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NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GOSPEL

by Kreighton L. Chan, M.D., Deacon

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, July 28, 2002


"But they made light of it [they paid no attention], and went their ways"
(Matthew 22:5).


There are many things in life that sinners value highly and feel are important to them. These things they hold in high regard. To some, it may be their family or friends. To others, it may be their career, school, or other means to improve their standing and wealth. To others, it may be specific sins such as looking at pornography, dancing, or thinking dirty thoughts. Because these are so important to them, its no wonder that they often think about them, plan for them, save money for them, and make time for them. When they have any spare time at all, you can be certain that you will find them involved in one of these activities.

However, there is one thing in life that all sinners do not think is important - that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. They do not think about it, nor do they make plans to hear it, or study it. Even if they go to church and "hear" the gospel they will not "listen" to the gospel and apply its truth to themselves. This is especially true for those that have heard the gospel many times. They grow increasingly tired of hearing it because the message does not seem important to them.

This point is made crystal clear in this parable of the wedding feast which is a picture of the gospel, the salvation that Christ offers. A parable in the Bible is a story based upon life which pictures a more important heavenly truth. Here we have a king, who represents God the Father in Heaven preparing a wedding feast for His Son, who pictures Jesus Christ. The king, God the Father, sends His servants, a picture of Christians, to invite the guests to the wedding feast. These guests are unconverted sinners. This invitation is a picture of God's invitation to sinners to come to Christ for salvation. However, notice that those who were invited, "made light of it." The original word in the Greek where we get this translation is amelio, a very strong word, meaning "to be careless, without concern; to neglect."

What a strong statement against wicked sinners! Can a more clear case be made that sinners despise and reject the gospel of Jesus Christ? That they don't pay attention to God's offer of the gospel tells volumes of their hatred for Christ and love for themselves. Sinners are not only wicked but also foolish to chose to remain in a life of sin and don't pay attention to the gospel that can save them from hell.

I. You don't pay attention to God.

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come" (Matthew 22:2,3).

1. By dishonoring Him as Sovereign.

"For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth"(Psalm 47:2).

Sinner, do you have any idea who is addressing you? It is no other than your King, "the great King over all the earth" that is speaking to you. He who holds your life in the balance commands your attention. If the President or the Queen of England spoke to you, you would naturally give them your fullest attention, but you don't pay attention to the God of the universe! You are foolish indeed. When presidents and kings of this world are dead, our God will continue to reign eternally.

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:17).

And this eternal God is speaking to you about something that should be of great interest to you -the salvation of your soul. That He would even regard you, much less offer you salvation, is surprising in itself.

"What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?" (Job 7:1)

2. By ignoring His interest in you.


Are you, small as you are, really worth the attention of Almighty God? Although God is sufficient in Himself and doesn't need man, yet because of His love for you He calls you tonight to salvation in Christ. From among all the millions of people in Los Angeles, He has called you to be in a Bible-believing Baptist church to hear the gospel. Think of all the possible reasons why you might not be here tonight. And yet you're here! This is because He is paying attention to you. The fact that you are not thinking along these lines is proof that you don't pay attention to God and His offer of salvation to you.


3. By refusing His repeated calls toward you.

"Again, he sent forth other servants saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage" (Matthew 24:4).

You have not only dishonored God and ignored Him this once, but you have done this many times. It is a rare person in our country who has not heard a gospel invitation. And many of you have heard dozens, even hundreds, of gospel sermons and refused to pay attention to God's call to come to Christ.

"But they made light of it (they paid no attention), and went their ways" (Matthew 22:5).

II. You don't pay attention to Christians.

1. By ignoring our message to come and see.

"And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come" (Matthew 22:3).

The message of every Christian here to you is clear and simple, "Come and see." Come to church with us and see what good things God offers you in the gospel of Christ, the message of salvation. The gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, but rose again bodily the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The gospel literally means "good news." And it is good news indeed! The message of the gospel is that although you are under judgment for sin, you can have forgiveness through the shed Blood of Christ. Oh, sure you have come to church tonight, but will you come to Jesus? That's the real question. As the guests in the parable "would not come" it is very likely that you will not come to Jesus either.

It is very easy to become a Christian. In the Bible, a Christian by the name of Philip said to a lost man Nathanael, "Come and see" (John 1:46). And Nathanael did just that. He came and saw Jesus. That was enough to save Nathanael and that would be enough to save you.


