What approach to making money will increase it according to Proverbs 13 11?

What approach to making money will increase it according to Proverbs 13 11
What approach to making money will increase it according to Proverbs 13 11

According to Proverbs 13 11, the way to make money that will cause it to increase is to gather it little by little with diligent and wise labor.

Work hard and be patient.

Gather your wealth little by little and Proverbs 13 11 tells you that – all else being equal – you will tend to increase your wealth and make it grow.

With this approach and the Lord’s blessing, you might just become rich!

KJV Proverbs 13:11 {Wealth gotten by vanity/Wealth obtained by fraud/Wealth gained quickly/Dishonest money} {shall be diminished/dwindles/will dwindle away/dwindles away}:

but {he that/the one who/he who} {gathereth/gathers/gathers it/gathers money} {by labour/by labor/little by little} {shall increase/increases it/will become rich/makes it grow}.

Proverbs 13 11

For more teaching on Proverbs 13 11, please read our Proverbs 13 11 Summary.

What is the alternative to “wealth gotten by vanity” in Proverbs 13 11?

What is the alternative to “wealth gotten by vanity” in Proverbs 13 11
What is the alternative to “wealth gotten by vanity” in Proverbs 13 11

In Proverbs 13 11, the alternative to wealth gotten by vanity – or, wealth that is obtained through deception or that is obtained too easily and quickly – is to gather that wealth little by little by honest and diligent labor.

KJV Proverbs 13:11 {Wealth gotten by vanity/Wealth obtained by fraud/Wealth gained quickly/Dishonest money} {shall be diminished/dwindles/will dwindle away/dwindles away}:

but {he that/the one who/he who} {gathereth/gathers/gathers it/gathers money} {by labour/by labor/little by little} {shall increase/increases it/will become rich/makes it grow}.

For more teaching on Proverbs 13 11, see our Proverbs 13 11 Summary.

What kind of wealth will be diminished according to Proverbs 13 11?

What kind of wealth will be diminished according to Proverbs 13 11
What kind of wealth will be diminished according to Proverbs 13 11

According to Proverbs 13 11, the kind of wealth that will be diminished – or that will dwindle away and not stick around and not be accumulated – is wealth that is gotten by vanity – that is, wealth that is achieved through deceit or even wealth that is obtained quickly without the kind of hard work that is necessary to achieve wealth that is lasting.

KJV Proverbs 13:11 {Wealth gotten by vanity/Wealth obtained by fraud/Wealth gained quickly/Dishonest money} {shall be diminished/dwindles/will dwindle away/dwindles away}:

but {he that/the one who/he who} {gathereth/gathers/gathers it/gathers money} {by labour/by labor/little by little} {shall increase/increases it/will become rich/makes it grow}.

For more teaching on Proverbs 13 11, please read our Proverbs 13 11 Summary.

What happens to “wealth gotten by vanity” according to Proverbs 13 11?

What happens to “wealth gotten by vanity” according to Proverbs 13 11
What happens to “wealth gotten by vanity” according to Proverbs 13 11

According to Proverbs 13 11, wealth gotten by vanity – that is, wealth that is gained deceitfully or even wealth that is come by quickly and that you don’t have to work hard for – that kind of wealth will be diminished or will dwindle away.

KJV Proverbs 13:11 {Wealth gotten by vanity/Wealth obtained by fraud/Wealth gained quickly/Dishonest money} {shall be diminished/dwindles/will dwindle away/dwindles away}:

but {he that/the one who/he who} {gathereth/gathers/gathers it/gathers money} {by labour/by labor/little by little} {shall increase/increases it/will become rich/makes it grow}.

For more teaching on Proverbs 13 11, see our Proverbs 13 11 Summary.

Proverbs 13 11 Summary

We hope you’ll be edified and admonished by this summary of Proverbs 13 11.

Proverbs 13 11 Summary: In 2002 a business man from West Virginia named Jack Whittaker won the lottery in the amount of nearly $315 million US Dollars. That was the most anyone had won to that point in the history of the US. It would seem that he was set for life, financially. But after a lot of bad spending decisions and numerous other calamities, Jack was left broke.

And this story shouldn’t surprise us. After all, God reminds us in Proverbs 13 11 of what happens to “wealth gotten by vanity.”

So, let’s read Proverbs 13 11 and be reminded of the importance of how we seek to obtain our wealth in this world.

KJV Proverbs 13:11 {Wealth gotten by vanity/Wealth obtained by fraud/Wealth gained quickly/Dishonest money} {shall be diminished/dwindles/will dwindle away/dwindles away}:

but {he that/the one who/he who} {gathereth/gathers/gathers it/gathers money} {by labour/by labor/little by little} {shall increase/increases it/will become rich/makes it grow}.

Now, whenever I study a proverb in Scripture, I first look at whether God is making a contrast between two things. Is he doing that in Proverbs 13 11? Indeed, he is!

First, God is contrasting two approaches to making money.

Proverbs 13 11 Summary
Wealth Gotten by Vanity

The first way to gain wealth mentioned is to do so “by vanity” literally in Hebrew (מֵהֶבֶל). Some other translations take the idea of “vanity” to mean that this wealth is obtained by fraud or that it’s done so in a dishonest manner. Another translation takes the approach that to obtain wealth “by vanity” is to obtain it quickly.

