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A NEW YEAR'S BANQUET



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

Lord’s Day Morning, December 31, 2000

 

 

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all
 people a feast of fat things…of fat things full of
marrow" (Isaiah 25:6).

No matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to avoid feasts and banquets at this time of year. I have found that there is no use to even think of not eating "a feast of fat things." We had a Christmas feast, a Yuletide banquet, last Sunday night on Christmas Eve, here at the church. My wife and Mr. Mencia, with the help of many of you, laid out for us a meal fit for a king - a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, which we all ate with great enjoyment and happy fellowship. It was a wonderful banquet. The next morning, on Christmas day, I took my wife, my mother-in-law, and our boys to another great feast at the historic Mission Inn, out in Riverside, California. Eight presidents have eaten there, including Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. President Nixon was married in a chapel of this famous and ancient restaurant in 1940. And all those other presidents of the past ate sumptuous meals there, like the one we enjoyed. A painting of each of those presidents hangs on a wall as you come in the front door. We had prime rib roast, sausages, salmon, oysters, pork roast, fruit, a variety of mouth-watering vegetables and dessert. I was so satisfied by this great meal that I didn't need to eat anything else until eleven that night, although we finished the banquet twelve hours earlier, at eleven on Christmas morning. It was indeed "a feast of fat things."
We will not have such a feast tonight, on New Year's Eve. Instead, we will have hot dogs and potato salad before our watchnight prayer meeting to bring in the New Year. But I am sure that many of you will go to other feasts and banquets on New Year's Day. You will have eaten several feasts "of fat things" by the time the New Year begins - and we all think again about lowering our cholesterol and losing some weight!
While people are eating holiday food, I invite you to a gospel banquet. The outline of this message is from Mr. Spurgeon's sermon, preached at Christmas time in 1868 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London ("Good Cheer for Christmas," by C. H. Spurgeon, December 20, 1868). I am inviting you to the feast God has given to us in Christ. Jesus said:

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:54-56).

Thus, we are invited by Christ to partake of Him. As we would take food into our bodies, we are invited to take Him into our souls. God has sent us to invite you to this great gospel banquet. He says, "Come; for all things are now ready" for you to eat (Luke 14:17).
So, let us think of four things concerning this great gospel banquet:
    1. The banquet itself.

    2. The place of the banquet.

    3. The host of the banquet.

    4. The guests invited to the banquet.

I. Think about the banquet itself - "a feast of fat things."

We are invited to eat "a feast of fat things…of fat things full of marrow" (Isaiah 25:6). God has given us good things to eat in the gospel of Christ.
One of the best things God gives us in the gospel of Christ is complete justification. Although you are a sinner, as soon as you receive Jesus all your sins are forgiven. This is delicious food! To be completely forgiven of all sins simply by believing on Jesus - this is truly wonderful! When you believe in Jesus, He pays the debt for your sins by His death on the Cross. You are free from the guilt of sin simply by looking to Jesus.
Think also about a second blessing of salvation, the blessing of adoption. The moment you believe in Jesus you become an adopted child of God. The Bible says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (I John 3:2). Here is a good dish of delicious food. What, shall a worm of the dust like me become a child of God? A condemned criminal like me not only forgiven of my sins, but actually made a child of God by simply believing in Jesus? What a wonderful gospel blessing this is!

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (I John 3:1).

What have I done, O God, that You should call me Your child? How wonderful, beyond imagination, to be adopted as a full child of God by simply believing in Jesus!

Going on from the blessing of adoption, I want you to remember that every person who looks to Jesus for salvation becomes the object of God's eternal love, without end. This is one of the fat things, full of marrow. Is it true that I become the subject of God's unending love simply by believing in Jesus? Yes! Long before the Lord began to create the world, He had thought of me. The Bible says, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jeremiah 31:3). Some despise the doctrine of election, but they are wrong to do so. Election is one of the sweetest dishes at the gospel banquet. For this doctrine of God's love that has no beginning is full of fat and marrow.
Equally wonderful is the thought that this love which has no beginning will have no end, because the Bible says, "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29). God has loved you with all the immutable intensity of His heart. He has loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son on the Cross to save you (John 3:16). He will cause you to become like His Son. He will cause you to enter His glory, so you can be with Him in Heaven! Come, eat this, you who are heirs of eternal life! Here is something to feast upon, full of fat and marrow.
But there is another wonderful doctrine at the gospel banquet. It is the great truth of union with Christ. We are plainly taught in the Bible that those who believe on Jesus have union with Him. You become one with Christ. There is a living union between Jesus and those who believe in Him. "I in them, and thou in me," said Jesus (John 17:23). "I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" (John 14:20). When you come to Christ, you are one with Him, united to Him forever!
When you are one with Christ, then because He lives you must live also. Because He was punished for sins, then your sins were punished in Him. Because He rose from the dead, you rise from the dead in Him. Because He sits at God's right hand in Heaven, you will also sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God - because you are in Christ! If you have come to Christ, and are in Him, all the blessings of Heaven are yours - in Him. It is only a matter of time before this reality will become yours forever. "And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things…of fat things full of marrow" (Isaiah 25:6).
But I must bring before you one more dish at the Lord's banquet, and that is the doctrine of resurrection and everlasting life. Before the Bible was given people guessed at the immortality of the soul, but they knew nothing of the resurrection of the body. The gospel of Jesus has revealed life and resurrection. Jesus said,

"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Not the soul only, but the body also will partake of immortality. "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Corinthians 15:52).
A Christian expects to die, but the Bible tells us we will live again. If Christ does not come in our lifetime, we know that our bodies will die and decay. But we are comforted, we fear no annihilation, we fear no Hell, no purgatory, no judgment. Christ has preserved for ever those who are saved. No one can condemn those He has forgiven. To us the Second Coming of Christ will be a day of joy and singing! We shall be caught up together with Him. His coming to reign over the earth will be our coming too - with Him! His glory will be our glory!

