Fairmont First Baptist Church
At the Table: Who's Invited?
  • Praise Him! Praise Him!
  • It Is Well with My Soul
      • Luke 15:1–32CSB

  • Intro

    Week 2 of 4: At the Table
    Last week we looked at the fact that God’s story begins and ends with our provision and at the table
    There is something about breaking bread together and brings you closer, isn’t there.
    Social clubs (Rotary)
    Meals at church
    We know the importance of families having regular meals together.
    But who is invited to the table?
    Reputation
    Birds of a feather
    you are known by the company you keep
    You need to be careful who you eat with, who you are sharing a table with.
    After all it can reflect back on you who you are seen sitting with at McDonald’s or who’s car is seen outside your house
    After all if you gain the reputation for eating with certain kinds of people, it might affect you witness.
    Luke 15 CSB
    All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance. “Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” He also said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.” ’ So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he summoned one of the servants, questioning what these things meant. ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ “ ‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

    What do lost sheep, coins, and sons have to do with who you eat with?

    I think that we might know these parables,
    but we might miss the larger context sometimes
    We read them in isolation and miss these two intro verses.
    We are left asking a question:
    What, exactly, do lost sheep, coins, and sons have to do with the table?
    Jesus is getting called out for who he is eating with.
    People not deemed worthy of his company
    Tax collectors & Sinners
    Those who are in fellowship with the political enemy (Rome) and those that are defiled by their sin
    What’s the big deal?
    By sharing a table with those that are defiled, Jesus is at risk for becoming defiled himself.
    He is being made unclean by being around sinners
    It is in this context that all of the parables of the last sheep, coin, and son must be read.
    This is about Jesus’ ministry to the lost
    The objection from the religious folks isn’t that Jesus is preaching to the lost, but rather that he is spending time with them
    That he is breaking bread with them.
    The religious folks want the tax collectors and the sinners to get cleaned first, before they are invited to the table.
    They have to put away their filth, their brokenness, and their sin before they are allowed at the table.
    But that is not the way that it works.
    Because it can’t
    We can’t get cleaned up on our own
    We can’t get right on our own
    We can’t restore ourselves
    We can only repent and believe because Jesus has paid the debt
    Col 2:14
    Colossians 2:14 CSB
    He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.

    Getting fed without connection

    We often want to get fed, want the benefits of the food, without the connection of the table.
    We want to get the good stuff for us without having to share the table with those that we perceive and being lesser than us.
    But food and the table is never just about food.
    It is about connection.
    There is history and culture and story on every plate.
    It tells us something.
    It connects us to the past and each other
    Jesus delved into a place where the religious elite were unwilling to go.
    As believers, we must ask ourselves if we are willing to participate in God’s work beyond the comfort of neatly arranged place settings, inviting people into our lives to share a table and a story that might open a door to healing and restoration—culturally and spiritually.
    We must be willing to go where others are not to find and rescue the lost.
    We can not be content to rest on our laurels while there is a single lost sheep, coin or son!

    The Table is about joy!

    Jesus is sharing the table with the lost, but what is the response when the lost are found?
    The only appropriate response to the lost being found is unmitigated and total joy!
    Sheep is found
    Luke 15:7
    Luke 15:7 CSB
    I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.
    Coin is found
    Luke 15:10
    Luke 15:10 CSB
    I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
    What happens when the son returns?
    A feast is called
    Luke 15:22-24
    Luke 15:22–24 CSB
    “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
    There is joy.
    The father is restoring the younger son to his place in the family
    We are a part of God’s family and when we return, aware of our failure, repentant, and willing to take the position of a slave in God’s household, we are restored to our place in that family.
    But not all are joyful
    The older brother is resentful
    He doesn’t want to participate in the joy, he doesn’t want to be at the table with his sorry excuse of a younger brother.

    Conclusion

    God’s table isn’t ours to police, to tell people who can and can’t come.
    God invites all to sit at the table with him
    Connection and fellowship is part of God’s plan for reaching the lost.
    Let us not be like the religious folks or the older brother.
    As we are entering a season where we spend time around the table together, let us not think that we are better than
    The believer can be confident that God is abundantly able to use the table to carry out his will, including reaching the lost.
      • Colossians 2:14CSB

      • Luke 15:10CSB

      • Luke 15:22–24CSB

  • Amazing Grace

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