2. By ignoring our role as ambassadors for Christ.

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Christ is no longer on the earth. He ascended to heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. He is not here, so He is not able to talk to you tonight. However, in His place He has sent me to offer you to come to Him for salvation. Christians represent Jesus Christ our Savior on the earth. By rejecting our invitation for salvation you are in essence rejecting Jesus Himself.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me"(John 13:20).

3. By your mistreatment of us.

"And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them" (Matthew 22:6).

Now we live in a civilized society and we have laws to protect man. So Christians are not usually killed in our country for their beliefs. However, the hatred of the liberal left-wing media, which is the view of most sinners, is very strong against Christians. Only the Christian religion is mistreated among the world religions. You don't see or hear people railing against Mohammed, Buddha, or the Dali Lama do you? But Christ and Christians are constantly attacked. That's why you agree with them not speak up for Christ in your classroom. Because you hate Christ and those who believe in Him. Yes, you tend to despise all that Christians believe. You hate Jesus without any reason and you hate Christians without any real reason either.

But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause (John 15:25).

"But they made light of it (they paid not attention), and went their ways" (Matthew 22:5).

III. You don't pay attention to your eternal soul.

1. Because you are a natural person.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Haven't you ever thought what the meaning to life is? Haven't you ever sensed that you have an eternal soul that will live forever? Or have you been tricked into believing the lie of evolution, that you are just an animal that will go to the dust never to be remembered? Why is it that you never think of preparing to meet God? Why is it that you pay no attention to the many sins that you have done? Why is it that you have never sought forgiveness of these sins through the Blood of Christ?

The answer to all of these questions is that you are a natural man and that you cannot receive any spiritual truth that the Bible speaks of. But just being a natural man does not force you to disregard your eternal soul and does not really prevent you from becoming a true Christian. For if that were the case, then no one could become a Christian, because all are born in a natural state.


2. Because you are a worldly person.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:15,16).

It is really the love of the world that is the reason you pay no attention to your eternal soul, your sins, and your need for salvation. What is this love for the world? It is simply what you and all your friends are desperately seeking after. These are things that you lust after, such as looking at pornography, lusting after a boy or girl, or the greedy desire to become rich. And these are things that will bring you pride, like a college education, a good job, popularity, being "cool" to other people. All these things are love for the world. And you cannot love the world and love your soul at the same time. You cannot love the world and become a real Christian.

"But they made light of it (they paid no attention), and went their ways" (Matthew 22:5).

IV. You don't pay attention to the gospel.

1. By preferring your own selfish interests.

"But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise" (Matthew 22:5).

Notice that the king calls the guests to come to the wedding feast but the guests, by rejecting the king's invitation and by rejecting his son, "went their ways." Similarly, God calls you to come to Christ but you pay no attention to the gospel and you also go your own way. Which way is your own way? It is any way other than coming to Jesus, it is the way of your own sin.

"And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come" (Luke 14:18-20).

There is a universal agreement among sinners that when the gospel is presented to them - "They all with one consent began to make excuse." And you will make an excuse as to why you cannot come to Christ. It may not be the same sinful excuse as someone else but the effect is the same. You will excuse yourself from coming. Notice one group of sinners will excuse themselves because of pleasure -"I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it." Another group will excuse themselves because of work-"I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them." Yet another group will excuse themselves because of family-"I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." Whatever your reason for not coming to Christ, however good and innocent it may sound, is a sinful reason and will send you to Hell.


2. You neglecting the cost of the gospel.


Have you considered at all the great cost to bring you the gospel that you neglect? First of all, it costs God the Father His Son, Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

God the Father was perfectly content to dwell with God the Son in Heaven. It was only because of His love for you and His desire to provide a way out of Hell for you that He was willing to part with His dear Son to come to earth to die and shed His Blood as payment for your sin. Can you imagine an earthly father parting with his son for people who would reject his son anyway? No, only God's love is capable of providing a gift at such great cost to undeserving man.

And then consider the cost to Jesus. He left His home in Heaven to dwell with sinful man. The Bible says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not (John 1:11). Most people rejected Jesus and did not come to Him. Even all His Disciples eventually "forsook him and fled" (Mark 14:50). Then he was brutally tortured and hung to die on the cross, where He shed His Blood for you.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:3).

Jesus laid down His life for you. He did it because He loves you. Though you don't pay attention to Him, neglect, and reject Him, still He calls you His friend. What great love is this! He suffered all that torture and shame to save you from Hell.

And then consider the cost or value of the Blood of Christ.

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18,19).

