, also, is the Lord’s way of blessing men. He arouses his own people, makes them sorrowful for the sins of the times, and then they grow earnest and troubled, and so they lay themselves out to snatch men as brands from the burning. “As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” The lack of travailing causes the absence of conversion. When we begin to sigh, and cry, and mourn, because the ways of God are forsaken, then our earnestness moves the heart, both of God and man, and the guests come to the wedding.

28. Again, the calamity of a wedding without guests was prevented by a certain secret power which went with the messengers. We read that they “gathered together everyone as many as they found, both bad and good.” They did not merely invite them, but they gathered them in. Now people are not to be gathered in in great numbers all of a sudden, and led to a feast by mere words. Words are only air. There is nothing in our words to make men come to Jesus unless the Lord works by them. Yet the guests came in shoals. An influence went with the words of those servants which drew the people together; they could not wish to stay away; they came gladly. Their wills were sweetly inclined, and they thronged the palace. Beloved, all the hope of our ministry lies in the Spirit of God operating upon the spirits of men. I want all the members of this church to feel this more deeply and practically than ever. Do not put trust in the preacher: if he happens to be away, do not think that God is tied to him. Look for a blessing upon the gospel itself whoever preaches it. If the Holy Spirit is with us we shall see thousands flocking to Jesus. No sinner will ever come to Christ apart from the quickening, enlightening, drawing, converting power of the Holy Spirit, supernaturally exercised upon the conscience and heart. Let us believe this; and next, let us be assured that the Spirit of God is with us, and let us then go out with all boldness. To the street corner, the cottage, the lodging-house, the wayside, let us go out and proclaim abroad the invitation of the great King: “My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage.”

29. So you have seen the outward means by which the Holy Spirit brings men to Jesus, and the wedding is furnished with guests.

30. IV. I close by noticing, in the fourth place, that IN THE END THE FEAST WAS A GLORIOUS SUCCESS. “The wedding was furnished with guests.”

31. Guests are a part of the furniture of a wedding feast. You may pile on your gold and silver plate, hang up your banners, load your tables, and sound your music; but if you have no guests the feast is a failure. It is our solemn conviction that the Lord our God has never failed yet, and that he never will fail. We believe that the Lord’s eternal purpose will stand, and that he will do all his pleasure. We believe in no blind fate, but we trust in a predestination which is full of eyes, which accomplishes its purpose to the least jot and tittle. God’s greatest work is redemption; will he fail in it? Salvation is the focus of his glory; shall this be frustrated? If God were to fail in connection with the cross, it would be a failure indeed; God would be dishonoured, and his crown-jewels cast into the mire. But it shall not be.

32. Turn to the parable, and we find there were sufficient guests: “the wedding was furnished with guests.” There were as many guests as were necessary for the honour of the King, and his Son, and his Bride. Oh yes, in the gathering up and consummation of all things, the wedding of the Lord Jesus will be amply furnished with guests: “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” There will be no disappointment for Christ at the last great day. Satan may whisper disaster and disappointment to us at this hour, and for the moment it may seem as if the forces of darkness triumphed; but the end is not yet. The will of God, so full of grace and mercy, shall be accomplished, the preparations of grace shall be used, and the purpose of love fulfilled. Just as the wedding was furnished with guests so shall heaven be filled with “a number which no man can number.”

33. The feast was more of a success than it would have been had there been no opposition. The people who came to the wedding were more grateful than the first invited might have been if they had come. The richer kind had a good dinner every day. Those farmers could always kill a fat sheep; and those merchants could always buy a calf. “Thank you for nothing,” they would have said to the king if they had accepted his invitation. But these poor beggars picked off the streets, they had not tasted meat for months. Their half-starved bodies welcomed the fatlings. How glad they were! One of them said to the other, “It is a long time since you and I sat down to such a joint of meat as this,” and the other answered, “I can hardly believe that I am really in a palace dining with a king. Why, yesterday I begged all the day, and only had twopence at night. Long live the king, I say, and blessings on the prince and his bride!” I warrant, they were thankful for such a feast. They said it was an ill wind that blew no one any good: because their betters had refused to come, there was now room for them. When the Lord saves great sinners, such as you and me, he wins warm hearts for himself. When the Lord saves unlikely ones, he gets unusual thankfulness. When he brings in the drunkard and the profane, the unclean and the hardened, and makes them pure, and holy, and puts them among the children, what gratitude he gets! The Pharisee may ask Christ to a cold dinner, but it is the woman who was a sinner who will wash his feet with tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head. If some of you moralists get saved — and God grant you may! — you will never prize the precious blood so much as those do who are washed by it from the foulest stains.

