In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
God loves not just in word or tongue, but in actions, in deeds, in works and in truth. (1 John 3:18) God did not see your pitiable estate as a sinner and leave you there. He acted. He loved you. He reached down and saved you by sending His own Son. His own Son who out of love took on your flesh and emptied Himself of the fullness of the Godhead. (Phil. 2:5-7) He became a creature and laid down that fleshly life He had taken on. (Phil. 2:8) Laid down that family of flesh he had known. Said goodbye to his beloved mother, and must have wept over Joseph, the man who had been his guardian and father figure when he died, did all this for you. He wept over the death of His beloved friend Lazarus (John 11:35), just as in love He weeps over you and your sin, and sorrow. He sacrificed it all. He loved not only in word. He loves in deed and in truth. And as a result God’s love is real. And it has real consequences. So that this active love changes your reality from one who is damned before God by your sin, to one who is loved by God whose sin is not held against you. His love, which acted, actually saves you. It impacts you profoundly.
And for all this for saving the damned—by daring to suggest that anyone needs saving—He is abused and hated by scoffers. (1 John 3:13; John 15:18; Prov. 9:7) And He incurs injury from those who love their wickedness. (1 John 3:14, 17, 12)
Though, of course, those who have been given a heart of faith—a heart of wisdom—receive His correction. (Prov. 9:8b) They are repented, turned by the Holy Spirit to be wise. (Prov. 9:9) They love Him. You love Him. That’s why you are here (whether you realize it or not) you love Him. You desire His wisdom, His correction. (Prov. 9:9-10) You want to do what He wants. What pleases Him. You love His wisdom. You want to learn from Him and be wiser still. For you have the fear of the Lord. (Prov. 9:10) You fear the consequences of spurning His love for you. For one who loves so intensely also hates intensely. It is the two sides of that coin. There is not such intense love without also corresponding disappointment, anger, and jealousy when that love is betrayed or set aside. (Exod. 20:5-6)
And so there are consequences when such love is spurned. For one does not love that intensely and without grief when the objects of your love betray you. On the cross the Lord already began to pray for those who had nailed Him there saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) However, what about those who know who and what Jesus is, who have been raised in it, baptized in it (Matt. 28:19-20), trained up in the way that they should go (Prov. 22:6) and yet they depart from it? For whatever their reasons are—whether it is that the Gospel seed fell among the thorns of the cares of life and deceitfulness of wealth (Matt. 13:7, 22), or whether it’s, “I’ve married a wife and she won’t let me come. She pushes me not to come.” (Luke 14:20) Or, “I’m too busy with my fields (Luke 14:18), my tractors (Luke 14:19), my cabin at the lake,” what of them? They are who this parable is about and for.
You see, as a result of God’s intense, profound, REAL love (1 John 3:18), He is jealous. Righteously jealous and angry when His people forsake Him (Exod. 20:5-6; Ps. 51:4) when His people forsake His call to come to His banquet—not only when they do it in an eternal way, but even when they do occasionally.
The anger and wrath of the Lord is a terrible thing. So much so that He will fill your spot to keep you out of it. (Luke 14:21-24) Our Lord is jealous. (Deut. 4:24; 6:15) He is glad to have you back, if you should repent. But He will give your place away to another. (Luke 14:21, 23) It’s almost as though He has limited space—only so many spots. Now we know His mercy is never ending (Ps. 86:5, 15; Joel 2:13), so in reality, there are always more spots—more spots that could be made—but when you reject your spot it is given to another. (Luke 14:24) Many are called, few are chosen. (Matt. 22:14) Woe to you if you, or your children, should be in a state of rejection unto the moment of your death! Does this make you uncomfortable? It should. It is meant to. Now, the reality is you can not control your children. All you can do is speak your piece, say what you believe, and if your kids or loved ones have already reached that point where they’ve threatened you about not speaking about your faith anymore, or they have blamed you about chasing them away from church with your guilting, that’s on them. That is not on you. It’s their own unbelief talking. So in that case pray. Pray fervently—as you are already doing. But you know, even if you feel like you can’t say anything, you can still write. And don’t just write guilt inducing thoughts. Write about why you value the Lord so much. About what your faith has given you. Why it is such a strength to you in affliction. Why you feel guilty about the ways you’ve failed them, or been heavy handed with them, or have not even spoken of your concerns for them.
And this dear Christians is how you love. This is Christian love. Love which is willing to be mocked (Prov. 9:7), to be spurned or hated. Continuing to care for your loved ones who do not walk with the Lord, being willing to suffer their wrath against the Lord is true love. You see the world loves in words, with a lot of wagging of the mouth, but the world does not love in action or deed. You have loved your loved ones in actions: in raising them, taking care of them, supporting them, in praying for them, in risking their wrath at your faithful concern for them. For real love risks itself. It lays down itself out of love for the brother (1 John 3:16), the sister, the child or spouse who might turn on you due to your faith. Jesus said after all that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matt. 10:34-38) To turn father against son, son against father. He who is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:7) causes this division. For He gives peace between people not by avoiding conflicts, but when they are knit together into that body of Christ which is rescued from out of this world by Christ’s holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death. He confronted our sin. Conquered it. And that’s where real peace is, where real unity is, in Him. In His salvation. In His flesh received at His banquet. In His removing the dividing wall of hostility (Eph. 2:14-16) against Him from our own hearts. And burying it deep in His flesh, so that your guilt is no longer your’s but His. And that is the peace and unity which we want for all whom we truly love. For we want them to sit not only at this foretaste of the feast to come, but also at this feast with us in eternity, at the Lamb’s high feast.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.