So…which is it?

Well, the best way to hone-in on exactly what one line in a proverb means – in this case, what it means to obtain wealth “by vanity” – is to see what God declares to be the opposite of that approach, which we see in the second line of Proverbs 13 11.

Proverbs 13 11 Summary
Gaining Wealth by Labor

And that opposite approach to gaining wealth is to gather it by labor – or literally to gather it “by hand” (עַל־יָד). This calls to mind manual labor – or perhaps metaphorically, diligent work. God holds out to us the ideal of making money by working hard.

Contrast that to the get-rich-quick schemes that our world and our flesh seem to love. Our sinful human nature loves the idea of winning the lottery or falling upon an inheritance from some long-lost rich uncle.

But whereas our world might try to seduce us into thinking that gaining wealth in this easy-come kind of way is ideal, God himself tells us that this way of making money is not his ideal for us. As the saying goes, easy-come, easy-go!

And that’s exactly the direction Proverbs 13 11 takes next. We’ve already seen the Lord in Proverbs 13 11 contrasting two ways of gaining wealth. You can gain wealth diligently with hard work and labor – or you can gain it by an unexpected windfall or even by deceiving others.

The Result of Gaining Wealth

But the other reality that the Lord confronts us with in Proverbs 13 11 is the effect of those two different ways of gaining wealth.

And you might tend to think gaining wealth is gaining wealth. I mean, if you earn some money it’s all the same. The result will be the same – you get money!

But Proverbs 13 11 alerts us to the fact that there are different results of attempting to gain wealth depending on how you go about doing it.

Proverbs 13 11 Summary
Result 1: Dwindling Wealth

The first potential result of gaining wealth “by vanity” or quickly or deceitfully is that you lose it. It diminishes or dwindles away. It “becomes small” (יִמְעָט) in Hebrew.

And you see this playing itself out in real life. One third of lottery winners in the United States declare bankruptcy often within a few years of their win. Stories of celebrities and athletes who have gone broke after making ridiculous amounts of money abound.

Yes, the Bible – and the God who wrote the Bible – is true – wealth gained by vanity dwindles away.

What’s the alternative?

Proverbs 13 11 Summary
Result 2: Increasing Wealth

Proverbs 13 11 holds out for us the plain ideal of gaining your wealth by hard work. And the not-so-plain result – what everyone ultimately is after – is that your wealth will increase (יַרְבֶּה) as you work hard to earn it. You make your wealth grow as you diligently obtain it. You might even become rich! But you’re not looking to a get-rich-quick scheme to achieve this goal. You are working honestly and diligently. And God might see fit to cause your wealth to grow.


So, you have two choices – try to become wealthy through scheme and games – or gaining wealth by hard work and toil and labor. The latter approach is not glorious, but its result is. You can bank on it!

Proverbs 13 3 Meaning

Let’s try to understand the meaning of Proverbs 13:3.

Proverbs 13 3 Meaning: Just recently – from the vantage point of my writing this – US President Donald Trump (and others) have mentioned that a certain anti-malarial medicine – chloroquine – might be effective in treating the dreaded worldwide pandemic COVID-19. The name of the drug happens to be similar to an ingredient in a product used to clean fish bowls – chloroquine phosphate. Subsequently, a man from Arizona and his wife thought it would be a good idea to eat this fish bowl cleaner in order to avoid getting infected with the coronavirus. Sadly, as a result the man died.

My point is not to assign blame to my president. Rather, it’s to highlight the fact that words have consequences. Your speech is an incredibly and amazingly powerful thing. And in Proverbs 13:3 the Lord wants to speak to us concerning our speech.

So, let’s read Proverbs 13:3.

KJV Proverbs 13:3 {He/The one} {that/who} {keepeth/guards} his {mouth/words/lips} {keepeth/preserves/guards} his life:

{but he/The one/but whoever } {that/who} {openeth wide his lips/is talkative/speaks rashly} {shall have destruction/comes to ruin/will come to ruin}.


The first thing to note in a Proverb is whether or not God is contrasting one thing with another. And in Proverbs 13:3 we discover that indeed, God is making contrasts and comparisons. So, what are the opposites that we find in Proverb 13:3?

Careful Speech vs. Careless Speech

First, we have the subject of each line of the proverb.

The subject of the first line is the person who guards his mouth or words. The subject of the second line in contrast is one who “opens wide his mouth” or is talkative or who speaks rashly.

The person in the first line is careful about what he says. He guards his words like an armed security guard – not letting any devious statement pass his watchful eye.

In contrast, the person in the second line is careless about his speech. He lets it all out. He says what’s on his mind – no matter whether it happens to be appropriate or not. There’s no filter on this man’s mouth.

So, the first item being contrasted in Proverbs 13:3 is the way in which a person speaks.

A Protected Life vs. a Ruined Life

The second contrast made in Proverbs 13:3 then is the outcome of the life of each type of person.

