The Gospel Feast!
William Nicholson, 1862
"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines!" Isaiah 25:6
Rich and magnificent are the feasts of kings. Their vessels are of silver and gold — their costly viands and delicious wines — their numerous guests in splendid, costly, and imposing attire — affect the imagination and excite wonder.
But there has never been any royal feast worthy to be compared with the Gospel feast.
Consider its rich dainties — its exhilarating wine and spiritual drinks for the thirsty soul.
Consider the Master of the feast as the Lord of the universe, the exalted second person in the Godhead, King of kings, etc.
Consider that this feast is but the precursor of a richer, more joyful, more social, and everlasting feast in Heaven.
Consider these things, and you will see that no feast like this was ever provided by human hands.
I. This feast is greatly needed. By famishing sinners — ready to perish. Does a man ready to die from hunger need food? The necessities of your soul, sinner, are greater and more urgent. You are condemned and under the wrath of God — and there is but a step between you and the grave!
II. This feast has been provided by the Lord Almighty. The Lord of angels — of men — of fallen spirits. The Creator, Governor, and Ruler of all. O astonishing condescension and love! It was love, infinite love, that provided this feast! John 3:16.
III. This feast was provided at a great expense. What did the sinner require? Righteousness of state, of heart, and life. Acceptance with an offended God; pardon, peace, and joy.
To procure these invaluable blessings, gold and silver are but as dust — houses and lands, and the domains of kings, are utterly worthless. "Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts of the field for a burnt-offering." "The gold of Sheba, the fine linen of Egypt, the topaz of Ethiopia," and the most costly things of earth, could not have provided the dainties of this feast.
This provision involved the humiliation — the sufferings — the death of Christ! 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Peter 1:18; Romans 8:32.
IV. This feast has great variety and rich abundance. He has abundantly provided the bread of life, a "feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines!" The wine of the kingdom — the water of life springing up into everlasting life.
Now look at the varieties of this feast:
1. In this feast, you see the glory of God displayed in the most transcendent manner.
His natural perfections are manifest in his works, but it is chiefly in the great system of redemption, that his moral perfections are displayed. Here the love, the grace, the compassion of God to man appears. It is here that he pours forth all his fullness, and unveils the brightness of his throne, Titus 3:5-7; 1 John 3:1.
Every divine attribute was manifested in redemption of lost sinners!
Wisdom, by the contrivance of the plan of salvation;
power, by its accomplishment;
justice, by the satisfaction of all its demands;
holiness, by the vindication of all its spotless prerogatives;
mercy, by full salvation to ruined man; and
truth, by the completion of all the purposes and promises of God. A feast of fat things indeed!
2. In this feast, we find and experience those truths and blessings in which we have the deepest interest. There is an incomparable sweetness in the doctrines of the Gospel. Delicious honey! The nectar of flowers is bitter, compared with their sweetness.
See at this feast, the doctrines of Divine grace. My state as a sinner was known, was pitied, was provided for, before the foundation of the world. Christ was for me — the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world!
See there the doctrine of forgiveness and acceptance through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Sweet is the doctrine of justification — of adoption and all its privileges.
See there the doctrine of sanctification, the progressive purification of the soul, effected by the agency of the ever-blessed Spirit.
Then think of Christ's victory over death for us, his resurrection the pledge of ours — his entrance into Heaven the earnest of ours. A feast of fat things indeed!
3. In this feast, we behold the rich clusters of the divine Promises. There is a richness beyond nil description in such sentiments as these; "Behold the Lamb," etc. "Come unto me and find rest." "He
is able to save to the uttermost!" "Him that comes unto me, I will never cast out!" "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty!"
The promises of God are exceedingly great and precious.
They are great, for they are given by the great God, whose greatness exceeds the comprehension of the greatest of created intelligences.
They are great, for they are the vehicles of great blessings, like ships laden with jewels, silver, and gold.
They are great in number, like the stars of Heaven.
They are great, for they produce great and lasting effects upon the soul. Precious are they to the afflicted pilgrim — to the persecuted, the tempted, and the tried.
They sweeten the waters of Marah,
they smooth the pillow of sickness,
they irradiate the valley of death.
Eternity alone can disclose their greatness, and proclaim their sweetness! A feast of fat things indeed!
4. In this feast, there is not only variety, but rich abundance. The Gospel is called "the unsearchable riches of Christ," and its doctrines are "according to the riches of his grace" — expressions implying that they are great and glorious, and replete with the greatest interest.
Rich in interest are the paths of science. Glorious is the earth with all its productions, vegetable and animal. Its mountains, its valleys, its rivers, its seas, and oceans, etc. etc., are rich in interest. Its commerce, its mechanical contrivances, etc., are full of marvels. And then yon stars, yon sun and moon, those beautiful heavens, worlds upon worlds throughout boundless space, are overwhelmingly grand.
But all this is subordinate and inferior in interest, to that boundless love of God, which prompted him to give the Creator of this earth — the Creator of that genius, that philosophy and science, of those heavens, and of those innumerable worlds — TO DIE! By which to provide us the feast of fat things, and the soul-cheering wine of the Gospel. Compared with the wonders of the cross, and the unfathomable abysses of Divine love disclosed to us in the Gospel — they appear flat, insipid, and uninteresting.
A feast of fat things indeed! Rich abundance! It is a feast. "He gives liberally." Yes, abundance! All the saints on earth, and the innumerable company round the throne, are feasted sumptuously every day. And the provision is so far from being exhausted, that it is not in the least impaired. Glorious mystery! Christ is both the matter and the master of the feast!
5. This feast nourishes and gladdens the soul. There can be no spiritual life, no spiritual joy, without frequent participation. We must have the "sincere milk of the word," the feast of fat things, and the wine, and the promises, that we may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2.
Yes, they "grow in grace," who come to this feast. The feast — the wine — makes them joyful. "Eat, O friends, drink abundantly, O beloved." You cannot take too much. The more you take, the better.
Men may be filled with wine to excess, but not with the new wine of the love of Christ. "His love is better than wine!" How different is this gospel wine, from the wine of the choicest grapes!
Earthly wine has slain its thousands — while gospel wine has saved its thousands.
Earthly wine has brought the most hateful vices — while gospel wine has brought the most illustrious graces to glorious perfection.
Earthly wine has conducted to Hell — while gospel wine brings its recipients to Heaven.
Come to this feast then, and drink this wine, and you shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory! It gladdens the Church on earth — and in Heaven — they will never again be sad in that Canaan.
6. This feast is of a social nature. Church fellowship. You sit together in the house of God — at his table — to partake of the feast. You meet together at his throne. "Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity." Acts 2:46, 47.
7. This feast is freely bestowed. Isaiah 55:1, 2; Revelation 22:17.
Lastly. This feast is accessible, and all are invited. "Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved." Matthew 22:9.
Value and enjoy this feast.
You will know its value before long — in death — and in eternity.
The refusal of such a feast, will involve the most awful results!