"Brought To The Banquet By The Blood!" Ephesians 2:11-22

June 13, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"Come! For all things are ready!" Jesus invites us sinners to feast with Him!

Episode Notes

The Second Sunday After Trinity                           13-June-2021

Sermon Text: Ephesians 2:13-22

Sermon Theme: “Brought To The Banquet Through The Blood!”

                                    Written by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. “Come, for everything is now ready!” The invitations had been sent out. The generous rich man had sacrificed his choicest livestock and prepared the best of all his crops. He had slaved and labored to prepare the best wine and life giving bread. Now all was ready and he sent out his servants to those invited, “Come, fore everything is now ready!”

      Who wouldn’t run to such a feast prepared by so gracious a king? Those invited - all of them began to make excuses why they could come. Some were too busy with their property, others with their business, and still others used the excuse that it was the only day they had to spend with their family. They would not come - they rejected sharing the feast of life with this generous king. They were too busy with the gifts they had received from Him in the first place, but deceived themselves into thinking they had amassed, earned, or won them on their own.

      The generous King would not be thwarted - His life giving feast would not be wasted. The invitation would go out to the poor, crippled, lame, blind, homeless, those without hope. They would come joyfully into His banquet hall for the feast - while those invited would not taste of His feast of life.  

    Jesus teaches this parable to His Church as a warning. The Jews invited to the feast of Christ’s Kingdom by the covenant of circumcision on the 8th day after their birth rejected the feast rejecting salvation. So also many whose name the Lord God took upon His lips as He adopted them with His Name in Holy Baptism reject the invitation to come into the Lord’s House and to be served by King Jesus with the feast of forgiveness, life, and salvation. They have “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace..”(Heb. 10:29) They have sadly forgotten that they have been, “Brought to the Banquet Through The Blood!”

      “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.” Our Creator God- Christ Jesus the Lord calls us to remember the only source of true rest. “Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." We believe the lie that rest is found by escaping to our cabin in the woods, or by spending the day on the lake, or by working more around the home, or by sleeping in on Sunday morning with the family. It is a lie that only exhausts us more and more. Studies report that the millennial generation are always tired. Many exist in the cult of exhaustion. 24/7 on social media platforms for the fear of missing out - FOMO - on the latest video, post, picture, or chat is being replaced by JOMO - the joy of missing out. The only way many millennials can tune out all the exhausting noise is to sleep. It is only a generational problem - all of us chase rest where no rest is to be found.

        We forgotten. Forgotten who we were! St. Paul calls his congregation at Ephesus to remember. (Eph. 2:11-12). They were once without rest for they were without Christ. They had no covenant of promise, and so were without hope, for they were without God in this world. The Ephesian gentiles had been very religious. The great temple of Diana was the heart of their city and commerce. She was only a man invented goddess - an idol - a nothing but a lifeless statue which had no life or breath. Those who prayed to her, were like her dead, deaf, and dumb. Her wisdom, which appealed to sinful human reason, only brought death - it was foolishness - a lie.

        Do you remember who you were? Many of us were baptized as infants, just as Jewish boys were circumcised and named the 8th day after their birth. We don’t remember the time that we were without God’s covenant of promise in holy baptism, without hope, without God in this world. We forget that we too were conceived and born “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We too were captive to Satan’s lies - “captive to the prince of the power of the air.” We were the walking dead following the course of the foolishness of the world and were by nature children of God’s just wrath just as all the others. Remember - pray, “Father, forgive us our trespasses” Remember, “ we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment.”

          Remember Whose you are now! (Ephesians 2: 13) On the cross Jesus had your name upon His lips as He prayed the Father to forgive you all your sins. On the cross Jesus had your name engraved upon His hands with the nails that pierced His innocent flesh. On the cross Jesus took all of my sins, your sins, the world sins upon Himself that He might drink the full cup of God’s eternal just wrath under the Law for all sinners of all time. He alone is the sacrifice. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by His willing sacrifice for us. Now His blood gushes from His lifeless side to bring His Life to our world. Life is in the blood - His life - eternal life - innocent life - righteous life - it floods upon you in the rose colored water that fill the font of your baptism. Faith alone sees what Christ’s Word and promise has placed in this blessed washing, renewal, and invitation.

