Shall we turn in our Bibles now to the gospel according to Luke, chapter 14.
The fourteenth chapter involves an invitation for Jesus to come to a supper on the Sabbath day and of the things that transpired at that supper, and the subsequent exchange between Jesus and the people as Jesus talked to them concerning etiquette and concerning the demands of the kingdom.
So it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him (14:1).
It is interesting to me that Jesus accepted the invitation. He knew that they were out to get Him. It seems to me that Jesus was always open to an invitation to eat, going so far as inviting Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. “Come on down Zacchaeus. I want to come over to your house and eat.” And finally in Revelation, standing at the door and knocking, waiting for anyone to open so that He can come in and eat. “And if you will open the door I will come in and I will eat supper with you.” As we this morning were talking about the significance of eating in that culture, becoming one, how Jesus desires to be one with us.
Now the Sabbath meal was different from other meals in that all of the food had to be prepared before the Sabbath. You weren’t to kindle any fire. If you were to have anything that was hot it had to be hot before the Sabbath. And somehow there had to be ways to maintain it being hot. Now in those days they had definite rules of those things that you could not do to keep food hot and things you could do to keep food hot, but there was a kosher way of keeping your food hot even that they even had developed for the Sabbath day.
Today they plug in before the Sabbath begins. Their hotplates and their water for their coffee (they use instant coffee on the Sabbath day) all have to plug it in. They can’t fill the pot once the Sabbath is come. But once it is plugged in, you can pour it out of the pot into your cup and make your instant coffee. That doesn’t constitute work. Just don’t pour any water into the pot to heat it on the Sabbath day. You have got to have that going before the Sabbath day. And you can’t turn the switches on. You just have to have it plugged in and going before the Sabbath day comes. So they still have some interesting little rules for the Sabbath day.
If you want to go out to eat, you cannot pay with cash, but you can pay with credit cards on the Sabbath day. To pay with cash would violate the Sabbath, but to pay with a credit card, they have this unfortunate concept that so many people have about credit cards and that is you are really not paying. That is a dangerous thing.
So the Sabbath day meal was different. And they were watching Jesus. Now it seems that they were watching Him because there was a setup.
And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake the words to the lawyers (14:2-3)
Answering what? It doesn’t say they asked Him any question, but realizing, no doubt, that this whole thing was a set up. He was invited to eat on the Sabbath day to break bread with them, and here right before Him they have set this man with this disease of dropsy.
And so Jesus answering them, realizing that it was a setup,
spake to the lawyers and the Pharisees, and he said, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace (14:3-4).
They didn’t answer Him.
And so he took, and healed him, and let him go; And he answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox that has fallen into a pit, and will not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things (14:4-6).
Now, under the law they did have a provision that if your donkey or ox would fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, you could pull it out. They did have many open wells, so it was not uncommon for a donkey or an ox to fall into a pit. So Jesus brought up their own law to them, and they could not answer Him.
So then He dealt with them concerning etiquette.
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden to the feast, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms (14:7);
Usually they had at these feasts a table with three pillows around it. They were called tricliniums. And they would usually sit the people three at a table, and the middle pillow would be the place of honor at that table. And say you were going to invite nine guests. You would have three tables set up in this triclinium, and at each of the tables you would have the center pillow for your guest of honor. And of course, they would sit and sort of recline, and that is why they are called tricliniums. They would recline on these pillows and eat in sort of a reclining position.
So, Jesus was watching how they were jockeying for the best positions, for the places of honor, for the places of note, for this business of trying to get into the place of prominence. So He said,
When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, don’t sit down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than you has been bidden to the feast; And those that bade thee and him come and say to you, Give this man your place; and you with shame will have to go to the lowest room (14:8-9).
It is an embarrassing situation. You sat at the head table, but you don’t belong there. So they come up and say they are sorry, but they don’t have any place for you at that table, so you better take a table in the back. And everybody sees you leave the head table and head for the table in the back.
But when you are bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; and when he that bade thee comes, he may say unto thee, Friend, come on up higher: then you will have honor in the presence of those that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (14:10-11).
I think that one of the characteristics of greatness is humility. Some of the greatest people have been very humble people. I think that one of the most humbling things is to have God use your life. For you know it is not you and you know you are not worthy. But if you seek to exalt yourself, the law of the Lord, you will be abased. But he that will humble himself, the Lord will lift him up.
