The Last Invitation

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Scripture- Revelation 22:16-21

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We all have received invitations. Perhaps you have received an invitation to something ordinary like dinner at a friend’s house, or more formal like a graduation or a wedding. Invitations are symbol of relationships. The one extending an invitation expresses their love for the one invited to participate in fellowship or a special life event. The one accepting an invitation reciprocates and expresses their love for the one who has extended the invitation by accepting the invitation.

God invites people to know him.

Isaiah 55:1-3 Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost! Why do you spend silver on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to me; listen, so that you will live. 

Jesus invites people to come to know him.

John 7:37-39 Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers or living water will flow from his heart.’

We have arrived at the conclusion of our consideration of Revelation. After providing a panoramic presentation of future events all the way to the eternal state, what is left is a divine postscript, which includes a powerful invitation.

The invitation is for Jesus to come.

In his first coming, Jesus came to the earth as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem as the prophets foretold. Jesus fulfilled many prophecies in his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. His second coming will be in fulfillment of the remaining prophecies.

Jesus ascended back into Heaven after his time on the earth was completedThe angels said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? The same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The Second Coming of Jesus is a strong theme in the Bible. Matthew 24:30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”

Revelation 19:11-16

V7, v12, 20 Jesus- “I am coming soon.”

V17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come!”

V17 The Holy Spirit says come! The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment and exalts Jesus. He calls for Jesus to return, overcome his enemies, judge sinners, and usher in eternity.

V17 The Bride says come! The bride is the church. God’s people pray, serve, and wait expectantly for the return of Jesus. 2 Timothy 4:8 There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing.

The invitation is for Jesus to come.

The invitation is to come to Jesus.

Let anyone who hears say come! People have to hear about Jesus, and come to know Jesus, before they call for Jesus to come.

Romans 10 14 How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautifulare the feet of those who bring good news.16 But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.18 But I ask, “Did they not hear?” Yes, they did: Their voice has gone out to the whole earth,and their words to the ends of the world.

There is one message about Jesus- the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

There are many messengers who proclaim Jesus- witnesses.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

There are many hearers who will by faith receive the message about Jesus.

Revelation 7:9 I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice- Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!

The Responsibility of the Bride of Christ to make disciples- centrality of evangelism and missions.

A clear message of the truth about Jesus must be received in order to hear, believe, and obey.

Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.

Water literally, is an important commodity of life. About 71% of the earth is covered with water but only 3% of it is fresh in rivers, lakes, aquifers and resevoirs. The Great Lakes alone contain 20% of the freshwater on the entire surface of the earth. According to the World Health Organization, two billion people on earth have no drinking water provided to them.

844 million travel more than thirty minutes to a river or a tap and it is often contaminated water. 850,000 people die each year from conditions related to unclean water. We are blessed to live where clean water is accessible, but even it has limits as we learned in the water crisis of 2014.

Thirst is a strong sense of desire, and particularly so spiritually. Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. The spiritual water Jesus offers satisfies, and comes to us freely. Our greatest need is to have our sins forgiven and be reconciled to our Creator, to know God. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 he told her about living water that becomes, in those who receive it, a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

The invitation is to come to Jesus.

The invitation is to receive your share of the tree of life and the holy city.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.

The Bible begins with an assertion about God-Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God. . .The Bible concludes with an affirmation about truth. V6 These words are faithful and true. These words are final. In Deuteronomy 4:2 Moses said- You shall not add to the word I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

The canon of Scripture (meaning reed or measurement, as a rule or standard) refers to the books in the Old and New Testaments, that constitute the Word of God. The Law, the writings, and the prophets were the divisions of the OT and Jesus testified to their authenticity. The early church went through a process where they recognized the books that should be included in the canon- prophetic/apostolic authorship, witness of the Spirit, acceptance by the people of God.

Ultimately, God gave us His Word.

J.I. Packer- The church no more gave us the New Testament canon than Sir Isaac Newton gave us the force of gravity. God gave us gravity, by his work of creation, and similarly he gave us the New Testament canon, by inspiring the individual books that make it up. (God Speaks To Man)

The canon closed with the Book of Revelation. Anyone who adds their own revelations to it will ultimately suffer the consequences. The Bible is authoritative for everything pertaining to life and godliness.

The greatest attack today on the Bible is coming from progressives who have non-biblical positions about truth (relativism), people (basically good), and Scripture (that it changes and should be adapted to the times), and pragmatism (what works over what is right).

The attack comes from the fact that we have a spiritual enemy.  Enlightenment, Modernism, Post/Modernism, Post/Christian. Rather than the Bible having authority over us, progressives see themselves as having authority over the Bible. The Bible can mean anything when pseudo-intellectualism is elevated and authority is minimized.

The canon closed with the Book of Revelation. Anyone who claims to have a written word from God- examples of the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, are false teachers. Additionally, anyone who claims to operate within the Christian faith but appeals to extra revelation- “God told me” constantly, is not to be followed. Does God lead? Of course, through His Word and by His Spirit. We carefully follow, measuring everything against this.

Anyone who adds their own revelations to it, will ultimately suffer the consequences.

All who honor the Word of God will be blessed.

The Tree of Life is mentioned three times in Genesis 2, in Eden, and four times in Revelation, three in this final chapter. The tree of life is now in Paradise, the intermediate Heaven (Revelation 2:7). The New Jerusalem will be brought down in the future and the tree of life will be placed on the New Earth (Revelation 21:2). So the tree of life was relocated from Eden to the current Heaven, and will be relocated in the future to the New Earth. In the New Heaven and the New Earth we will eat of the fruit of the tree and draw strength and vitality from it. The Tree of Life is symbolic of eternal life with God.

The holy city- the New Jerusalsm is symbolic of the presence of God ruling and reigning for all of eternity.

The tree of life and the holy city point us to God Himself who is the ultimate gift.

The invitation is to receive your share of the tree of life and the holy city.

Come, Lord Jesus!

God is interested in your salvation. On the last page of the last chapter in the last book of the Bible, he invites you to come and follow him.

RSVP is a French phrase that translates as “please respond.” Please let me know whether or not you are planning to attend.

God’s invitation is urgent, has eternal implications, and cannot simply be ignored.