The outcome of the life of the person who guards his speech is that he keeps or preserves or guards his life. The outcome of the one who opens wide his mouth and lets everything out is that he comes to ruin.

It’s interesting that guarding your mouth or words – which are seemingly small matters – is akin to guarding your very life – which is about the greatest and most important matter one can think of in this world.

In contrast, the person who thinks little of the need to be cautious with his speech will so often in the end come to ruin. He will destroy his life with such little things as words.


How important it is to guard our speech. The Apostle James notes this in his New Testament letter. A small thing like the tongue is like a small fire that can set a whole forest – or continent – ablaze.

So, how are you treating your words? Are you being careless or are you guarding what you say? May the Lord help us to honor him by guarding our words and to thereby protect this one life he’s graciously given us to serve and worship his Son Jesus Christ.

Luke 17 11 19 Commentary

Recently my family has found ourselves in some pretty interesting situations. In particular, this past February seemed pretty full of various trials and difficulties.

At the beginning of the month, our youngest son broke his sub-orbital bone in a sledding accident which required emergency surgery. Then I and both my boys suffered through the flu for about 5-7 days each.

And in both cases – with my son’s eye issue and my own physical health – it was a great relief to have functionality restored in my life. I was so grateful in the hospital as it became apparent that the surgery for my son’s eye was effective. And as my son’s double-vision has subsided my heart has been full of thankfulness. And then as my fever left, what a blessing it was to actually be able to get out of my bed and go back to work!

And so, it seems like in my life at least the level of deprivation that I was lifted out of served to fuel my thanksgiving.

And you know – God often intends things to work that way. He deprives you – takes things away or withholds things from you… in order to fuel your thanksgiving and gratitude toward him when he releases you from that deprivation – when he finally provides what you were lacking.

And so, for our time this morning I’d like to lead us briefly through a story in the life of Jesus Christ that demonstrates this principle of deprivation leading to thanksgiving – and the importance that God places on that second element – the importance of our giving God thanks and being thankful people.

So, let’s turn to Luke 17. And we’ll be considering verses 11 through 19. I’ll just read through the passage adding some comments and some thoughts at the end concerning how God intends to use deprivation to produce thanksgiving in our lives.

Setting the Scene

First of all, Luke sets the scene for us in verses 11 and 12.

KJV Luke 17:11 ¶ {And it came to pass, as he went/While he was on the way/Now on the way} to Jerusalem, {that he passed through the midst of/He was passing between/Jesus was passing along between/Jesus traveled along the border between} Samaria and Galilee.

So, Jesus is going from north-eastern Israel in Galilee and he’s heading down south to Jerusalem. And the route he’s taking is leading him right along the border between Galilee and Samaria.

Now, of course that mention of Samaria will become more important later on in the story.

On to verse 12…

12 {And as he entered into a certain/As he was going into a} village, there met him ten {men that were lepers/leprous men/men with leprosy}, {which stood afar off/who stood at a distance}:

So, Jesus comes to a particular village as he’s on his way to Jerusalem. And he meets 10 lepers.

Now, leprosy has been an incurable disease for much of the history of the world. From Old Testament times (and likely before that) until actually the 1940s there was no known cure for leprosy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy).

And what’s worse is that this spread from person to person. As a result, the leprous person experienced a great deal of deprivation. He had to live among other lepers, leaving his family and friends and all that he ever knew. It was a miserable existence.

An Urgent Request

Well, these lepers see Jesus from a distance and they have an urgent request for him.

13 And they {lifted up their/raised their/called out with loud} voices, and said,

Jesus, Master, have {mercy/pity} on us.

Mercy or pity is what the rich man in hell requested of Abraham. It’s what the blind beggar in Jericho requested from Jesus. It’s the request of one who has no resources and is in a pitiable condition… as that one is looking to someone else whom they believe can relieve some of their pain and suffering and deficiencies.

Jesus Answers

Well, Jesus doesn’t even hesitate in answering their request.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them,

Go {shew/and show} yourselves {unto/to} the priests.

Now, this is what the Old Testament required that a leper who was cleansed of his leprosy do to verify his cleansing from this otherwise incurable disease. Apparently sometimes it would just go away on its own – and when it did, the former leper needed to go show himself to a priest to have this fact verified.

Obedience Leads to Cleansing

So, for these lepers in this story, the implication is that Jesus cleansed them already of their leprosy – only he hadn’t, just yet. Because the verse goes on to describe that very thing happening.

And {it came to pass, that, as they went,/as they were going/as they went} they were cleansed.

So, they obeyed Jesus’ command. And as they did, he healed their leprosy.

They beg for cleansing. He says to go. So, they go – and as they do what he tells them to do, they get what they were asking for.

Now, the story could end there and we’d all be amazed at Jesus’ power to heal people of leprosy in a time when no cure for this disease existed. But that’s not the main point of this story. Jesus wants us to consider and know the importance of giving him thanks as he provides for us after a time of deprivation.

One in Ten

So, we hear the continuing story of one of those ten lepers in verse 15.

15 {And one/Now one/Then one/One} of them, when he saw that he {was/had been} healed, {turned/came} back, {and with a loud voice glorified God,/glorifying God with a loud voice/praising God with a loud voice}

So, just like all ten lepers cried out with a loud voice for healing back in verse 13, so now this one former leper cries out with a loud voice once more. And this time it’s not with a request. This time, he cries out with praise to God.

