The Rock Church Worship Service


Song Of Hope (Heaven Come Down)


Agora, SBA
May 17th the Bredows are hosting


As I was getting the music together this week, I kept being led to sing about the cross
Is it a real bummer if I sing about the cross today?
My mother taught me about Jesus
Last week was supposed to be communion and we had communion outside, the real deal, by sharing a meal together
Lead Me To The Cross (Savior I come)
Sweetly Broken (To the cross I look)
Such Love (Tell me the story of) /Jesus Lord Of Heaven (Your love is deeper than any ocean)


Luke 14:15-24
Brennan Manning’s memoirs
The book begins with a poem
Professional at screwing up

All Is Grace was written in a certain frame of mind-that of a ragamuffin.
This book is by the one who thought he’d be father along by now, but he’s not. It is by the inmate who promised the parole board he’d be good, but he wasn’t. It is by the dim-eyed who showed the path to others but kept losing his way. It is by the wet-brained who believed if a little wine is good for the stomach, then a lot is great. It is by the liar, tramp and thief, otherwise known as the priest, speaker and author. It is by the disciple whose cheese slid off his cracker so many times he said “to hell with cheese ‘n’ crackers.” It is by the young at heart but old of bone who is led these days in a way he’d rather not go
But, this book is also for the gentle ones who’ve lived among wolves. It is for those who’ve broken free of collar to romp in fields of love and marriage and divorce. It is for those who mourn, who’ve been mourning most of their lives, yet they hang on to shall be comforted. It is for those who’ve dreamed of entertaining angels but found instead a few friends of great price. It is for the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses again, and again, and again, and again. It is for those who strain at pious piffle because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself.
This book is for myself and those who have been around the block enough times that we dare to whisper. The ragamuffin’s rumor-all is grace.

At the beginning of Mark, there’s a summation about what Jesus is about
He tells stories and then He demonstrates the point
Shows people what the kingdom of God is like
Jesus was revealing God’s reign in this world
Maybe you have lost hope, but Jesus says God has drawn near and He is here
He announces what the good news is
Many of the descriptions are in Luke which is why we’ve been focused so much on Luke
Before we step into the situation, let’s get some background
Jesus is invited to another meal by another religious leader
He watches in v7 how people are positioning and posturing themselves
Banquets and meals are in open courts which means anybody can watch and listen
Not a sermon, but a story
Lame and maimed are unable to repay
Invite them to your table
Makes a pious proclamation about eating bread in the kingdom of God
Is His kingdom present? Is His reign and rule present in this community
Is hospitality and generosity a part of your community?

When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'” (Luke 14:15-24 ESV)

Stanza 1
And he said to him, “a man once gave a great banquet and he invited many. And he sent his servant at the hour of the banquet to say; ‘Come, because all is now ready!’ But they all alike began to make excuses.”
Sounds like kingdom language
In the kingdom, we see what God is like
The religious leaders have the vision of ruling and reining over men
They began to make excuses

Stanza 2
The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it, I pray you have me excuse.’
This is a flat-out lie
Property in this culture is a big deal
Before committing to buying a property, they would have already looked at it
To say I bought it sight unseen in this era
Basically saying I don’t want to go
Listeners know that this answer is lame
My business, my schedule, is more important than a relationship with you

Stanza 3
And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen and I got to test them. I pray you have me excused.’
Hides behind pious language
When you bought oxen, the seller posted a notice and the offer was thoroughly vetted before purchase
Like buying five used cars off of Craigslist sight unseen
It’s a refusal to participate

Stanza 4
And another said, ‘I have married a bride, and theft – I cannot come!’
A village could not host two great banquets next to each other
It was considered rude to talk about women in public
I refuse the invitation
Jesus says invite those who were invited to participate
They don’t want to sit or associate with the people Jesus associates
Jesus steps out and says that’s what I stand out about, for those on the outside
Those are the people who will be blessed

Stanza 5
So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant,go out quickly, into the streets and the lanes of the city, bring in the poor, maimed, blind and lame.’
The host has every right to be angry for being publicly humiliated
Okay, forget those folk, go get the outcasts
Every right to be angry
Are we getting angry about the right kinds of things?
About what God is angry for?
This host takes his anger and turns it into grace for the outsider
What Jesus is revealing is the great reversal
Those who are out are in
The maimed can’t get married
The poor can’t repay
The blind can’t examine fields
The lame can’t test oxen
Hospitality and generosity
You take your religious patterns
Question for us tonight: who are we keeping out of the kingdom of God tonight?

Stanzas 6 & 7
And the servant said, ‘sir what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ and the master said to the relevant, ‘go out, unto the highways and hedges, and compel to enter, that my house may be filled.’
There’s still room
My table is open to anyone
Compel is the word the text uses
In modern translation it means to force and pressure them
This is what religion does to people
You owe this to God
It’s your duty to obey God
Rules and regulations
Led to very poor forms of evangelism
Scare tactics to bring them in
In the Middle East, when an unexpected invitation comes from an unexpected host, a refusal is expected for the first fifteen minutes
Gently bring them along, begging, bowing, and scraping
We really, really, REALLY want you there
I know it sounds unbelievable
The reign of God is the reign of grace

For I tell you, none of these who were invited shall taste my banquet
If you want to participate in the kingdom, in the reign of God
Have to be up close and personal
Probably with weird kids you wouldn’t normally associate with
On Easter we read about the prodigal son
After losing everything and coming back to deny further relationship with the father, he is greeted with extravagant grace
Want to close with the conclusion of that story

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'” (Luke 15:25-32 ESV)

Are we the elder brother?
Jesus leaves it open ended on purpose because Jesus is inviting us into the story
That’s how extensive His grace is
Who do we consider out and in?
Does it line up with Jesus’ understanding of the reign of God


We’ve been singing about the love of God tonight
[Matt comes up and turns the guitar on]
See that? He loved me like I was an outcast
In the eyes of god I was once separated afar from Him as I continued to act like an outcast
And He called me friend
More Than A Friend (In the quiet of my soul)

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