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BOTH BAD AND GOOD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, October 9, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests" (Matthew 22:9-10).


These two verses show a central truth in Christ's parable of the marriage feast. I am going to make this truth as clear as I can. I am speaking to several of you who have never been inside of a Christian church before. There are some of you from a Buddhist background, and others with no religious background at all. Some of you are from a Catholic background. You have never been inside a Protestant or a Baptist church before. There are probably some others who are from an evangelical background. You, too, have never been to an old-fashioned Baptist church, where everyone wears suits and ties and carries black King James Bibles, where all the ladies and girls wear dresses, and we sing nothing but the old hymns. So, all of this is new to you.

You may wonder, "Why am I here? Why did they invite me to come? Why did they pick me up in their cars this morning and bring me to this church? Why were they so very interested in getting me here? What is it all about?" I'm sure there are quite a few of you here this morning asking yourself those questions, or questions quite similar to those. And so, in the next few minutes, I am going to try to answer those questions. This will give you our reasons and motives, and help you to understand what you are experiencing here in our church. Now, to do that, I am going to ask two questions, and answer them from these words of Christ in our text.

I. First, why did we bring you here?

The answer is really very simple. It is given in verse nine. Let's read it again, out loud.

"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage" (Matthew 22:9).

Who said this? Why, it was "the king" according to verse seven. "The king" is the Lord Jesus Christ. And what does Jesus say to "his servants"? (verse 8). He says,

"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage" (Matthew 22:9).

Christians call that "the Great Commission." Christ gave it in different ways several times in the New Testament. For instance, Christ said,

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

The words "all nations" are from the original Greek text, "ta ethne" or "the nations." The word "nations" is the translation of a word (ethne) derived from "ethnos," which means, literally, "all ethnic groups." Jesus told us to teach all ethnic groups. That's why there are Oriental people, and white people, and black people, and Hispanic people here at church this morning.

Ethnocentrism is the idea that one's own race is superior to others. But Christ taught us not to be ethnocentric. He told us to "teach all nations," all ethnic groups! That's the reason a man from a Jewish background gave the announcements this morning. A Gentile white man led the music. A Chinese man read the Scriptures and prayed, and a black man introduced me before I came up to the pulpit to preach - all nations! That's real, New Testament Christianity - based on Christ's Great Commission,

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

In another place in the New Testament Christ said,

"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21).

And in yet another place, Jesus said,

"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23).

You see, it was Jesus Christ Himself who told us to go and bring you here to this local church to hear me preach the gospel of salvation! Let's stand and read verse nine again. This is what Christ commanded us to do. Read it out loud.

"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage" (Matthew 22:9).

You may be seated. That's another way of saying, "Compel them [invite them, persuade them] to come in, that my house [the local church] may be filled" (Luke 14:23).

That's why you were invited to come this morning. That's why we went out to the colleges and streets and asked you for your phone number, and then telephoned you, and then brought you here in our cars. We did it because Christ told us to do it! I hope that answers the first question well enough, "Why did they bring me here this morning?" It's a simple answer: we did it because Jesus Christ told us to do it! But now I will answer the second question you may be asking.

II. Second, what will happen to you now that you are here?

The answer to that question is suggested in the second verse of our text, verse ten. Let's stand and read it out loud.

"So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests" (Matthew 22:10).

You may be seated.

The "servants" here are the Christians in our church, who got your phone number, then phoned you, arranged a ride for you, and brought you here. The Christians who did that for you are called "servants" in this verse. They are servants of Christ, and that's why they brought you here for this church service, and the birthday party and meal we will have together in a few minutes upstairs, in our fellowship hall.

But notice that verse ten says, they "gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good." Most commentators say that this means people who were morally good, like the Pharisees (the very religious people) and those who were morally bad (like the tax collectors and others of a low moral character). I think they are right. The disciples of Christ certainly did do that. They brought in all kinds of people to the marriage banquet, to the gospel feast. But I think the meaning of "bad and good" has a deeper connotation here. I agree with the classical Baptist Bible commentator Dr. John Gill, who said that "bad and good" refers to those who were willing to become true Christians and those who were not willing to be converted - good and bad prospects, if you please (cf. John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume 1, p. 254). That's the general sense of what Dr. Gill said, in a more lengthy and old-fashioned way. Some that they brought in were good prospects for conversion, and some were bad prospects for conversion to Christ.

"So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good…" (Matthew 22:10).

Christ used this description of bad and good prospects several times in the New Testament. For instance, Christ spoke of gathering the tares (or weeds) along with the wheat (Matthew 13:29-30). Again, Christ spoke of "gathering [in] every kind" (Matthew 13:47-49). He compared the two groups to "bad" and "good" fish in that passage of Scripture. I am sure this is what Christ meant in our text as well, when He told them to bring in "both bad and good" (Matthew 22:10).