A Surprising Detail

So, he returns to the one who had healed him and we learn a kind of surprising detail about this man in verse 16.

16 {And fell down on his face/He fell with his face to the ground/He threw himself} at {his/Jesus’} feet, {giving him thanks/and thanked him}:

{and/Now} he was a Samaritan.

This man is so thankful and full of gratitude. And who wouldn’t be!

Well…how about the other 9 former lepers? All were cleansed. But only this one comes back to praise God.

So, you’d think that maybe this one is a very pious man – a man who is very close to God.

Nope. He’s a Samaritan. A loathed, despised, half-breed Samaritan. The kind of guy that most Jews of Jesus’ day would look at askance. Not only because he was an unclean leper – but because he was also an unclean Samaritan!

Jesus Marvels

And yet, he’s the one out of ten that is returning to praise the Lord. What a marvel! And that’s actually just how Jesus feels in verse 17.

17 {And Jesus answering said,/Then Jesus answered and said/Then Jesus said/Jesus asked}

Were {there not/not} {ten/all ten} cleansed?

The answer? Yes – all ten were cleansed.

{but where are the nine/But the nine– where are they/Where are the other nine}?

Answer – who knows! I guess the other nine were off enjoying their cleansed state without another thought of the one who cleansed them. They were enjoying the benefits of what Jesus is able to do for a person without enjoying Jesus himself.

More Marveling

So, Jesus continues to marvel at the nature of this one out of ten who returned to praise God.

18 {There are not/Was there no one} {found that returned to give/who returned/to turn back and/to return and} {glory/praise} to God, {save/except} this {stranger/foreigner}.

So, Jesus marvels that the only one who came back to show his gratitude was this one Samaritan. And this seems to indicate that perhaps all of the other nine former lepers were actually Jews.

What Gratitude to God Indicates

Well, to Jesus, what does this kind of gratitude after deprivation indicate? This is how the story ends in verse 19.

19 {And/Then} {he/Jesus} said {unto/to} {him/the man},

{Arise, go thy way:/Stand up and go/Get up and go your way/Rise and go}

{thy/your} faith {hath/has} made {thee/you} {whole/well}.

Now wait a second. We didn’t know anything about faith here. The passage has told us nothing explicitly about this Samaritan’s faith. All we knew was that this guy was cleansed and that he returned to thank Jesus.

But it’s that very heart of gratitude that Jesus points to as evidence that this man possessed true faith in him.


And each of us can learn from the example of this Samaritan. Has God allowed you to experience a time of deprivation? Maybe it’s not as severe as the leper. But maybe you feel like in some ways it’s more severe. Whatever the case, perhaps God has taken something away from you that you feel is vital to a happy life. Or maybe he’s just never given it to you in the first place.

And perhaps God has subsequently turned to you and been gracious and provided for your need. What is your response to be? A gratitude and thankfulness to Jesus Christ that displays your true faith in him.

And for many of us, perhaps we really in many ways lack nothing. Maybe you’re not experiencing deprivation of any sort as far as you can tell. Well, do you suppose that Jesus wants something different or less from you than your praising him with your lips from your heart?

What Jesus wants from the person who has no need is the same as he wants from the person who is full of needs. He wants gratitude that displays your true faith in him.

So may the Lord give each of us such a heart to thank him – especially after he meets our needs after allowing us to experience times of deprivation.

Lamentations 1 Summary Verse 2

May the Lord bless you with this Lamentations 1 Summary of verse 2.

In the second verse of Lamentations 1 our attention is drawn to the emotional state of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Weeping

KJV Lamentations 1:2 She {weepeth sore/weeps bitterly} {in the/at} night,
{and her tears are on/tears stream down/tears are upon} her cheeks:

So, Jerusalem is weeping. Now, of course, Jerusalem is not a person and thus cannot literally cry or weep. The words here are metaphorical.

Jerusalem is pictured as a person who is crying tears of sorrow.

Why the sorrow?

Well, of course we saw in the first verse of Lamentations 1 that Jerusalem had experienced a total reversal of fortunes – all in the negative direction.

False Gods

And when that happened one of the bitterest realities that this city and its people came to know when the Babylonians came and invaded and destroyed it is that those on whom she relied turned on her – both her false deities and her false friends.

among all her lovers
{she hath/she has/there is} none to comfort her:

The Lord often pictures his relationship with his people as a marriage. So, when God’s covenant people turn from him to something besides him to worship that thing, the Lord identifies that as spiritual adultery.

The people of Israel in the Old Testament – especially the few hundred years immediately preceding the Babylonian invasion – were given to spiritual immorality. They were adulterous – often times physically, but more foundationally they were committing spiritual adultery against their only God, the Lord.

And it turns out that that was a very bad decision. Because these so-called lovers – the objects of Israel’s worship which were not the Lord himself – they cannot comfort in times of sorrow. Only the God who made you can provide you with real comfort when you are in need.

So, Israel’s false gods provided no comfort for her when she was most desperately in need.

False Friends

But also, her human friends were of no help either.

{all/all that were} her friends have {dealt treacherously with/betrayed/dealt deceitfully with} her,
they {are/have} become her enemies.

These friends here are a reference to Israel’s allies that they had placed their trust in – rather than the Lord alone. Numerous times, Israel chose to place its trust in nations and alliances rather than in God. They would prefer to scheme and connive to secure their safety.

But when it came down to it, these friends were of the fair-weather variety. In Jerusalem’s moment of greatest need, human help – apart from the Lord’s arrangement – failed it.


And these things will fail you every time.

Leaving the Lord to serve and worship some other so-called god will leave you empty with no comfort in life.

Relying on friends or family or any other human being will ultimately result only in deceit and betrayal. In the end, you just may end up with these so-called friends being your worst enemies.

Trust the Lord. Worship and serve only him. Rely on him above and apart from any and everything else.

In your times of sorrow, he will be there for you to comfort you. He will never leave nor forsake you.

Lamentations 1 Summary Verse 1

May the Lord bless you with this Lamentations 1 Summary of verse 1.

The book of Lamentations is a Hebrew poem of five chapters and 154 verses (seven units of twenty-two verses each corresponding to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet) in which the author – Jeremiah the Prophet – pours out his sorrow to the Lord over the destruction of his nation’s capital city, Jerusalem.

In the first verse of Lamentations 1, Jeremiah describes Jerusalem’s humiliating descent from:

  1. Fullness to emptiness
  2. Prominence to widowhood
  3. Ruling to being ruled

Let’s see how this plays out in the first verse of Lamentations 1.

KJV Lamentations 1:1 ¶ How doth the city sit solitary,
that was full of people!

how is she become as a widow!
she that was great among the nations,

and princess among the provinces,
how is she become tributary!

From Fulness to Emptiness

1:1 ¶ How {doth the city sit solitary/lonely sits the city/deserted lies the city},
{that was/once so} full of people! {i.e., Alas! The city once full of people now sits all alone!}

Jeremiah begins by marveling. He says, “How…!”

He’s not asking a question. He is lamenting. He is marveling with great grief. He is pouring out his heart to the Lord in his great amazed sorrow.

And what he first wants to focus on is the fact that Jerusalem went from the status of being full of people to being solitary or lonely or deserted or empty.

Think about all that Jerusalem has experienced in its long history. Think of the Temple that it once housed. Think of the celebrations that were held several times each year. It was a hub of activity. And that activity was religiously-significant. It was all centered on the worship of the true God who created everything.

But now, Jeremiah looks and none of that is happening anymore. Jerusalem has gone from the bustling hub of true religion to an empty shell of its former self. It’s gone from fulness to emptiness.

From Prominence to Widowhood

Furthermore, Jeremiah laments that Jerusalem has gone from prominence to widowhood.

{how is she become/she has become} {as/like} a widow!
{she that was great/the prominent lady/who was once great} among the nations,

Jerusalem had seen the reigns of king David and king Solomon. The kingdom stretched from Egypt in the west out east to include numerous territories that were submissive and subservient to the nation of Israel.

But all of that had changed. Now, instead of being great and prominent among the nations of the world, Israel and its capital city of Jerusalem had become like a widow – unimportant in the sight of everyone. The city was now disregarded and forgotten and insignificant in the eyes of the world.

From Ruling to Being Ruled

And lastly in the first verse of Lamentations 1, Jeremiah grieves over the fact that Jerusalem had gone from a refined ruling over others to being ruled over herself.

{and princess among/She who was a princess among/The princess who once ruled/She who was queen among} the provinces,
{how is she become tributary/Has become a forced laborer/has not become a slave}!

Jerusalem is pictured as a princess or queen – one who rules and does so in a refined and dignified manner. The emphasis is maybe not so much that she was feared as she was treasured and honored.

But now she had become a slave.

She ruled over others in an honorable respectable fashion. But the honor and respect had been stripped away. And now she was a slave – being ruled over by others.


So, that’s how Jeremiah describes Jerusalem’s humiliating descent in the first verse of Lamentations 1. The city had gone from fullness to emptiness, from prominence to widowhood, and from ruling to being ruled.

If the Lord has brought any of these realities into your life, do what Jeremiah did – lament these facts. Talk about them. And talk about them to the Lord. He hears and he cares. He – the one who brings affliction into your life – is the same one who wants to hear from you about the effect that these afflictions have on you. He sometimes needs to bring difficulties – even chastening – into the life of his children. And he does it to draw out our response to himself.

Speak to the Lord about the afflictions he’s put into your life. Note the descent from pleasant to painful in all areas. He will hear you.

Matthew 22 1-14 Meaning

Turn with me in your Bible to Matthew 22.

In our last message on this parable of the wedding feast, we discovered that Jesus spoke this parable in the context of hostility. The chief priests and Pharisees were seeking to kill Jesus. He had entered Jerusalem for the Passover and was teaching the people and was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. And instead of repenting, they resisted God and tried to kill his Son.

And that gets us to this parable that I’d like us to read in its entirety once more.

So, let’s read Matthew 22, 1 to 14.