Then said he also to him that invited him, When you make a dinner or a supper (14:12),
Now he is turning on the host.
When you make a dinner or a supper, don’t call your friends, and your brothers, and your family, or your rich neighbors; in order that they might bid you again, and recompense you for the invitation. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And you will be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: but you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (14:12-14).
These are interesting rules of the kingdom.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (14:15).
I think that someone at the table got the flash of light as Jesus began to talk about how in the kingdom there is going to be an equality. There won’t be the exalting of one man above another. There won’t be important people and unimportant people, but we are all one in Christ Jesus. And we will all share together in the glory and in the honor in the kingdom. And this man got a flash of light in the kingdom and he said,
Blessed is the man that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (14:15).
And then Jesus gave a parable unto them. You see, all of these have to do with being invited to dinner, going to dinner, because they are sitting at this dinner, or at this Sabbath dinner with the Pharisee.
Then he said unto him, There was a certain man which made a great supper, and he invited many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to those that were invited, Come; for dinner is ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said, I have bought a piece of ground, and I better go see it: I pray thee you will have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: And I pray thee you’ll have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind (14:16-21).
These are the ones that Jesus told the fellow he should have invited anyhow.
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and still we’ve got more room. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper (14:22-24).
In this parable I believe that the one who has made the invitation and inviting to the supper is really none other than God. And the reference is to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And these are some of the excuses that people give for not coming to Jesus Christ.
The first man’s excuse was sort of a commercial excuse: “I bought a house and I need to go take a look at it.” Pray tell, what kind of a fool buys a house without looking at it? He was busy in commerce.
The second man is busy in his labors. It takes precedence over the kingdom. “I bought five yoke and I need to prove them.” Again, what man would buy five yoke of oxen without first testing them? Which of you would buy a car without driving it around the block?
Then the third said that he had just married a wife and couldn’t come. Why didn’t he bring his wife?
You notice that they all began to make an excuse. And there is a difference between excuses and reasons. Sometimes you can make an excuse when you don’t have any real reason for it. But I would warn you as Benjamin Franklin said, “The man who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
They began to make excuses for different reasons, so the lord said to go out into the highways and bring in the poor, the maimed and the halt. Remember to Jesus, He fulfilled the prophecy to the poor, the gospel is being preached. And still there was room, so he was to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, and the gospel was being preached compelling men to come into the kingdom of God.
Now at this point he probably left the supper, for we read,
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them (14:25),
Having left the house, the people were outside waiting for Him. At this point great multitudes of people were attracted to Him and were following Him and listening to Him. And He is on His way towards Jerusalem, but they think He is on His way towards Jerusalem in order to overthrow the Roman government and to establish and set up His kingdom. And that is why they are being attracted. That is why the multitude is coming. They think that the kingdom is going to come now immediately, and James and John are saying, “Lord, can I sit on the right and left hand?” and all of this jockeying for position was going on. But they don’t understand. He is not going to Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government. He is going to Jerusalem to be put on a cross.
You cannot follow Christ just because it is a popular movement. There is a shallowness and a danger to popular spiritual movements. The Jesus Movement was sadly weakened by the endeavors to commercialize the thing and to popularize the thing. And the Jesus Movement parades and banners were fade aspects.
In following Christ, you just don’t get on the bandwagon. It is just not joining because everybody is doing it, or it is the in thing to do. This was at that time the in thing. Multitudes were following Him. And because there is a danger in this, He turns to the multitudes and He becomes extremely severe in His words. He is really more severe than I would like Him to be, for He said,
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (14:26).
I am not going to be popular, being acclaimed as king. I am going to be crucified. There is a real cost if you are going to come after Me. You better count the cost. You better measure it.
Now, don’t misunderstand Jesus and think that I have got to hate my father, and my mother, because that is just the opposite of what the gospel teaches. The fruit of the Spirit is love. And if say I love God and hate my brother, I am a liar and the truth is not in me. How can I love God who I haven’t seen and hate my brother who I have seen? Then what does Jesus mean, unless you hate your father, mother, brothers and so forth? That is in the language a comparative.
