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A NEW YEAR'S BANQUET
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of
Lord’s Day Morning, December 31, 2000
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make
people a feast of fat things…of fat things full of
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
The banquet itself.
The place of the banquet.
The host of the banquet.
The guests invited to the banquet.
I. Think about the banquet itself - "a feast of
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
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
"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
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
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
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."
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