"Well," you may say, "how does that answer the question of what will happen to me now that I'm here in church?" Oh, it answers that question perfectly. Some of you will be "bad" prospects and will not come back. Sure, you'll admit that we were nice to you, and you will admit you had a good time here at church. But that will be as far as it goes. You won't see any compelling reason to come back and be converted. You won't have any inner desire to find out more about God in Christ. You won't have any curiosity about finding Christ personally. You may even say that you don't want to be converted from your former beliefs, that you don't want to become a real Christian. So, in those ways, you will prove to be a "bad" prospect. That doesn't mean we don't like you. We certainly do like you! We care deeply about you. But if you are a "bad" prospect, you won't be sufficiently interested in what we say to stay long enough, or to come to anything but a morning service. We will not be able to persuade you to come back Sunday night to find out more. You just won't be interested enough to make the effort to come into the full fellowship of the church and become a real Christian in the instantaneous moment of conversion.

But, on the other hand, some of you will be "good" prospects. You will be curious about how to become a real Christian. You will have an inner feeling that you need God. You will begin to feel the need of having your sins forgiven by Christ. You will begin to want to be converted to Christ. You will "hunger and thirst after righteousness [and you] shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6). You will be one of the "good" prospects we read about in verse ten.  

You see, "bad and good" refers to whether or not you are one of the elect.  If you are not one of the elect you are a "bad prospect." You are a good prospect only if you are one of the elect.  But, you see, we don't know who is elect and who isn't.  Spurgeon once said, if the elect had a yellow stripe on their trousers, all you would have to do is go up and down the streets and lift men's coattails to see if they had a yellow stripe, and were elect!  But since there is no such stripe we are told to go into the highways and bring in "both bad and good." 

Now may I say a few words about the gospel? I want you to know exactly what we believe. We believe that God sent Jesus Christ to this earth to die on the Cross, to pay the penalty for your sins. We believe that God raised Jesus Christ physically from the dead and took Him back up to Heaven, where He is praying for the salvation of your soul. We believe that you can come directly to Christ by faith, and He will cancel and erase all your sins from God's record, and give you eternal life. That is what we believe. It's the old-time gospel. And we believe that Christ Jesus can save your soul for all time, and give you everlasting life. That's what we believe!

And, then, the other thing I would like to do is give you an invitation to come back and be with us at 6:00 PM. We're going to have a really awesome time here at church tonight! It will be quite different from this morning's service - and we want you to come back and be with us tonight! We will sit down together and have another meal, and then we will celebrate the Lord's Supper, eating the bread and drinking the cup, as a memorial to Christ's death and to His saving Blood. There'll be a special class taught for non-members by Dr. Christopher Cagan, while the church members commemorate the Lord's Supper. After the Lord's Supper, we will come down here to the auditorium and watch a video on Indonesia from Voice of the Martyrs. And then I will preach a brief sermon on the Great Commission. Then, we will go back upstairs and celebrate the birthday of one of our members and have a wonderful time of Christian fellowship. If you think you are one of the "good" prospects - do everything you can to make sure you get back here at 6:00 tonight, for the agape meal, the Lord's Supper, the special class for new people, the high-energy preaching, the special video from Voice of the Martyrs, and the birthday party at the end! It will be quite different from this morning. It will be a lot of good, clean Christian fun, and you will hear more on how to be converted to Christ. Don't miss the agape meal, the Lord's Supper, the special video on Indonesia, the preaching, and the awesome fun and fellowship of the birthday party tonight!

Please pick up your song sheet and turn to the last hymn. Let's stand and sing it good and loud. It's a little song I wrote. We sing it to the tune of that old country gospel song, "On the Wings of a Snow White Dove." Lift up your song sheet and sing out loud and clear!

Come home to Jesus, the table is spread;
Come home to dinner and let us break bread.
Jesus is with us, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!

Chorus:

Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It'll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

The big city people just don't seem to care;
They've little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you'll be aware,
There's food on the table and friendship to share!

Chorus:

Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It'll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!
   ("Come Home to Dinner" by Dr. Robert L. Hymers,
      to the tune of "On the Wings of a Snow White Dove").

Come on home to dinner here at the church at 6:00 o'clock tonight!

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


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 22:1-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Bring Them In" (by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century)/
"Come and Dine" (by Charles B. Widmeyer, 1884-1974).


THE OUTLINE OF

BOTH BAD AND GOOD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests" (Matthew 22:9-10).

I.   First, why did we bring you here? Matthew 22:9, 7-8; 28:19;
John 20:21; Luke 14:23.

II.  Second, what will happen to you now that you are here?
Matthew 22:10; 13:29-30, 47-49; 5:6.