Yesterday during the sermon I read Matthew 22:14—twice—but never talked about it at all. I skipped it because the sermon focused on the amazing privilege the Father gives us by extending an invitation to his celebration of his Son; verse 14 focuses on just how widely that invitation has been sent and the surprising consequences of the call of the kingdom going out all over the world. We might be tempted to think that if God himself calls people to his kingdom, that all those who are called would joyfully come and join him. But Jesus’s cryptic proverb tells us that this isn’t true. Many will be called, but more will be called than will be chosen.
There are two applications to this proverb for the church. The first is that we need to preach the gospel to everyone because those who are chosen are first called by the gospel. God has ordained that people be saved by his people in his church sharing the gospel with the lost around us. God uses the means of the gospel to bring people into his kingdom. Our job isn’t to try to identify the elect and then share the gospel with them. Our job is to preach the gospel to everyone so we can identify the elect. The only way we can know who God has chosen is by calling everyone and see who responds.
The second application—the surprising application—is that people will reject the call of the kingdom. The promise of sins forgiven; the promise of reconciliation with God; the promise of being more like Jesus; the promise of eternal life will be spurned and despised by people all over the world. People will cling to false hope while turning away from their only hope. Our job isn’t to make the message more pleasing to our audience so they’ll be inclined to accept what we say; our job is to be faithful to the message of Jesus Christ through the gospel and rely on the power of God to shine the light into their blindness and sin.
Many are called—that is, we preach the gospel to everyone every where. Few are chosen–that is, God saves his people from their sins through the preaching of the gospel.