The Ultimate Invitation “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” NIV Mathew 11:28
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.” The Message
“. . .whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. ” NIV John 6:37b
We get them all the time. Invitations.
We just received one this week. It came from out of state. Somebody paid big dollars for the fancy envelopes and cards that were inside. It not only invited my family to the event but told us all the stores we could shop at to help them celebrate the event. There was very little said about it in my house. The only question that was raised was should we consider going. In other words, should we accept the invitation? Now here is where the illustration breaks down. When it comes to weddings or other invitations we can often just respond by sending a gift. When it comes to the ultimate invitation we only have one answer. Yes or No..
Jesus Christ has one message for the world. He stands ready to receive everyone. You don’t need to hesitate. You don’t need to delay. You don’t need more faith or more feeling. He invites us to bring our doubts and our questions. He invites us to bring the little bit of faith that we can muster.
Early on in the ministry of 19th century evangelist Dwight L. Moody a man came to see the famous preacher. The man was deeply convicted of his sinful life and came seeking the way to become a follower of Christ. Moody pointed out the verse in John 6:37, “the one that comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” The man raised some objections.
He said, “I an alcoholic and can’t seem to help myself” Moody said, “It does not say, ‘the one that comes to Me who is not an alcoholic I will not cast out.’” The man protested again, “I have abandoned my wife and children.” Again Moody responded, “It does not say, the one who comes to Me who has not abandoned my wife and children I will not cast out.” The man tried again with a third objection, “I have stolen things and spent time in prison.” For a final time Moody exclaimed, “But the scripture does not say, ‘the one who comes to Me who has never stolen and been in jail I will by no means cast out.’”
The bottom line is that Jesus said and taught every time He had the chance that everyone should come to Him. No exceptions. No arguments. No excuses. Everyone should come to Him.
This is the ultimate invitation.
1. Man’s Position: The need. If you are burnt out, worn out and feeling like life can’t possibly get any tougher this message is for you. “ . . .all you who are weary and burdened”
This scripture aptly portrays the human condition. There is one burden or condition that exceeds all others. You can be poor or rich, famous or obscure, highly intelligent or just average in your intelligence, but the one thing that will always burden you down is the weight of sin.
We all face burdens and trials. We all at some time or the other will experience heartaches, brokenness and circumstances that will cause us unspeakable pain.
There is no greater weight than the weight of sin in a person’s life. Sin will ruin your life. Sin will ruin your family. Sin will take you further than you ever anticipated going.
What is it? Sin is disobeying God. Who does God think that He is to demand that we obey Him? He is the Creator of all that is. If you believe that than you have to believe that God has the right to demand obedience.
Why does He demand obedience? He commands us to be obedient and has laid out a lifestyle in His word that is best way for humans to live.
Can you name the creature that is most deadly to humans? You might immediately conjure up thoughts of sharks, cobras, or bears, but the biggest killer by far is the one we seem to fear the least. Throughout human history, mosquitoes have probably killed more people than the combined fatalities of all wars. Every year, this parasite-carrying insect leaves over three hundred million people sick, and in Africa alone, it kills nearly one million children annually. Mosquitoes, like sin, are generally seen as a nuisance, not a danger. May we draw a lesson from nature and realize sin is deadly. (Reader’s Digest, March 1995, p. 86)
God’s plan for living as outlined in the Bible is not there to be restrictive it is there to give us the plan for living life as our Creator intended for us to live it.
God has given you a choice. He allows you to choose.
Accept His graceful invitation and really live or decline the invitation and make your own way through this life.
The choice is always up to you. If you believe the Bible there will be an eternal consequence of your choice so choose wisely.
Man is always looking for security and peace. I’m not talking about the people who are marching around the world with their peace signs and global agendas. I’m talking about inner peace.
If the war that we are presently engaged in is teaching us anything it is that we now live in world that has lost its ability to understand the necessity of standing against evil. War is hellacious in its nature but I thank God everyday for the men and women throughout history who stood up to evil men and regimes and gave their lives so that we might enjoy the freedoms we experience on a daily basis.
Your background makes no difference. We all want to know that we will have enough to eat and a place to sleep. We would like to have enough money to pay our bills and the health to live a normal life. We want security and we are troubled without it. We want peace and we are troubled without it.
Where do you get peace and security in this life?
You can’t spend enough money to buy it. You can gather all the things in this life that may be blessings but they won’t insure peace and security.
Do you think that gathering our money, our degrees, our stocks and bonds, our honors and our vocations can give us peace?
Let me give you what I think is a window into your future. When it comes our time to die and we face the next world much of what we spend our time, energy and money on will become very dim. It will seem very unimportant.
What will seem important in those days will be the relationship that we developed with Christ and one another. The service that we did for and with Him. The hours that we gave touching other people in Jesus name.
Our trials in this life will vary from person to person. Some of us our tired physically and mentally. Some of us our facing financial difficulties. Some of us our dealing with health issues. No matter what we may face, what afflictions may affect us, the greatest burden that we have, the greatest challenge is spiritual. You need God. You need forgiveness for your sins and you need the new life that Jesus gives. You need the assurance that when you die you will go to heaven and live eternally with God forever. It is that hope that has given many people hope when hope seemed impossible.
Jesus says, “Come to me . . .”
