Summary: In Christ alone the longing of the human heart can be satisfied.


Rev. 22:16-17

Big Idea: In Christ alone the longing of the human heart can be satisfied.

Rev. 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.


Life. The offer before us, given by Jesus, is life. Five times in the final vision of The Revelation, reference is made to “life.”

• In 21:6 we read for the first time of “the water of life”

• In 21:27 we read of “the book of life”

• In 22:1 we discover there is a “river of life” flowing thorough the eternal city

• In 22:2 we discover that the “tree of life” is found in the city and will provide us with fulfilling nourishment

• And here, in 22:17, we are offered, again, the “water of life.”

It seems “life” is a pretty important description of Heaven.

It has always been an important component of the Gospel hasn’t it? Since the fall of man (Genesis 3) man has been plagued by death (emotional, spiritual, and physical) and God has been on a rescue mission ever since. God wants to restore us to life. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

The writer of the Revelation also wrote the Gospel of John. In the Gospel he used the word life no less than 44 times and, like here (in The Revelation), he shares with us that “life” and salvation are synonymous.

Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Life through Jesus Christ is the invitation of the gospel. It is a free and open invitation to all who “come.” He is no respecter of persons – it is for everyone – it is for you! Whosoever will may come. Jesus makes a lot of invitations for people to “come to Him.” There are at least a dozen in The Revelation alone (2:5; 16, 21, 22, 3:3, 19; 9:20-21; 11:13; 14:7; 15:4; 16:9, 11).

And there’s the rub … you have to choose to respond. You will never be forced to make the great exchange; to receive life in place of the death that reigns within you (c.f. Romans 5).

I have recently heard more than one of you tell me you are looking for answers. That’s exciting to me – because you have come to the right place today. Not to this local church, per say, but to Jesus.

When Vickie and I invite guests to our house for a meal they often ask, “What would you like us to bring?” Our standard answer is “Nothing. Just bring yourself and your appetite.”

That’s Jesus answer to you too. When he invites you to come all he asks you to bring is yourself.

May I tell you a story?

In our community there lives a man who is a very accomplished craftsman and artist. So much so that Martin Guitars offered him a job in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. He is one of only two people who work in their custom shop where the guitars are entirely made by hand. These guitars are made-to-order for musicians; and often cost upwards of $20,000.00.

While working for Martin, this craftsman (named Tracy *) made and customized guitars for the most famous musicians in the world. However, after a number of years and three children, Tracy and his wife decided to leave Martin and return to the North Country to raise their kids.

His last day at Martin was memorable. Mr. Chris Martin (the sixth generation of Martins to run the company) made it a very special day with many gifts and even an offer to continue working for the company while living in the North Country (an offer Tracy accepted). But one gift, in particular, stood out.

As I said, there were many professional musicians that Tracy has done work for. Some are, of course, frequent customers. These musicians would have Tracy customize a handmade guitar then they would play it at a charity fund raiser and auction it off for the charity, etc. One musician, in particular, liked to use Tracy for work like this. He also happens to be one of my favorite guitar players – Eric Clapton.

This story is about one of the guitars made for Mr. Clapton. It is one of four used as prototypes that Mr. Clapton collaborated on. These four guitars were custom made. Tracy would work on them, Mr. Clapton would play them, make recommendations, and then send them back for alterations. One of these four recently sold at auction for $42,000.00. Of these four, one stood out because Tracy hand painted it and engraved special markings on it. I hold that special guitar in my hand. It is very intricate isn’t it? The free hand painting is identical on both sides and it the prized jewel of the four prototypes.

Well, on Tracy’s last day, Mr. Martin brought out a guitar case. Tracy did not know what was inside but when he opened it he found this guitar! Mr. Clapton gave it to him as a parting gift! What better way for Mr. Clapton and Mr. Martin to say thank you to Tracy than to return what was an incredible piece of work to the craftsman who made it?

Pastor Joe will be playing this guitar in a few minutes. To you and me – it just looks like any other guitar. In fact, as you can probably tell even from where you are it looks like it has been “road hard and put up wet.” It has. It has been played a lot! And that might make us think it is even less impressive. That is, until you look close, see the detailed engraving work and the art work, know its history, and hear it played. Couple that with the affinity that both the owner and the craftsman had for this guitar and you begin to understand why it is worth so much money.

Giving this guitar back to the one who made it was Mr. Clapton’s way of saying thank you.

That’s my invitation to you today too – to give yourself back to God. Again, Jesus invites you to come to him. What else are you going to bring?

Like this guitar you may feel you have been “road hard and put up wet.” To most people (even yourself) you may not look all that special or valuable but you are to God. You are his “magnum opus” – His greatest work! What you have to offer makes Mr. Clapton’s gift look cheap and insignificant.

God is inviting you to “come … take the free gift of the water of life.” It’s is an offer only the One who sees your value can make.

This is the greatest invitation in the world and it is given with you and your needs in mind. It is God, in Christ, finishing the rescue mission that He started in Genesis 3. The victory was made possible through the cross and the resurrection.


Our tradition often uses an altar a place to respond to God’s invitation to come. In the Old Testament the altar was where sacrifices were made, gifts to God we left, and memorable spiritual decisions were solidified. You may sense a need to come to the altar this morning. You may want to kneel here and pray. You may be seeking answers from God. You may want to receive Him as Savior. You may want to bring yourself and offer yourself to Him anew. All are appropriate responses to His offer to “come … take the free gift of the water of life.”

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)


This sermon is provided by Dr. Kenneth Pell

Potsdam Church of the Nazarene, Potsdam, New York


Responsive Reading: The GOSPEL’S OPEN INVITATION

Revelation 22:16-17

Leader: I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.

People: I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

Leader: The Spirit and the bride say,

People: “Come!”

Leader: And let him who hears say,

People: “Come!”

Leader: Whoever is thirsty, let him

People: Come;

Leader: And whoever wishes,

People: Let him take the free gift of the water of life.