1. INVITED TO A ROYAL WEDDING
a. In the parable of the wedding garment, by whose authority is the invitation sent forth? What is the response? Matthew 22:2, 3.
b. How was the king’s invitation treated the second time? Matthew 22:4–6.
“In this parable [of the wedding garment], as in that of the great supper, are illustrated the gospel invitation, its rejection by the Jewish people, and the call of mercy to the Gentiles. But on the part of those who reject the invitation, this parable brings to view a deeper insult and a more dreadful punishment. The call to the feast is a king’s invitation. It proceeds from one who is vested with power to command. It confers high honor. Yet the honor is unappreciated. The king’s authority is despised.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 307.
c. What did the king now command to be done to those who had despised his invitation? Matthew 22:7.
2. SEEKING GUESTS
a. Who was then invited to the marriage feast? Matthew 22:8–10. What does this call tell us about those who accept the gospel invitation? Matthew 7:21; James 1:22; John 3:5.
“The class first bidden could not afford, they thought, to sacrifice any worldly advantage for the sake of attending the king’s banquet. And of those who accepted the invitation, there were some who thought only of benefiting themselves. They came to share the provisions of the feast, but had no desire to honor the king.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 309.
“We must not be overwhelmed because good and bad are gathered into the church. Judas was numbered among the disciples. He had every advantage a man could have; but although he heard the truth, and listened to the principles so plainly laid down, Christ knew that he did not receive the truth. He did not eat the truth. It did not become part of himself. His old habits constantly asserted themselves. But Christ did not take forcible means to cut Judas away from the disciples.
“There is a time coming when those who have joined the church, but have not joined Christ, will be manifest.”—The Review and Herald, February 7, 1899.
b. What happened when the king came in to the feast to inspect the guests? Matthew 22:11.
“For every guest at the feast there had been provided a wedding garment. This garment was a gift from the king. By wearing it the guests showed their respect for the giver of the feast. But one man was clothed in his common citizen dress. . . . The garment provided for him at great cost he disdained to wear. Thus he insulted his lord.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 309.
c. What did the king say to the man who was without a wedding garment? Matthew 22:12–14.
“Many hear the invitation of mercy, are tested and proved; but few are sealed with the seal of the living God. Few will humble themselves as a little child, that they may enter the kingdom of heaven.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 50.
3. A WORK OF EXAMINATION
a. What is represented by the examination of the guests? Daniel 7:9, 10.
“By the king’s examination of the guests at the feast is represented a work of judgment. The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples. Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven; for when He comes, His reward is with Him, ‘to give every man according as his work shall be’ (Revelation 22:12). Before His coming, then, the character of every man’s work will have been determined, and to every one of Christ’s followers the reward will have been apportioned according to his deeds.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310.
b. As this parable clearly has reference to the ongoing investigative judgment, what is represented by the invitation of the king? Revelation 3:20, 21. What do many say by their actions? Verse 17.
“The man who came to the feast without a wedding garment represents the condition of many in our world today. They profess to be Christians and lay claim to the blessings and privileges of the gospel; yet they feel no need of a transformation of character. They have never felt true repentance for sin. They do not realize their need of Christ or exercise faith in Him. They have not overcome their hereditary or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. Yet they think that they are good enough in themselves, and they rest upon their own merits instead of trusting in Christ. Hearers of the word, they come to the banquet, but they have not put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness.”—Ibid., p.315.
“Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word of God or through His messengers is a knock at the door of the heart. It is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, the disposition to open becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy Spirit if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of life, and of the great eternity beyond.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 489, 490.
4. POSSESSING A HEAVENLY GARMENT
a. What constitutes the wedding garment which all must have if they want to have a part in the marriage feast in heaven? Revelation 19:7, 8.
“By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ’s true followers will possess. . . . It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour. . . .
“This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 310, 311.
b. How do we obtain a righteous character? Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 5:6.
“When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ.”—Ibid., p.314.
“Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 18.
c. What does righteousness involve? 1 John 3:7, 24; John 15:5.
“Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine. . . .
“We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make Him our personal Saviour. It is not enough to believe the theory of truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.’ ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments’ (1 John 3:24; 2:3). This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 312, 313.
5. A BLESSED EXPERIENCE
a. Describe the glorious experience of those who accept Christ’s offer as recorded in Revelation 3:18. Revelation 19:8, 9.
“The spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, faithful children of God. The despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. Their names are retained in the Lamb’s book of life, enrolled among the faithful of all ages. . . .
“These [faithful ones] are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They sing the new song before the throne, that song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 591.
b. What experience of Christ, while He was on this earth, is possible for us to have today? Psalm 40:8; John 15:10.
“By [Christ’s] perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can we honor our King as He invites us to unite our humanity with His divinity?
2. How are we sometimes like those who accepted the king’s invitation but had the wrong motive?
3. How does Jesus knock at the door of the heart, and what does He desire?
4. What is symbolized by the wedding garment, and how do we know if we are wearing it?
5. What does it mean to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness?