Summary: This is a sermon that addresses God’s general invitation.
Introduction: 29 Palms illustration
Background: Messianic passage 49:1-57:21
Isaiah 52-53 (Messiah’s atonement).
Isaiah 54 (Israel’s restoration).
Isaiah 55 (the great invitation).
REDEMPTION ► SPREAD TO ALL ► INVITATION GOES OUT
Proposition: True satisfaction can only be found through an intimate and ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ
I). If you are not satisfied, come to Christ (v. 1a)
A. Scripture is replete with allusions to thirst and hunger
1. Woman at the well (John 4:7-14)
2. Jesus’ invitation (John 7:37-38)
3. As the deer…
B. This thirst
1. Apostle Paul – All creation groans (Romans 8:22)
2. Augustine – Our Hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee
3. Blaise Pascal – God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.
4. And here in Isaiah this same vacuum, restlessness, hunger, thirst.
II). If you have nothing, come to Christ (v. 1b)
A. Metaphor – end of rope, ache in heart, nothing to give, nowhere to turn
C. Empty wallet – barren soul
D. Drought last summer, grass brown, river low, trees & flowers dying & still the rains didn’t come.
E. Soul brown, hope low, dreams & faith dying and still no rain
F. Lord is speaking to you – Come, come to the waters and your soul will delight
III). If you have abundance, come to Christ (v. 2a)
A. Got the $ and spending it, got the strength and you’re laboring
B. Striving, dreaming, chasing, scheming… yet the thirst cannot be quenched
C. If only… And the hunger burns, the throat is dry as dust
D. You spend $, You labor… School, job, toys, power, pornography, on what do you spend? Labor?
E. Are you satisfied?
F. King Solomon 37 times Wealth, power, knowledge, wine, women, song…GOD
G. Why do you spend your money for bread which is no bread? Why do you labor after that which cannot satisfy?
IV). Find your satisfaction in Christ (v. 2b)
1. The offer is free but not cheap.
2. God bids us to come, He has laid out a feast which will satisfy
3. Yet we insist on going to country buffet and paying full price for that which does not satisfy. God offered us His best.
4. Do not try in vain to find alternatives to satisfying yourself.
5. Listen, the Lord implores you. Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight.
Conclusion: 29 Palms tied into current situation.
29 Palms Illustration
In the summer of 1988 I found myself temporarily assigned to Camp Pendelton, California Marine Corps Base. I’d requested to go to search and rescue school and I had gotten my wish. Search and rescue, in case you didn’t know, is pretty much as it sounds. Whenever someone turns up missing, or an aircraft goes down, a search and rescue helicopter is sent out in an attempt to find him or her – hence the search – and then you rescue them once they’re found. Every search and rescue team carries at least one medically trained person on board. I was already a Navy corpsman (a medical personal) and I thought being involved with search and rescue would be exciting. And it was, but it brought with it challenges I never could have imagined.
About midway through the eight-week training our commanding officer told us that all available search and rescue personnel – including students – were being requested to be sent to nearby 29 Palms California Marine Corps Base. It seemed that one of their staff had turned up missing and they wanted us to come and help in the search effort. At first we were all excited. After all, we were barely halfway through the training program and we were already being called upon to put what we were learning to the test. But our excitement soon turned to sadness as we discovered that the person we were looking for had already been missing for nearly three weeks.
To make a long story short the military bureaucracy had fouled up again. A young eighteen-year-old marine was left out in the middle of a training field late on Friday night. Nobody had bothered to have a roll call that night because it was already late, so nobody knew he was missing. When Monday morning rolled around the private was reported as being UA – unauthorized absence. His buddies immediately reported that he had not been seen since the training assignment and that he might still be lost on the base. Three days later the Marine Corps recorded him AWOL – absent without leave. Two weeks later and only after the young private’s parents and friends pleaded with the Marine Corps, the search for the young man began. After a week of trying in vain on their own, they called in search and rescue.