{Read Matthew 22:1-14…}


Now, as we saw last time, the question posed for each of us to answer in this parable is, How Will You Respond to God’s Invitation to His Kingdom? He is inviting you to be a part of his kingdom. How have you responded to that invitation?

Well, we saw last time the example of the Jews – especially of the Pharisees and scribes – and God’s invitation to them.

We saw the wedding feast prepared by the king for his son. We saw the folks whose invitation was assumed – and they represented the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.

We saw their being invited and their shocking refusal of that invitation. We saw the persistence of the king’s invitation to them and their persistent refusal of the invitation – some being ambivalent about it and some being antagonistic and even homicidal.

And we ended last time considering the destruction of those who had been invited. So, the Jews had been invited to the kingdom, but they for the most part refused the invitation. That’s basically what we saw in verses 1 through 7.

22.8-9 Inviting Everyone

But now things change in verse 8 to the end of the parable. Because in verse 8, we see the invitation – not offered only to the Jews – but we see the invitation going out to everyone.

8 Then {saith he to/he said to/he told} his {servants/slaves},

The {wedding/banquet/wedding banquet} is ready,

but {they which were/those who were/the ones who had been/those I} {bidden/invited} {were not worthy/did not deserve to come}.

9 {Go ye therefore/Go therefore/So go/Therefore, go/Go} {into the highways,/to the main highways/into the main streets/to where the roads exit the city/to the street corners}

and {as many as ye shall find,/everyone you find/anyone you find} {bid/invite} to the {marriage/wedding feast/wedding banquet/banquet}.

The Parable

So, the refusal of those who were initially invited does not change the reality that there is still a wedding feast to conduct. The king will have his wedding feast for his son – and if those who were originally invited didn’t want to come, then he’ll just open the invitation to everyone!

The Jews

From the context of the New Testament we see this kind of activity begin with the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Many of the Jews had rejected and crucified their Messiah. They had in that sense rejected the invitation to God’s kingdom. So, Jesus rises from the dead and in Matthew 28 he told his followers – who were exclusively Jewish – to go and to make disciples of all nations – all nations! Not just to the Jews to whom the invitation to God’s kingdom had originally been given. That’s where we see in real life the invitation being given to everyone in the world – not just God’s people the Jews.

Then we have the story in the book of Acts about Cornelius the Centurion – a Gentile – who receives the Gospel. And from that event the Jewish church in Jerusalem recognized that God had granted the Gentiles an invitation to his kingdom.

Later on in the book of Acts, we see Paul the Apostle telling some unbelieving Jews in Pisidian Antioch that due to their rejection of God’s invitation to his kingdom, he was going to turn to the Gentiles and minister to them and invite them to God’s kingdom. Paul did the same thing in Corinth and in Rome. When the Jews reject God’s invitation to his kingdom, he turns to the Gentiles and invites them.

God had changed his approach from inviting – for the most part – only Jews to his kingdom – to now inviting everyone – Jew and Gentile!


And that’s where we come in. Because of the rejection of the unbelieving Jews so long ago, the Gospel invitation went out to the Gentiles – and most everyone who is hearing this message falls into that ethnic category.

I am not a Jew. I am a Gentile. And, whereas I have no right to demand to be invited to God’s kingdom, yet I have been invited. And so have you.

And it’s not because you’re more righteous by yourself than any Jew or that you are in some other way better than they are. It’s simply because they have rejected God’s invitation. But you have simply received it!

22.10a Effort of the Servants

Well, as we’ve seen in this parable, the king gives his servants new orders – go out and find anyone to come to this wedding feast for my son! And so, they do in verse 10.

10 {So those/Those/And those/So the} {servants/slaves} went out {into the highways,/into the streets/on the roads} and {gathered together/gathered} {all as many as/all/everyone/all the people} they {found/could find}, both {bad/evil} and good:

And isn’t this a humbling reality? Let me ask you – where did God’s servants find you? Where were you when God – through one of his servants – invited you to his kingdom?

I was at a political party’s booth at the Wisconsin State Fair proclaiming what I felt to be the truth concerning that party’s ideas and platform. I was a lost 20 year old entangled in all the things a lost 20 year old does.

But another way to describe to you where I was back in August of 2002 is that I was on the “highways” of life. Wouldn’t you classify where you were when God invited you to his kingdom as in “the highways?” Just “out there” somewhere? Wandering.

What were you doing out in those highways?

No doubt, some of us were upstanding moralistic people. Maybe you were the “good” that the servants found.

But equally as doubtless, most of us were in that other category. We were the “bad” or the “evil.” We were up to no good. We were rebelling against the King.

Picture with me the possibility in this parable that these servants find someone who was rebellious toward the king. And as the kings’ servants are approaching him maybe he’s thinking, “Oh no! They’re coming to execute me! What am I going to do?

But when the servants come, they don’t execute – they invite.

You deserved execution. Instead you were given a gracious invitation.

And by the way, this isn’t the main thrust of this parable, but who are the king’s servants now? These servants that the king commission to go out and invite into his kingdom – who are these people? Can you look around and see any of his servants?