It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus,
Life's toils will seem so small, when we see Christ.
One look at His dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So bravely run the race, 'till we see Christ.

Thus I have set before you a few of the fat things full of marrow which Jesus Christ has laid out at the wedding banquet of His love.

II. The table is in front of you, and now we must pass on to notice the place of the banquet, "in this mountain" (Isaiah 25:6).

"In this mountain." There is a reference here to two things. First, literally, the mountain upon which Jerusalem is built. Christ was crucified at Calvary in Jerusalem. His crucifixion has made all nations a great banquet feast. Outside the wall of Jerusalem Jesus Christ was nailed to a Cross to bear your sins and to shed His Blood, so your sins could be washed away forever. On that Cross, in the midst of thick darkness, the Son of God was made a curse for you. On that very mountain Jews and Gentiles cried out, "Let him be crucified." It was there on that Cross that the Lord made a feast of fat things. Everything I have spoken of this morning is found in Christ. He died so your sins could be pardoned by God. He rose from the dead so you could have life. In Christ you are justified, adopted and made secure for ever. Every joy we have as Christians comes from the Blood that flowed from His veins.
A second meaning of "this mountain" is the local church. Frequently Jerusalem is used as a type or symbol of the church. It is within the local church that the great banquet is laid out for all nations. By the church, I mean the company of God's chosen, the family of believers. For them is provided the feast of fat things.
And the feast is only to be found where the church is found. It is through the ministry of the local church that an abundant feast is spread for all nations. God has ordained the local church to proclaim the good news of salvation by Jesus Christ. That is why I tell you every Sunday to come back here, to this church. If you do, you will learn the true gospel and, in all likelihood, be converted soon. The church is the place God has ordained for you to be saved and to grow as a Christian. "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). Come home - to church! The banqueting hall is in this mountain!


III. Thirdly, let us think about the host of the banquet - "the Lord of hosts."

"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things" (Isaiah 25:6).

Notice that in the gospel banquet not a single dish of food is cooked by man. The Lord makes the banquet, and the Lord makes every dish Himself. Some people want to bring a little food with them to this supper. They want to add a little of their own good works or good feelings. But that will not do. It will not be accepted. The Lord of hosts makes the feast and He will not permit you to bring anything. He will not even let you bring your own wedding clothes. You must stop at the door and put on the robe He gives you, or you cannot enter. Salvation is all grace, from first to last.
Of all the great truths I spoke about at the beginning of this sermon, there is not one that comes from man. All of them come from Jesus Christ, and Him alone.
O King immortal, eternal, invisible, You fed Your children in the wilderness with manna which dropped from Heaven, and with water that flowed out of a flinty rock. And Your people gave thanks unto Your name. But now You feed us with even better food. They ate manna and are dead. But we who live on the Blood of life will never die! They drank from the water that flowed from a rock, and yet they thirsted again. But we who drink of Christ will never thirst again. Therefore, blessed be Thy name, O Lord of hosts! Let those of us on earth, for whom this banquet table is spread, praise and magnify Thy name for ever!


IV. The guests invited to the banquet - "unto all people a feast of fat things."


Fourthly, and lastly, I will say a few words about the guests at the Lord's banquet. The Lord has made this banquet "for all people." The feast wasn't just prepared for those who were raised in church. Christ has come "for all people."
You say, "Why, my family never took me to church. I don't know anything about Christianity." Well, I say, "Come to church anyway." Christ has come "for all people," not just for church people.
Another person says, "But I'm a Roman Catholic." Well, I say, "Come back to our church and learn the gospel in the Bible, and Christ will save you." He has come "for all people."
Someone else says, "I don't think I'll ever be saved." I say to you, "There is great comfort in those words 'for all people.' It means that there is hope for you." The feast of the banquet is spread out on God's table for all people. So you - yes, you - can come to Jesus and receive salvation, for you are certainly spoken of as one of "all people."
Some very odd people have come to Jesus. Some very wicked people have come to Him. Some very hardened people without much faith have come to Him. Jesus says,
"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

There is no description anywhere in the Bible of a person forbidden to trust Christ. If you think that Jesus will reject you, look through the Bible and try to find a single example of anyone He rejected, if they came to Him for salvation. You will not find even one example of any person He rejected like this.
If you believe in Jesus Christ all the good things of the gospel are yours. Whoever believes in the Son of God has eternal life. A great bell peals out, calling you to the banquet feast. The bell says, "Come, and welcome! Come, and welcome! Come, and welcome!" Come to Jesus Christ as you are, sinful as you are, unbelieving as you are, hardened as you are, careless as you are, and having no good thing whatever - come to Christ! You shall find in Him a banquet feast of fat things full of marrow. May God's blessings rest on you for Jesus' sake! Amen.

 

 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Matthew 22:1-14.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Amidst Us Our Beloved Stands" by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)/"Come and Dine."

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet

at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

A NEW YEAR'S BANQUET

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things…of fat things full of marrow" (Isaiah 25:6).

John 6:54-56; Luke 14:17

    1. The banquet itself - "a feast of fat things," I John 3:2; I John 3:1; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 11:29; John 3:16; John 17:23; John 14:20; John 11:25-26; I Corinthians 15:52.
    2. The place of the banquet - "in this mountain," Acts 2:47.
    3. The host of the banquet - "the Lord of hosts." 
    4. The guests invited to the banquet - "unto all people a feast of fat things," John 6:37.