God is still filling his wedding banquet hall

God is still filling his wedding banquet hall

Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a wedding banquet a king is hosting for his son in Matthew 22. Through history, God had been preparing the way for his people to come to this big party. This was primarily the Jewish people through the covenants and prophets and patterns of the Old Testament. The tragedy of Matthew 22 is that a great majority of the Jewish people did not recognise Jesus as the son of the king, and they would not therefore be part of the wedding banquet that God had planned.

The great news of Matthew 22 is that the invitation is open to all who will come. Anyone, from any background, whether good or bad, is welcome to come to the wedding feast. Anyone who comes to Jesus is most welcome.

Now, if you watch the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that the church is an old, dying institution that has no relevance to modern Australia. We have seen that in the commentary around the Andrew Thorburn incident in Melbourne last week. It seems that everyone is lining up to condemn views that historically all Bible-believing Christians would hold to. Many people simply assume that Christianity’s time is done, and that the church is dying. Many have wondered aloud whether there anyone is interested in what the Bible teaches in today’s world.

The reality is quite different. The church worldwide is growing. I know of significant church planting movements in places like Bangladesh and Myanmar. The church in China, despite significant opposition, continues to grow. Many mission organisations are recounting an increased interest in the gospel in a wide variety of places.

It’s not only in other places either. The church I serve has seen steady growth even during the pandemic. Our sister churches have also generally seen encouragement with people coming back to church or new people coming to see what Jesus is all about. The Perth Gospel Partnership, a body that combines various evangelical churches in Perth, has seen growth in ministry workers. The reality is that God is working, and many people are coming to know Jesus.

Sure, this doesn’t mean that everything is great. The church is not united; there are many churches that no longer teach the Bible faithfully. While we are seeing growth in churches in Australia, we need many more churches in order to reach our communities with the gospel. But there is growth there. I have had conversations with people investigating the faith, coming back to church after decades away, and those keen to find hope, all in the past few months.

Don’t let the media discourage you or make you think the church is irrelevant or out of date. We have a message everyone needs to hear. We want others to know the hope that we have. Pray for God to bring many more into his wedding feast. There is room for many more.