C.S. Lewis wrote of the X people in our lives — the lame, halt, dysfunctional ones who bother us and get under our skin. But God has made a great feast for just these ones. He asks us to compel them to come to His table for we are all X’s, people who need the Lord. (Luke 14:15-23)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
7:00 PM on 11/27/2019
P. Schaller –
Before the service tonight, Ulla gave me this testimony of how when the Titanic went down, and over
1500 people drowned, on board the ship was this man John Harper “and his much beloved six-
year-old daughter, Nana. According to the documented reports, “as it was apparent that the
ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It’s reasonable
to assume this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board the boat; however, it
seems that it didn’t cross his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl. Looking into
her eyes he told her she would see him again someday.”
Then the flares going off in the dark, the ship broke apart. “As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, women, children, and unsaved into the
lifeboats. It was only minutes later that it broke apart and he was seen swimming in the
freezing water, but he gave up his life for others.” Great story. Yeah. And there’s more to it,
too. So, uh, in Luke 14, I’d like to read that parable tonight and make some comments on the
text. Enjoy the holiday, thinking of getting together with family around the country. Families
coming together and sometimes that’s hard to do with families because we are people. People
have troubles and problems.
People are sometimes hard to get along with. Unfortunately, sometimes in a family that can happen as we know and as pastors we counsel and listen and care and in the Body, a church this size, you can imagine how many different human elements there are. I want to refer you to an essay written by C. S. Lewis called, The Trouble with Mr. X.
He writes in his essay that – let me read it. “I suppose I may assume that seven out of ten that
read these lines are in some kind of difficulty with another human being.” That’s a good
statement, isn’t it! “Either at work or at home, either the people who employ you or those that
Either those who share your house, or those whose house you share. Either your in
laws or parents or children or wife or husband are making life harder for you than it need to be
even in these days. It is to be hoped that we do not often mention these difficulties.” We don’t
talk about them. I have that privilege tonight to speak about it, but I don’t expect you after the
meeting to be talking to each other about your family problems or work problems, right? Is that
correct? It’s not advantageous in every case.
We can go up in our search for advice and wisdom, but I hope what I’m saying tonight will be helpful. “But sometimes we do talk about these difficulties. An outside friend asked us why we are looking so glum and the truth comes out. On such occasions, the outside friend usually says, but why don’t you tell them? Why don’t you go
to your wife or your husband or your boss or your landlady and have it out?” Somebody is
laughing over here on my left! It sounds like there’s experience over here! Why don’t you have
it out with them? It says here, “people are usually reasonable.
All you got to do is make them see things in the right light. Explain it to them in a reasonable, quiet, friendly way and we, whatever we say outwardly think sadly to ourselves, he doesn’t know Mr. X. We do. We know
how utterly hopeless it is to make X see reason. Either we tried it over and over again, tried it
till we were sick of trying it or else we never tried it because we saw from the beginning how
useless it would be. We know that if we attempt to have it all out with X, there will either be a
scene or else X will stare at us in blank amazement and say, I don’t know what on earth you’re
Or else, X will agree with us, promise to turn over a new leaf and put everything on a new footing, and then 24 hours later, will be exactly the same as X has always been.” In his essay, he is saying two things about this subject: 1) What does God think when he has all of us as Mr. X? How much does God put up with us who don’t understand him, follow him, obey him? Isn’t that a good thought? How much God puts up with us and he could sit down and talk
to us and we look at him like what on earth are you talking about? The second point he makes
in the essay is that that person is the Mr. X, the one that doesn’t get it, doesn’t realize how
selfish they are or blind they are, how many blind spots they have, and then I don’t realize that I
am also a Mr. X.
I am also I am sure unfinished, blind in part. I have blind spots as a person. Is
that correct? Many of you are saying yes, definitely. Pastor Schaller, finally you admit it! I hope
you really see what you’re talking about! I say this because we are blessed people. We are
blessed people for many reasons. Because we have a new nature and in that new nature is our
fellowship. In that fellowship is the Holy Spirit who is our teacher. In a way, I am like this Mr. X
who is blind, proud, indifferent, cold. He has a little list here.
“You know in fact any attempt to talk things over with Mr. X will shipwreck on the old fatal flaw in X’s character. And you see looking back how all the plans you ever made always shipwrecked on that fatal flaw on X’s
incurable jealousy, laziness, or touchiness or muddle headedness or bossiness or ill temper or
changeableness. Up to a certain age, you have perhaps had the illusion that some external
stroke of good fortune and improvement in his health, a rise of salary or the end of the war” –
cause he’s writing this at the end of World War II – “and you think if the war will end, then this
guy will change.”
And then he says, “but you know better now. The war is over, and you realize
even if the other things happen, X would still be X. He would still be up against the same old
problem. Even if you became a millionaire, your husband would still be a bully. Your wife would
still nag, or your son would still drink, or you still have to have your mother-in-law live with
you.” [Laughing]. Woe! Woe! Imagine that! I say this because we are coming into the holidays
and we are going to be in connection with different people.
We should understand that we are in a broken world. And that we are not perfect, and they are not perfect. God puts up with all of us with such patience and such love and such grace. That we are alive every day by his grace
and he has prepared a banquet for us but it’s a different kind. Look at chapter 14. This is our
text from vs. 15-24. We will read this and make a few comments. Vs. 15. Imagine Jesus is sitting
talking. Somebody is sitting with him and can feel it. These are my words. I kind of understand
what is happening here.
He gets excited. He goes here you are. Here we are and you are talking
and blessed is he who eats meat in the kingdom of God with you. Because even though I’m like
Mr. X. – jealous, angry, selfish, and all of these things that are very common with people, blind,
proud – that you have brought the kingdom close to me. I’m hearing you. I’m responding in my
heart and anybody who gets to eat in this kingdom is blessed.
That means Jesus’ conversation, Jesus’ spirit, Jesus’ mind, this is where we have our relief. We have our salvation. We have our hope. We have our life; we have our anointing. We have God’s presence. Vs. 16. Like a
Thanksgiving dinner we could say. By the way, if you have an empty spot at your table
tomorrow, you want to invite somebody, but you don’t know who, there could be people here
in the room that don’t have a place to go. If you have an empty spot and you’d like to invite
somebody, just hang out in the foyer after the meeting, and maybe you can tell by looking around.
The person that is standing there like, you know. Like maybe they are the ones that you
can go and invite if you want to. That’s up to you. Then I hope I’m not being silly. I’m just saying.
Vs. 17. Come. It’s all prepared. How many of you ladies wish that the whole thing was already
prepared for you tomorrow, that it was all done? That Norm Pazda showed up and did the
whole thing and it was all done and ready. Ladies work hard for this event, don’t they? This
banquet is all done. It’s not like ours tomorrow, the preparation.
I mean in that way. Who finished it? Jesus finished the work. Jesus prepared the table. God prepared a table and all the Mr. X’s are invited to the table of the kingdom of God. Yes those that don’t deserve to be there.
Those that are angry. Those that are upset. Those that are kind of funny, something about their
personality. Yes, there is a kingdom for people, but they said, Come. It’s all ready. Vs. 18. What
are some excuses that Mr. X would make about coming to the banquet? What would they be?
I’m not coming. You don’t understand me.
Nobody cares about my problems. He makes excuses. I’m not coming. I’ve always been rejected. In high school, I was rejected. I was once on a sports team. It didn’t work out and that has followed me all my life. Now I’m 60 years old and I can say that it always happens to me. I’m not coming. You know how it is. We do, because of
people. The fatal flaw that I always trip over. You know. But the servants in this story, they go
out in vs. 18. It’s a very lame excuse because a piece of ground will be there after you eat
supper! I got to go see the piece of ground.
Really? I mean, that’s like, you know, lame excuses that we make. Cause we don’t know the kingdom. If I knew the kingdom, I’d be the first one there. If I knew this love and how much I need it. I got to warn all of us. If we meet on the problem level of Mr. X, there may never be any solution for him. There may never be any
ultimate resolution to the problem. There isn’t. I mean in one sense there isn’t. What is needed
is the kingdom, the fellowship of the Spirit leading me in deeper life because of the new birth,
I’m able to hear, believe. The thing I used to stumble over, my jealousy, is somehow not the – I
still may have that thing but somehow by faith, I’m living by faith, and I don’t care so much
about my life anymore.
I don’t care so much. I don’t have to have my way. I don’t have to have
people understand me. I found something else that is awesome, and Jesus is saying this to us.
There is a kingdom for all of us but not everybody comes. They have their lives that they have
to live. They bought a piece of ground. Vs. 19. By the way, my wife is a real estate agent. I
haven’t used this verse yet but it’s all in me primed. When she has to go see a house, I go, oh,
Luke chapter 14! Vs. 19-20. I have married a wife.