34. The joy that day was much more expressed than it would have been had others come. Those ladies and gentlemen who were first invited, if they had come to the wedding, would have seated themselves there in a very stiff and proper manner. Dear me, what a fine thing propriety is! And yet, what a dead thing it is! One said to me the other day, “I have gone to my place of worship for many years, and no one ever spoke to me that I know of, and no one ever will; for we are all too respectable to know each other.” You know the dignified style of self-satisfied people. Among such there is no cordiality, no freshness, no sweet naturalness. Did you ever attend a breakfast or a dinner of beggars? Did you ever see a company of very hungry people feeding to their heart’s content? They make a merry clatter; they are not muzzled by propriety; they are glad at the sight of every dish. They look at the waiters as angels; and when the hurrahing comes to be done, you admire the strength of their lungs. The dull monotony of respectability knows no joy like what comes to poverty when it feasts to the full at the table of bounty. The Crown Prince was happier that day among his poor subjects than he would have been among the grandees and the fashionables. Those paupers, those labourers, those tramps, those hedge-birds, those were the fellows to make merry. To whom much is forgiven, the same loves much. Up in heaven they sing like the voice of many waters and like great thunder, because they have been cleansed from many sins and have partaken of great grace. Let the Pharisee and the moralist refuse the gospel; there are those around who, in accepting it, will do it greater honour than their dull souls could ever render to it. So the wedding was furnished with guests, who expressed their joy enthusiastically.

35. How the provisions were relished! It does one good to see a hungry man eat his food. To him even every bitter thing is sweet. He does not turn over his food and cut off every little bit of gristle, as some of you do because of your delicate appetites. The true gospel hearer listens to the text — “Eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” He does not act the critic, and quibble over this expression and that. He is too sharp-set to be particular about the dishes and the carving. We marvel sometimes at the capacity of hungry men; there is no end to it; and it is the same with spiritual as with natural hunger. I think I can tell what happened at that wedding: the Bride nudged the Bridegroom and said, “See these poor people eat! Is it not a pleasure to give one’s oxen and fatlings where they are so much needed?” The Bridegroom was as happy as he could be, for he was of a sympathizing heart, and he greatly rejoiced in the joy of the poor people around him. The king himself that day was gladdened as he saw what a gallant company of trencher-men {a} they were, and how there was no niggling, nor finding fault, but only unbroken enjoyment and gratitude. The best kind of guests had been collected if the object was to give joy. Ah dear friends! if you have a deep sense of sin, you will greatly love free grace and dying love. This is the lack of certain gentlemen who are always finding fault with the gospel: they never knew their own state by nature and by practice, and therefore they do not prize salvation. If they had felt a few lashes of the ten-thonged whip of the law upon their bare consciences, they would relish gospel forgiveness far more. He who has been in the prison of conviction prizes blood-bought freedom. He who has felt the chains of sin values the liberty by which Christ makes him free. So I say, that inasmuch as these poor creatures were brought in from the streets, and their splendid appetites enjoyed the feast, the wedding festival was no failure, but all the greater success, because of the king’s enemies. The wedding was furnished with guests — guests who enjoyed the abundance provided by the King.