You are his servants. And you have some inviting to do, don’t you? You’ve gone from being the invited to being the inviters – with the hope that some whom you invite will invite yet more who will invite others and so on.

I’m not talking about simply inviting people to our worship services – though there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I’m talking about inviting people to God’s kingdom – to receive his Son Jesus Christ by faith. To repent of their sins and trust in God’s son. That’s what we need to be about.

22.10b Result of the Servants’ Effort

Well, we saw the efforts of the king’s servants in the beginning of verse 10. Now at the end of verse 10 we see the result of the servants’ effort.

{and the/The} {wedding/wedding hall/wedding banquet} was {furnished/filled} with {guests/dinner guests}.

The king’s banquet is filled with those who were not originally called or invited – but now they have been invited and so there they are – so many of them.

And this really corresponds to our present reality. There are many, many folks who have – from external appearances – accepted God’s invitation to his kingdom.

According to a survey conducted by Pew research in 2015, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. That study conducted just four years ago indicates that there were 2.3 billion people in the world who consider themselves Christians. That was 31.2% of the world’s population.

In contrast, 1.8 billion are Muslim – which is the second-highest populated religion in the world. What that means in contrast is that there are a half-a-billion more Christians than Muslims in this world – 500 million more Christians than Muslims.

Another interesting contrast is that people who call themselves Jews are only 0.01 billion strong or 10 million. So, there are 2.29 billion more people who calls themselves Christians than there are Jews in this world.

The point is that God has sent his servants out now for the past two thousand years to proclaim his kingdom and invite both Jews and Gentiles to that kingdom. And as you can tell from the data, his kingdom seems to be filled with those who have responded to the invitation.

22.11 Inspection of the King

But the shocking reality that confronts us is that not everyone who has externally responded to God’s invitation to his kingdom is really in actuality going to be accepted by the King. Because we see in the last four verses of this parable that not all who are called – or invited – to God’s kingdom are actually chosen or accepted by the King.

So, we start these last four verses of the parable in verse 11 with the inspection of the king.

11 ¶ {And/But} when the king came in to {see/look over/view} the {guests/dinner guests/wedding guests}, he {saw there/saw/noticed} a man {which/there who} {had/was} not {on a/dressed in/wearing/dressed for} {wedding garment/wedding clothes/a wedding}:

Now, apparently, wedding clothes would have simply been clean clothing. This man is one of the many who were invited to the wedding feast for the king’s son. He’s sitting there with all of the other invited guests. But he doesn’t have the proper attire.

And the troubling reality is that there are – in churches across the world – people who come and they listen and they sing and they give. But they’re not clothed… in Christ’s righteousness. They have on – in God’s eyes – their own filthy rags of their own self-righteousness.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8-9, …I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

And the Apostle John sees in his vision in the book of Revelation this righteousness of Christ pictured as a white robe or as white and clean fine linen.

John speaks in Revelation 7:14 of those who, “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Your robes were filthy – but it took blood to clean them. And while no one in this world would use blood to clean clothing, in this case the blood of Jesus is the most powerful cleaning agent ever known to heaven or to men.

Then Revelation 19:7-9 speaks of the wedding feast of the Lamb and the clothing that his bride is wearing:

KJV Revelation 19:7-9 …the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

So, all of God’s true people have this righteousness that comes through faith in Christ and not by your own merit or effort. And this righteousness is pictured as clothing – a wedding garment in this parable.

But as we see in this parable, there is this one guest who doesn’t have this wedding clothing on. Why?

He’s been invited. He’s accepted the invitation. But he’s not wearing wedding clothing. Why?

22.12a Question of the King

That’s what the king wants to know in verse 12.

12 {And he/So he/He} {saith/asked} {unto him/to him/him},

Friend, how {camest thou/did you come/did you get} in {hither/here} {not having a/without} wedding {garment/clothes}?

Because you need wedding clothes to get into a wedding feast. Even in our super-relaxed culture, there is certain clothing that indicates that you are going to a wedding or other special event. But this guy came in without that kind of clothing.

The king has a fair question. And one that should be answerable.

The inappropriately-dressed guest could perhaps point to a lack of money. But surely if that were the case – that this man is impoverished, and therefore unable to buy wedding clothes – the gracious king who so patiently invited all sorts of guests and was willing to provide them with all sorts of excellent and costly food could surely provide the necessary attire for this man. In fact, some say that at these weddings the host would actually provide these wedding garments to each guest.

Well, maybe the man somehow was unaccustomed to the marital practices of the area and didn’t know the requirement of the correct clothing. But if that were the case, you could assume again that the king could make some provision for this man.

22.12b Refusal of the Guest to Respond

But what we see in this parable is actually that the man offers no defense at all. He gives no reason for his refusal to be dressed in the proper clothing for this event at the end of verse 12.

{And he was speechless/And the man was speechless/But he had nothing to say}.

Now, it’s not that this man was bewildered and uncomfortable and embarrassed – and that’s why he didn’t speak. No – this man just had nothing to say.

It’s not that he was squirming in his seat and feeling guilty. He probably looked back at the king with an absolutely blank stare.

