Summary: Jesus said that though many won’t respond, we still need to extend His Great Invitation--Decision leads to Development and Discovery. Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Template.

A Great Invitation

Matthew 11:16-30

Children love to play games. And in vv. 16-17 the Lord gives an illustration of children playing games.

v. 16-17 “This generation” is the people of the Lord’s day who rejected Him…but it also speaks of humanity in general, inc. our generation.

What games did you play as a kid?

Often kids argue about what game to play, or who gets to be the leader. Who plays the ‘preacher’ when they play the wedding game, etc. Today’s kids are more spoiled than ever…and they expect new toys and new video games, and most of all--to get their way.

Our text is a picture of spoiled children that cannot be pleased…nothing makes them happy for long. And that’s a picture of our generation today, and even some people in the church. They can’t be pleased. It’s too warm or too cold in here, and the sermon was too long or too short [no often accused of the latter!]

Ill.—g’kids put limburger cheese in g’pa’s moustache while he was napping. He got up and every room he went into he thought stank. He even walked outside and said, the whole world stinks!

Some Christians are like that and need an attitude adjustment.

But Jesus is speaking about His ministry and the way He was rejected by His own people, and doubted by all at times, inc. John the Baptist in our text.

v. 18-19 John came preaching repentance…serious and stern, and you didn’t like that…then Jesus came w/ an initial message of love and hope, and you didn’t like that either! And they called the sinless Son of God a drunk!

Fact is, when you don’t want to hear the message, then no messenger will do. Some have made up their mind they don’t want to be saved, and so they spend their time picking Christians apart.

Jesus goes on in vv. 20-24 to pronounce judgment on the unrepentant cities that rejected Him. He said Sodom and Gomorrah will have a lighter judgment than those places where He worked miracles that rejected Him.

“We are not only judged for sins committed, but for light rejected!”

These cities rejected the Lord face to face, in the light of signs and wonders and miracles. And judgment someday will be more severe for one who rejected the gospel repeatedly, willfully, than for one w/ less opportunity to hear the gospel.

But then Jesus shifts gears in v. 25 and just starts praying. The Lord has a totally different tone by v. 28…

v. 28-30 He has been pronouncing a curse, then suddenly He turns to prayer and the Spirit and it’s like walking out of the dark into the light.

This language is in sharp contrast to just a few verses earlier. What the Lord is doing is turning from the corporate level to the individual level. In spite of a stern message falling on the deaf ears of a mostly unbelieving generation, a great invitation is still given at the end, for the few who will come!

You have to send out a lot of invitations to get a few to come. That’s true even of something positive like a wedding or a special event. How many invitations do you have to give to get a few to come to God’s house or a ladies Bible Study hour? Many will not answer God’s call and great invitation…and yet the invitation must be given, even as Jesus gave it!

It’s an invitation of rest. How many here need rest? But it’s talking about a different kind of rest for your soul. We all have an inner restlessness / turmoil / desire to find peace, contentment and serenity. And many try to fill that inner void w/ people, places, things, and activities.

The codependent looks to a person to fulfill what only Jesus can provide. Some make purchase after purchase trying to be happy when what they really need is absolutely free! The church hopper moves frequently from church to church trying to find fulfillment in a place or in those people. Some folks move from city to city and job to job looking for what only Jesus can give them. Others stay as busy as possible and then wonder why they never find rest!

Notice that “rest” is mentioned twice in these verses…I believe it’s talking about 2 different kinds of rest.

There is:

“Come and I will give you rest” &

“Take and you will find rest”

v. 28 is the rest of salvation—

Rest from labor and rest from burdens are mentioned in v. 28.

Labor—those working for their salvation…trying to earn their way into heaven, to save themselves. In those days the Pharisees made salvation about keeping commandments and doing things…do, do, do! Jesus says if you’re tired of trying then try trusting!

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