Your love for Jesus Christ must be supreme. It must be greater than your love for your family, your home or yourself, because it may cost you all of these things to follow Jesus Christ. And for many of those people it did cost all those things. Following Christ did cost some of them their families, their family relationships. For they were ostracized by their families when they made their commitment to Jesus Christ. And the same is true today. Many people have found it quite costly to follow Jesus Christ. It cost them their family relationships. But Jesus said if you are not willing to give up these family relationships, you can’t really be My disciple. You have got to love Me more than you love any other relationship that you have. Your love for Me must be supreme and every other love must be subservient to your love for Me.
Then He went on to say,
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (14:27).
I am not going to be crowned as king of the world. I am going to bear a cross. I am going to be crucified, and if you are not willing to take up your cross you can’t really be My disciple. If you really want to follow Me and be My disciple, it can involve a cross and you better consider that.
Jesus is deliberately laying out the terms for discipleship and they are not soft, easy, comfortable terms. They are harsh. They are severe. And it is important that you count the cost, the cost of discipleship.
Then Jesus gives a couple of parables in which there is that emphasis of counting the cost.
For which of you, intends to build a tower (14:28),
This is probably one of those towers that they built out in the middle of their vineyards, which are so common even to the present day in that country.
The people generally lived in the cities, but they had their farms in the countries. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons they would move out of the cities and into these towers that were built out in the middle of their orchards, or vineyards. These towers had the living quarters in the first level, but then you can go up into the upper level, and from the tower you can look over and watch the vineyard to make sure that no one is coming in and ripping you off. They were just towers for the protection for the vineyards. So He is probably referring to one of these vineyard towers.
Which man of you, who intends to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all those that see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and wasn’t able to finish (14:28-30).
Count the cost. It is important. Don’t just jump in. He is not really seeking to create a popular movement. He is seeking to thin the crowds of those that were following. Count the cost.
What king, going to make war against another king, doesn’t sit down first, and consult whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends an ambassadors, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple (14:31-33).
Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.
Then He said,
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its tang, who will use it for seasoning? It is neither fit for the land, nor for the dunghill; but men will cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear (14:34-35).
In those days salt was used for three basic things. Salt was used, number one, as a preservative when they would butcher. They would roast the meat right away and the meat that they didn’t roast they would salt because they didn’t have refrigeration. Salt has an antiseptic type of an effect. It kills the bacteria on the surface of the meat and preserves the meat.
Salt was used as a seasoning to flavor the food, like we use salt today—add a little zing to the food, to the taste. Foods without salt are flat. Just a little salt really makes a difference. Every once in a while when we were kids, Mom would forget to put the salt in. Potatoes without salt, mashed potatoes are flat. It is amazing what a little salt will do for mashed potatoes. We are the salt. Salt is good. But if it has lost it savor it is not good.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount talked about salt in an earlier part of His ministry. He said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). Again, talking about if the salt has lost it savor wherewith would it be salted, therefore it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man. Salt is good if it is tangy. If it isn’t, it is worthless.
The third purpose for salt was to put it on the path to kill the vegetation so that they would keep the paths clear from vegetation by just putting salt on it. The salt would destroy the vegetation. It was a weed killer.
You as a child of God should have a preserving effect in the society in which you live. Our rotten society testifies against the church. It bears witness against the church. But you should have sort of a zingy effect where ever you go. You should add zest and flavor because of your walk with Jesus Christ.
Salt has another capacity of making people thirsty. And you should be creating a thirst in people.
Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them (15:1-2).
Notice the four groups that had gathered divided into two categories. First of all, the publicans and sinners. Publicans were tax collectors, the outcast of that society, one of the most hated persons in the community. They were considered by the Jews to be traders and quislings. And they were always classified with sinners.
So the publicans and the sinners had gathered to hear Jesus. It is amazing that many of the publicans were attracted to Jesus. Matthew was a publican called to be a disciple. He left his receipt of customs and followed Jesus. Zacchaeus was a publican. And after his encounter with Jesus, he said, “Behold, I will take half of my goods (they were always wealthy people) and give it to the poor. And if I have taken fragrantly from any man, I will restore to him twofold.” Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” The publicans were attracted to Jesus as were the sinners, because He had a message of hope for them. They gathered to hear. But the others, the Pharisees and the scribes, they gathered to find fault. They were looking for things by which they might accuse Jesus. They were waiting for a slipup. They were waiting for some mistake so that they could pounce upon it and accuse Him. So they began to say, murmuring,
He receives sinners, and eats with them (15:2).