Things highly valued in this world like silver and gold are considered in the Bible "corruptible, " or perishable, while the Blood of Christ, neglected by sinners like yourself, is spoken of as being "precious." That's because silver and gold will one day be worthless as they perish with the world, but the precious Blood of Christ will retain its value throughout all eternity. Also, only the Blood of Christ has sufficient value to pay for your sins so you don't have to go to Hell. When you stand before God in judgment, you will see that all the things that you held as precious, such as silver and gold, will seem as nothing. While the Blood of Christ will be seen by you for the first time to be precious. But then it will be too late. You will have lost your opportunity to come to Christ and have His Blood cover your sins. You will have to go to Hell.


3. You reject the freeness of the offer.

"Again, he sent forth other servants saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage" (Matthew 22:4).

It's true that in this world "you can't get something for nothing" and "there's no free lunch." But the freeness of the gospel offer does not come from this world but comes from God. If you neglect the gospel because of the freeness of the offer, you are saying that it has no value. We have already said that it has great value. You also minimize the value by thinking you must add something of your own to the gospel. If you think that your goodness, religious commitment, church attendance, baptism, or anything else must be added to what Christ has done on the cross, then you have rejected the gospel of Christ and are still lost.

The only requirement for salvation is that you have a thirst for Christ to forgive your sins and that you come to Him.

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).

4. You don't think about your sin and the Hell that awaits you.


Another reason you neglect the gospel is you don't think about your many sins, and the Hell that you will go to pay for these sins. The gospel of Christ is only interesting to awakened sinners-those who see that they must have their sins forgiven to escape judgment. All other sinners pay no attention to the gospel.

Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32).


Only those who see themselves as sinners have any hope of being saved. You must think how wicked your heart is that it was capable of doing all the sins that you are ashamed of. You would not want all your sins to be read aloud for all your friends and family to hear. You must see that God is right and just to send you to Hell for your sins. You must think of that terrible day when you will stand before God and have your sins read out of His books, before He sends you Hell.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12,15).

Only if you take your judgment seriously will you stop neglecting the gospel. Wake up to what's really important! You are only one heartbeat away from death and eternal punishment in Hell. Stop neglecting the gospel, your only hope!

"But they made light of it (they paid no attention), and went their ways" (Matthew 22:5).

V. You don't pay attention to Christ.

That's why you don't come to Him now.

"And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come" (Matthew 22:3).

This is the most clear and defiant way to neglect the gospel-by rejecting Jesus Himself. Notice that it isn't because you can't come Christ. It is because you will not come. You have deliberately decided to value your sins highly and have neglected Christ and the salvation that He brings. Jesus made this point very clear to sinners in His day when He said:

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

You see, nothing stops a sinner from coming to Christ. It is only the sinner himself that will not come. Sinners like you do not want to give up your sins, do not want a new life in this church, and are quite content the way you are.

But the things you don't pay attention to will cost you a great deal. Yes, you will pay dearly for rejecting God, for rejecting the Christian witness, for not paying attention to your soul, for rejecting the gospel, and especially for rejecting Christ. The Bible says,

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3a).

It is very interesting that the word translated "neglect" in Hebrews 2:3 is the very same Greek word amelio which is translated "make light of" in our text. So, we can accurately retranslate the verse by saying, "How shall we escape, if we make light of so great salvation," or "How shall we escape if we don't pay attention to so great salvation." The fact is that you shall not escape if you don't pay attention to the gospel, the "so great salvation." God has paid attention to you, but you have not paid attention to Him! Christ has paid attention to you, but you have not paid attention to Him! And because you have made light of Christ and His gospel, God will make light of you and send you to Hell. Hear His sentence of judgment upon you:

"But they made light of it (they paid no attention), and went their ways" (Matthew 22:5).


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan: Luke 14:16-20,24.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Depth of Mercy" (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE GOSPEL

by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan


"But they made light of it (they paid no attention), and went their ways"
(Matthew 22:5).

(Matthew 22:1-7).

I.   You don't pay attention to God, Matthew 22:2,3; Psalm 47:2; 1 Timothy 1:17; Job 7:1; Matthew 24:4

II.  You don't pay attention to Christians, Matthew 22:3; John 1:46; 2 Corinthians 5:20; John 13:20; John 15:25.

III. You don't pay attention to your eternal soul, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 2:15,16

IV.  You don't pay attention to the gospel, Matthew 22:5; Luke 14:18-20; John 3:16; 15:3; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Matthew 22:4; Isaiah 55:1; Luke 5:32; Revelation 20:12,15

V.   You don't pay attention to Christ, Matthew 22:3; John 5:40; Hebrews 2:3a.