36. Certainly, the occasion became more famous than it would otherwise have been. If the feast had gone on as usual it would have been only one among many such things; but now this royal banquet was the only one of its kind, unique, unparalleled. To gather in poor men off the streets, labouring men and idle men, bad men and good men, to the wedding of the Crown Prince — this was a new thing under the sun. Everyone talked about it. There were songs made about it, and these were sung in the king’s honour where no one honoured kings before. In the kitchens, among the servants, this was a fine story to tell by the fireside, while Mary and Jane wished they had been there to see. In every lodging-house for years to come this would be the favourite story — the tale of the poor man’s prince, and the needy man’s queen. On the stock exchange and in the market men talked of the brave bride and bridegroom who had defied the customs of fashion, and had done a deed so daring in its goodness. Was ever such a thing heard of before? Here was a feast for men who never feasted before! Sensible men said, “And nothing could be better: they were feeding those who needed feeding: they were giving good cheer to those who have little enough of it.” Among the poor themselves the Prince’s name was very famous, while the portrait of the Princess was nailed up over the mantelpiece. Children said to each other, “My father went to the wedding of the imperial prince.” To many it seemed like a story out of the Arabian Nights. It did not read like a piece of common history at all, but like a fairy tale of the age of gold. Dear friends, when the Lord saved some of us by his grace, it was no common event. When he brought us great sinners to his feet, and washed us, and clothed us, and fed us, and made us his own, it was a wonder to be talked about for ever and ever. We will never stop praising his name throughout eternity. What looked as though it would defame the king turned out to his honour, and “the wedding was furnished with guests.”

37. One more thing: the king’s liberality was all the better seen. If those who were first invited had put in an appearance, they would have come arrayed in their own scarlet and fine linen. Some of the gentlemen would have bought a new suit on purpose. You may depend on it, all the seamstresses in the city would have been employed to get their ladyships ready for the banquet, that they might have honour in the court that day. Now these fine clothes would have been more for the glory of those who came in them, than for the honour of the King. There was nothing of this among those who were gathered from the highways. They were in sorry gear. It was difficult, perhaps, in some cases, to tell which was the original stuff of their garments, they were so patched and mended. Anyway, they were a ragged regiment; and what was the result? Why, then they must all be dressed in the Prince’s own livery, and all the glory of their apparel must be his. He said to his servants, “Go to my wardrobe. Bring out changes of clothing.” Everyone who came in to the feast was invited to put on the king’s wedding garments. When he came in to see the guests, it was a grand sight, for everyone was royally arrayed. The king’s wedding robes were much better than his subjects’ best suits. It was a grand sight to see so many all in one royal livery; every guest wearing the uniform of mercy. So it is with us poor sinners, saved by grace. If we had possessed any true righteousness of our own we should have worn it; but now we consider our own righteousness as dross and dung that we may win Christ and be found in him. His righteousness decorates all the saints: they could not be better arrayed. So the feast is made more glorious than it otherwise would have been, and the wedding is furnished with guests.

38. How I wish that I could gather in many this morning, both bad and good! I mean by good, those who are comparatively so concerning their moral conduct. You are invited to come to the wedding feast of love. But even if you are bad, and obliged to admit that you are so, I am equally anxious to gather you in to the feast. Do you ask me: What are we to do? What were these people to do? To come just as they were, and freely receive what the king had freely provided. Sometimes at our treats for Sunday School children every child is told to bring his own mug and plate; but it is not so with our great King. His banquet is too royal for that. You are to bring nothing. Still, everyone must go home and wash, must he not? No, the washing and the clothing shall all be done for you at the King’s palace. Come as you are. “But what do you mean by coming?” We mean trusting: trust your soul with Jesus Christ, and he will save it. Trust him, and you shall know that he died in your room, place, and stead, so that, believing in him, you shall not perish, but have everlasting life. May the Holy Spirit lead you to believe in Jesus, that is, trust him.

39. I have told you the gospel in its entirety. Trust the crucified Saviour, and you shall live. Jesus says, “Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” Do not look within to see what is there, but look to Jesus hanging on the cross. A look at Christ crucified will save you. Look, dear girls, young as you are, look to Jesus now! Look, you grey-headed men and women who have never looked before: look now! Strangers and foreigners, who have not heard this word before, there is life in a look at the Crucified One for you! You guiltiest of the guilty, and you most amiable of the amiable, turn away from anything there is in yourselves, bad or good, and look to Jesus only. Receive from Jesus all he brings you — pardon, righteousness, sanctification, redemption, himself. He who comes to a wedding feast has nothing to do except to eat and to drink. Give your mind up to this delightful exercise. Take the food which God provides for you. You shall do good works afterwards, for they will follow as a result of the strength which comes from receiving heavenly food through faith; but just now eat, drink, and be merry, as becomes a Prince’s marriage. May the Father be pleased, his Son be honoured, and his church be comforted through you! Amen, and Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Mt 21:33-22:14]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 42” 42 @@ "(Version 1)"}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — ‘All Things Are Ready’ ” 504}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — Mercy’s Invitation” 488}