They thought they were saying something horrible in condemning Him, but in reality, they were proclaiming a glorious gospel. Jesus receives sinners and you can become one with Him.
John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you might have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.” He receives sinners and He eats with them. He becomes one with them. He dips in the same sop with them. He eats the same bread with them. He is identifying with them. Yes, He does. Thank God He does, and because He does there is hope for every one of us.
So, there were those that were hearing Him, desiring to hear Him. And there were those who were seeking to find fault with Him, looking for something to condemn.
Now, what should have been if they were truly righteous men, the Pharisees and the scribes? What should be their attitudes when sinners were responding to the gospel? What should be the reaction if we see sinners saved? I oftentimes hear people criticize Billy Graham and his campaigns. You see hundreds of people flowing forward to accept Jesus Christ, and they say, “Yes, but a lot of them don’t stick.” They are sour apples, rather than saying, “Bless God! Look at that. Praise the Lord,” and rejoicing that all of these people are accepting the Lord. Instead, they are looking for something to find fault in. They say, “He preaches a cheap gospel.”
When the hippies were coming to Jesus by the hundreds, as I was going across the country, I would have pastors come up to me and say, “I saw pictures of your baptisms at Corona Del Mar, but when are they going to cut their hair?” Rather than saying, “I saw the pictures, and my, a thousand young people being baptized, how glorious. Bless God; that is glorious. That’s thrilling!” They have to pick on something and they can’t really rejoice that the Lord receives sinners. But instead, they are sour apples over it. Jealous or whatever.
And so Jesus spoke this parable unto them (15:3),
Unto who? Unto the Pharisees and scribes, because of their sour apple remark.
What man of you, you have a hundred sheep, and you lose one of them, will you not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until you find it? And when you have found it, laid it upon your shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, and he says unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep that was lost (15:4-6).
So when you find the lost sheep there is the rejoicing. There is the rejoicing in the neighborhood. “Rejoice, I have found the lost sheep.”
And then Jesus said unto you,
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than ninety-nine just persons, who don’t need to repent (15:7).
So while the guys down here are saying, “When are they going to cut their hair?” The angels are up having a whoopee time rejoicing that the lost has been found. Joy in heaven.
Either what woman has ten pieces of silver, and she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she had found it, she called her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which was lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents (15:8-10).
Again, the natural response to finding that which is lost is rejoicing. The Lord said that there is joy in heaven over just one sinner who repents.
And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And so he divided unto them his living (15:11-12).
Now, under the law when there were two sons, the older son received two thirds of the inheritance and the younger son received one third of the inheritance. That was just the law. And many times if a father wanted to retire, he would divide the inheritance to the sons before his death. It would automatically belong to the son after the death of the father. But this boy had the audacity to come his dad and say, “Dad, I would like my inheritance now.” So the father divided the inheritance.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there he wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent everything, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine (15:13-15).
This was a job forbidden to the Jew. “Cursed is the man that feeds the swine.”
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man would give to him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have enough bread that they could spare, and yet I’m dying of hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called your son: but make me as one of your hired servants. And he arose, and he came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on him [the family signet ring], and put shoes on his feet (15:16-22):
Shoes on the feet were significant, because the slaves were never given shoes, only the family members, the son. Slaves were never given shoes by their masters. That is why in that old Negro spiritual that came out of the slave days, “You gotta shoes, I gotta shoes, all God’s children got shoes. When we get to heaven going to put on our shoes.” I am not going to be a slave any more. I am a son. I am a child of God. And that hymn looked forward to that day when they would have shoes. They would be acclaimed the sons of God in that heavenly kingdom. That was just one thing about slavery, you never gave your slave a pair of shoes.
So the son said, “Hey, I am not worthy to be called your son, just a servant.” The dad didn’t even let him finish the speech. He said, “Put the shoes on him.”
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and let’s be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard the music and saw the dancing. And he called one of the servants, and said what’s going on. And he said unto him, your brother has come home; and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore his father came out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years I have served thee, and I didn’t transgress at any time your commandment; and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might have a party with my friends: But as soon as this your son was come, which has devoured your living with prostitutes, you have killed for him the fatted calf (15:23-30).
