Summary: In Christ alone the longing of the human heart can be satisfied.
THE GOSPEL’S OPEN INVITATION
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.