2. God’s Plan: The invitation. God simply says, “Come to me.”
A visual reminder for the source of true peace is on regular display along New York City’s Fifth Avenue. At the entrance of the RCA building is a large statue of Atlas struggling to keep the world on his shoulders. On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Behind the high altar of this church is a small statue of Jesus effortlessly holding the whole world in one hand. Peace is hard to come by when we strive to balance the world on our own back, but when we heed God’s invitation to give him our concerns, the weight of our world becomes an effortless lift for the Prince of Peace. (Houston Chronicle, July 6, 2000, p. 15A)
I Peter 5:7 states, “. . .casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
This is not the church or the pastor or even the Bible extending this invitation to you.
God gives you this invitation. God invites in many ways.
Look into the sky and see His marvelous works and you will that this Creator God is inviting you to come to Him.
Listen to the still small voice you hear when you are engaged in life. God put that voice inside every one of us. We call it a conscience. By day or night we can hear God speaking through some song or sermon. Through a word or a circumstance or a providential occurrence that still small voice pleads the cause and invitation of God.
Look in Bible and you will find that the word “come” appears 642 times. There is no story, no promise, no doctrine no type or command that does not contain the hand of God reaching out to us.
Listen to the voices of those who have responded positively to the invitation and you will find that they encourage us to say yes.
More definite than the voice of nature and God’s creation, more clear than your conscience, superior to the testimony of even the Bible or the voices of Christ followers and people like me who try to tell you about the invitation is the unmistakable image of the cross. With arms spread wide open and life oozing from the human body that Jesus inhabited when He walked on this earth, He spoke words of life. To one He offered an invitation to join Him in Paradise and for others who were evil He asked His Heavenly Father to forgive them.
He invites you to come to Him. If you accept His invitation you will find that He will graciously accept you.
An evangelist by the name of Appleman wrote years ago, “There will be no abuse. The heart of God will press you to itself. He will kiss away the stains of your soul. He will strip you of the rags of evil and clothe you in the robes of righteousness. He will put the ring of adoption on your finger and the shoes of satisfaction on your feet. He will call the angel together to rejoice over a sinner who has come home.”
Many years ago a young couple lost their seven year old daughter. The wife was inconsolable and grieving over this death. The family doctor and her husband decided that it might help if the couple adopted a little child. It took the husband time to persuade her but finally he succeeded.
This story took place in the days when orphanages were more common than they are today. The couple visited an orphanage and discussed the matter with the superintendent. They showed him a picture of their daughter. They were introduced to ten or twelve little girls and each one of them resembled their daughter. The mother selected a little girl and asked the husband and the superintendent to lead the others away. She wanted to be alone with the little girl. She talked very softly with the little girl. She told her about the death of her daughter and asked her if she would like to come home with her and be her little girl.
“If you come to our house you can have anything you want. You will have a pony, many dolls, pretty clothes and as many toys as you can use.” The little girl stood with her hands at her side with her head bowed and never said a word. The woman continued to plead, promise love and beg but the little girl would not talk. The mother talked about a trip to Europe and all the new friends she would have yet the girl remained silent. Finally she gave up and stepped back from the little girl. The girl raised her hand and with eyes full of unshed tears she asked one question. “If I come and be your little girl, and you give me all these things, what do you want me to do?” The mother sprang forward. Pressing her arms around the little girl, she hugged her close to her heart and sobbed as she responded, “All we want you to do is just love us, just to love us.”
You can read the Bible from cover to cover and you will find that all God wants from you is for you to love Him. You can look in the Old Testament and the New Testament and you will find that every line of God’s Word is asking us to simply love Him.
“If you love Me keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“Peter, do you love me?” John 21
Jesus invites you to come to Him.
3. Jesus Passion: The promise. Jesus Christ came to earth as the Son of God. He represents the fulfillment of God’s invitation. “. . .and I will give you rest.”
Jesus not only invites you to come to Him but He promises to give you rest. He is accessible. He is always ready to receive you. You may not be able to talk with the Governor or your Congressman. You may not be able to ever gain an invitation to the White House or see the President of the United States. Some one has said you are only seven phone calls away from anyone you want to speak to or meet. That’s a fun thing to think about however I don’t know how true it is. I do know this. You don’t need to make seven phone calls to talk with God. He is accessible. You can go to Him at any time and know that He is eager to receive you.
All God wants from you is love and obedience to His Word. He wants to forgive you and prepare your heart to serve Him. He wants to love you and lead you and guide you through this life. He wants to be a friend that is close than a brother. He invites. He offers. He extends an open armed welcome, but you have to respond. You have to make the next move. You have to consider your options and make the next move.
Dr. Tony Evans recently shared the experience of a seasoned chess champion touring an art museum. While passing through the gallery, his attention was drawn to a painting that involved chess. The artist had painted a match between Satan and an outwitted young man. The picture frozen on canvas showed the two engaged in a chess game being played out for the man’s soul. The man was in obvious panic as the adversary’s hand is shown making his final move. The artist’s work is simply titled Checkmate. The chess champion stood and observed the painting for a long time. His scowl of concentration was finally softened by a slight smile. He turned to the curator and said, “I’ve got good news for the man in that picture. He still has a move.” The father of lies has convinced far too many people that he has placed them in checkmate, but the grace of God has provided every man with the hope that “he still has a move.” (“Passion of the Gospel,” Tony Evans, Sept. 1999)
You still have a move. You have an invitation. You have to make a choice.
What a great opportunity. What an invitation. What a choice.