Summary: God’s invitation to be saved is found in the most unlikely places in the Bible and requires a response.
AN INVITATION TO SALVATION
* (Read the scripture) This morning we witnessed the baptism for some of our new believers. Today we made available to these believers pre-printed invitations to send out inviting friends and family to attend the most significant event in life, their BAPTISM. Have you ever received an invitation to something? It could be a wedding, a shower, a graduation, or a celebration of some kind, but you received this personal invitation to attend and be a part.
* Although a theologian would take our text today and draw some historical lesson from it, I would like to suggest to you the thought that this text offers to every one of us an “Invitation to Salvation.” This is your personal invitation to be saved. I see 3 types of invitation, let begin in verse 21.
1. It is a comprehensive invitation. (21) The first time I came to really understand the word ‘comprehensive’ was in the 4th grade. Our teacher, Mrs. Thomas, used the word ‘comprehensive’ to refer to the upcoming test on Friday. Being the ‘dummy’ in our class (and not being afraid to show my ignorance), I asked, “What does that mean?” In short, she said, “It means that it will cover everything from the beginning of the year.” Well, I knew I was in trouble. Our comprehensive invitation gives us help. Watch.
a. It is consistent. In verse 21, when Isaiah writes to Israel he is quoting God himself and says, “ALL DAY LONG.” Simply put, this refers to God’s care for & watching over Israel. When I read about the Children of Israel’s ongoing rebellion, I wonder why God didn’t write them off. But He never did and the same holds true for each one of us. God’s love and invitation consistently extends to you. It is a “all day long” fact of life.
b. It is compassionate. From the next words can you paint a picture of out stretched hands? As a child, did you ever get hurt or in trouble and have a little apprehension about facing dad because you were unsure as to how he would respond? When you saw him, he had his powerful hand out-stretched, to say “I love you.” Whether you had to receive discipline or not was not in question at that moment, only that you were loved.
c. It is complete. Look at the last phrase of verse 21. God doesn’t love the lovely. In fact it was when we didn’t deserve it that Jesus was sent to earth to buy our soul. Yes, this salvation is comprehensive as through Jesus, God reaches out to us consistently, compassionately, & completely.
An Invitation to Salvation – Pg 2
2. It is a challenging invitation. God’s invitation carries with it some heavy requirements. Even though Jesus died for us, our salvation is challenging.
a. It is a challenge to receive the message. When we read verses 14 & 15 it becomes very apparent that to call on the Lord requires each of us to be in the KNOW. If we are to “call” on Him, we must “believe” in Him. If we “believe” in Him, we have to “hear” about Him. To “hear” about Him there must be a messenger to “tell” us about Him and to “tell” us about Him one must be SENT by Him. Don’t be confused but challenged by this process and re-read verse 17, “Faith comes through what is heard and what is heard come through the message about Christ.
b. It is a challenge to respect the messenger. The last part of verse 15 says, “How welcome (beautiful, timely) are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!” Notice the punctuation mark. This is not a question, but rather an exclamation. The one who is sent is the one who tells and allows you to hear those wonderful words of life. Have you ever noticed that about the time you are at your worst there is someone there to give you a word from God? Sadly, at our worst a word from God is seemingly the last thing we want to hear (kind of gets on your nerves). Yet the beauty, timeliness, or the welcome of Him comes from the fact that God put this messenger there at the very time you need him.
c. It is a challenge to respond to the message. Every time you hear a message from God it requires a response. Sadly, many fail to heed God’s call. Verse 16 reminds us that not everyone believes and obeys God. Why? Because it’s a challenge. His invitation is a challenging adventure.
3. It is a clear invitation. Let’s end with the verse we began with and answers 3 important questions;
a. Who has this personal invitation? Everyone. Whoever. Whosoever. That means you! Right now God is confirming in your heart this truth.