Now, here is the, really, the real point of the parable. Though it may teach many things, the parable was intended against the Pharisees. All three actually did, but He is building up. In each of the parables, there is something lost that is found and the result of finding that which was lost was rejoicing, happiness. Jesus receives sinners. That shouldn’t be said in a derogatory sense. That should be said in a rejoicing sense. Jesus receives sinners! There is hope, friend. Rejoice! Jesus receives sinners. And yet, they were not saying it with that inflection, but they were saying it in a derogatory sense. “He receives sinners and eats with them.” So as the natural reaction to finding something that is lost should be rejoicing, the Pharisees are angry. They are condemning. They are sitting back and judging. So the story was given.
In the third story, Jesus adds the older brother and his attitude towards the rejoicing, because the father receives sinners. And here he is out there sulking, angry and upset. He is not going to join in. “You have never done anything like this for me.” And his sulking attitude, because the father received the sinner. “He went out and spent everything he had on prostitutes. He is a sinner. Yet, you have a big party because he comes home.” This was the same attitude that the Pharisees were expressing.
To me it is interesting that the father said,
Son, you are ever with me, and all that I have is yours (15:31).
You see, the younger son had taken his inheritance, so that everything that was left belonged to the older son. “All that I have is yours.”
It was necessary that we should have this party, and be glad: for this your brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found (15:32).
Because the Lord receives sinners and eats with them, the lost is found. Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
So we so often hear marvelous sermons preached from the parable of the prodigal son, but rarely do we ever hear a message that really gives the true meaning of the parable, or the real reason for the parable. The reason wasn’t just to show the father receiving with joy a son that was lost, but the parable was used to show the Pharisees how wrong was their condemnation of Him when they said, “He receives sinners and eats with them.” They should have been rejoicing over it, rather than griping over it.
May God help us that we will not have a pharisitical attitude towards the work of God in receiving sinners, because maybe He is receiving them at some other church in the county rather than here. It doesn’t matter where He receives them. Let us rejoice that He is receiving them. Let us pray that God will send a great spiritual wakening throughout the county in every church. Let us not be so shortsighted and narrow-minded that we are only praying for God’s blessing upon Calvary Chapel, because God knows we can’t house them all. But let us begin to really pray that God will revive His church throughout this entire county and that sinners would be brought to Christ, that the Lord might receive sinners anywhere and everywhere, that there might be revival in the Baptist church and the Methodist church, the Lutheran church and the Presbyterian church. Let us just pray that God might just be able to receive sinners in all of these churches, that there would be a real move of God’s Spirit throughout the whole area.
If we hear of revival somewhere, let us not go and try to find the faults that may exist in their doctrines or positions. “Well, Lord, they didn’t follow us so we told them not to do it.” Jesus said, “You should not have done that. If they are out there doing it in My name, they can’t very well be against us. Don’t stop them.” God deliver us from narrow sectarianism, from an attitude of the Pharisee, but to the same heart of Jesus. Let us rejoice that the Lord receives sinners and eats with them.
Shall we pray.
Father, we thank You that You have received us. We’ve had that glorious joy of eating with You, sitting down, Lord, and partaking of Thee, the Bread of Life. Lord, we pray that today our hearts will be united with Yours, our visions will be united with Yours, and that we, Lord, might come to that place of rejoicing in Thy work wherever it is being done, by whomever it is being done. Lord, keep us from that narrowness that would seek to restrict Your work only in our midst, that would seek to restrict Your blessings only to our fellowship, and may we seek to pray for Your blessings upon all who call upon Your name in truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Next week chapters 16 and 17. Next week in chapter 16, tremendously interesting discussion by Jesus on the subject of Hades. That place that is in the center of the earth. So we will be looking at the subject of Hades next Sunday evening and what Jesus has to say about it in contrast to what the Jehovah Witnesses have to say about it. Then you’ll have to determine whether you want to believe Jesus or the Jehovah Witnesses. I’ve already made my mind up. May the Lord be with you now and go before you this week and bless you with His blessings and His love. May He keep His hand upon you and may He guide you in each of the decisions that you’ll have to make, that you might be led of the Lord in all things. May the good hand of our Lord be upon you. In Jesus’ name.