      Remember Who now clothes you! (Ephesians 2:14-16) “Did you see what he wore to church?” “I don’t have any church clothes, I can’t come.” How often we judge superficially or make excuses to stay away. Coming to the feast isn’t about having the right clothing, but being clothed by the King. Christ Jesus comes here every Sunday to clothe you with Himself. He is our peace. Peace He breathes out upon us dirty rag clad sinners through His new life giving words of forgiveness - absolution. Peace as He breathes us alive by His Holy Spirit through peace giving words - “I forgive you all your sins!” They are gone - forever forgotten by God your loving Father who sees you only through the cross of Christ Jesus - redeemed, restored, forgiven.

      Remember Whose family to whom you belong. Paul had returned to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey. He brought a gift from the gentile Christians to support the Jewish Christians who were suffering from famine. Christian faith lives in mercy, especially towards the household of faith. Paul would pay the vows for Jewish Christians in the Temple to show that he wasn’t teaching against the Temple and its ceremonies. He was teaching that they all found their fulfillment in the Messiah Jesus. He wasn’t fomenting rebellion. He was preaching to all come to the great Messianic feast! In the middle of the Temple courts a wall divided Jewish men from all others who came to worship. Archeologists have unearthed one of the signs that was posted there - it warned, “Let no foreigner enter within this screen and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary. Whosoever is taken so doing will be the cause of that death overtaketh him.” Certain Jews from Asia Minor who had seen Trophimus the Ephesian with Paul in the city. They assumed he had brought that gentile into the inner courts and raised a riot intent on murdering Paul. You can read more about it in Acts 21. The Ephesian congregation felt guilty, that it was their fault that Paul was arrested and imprisoned.

    Paul assures them here that it was according to Christ’s plan. The invitation would now go out to the highest Gentiles in the land - He would testify of Christ before the Roman Emperor himself. The handwriting against us. The wall that separated mankind has all been broken down. Jesus perfectly fulfilled God’s moral and ceremonial law for all mankind. That which sin had torn apart and divided - is healed. Satan and his lie, our fallen reason and our sin, the world seeking power always wants to divide mankind. Communism thrived by setting one group of people against another - calling for revolution that they might slaughter the innocent and usurp power for the ruling class. The lie of progressive socialism stands on the graves of over 100 million in the 20th century. Peace is found only in the flesh and blood of Jesus. In Him true humanity is restored. Gal 3:26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.- Open you eyes! See every fellow sinner, no matter what shade of brown their skin, as one for whom Christ Jesus shed His blood. Invite them to come to the feast! In Jesus God’s family is restored - behold your brothers and sisters in Christ!

    Remember Who you hear every Sunday! (Ephesians 2:17) King Christ Jesus is here - He preaches His Word to you through His called and ordained servants of His Word. Pastors are ordained - they are under orders to make known unto you all things Christ has commanded - His Word and doctrine. How can you know it is His? Be like the Bereans! Act 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

      Remember Who draws near to give you rest here every Sunday! (Ephesians 2:18) We begin in His Name - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - baptism He has claimed us to be His own by grace! (Ephesians 2:19) You are birthed as citizens of heaven. Here you gather with all the saints - those around this globe in the Church Militant - those who join their voices with us in the eternal liturgy sung by the Church Triumphant in Paradise. There is only one Holy Christian and Apostolic Church! (Ephesians 2: 20) The Church stands! It is built by God. It is founded upon the Word of God preached and written by the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. It all lines up with Christ Jesus - the Cornerstone! In ancient times every angle, measurement, and dimension was sighted off the cornerstone of a building. Cornerstone laying was a precise mathematical art.  

        Remember Whose House you are a living part (Ephesians 2:21-22) The Church is not dying - it can’t for Christ lives. We are a living building. Yes, congregations may close - the Lord may remove His Gospel from a nation who rejects His invitation - but His invitation goes out into the world - to the highways and hedges. It compels people to come. Wisdom cries out, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed! Live!” Rejoice! You are being built together - the body of Christ - His Church as God the Holy Spirit renews you in Christ’s peace - that you may truly rest - redeemed, restored, forgiven. Amen.

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