End of the conversation! Don’t have to say anymore. Let’s end it right there. That’s your pass out. That’s your buy, your pass. I do want to be serious about this and finish here. It’s beautiful. I want the Spirit to speak to our hearts. I do. Vs. 21. Why was he angry? Have you ever made a whole thing, a whole dinner, a whole table
and the people you invited didn’t show up? God has prepared a whole kingdom and the human
race is hurting and troubled and they don’t show up because they are busy trying to solve their
problem, and God is saying come.
Come to me and sit at my table. I will minister to you. You need a ministry of God that will help put your mind in order, that will help heal your broken heart, that will help minister to you in his love, that you can sit with Jesus. Can you imagine if everyone of us today were right in the very maximum presence of Almighty God how much our
problems would disappear and be melted. How much the things we worry about would disappear? How much the arguments that we have in our hearts aren’t there anymore. How
many temptations I don’t even care about it anymore?
There is something that has happened. That’s what he is saying. He is angry because the very person that needs help is the person that is not showing up. Okay. Vs. 21. I went to the bank today for a certain reason and the bank
teller we got into a little conversation because I was fooling around. The bank tellers, both of
them, there were two of them. They kind of did a double look at me. Wonder, am I joking or am
I serious? I said to them, I can see your observing me because you don’t know me, and you
don’t know if I’m joking or serious. I enjoyed the exchange. It kind of broke the ice. I had a talk
with the teller. There was nobody behind me.
I said something about I don’t gamble or something. She said I might buy a lottery ticket or two. I said gambling never made sense to me because it’s a huge business. She said I used to work at a casino, and it was sad. She looked down and she said it was sad. I said what do you mean. People lost their houses, their families
were devastated. So Mr. X. that troublesome thing in the heart of man, that trouble that is in
there that can cause so much trouble. I need to come to a place where we are not talking about
the trouble as much as we’re talking about the real solution that God has prepared for us
where we can find what we really need in life.
God would take away. God would help me. By the way, we all have this stuff that happens. Sometimes the people that come are what kind of people? The lame, the gambler, the blind, the hurting, the dysfunctional, the problematic, the plagued person through school and adulthood and if they could come and Jesus is saying
they’re perfect to come here. They are the perfect people for it because they know who they
are and how much they need this thing that I prepared for them. Vs. 21-23. What are the
highways and the hedges?
They are the inner city, the farms, highways, 95, the stops on 95,
Molly Pitcher up in New York. P. Love knows these by heart. He’s been to every one of them!
Thomas Edison stop. Maryland Crab House. The highways and the fields and the inner city and
the ghetto and compel them. Some of them may look at them. You don’t know. I am the reject.
And you go, you qualify. Come to this table and eat here because this is the kingdom of God.
This isn’t about our social status, managing our problems, our togetherness that we maybe
portray to other people.
You know, I am together. I cannot come. I must go and deal with my
real estate. I must look at the property and so on. Or give a speech here or there and they don’t
come. But these come. When we are together, and I mean this message is for all time, for all
season and for all people. When we come together, let us understand other people this way.
That you are Mr. X. also. That you got a whole bunch of baggage in your life and I do. And I got
stuff. Nobody here has a handle on this thing called life. I mess it up and you mess it us. But the
good news, we come to this table where blessed is he who eats bread. What kind of bread?
That you’re able to hear what I am saying tonight from this book and it can go
into your heart and put your life together and help you and give you some definition. Comfort
you. Teach you. I don’t mean you. I mean me and all through history. The human race is all
about a lot of trouble. And about the God of all grace who came here for this and is practical
and speaks to us and helps us.
Sometimes people look at – when you know who you really are,
and they look at you and think you got it together. Woe, man! Woo hoo! He has no idea how I
got up this morning. He has no idea what’s going on in my crazy heart. He has no idea howwrong I can be. He has no idea who I really am. But I got one thing going for me. I come to
Jesus. I got only one thing in my life made all the difference and that is Jesus Christ. I give him
all the glory. If I have done anything that made sense, thank you God. If I ever said anything that
made any good sense, thank you God. If I ever had a pure motive, I say thank you, God. If
somehow my life is blessed somehow, I just know God has blessed me because of the kingdom
of God and I take no credit for it because this is not Mr. X. You and me are just. There we go. I
finished the message.
That’s it. I finished the message.
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