The parable of the banquet is an example of how we are to present the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and our Savior and Lord Jesus. We prepare and present—we set the table and prepare the food—but those we tell are free to accept or reject what we are giving them. Jesus said, “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:16-24
Religious debates focus on denominational rules and their interpretation of the Bible. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime, it is that arguments are pointless and do very little to change the other person’s mind. Arguments and debates are vain and pointless. Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them. Titus 3:9-11
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:23-26
You cannot “debate” anyone to true repentance and salvation. You cannot debate anyone into believing that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior. That takes the Holy Spirit. I believe that when we don’t truly understand the Holy Spirit and the line between where our responsibilities end and what the Holy Spirit “handles”, we feel the need to debate and convince people, doing it in our own strengths and abilities. We are to present the Gospel, the Holy Spirit draws them and prepares their hearts. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. John 6:44-45 NKJV
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26
The Lord God wants all to be saved, but they—of their own free will and not under compulsion—must accept Jesus as the Son of God, their Savior. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the Truth. For there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 1 Timothy 2:3-6
So then, if we aren’t to convince people to be saved or debate with those who don’t believe as we do, what should we do to spread the Gospel? Tell people about Jesus. Tell them about the Kingdom of God that Jesus’ preached. Speak God’s Word into every situation that you can. And most of all let your life be a walking, breathing testimony of what life in the Kingdom is like.
When they see:
- Your peace in the midst of chaos,
- Your joy when times are difficult,
- Your needs being met even in financial difficulty,
- Your smile no matter what comes your way,
- They will want what you have!
You plant the seed but the Holy Spirit brings the rain and the sunshine. “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s Word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s Word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s Word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Matthew 13:18-23
If you have someone in your life who continually tries to “bait” you into an argument, don’t take the bait. Change the subject, respond briefly or just walk away. Be sure to pray for them and that situation. Let the Holy Spirit do His work in that person. There is a great deal of “baiting” going on in social media these days. Again, don’t take the bait. Just because someone says something antagonizing to you, doesn’t mean you should respond. Silence is the best response. Instead of reacting, take the time you would use to respond and say a prayer for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to draw them to the Lord Jesus. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Matthew 5:44-45
Learning this has set me free from the need do prove my beliefs when others challenge me and try to bait me into an argument. It has set me free to live my life as an example of Kingdom living by God’s Word. The world needs to see Kingdom citizens walking in the power of being Believers!
All scriptures are NLT unless otherwise noted.
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