Summary: At the end of the church age are God's invitations for people & churches. (there will be no audio for this message - the recording was messed up)
God’s Great Invitations
* From 1955-1960 there was a series on TV called “The Millionaire.” The theme of the show was that, each week, a generous multimillionaire would dispatch a messenger to give away a million dollars to some unsuspecting, yet needy person of his choosing. It was amazing how difficult it was for this messenger to give away a million dollars. (BTW, a million dollars back then has been purported to equal seven million in modern day dollars). The messenger was laughed at, lied to, treated rudely, and even had doors slammed in his face. To think that someone with whom you had no connection or affiliation would invite them to receive such a great gift was beyond the imagination of that day. After all, they did have to sign the receipt, they did have to respond, or they could not receive the money.
* I submit that we can find many similarities between the story line of that TV show and of our Lord’s offer to us. God dispatched His only Son, Jesus, to a people who had, by the choice of disobedience and sin, severed their ties. God sent Jesus to offer us something more valuable than silver, gold, or money; by and large, this people laughed at, ridiculed, and even killed Him.
* But God was so determined to reach us that He used the death of His own Son as a springboard to offer us an invitation to be restored to Him, to know Him, and even to live with Him forever.
* For the last several months we have been on a journey through the seven churches to which Jesus wrote a personal letter. These seven churches do not present a pretty picture of the local church. Think about it;
Ephesus was the ‘backslidden’ church, Smyrna was the ‘beat up’ church, Pergamum was the ‘bargaining’ church, & Thyatira was the ‘busted’ church. Then Sardis was the “Comfortable” church, while Philadelphia (the only church without a word of condemnation) was the “Consistent” church, and last week we saw Laodicea (the only church without a word of commendation) was the “Complacent” church. In seven snapshots of the church, Jesus found only one which He didn’t have at least a word of condemnation.
* In each one of these churches, Jesus speaks a word of truth and of reality, in hopes that the churches will hear Him, respond to Him, and return to Him. Let’s read our text. (READ) This is God’s Great Invitation through Christ.
1. The invitation to Realize – (V19a) What is it that He invites us to realize. “As many as I love” is a telling message. The word ‘love’ in this instance is not the ‘agape’ as is found in John 3:16. God’s agape love extends to all of mankind. This word is the word phileo which speaks of the love of a friend. God’s love for all the peoples of the world is such that He sent His one and only Son to pay the price for our sin debt.
* Nothing can separate us from that love. But the love spoken here is about the love of one who has received God’s offer.
* Here is an English transliteration; “As many as are dear to me or are mine through salvation, I hold accountable.” One of the ways we know that we are in HIS FAMILY is that HE SPANKS HIS KIDS. In fact, if you wonder why you or someone you know can continually hurt fellow believers or the church and God’s hand never seems to reach to them, just mark it up; God doesn’t discipline those who are not in His family.
* It kind of like disciplining the neighbor’s kids. Most of us would not do that (unless a special relationship existed), we would leave the disciplining to the family. How long has it been since God took you to the woodshed? Do you really think that your life is so perfect that God has no reason to correct you?
* The message is clear. If you belong to Him, He will rebuke and discipline you. If you don’t belong to Him, instead of discipline it will be judgment & instead of in this life, it may not come until the afterlife. Use His words today to realize whose you are and who you are. It is the invitation to realize & every invitation flows from this one, because His next invitation is;
2. The invitation to Repent – (V19b) He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed (zealous, earnest, diligent) and repent.” One Bible says, “So with all your heart have sorrow for your evil ways.” You have heard this many times, ‘repentance is the first message of John the Baptist, Peter at Pentecost, and Jesus after His Temptation & Baptism. Repentance is the Key to salvation and walking with God.