{a} Trencher-man: A feeder; an eater; usually qualified, as good, stout, valiant, etc., one who plays a good knife and fork; one who has a hearty appetite. OED.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 42 (Version 1)
1 Like as the hart for water brooks
   In thirst doth pant and bray;
   So pants my longing soul, oh God,
   That come to thee I may.
2 My soul for God, the living God,
   Doth thirst: when shall I near
   Unto thy countenance approach,
   And in God’s sight appear?
3 My tears have unto me been meat,
   Both in the night and day,
   While unto me continually,
   Where is thy God? they say.
4 My soul is poured out in me,
   When this I think upon;
   Because that with the multitude
   I heretofore had gone:
5 With them into God’s house I went
   With voice of joy and praise;
   Yea, with the multitude that kept
   The solemn holy days.
6 Oh why art thou cast down, my soul?
   Why in me so dismay’d?
   Trust God, for I shall praise him yet,
   His count’nance is mine aid.
7 My God, my soul’s cast down in me;
   Thee therefore mind I will
   From Jordan’s land, the Hermonites,
   And e’en from Mizar’s hill.
8 At noise of thy dread waterspouts,
   Deep unto deep doth call;
   Thy breaking waves pass over me,
   Yea, and thy billows all.
9 Oh why art thou cast down, my soul?
   Why thus with grief opprest,
   Art thou disquieted in me?
   In God still hope and rest:
10 For yet I know I shall him praise,
   Who graciously to me,
   The health is of my countenance,
   Yea, mine own God is he.
                  Scotch Version, 1641, a.


Psalm 42 (Version 2)
1 As pants the hart for cooling streams,
   When heated in the chase,
   So pants my soul, oh God, for thee,
   And thy refreshing grace.
2 For thee, my God, the living God,
   My thirsty soul doth pine;
   Oh when shall I behold thy face,
   Thou Majesty divine?
3 I sigh to think of happier days,
   When thou, oh Lord, wert nigh:
   When every heart was tuned to praise,
   And none more blest than I.
4 Oh why art thou cast down, my soul?
   Hope still, and thou shalt sing
   The praise of him who is thy God,
   Thy health’s eternal spring.
                        Tate and Brady, 1696.


Gospel, Invitations
504 — “All Things Are Ready”
1 “All things are ready,” Come,
      Come to the supper spread;
   Come, rich and poor, come, old and young,
      Come, and be richly fed.
2 “All things are ready,” Come,
      The invitation’s given,
   Through him who now in glory sits
      At God’s right hand in heaven.
3 “All things are ready,” Come,
      The door is open wide;
   Oh feast upon the love of God,
      For Christ, his Son, has died.
4 “All things are ready,” Come,
      All hindrance is removed;
   And God, in Christ, his precious love,
      To fallen man has proved.
5 “All things are ready,” Come,
      Tomorrow may not be;
   Oh sinner, come, the Saviour waits,
      This hour to welcome thee!
                        Albert Midlane, 1832.


Gospel, Invitations
488 — Mercy’s Invitation
1 Let every mortal ear attend,
      And every heart rejoice;
   The trumpet of the gospel sounds
      With an inviting voice.
2 Ho, all ye hungry, starving souls,
      That feed upon the wind,
   And vainly strive with earthly toys
      To fill an empty mind;
3 Eternal Wisdom has prepared
      A soul reviving feast,
   And bids your longing appetites
      The rich provision taste.
4 Ho, ye that pant for living streams,
      And pine away and die,
   Here you may quench your raging thirst
      With springs that never dry.
5 Rivers of love and mercy here
      In a rich ocean join;
   Salvation in abundance flows,
      Like floods of milk and wine.
6 Come, naked, and adorn your souls
      In robes prepared by God,
   Wrought by the labours of his Son,
      And dyed in his own blood.
7 Great God, the treasures of thy love
      Are everlasting mines,
   Deep as our helpless miseries are,
      And boundless as our sins.
8 The happy gates of gospel grace
      Stand open night and day,
   Lord, we are come to seek supplies,
      And drive our wants away.
                           Isaac Watts, 1706.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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