And this man in the parable represents any and all who have seemed to accept God’s invitation to his kingdom. They live among the people of God who are themselves entering this kingdom. But they themselves do not have Christ’s righteousness. They are still dressed in their own filthy rags of self-righteousness and sin.

And if that’s the case for you here today – and you persist in your refusal to repent and receive Jesus Christ – then you will be speechless at the judgement. You will have nothing to say.

22.13 Expulsion of the Guest

And that really is a terrifying position to find yourself in. Because there is indeed judgement coming for all who are apart from Christ, as the parable points to in verse 13.

13 Then said the king to the {servants/attendants},

{Bind/Tie up} him hand and foot, and {take him away, and cast him/throw him} {into outer darkness/outside, into the darkness};

{there/in that place there/where there} {shall/will} be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Now, it’s interesting to note whom the king is commanding in this verse. Five times so far in this parable, we’ve seen the king communicate with (or command) his slaves – his douloi. But this group that he addresses to do his bidding in this verse is different. Now, the king commands his servants – his diakonoi.

Because the slaves/douloi are kind of a picture of people like us – from the man whose full-time job it is to preach God’s word to the Christian who has been saved for a few weeks – we are commanded to go and preach the Gospel. We’re the slaves/douloi in this passage.

But we are not the servants/diakonoi. We are not commanded to cast people outside into the darkness. That role is reserved for the angels. And they’ll do this work at God the Father’s command at the judgement.

Now, just like this unprepared and unconcerned wedding guest in this parable, so too will be all who leave this world unprepared to meet their judge.

The guest in this parable – who had received the invitation to the kingdom but was not clothed appropriately – is thrown outside into the darkness. And all who reject God’s forgiveness through Christ – who are dressed in their own unrighteous rags rather than Christ’s righteousness – will be cast away from God’s presence into eternal darkness. They’ll be bound in the sense that they will never be able to escape their fate.

And for these people who have rejected Christ’s righteousness it will be truly hell – emotionally and physically. That’s what Jesus means when he speaks of weeping and gnashing of teeth – with weeping showing the intensity of the emotional suffering and with gnashing of teeth showing the intensity of the physical suffering in that place of torment prepared for the devil and his angels and where his children will finally join him.

22.14 Summary

Well, why does this happen this way? How is it that so many are invited to God’s kingdom but so few actually enter it eternally? Jesus explains that puzzling reality in the last verse of this parable – verse 14.

14 For many are {called/invited}, but few are chosen.

What does this mean? Well, consider what we’ve experienced in this parable.

Many were called or invited in this parable, weren’t they? You had the folks whose invitation was assumed, and they represent the Jews who were the first to be invited to God’s kingdom. You have the good and the bad whom the slaves could find in the highways. They represent the Gentiles that God is now inviting into his kingdom. And the wedding banquet ended up being filled with guests. Truly, many have been – and are being even now – called.

But who are the chosen in this parable? Are they the Jews? No – at least not by-and-large. For the most part the Jews are not chosen – though as Paul the Apostle would point out – he was! So, the Jews in this parable are not chosen – especially the ones who were being antagonistic toward Jesus.

What about the Gentiles? Are they chosen? Well, a number of them are. But then there’s this one who looks like he’s been chosen. But what key indicator let’s everyone know that he’s not chosen? He’s not clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

So, are you called or invited to Christ’s kingdom? Of course you are. The very fact that you are hearing the words of Christ from this passage in Scripture assures you that you have been invited to God’s kingdom. You are one of the many who are called.

But are you chosen? Are you – here’s a controversial term but a biblical one and it’s the one behind this word in verse 14 – are you elect?

Well, how would you know? Here’s the key – are you clothed in Christ’s righteousness?

Have you trusted that Jesus has died for every single one of your awful sins? For your sins – not just the sins of mankind – not just the sins of the world – but has he died for your sins? Are you confident in that – in him? Can anything shake your confidence in the fact that Jesus Christ bore your personal sins in his body on the tree?

If you are confident of this and relying on Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of all your sins – I have good news for you. You are chosen. You are in the group of the few who are elect.

And you didn’t do a thing to earn this. It’s Christ’s righteousness that clothes you. You would be shamefully naked on your own. But as the song says,

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
my beauty are, my glorious dress.

I trust that most of us hearing this message are elect. But no one should be so naïve as to think everyone here is.

Is there anyone who is still clothed in your own filthy fowl garments? Are you still in your sin? Are you seeking to establish your own righteousness and rejecting Christ’s righteousness?

Maybe you are a good person. People like you. But inwardly you think that you’ll be alright in the end because you are a decent, kindhearted, warm human being. You work hard. You try your best. And in the end, God will accept you.

That is what you’ll be thinking… until the moment you enter hell. You’re wearing the wrong clothing! Everyone else might miss that fact – that you’re not in the proper attire. The other invitees to the wedding feast might miss it. The people who invite you to the feast might miss it. But the king certainly will not. He will see that you are dressed in your own righteousness – and that will not be good enough for entrance into his kingdom.

You better change your clothes. Abandon your own way and your own righteousness – and put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We’re all called. Only a few are chosen. Demonstrate that you are chosen by trusting Jesus Christ today.