The Last Invitation

Bible Book: Revelation  22
Subject: Salvation; Invitation to Christ; Judgment
Introduction

In this chapter from the Book of Revelation we see three important finalities.

i. The Last Promise – Jesus is Coming
ii. The Last Prayer - Even so, come Lord Jesus!
iii. The Last Plea - Whoever is thirsty, let him come!

Today we are going to look at the last of the last - the Last Plea or the Last Invitation for the lost to turn Christ that is recorded in the Bible.

In Revelation we see the brazen judgment, the burning hell, the beautiful heaven and the beckoning voice of God in loving invitation to the lost. Most people complain about the judgment and hell found in Revelation but far too many totally miss the loving call to the Christ, the one who died for our sins.

You will recall when we began our journey through the Book of Revelation some months ago, I shared with you that Revelation is an open book. I did not mean that we can fully understand everything in this great Bible book, but I meant that the purpose of the book is plain to the Christian who is led by the Spirit of God into all truth. Now we see in full view the reason for the Book of Revelation: It is to reveal Jesus and to call people to Him! After all the strange teachings found in this Bible book, what we see is the greatest message in the world – God loves sinners and desires for them to come to His Son that they might be redeemed and have a home in heaven forever!

As John closes the Book of Revelation, he brings us face to face with God's Last Invitation. Please note four means of motivation used by God to bring us to salvation...

I. The Invitation through the Scriptures

Note Revelation 22:6-10, 18-19

A. A Major Part of the Old Testament

God called out to fallen Adam saying, "Adam, Adam, wherefore art thou Adam?" In the very beginning we discover God calling a sinner to face his sin and find the love of God.

In Isaiah 43 God says, "I have called you by name." It doesn’t mean much to know that God knows the numbers of hairs on your head till you become aware that He knows your name and loved you enough to send His Son to redeem you. He cares upon you and calls upon you to cast all your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).

Again and again God called for people to come to Him in believing faith. In Isaiah 1:18 we read, “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,

“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”

Oh, what a loving Savior who calls from the Old Testament scriptures again and again for people to turn to Him for salvation, cleansing and peace! If you open the Old Testament and listen as you read, you will hear His voice calling out in love!

B. A Major Part of the New Testament

The New Testament if filled with a call for the lost to come to Christ and declares that one day Christ is going to come for us. You see, the question now is, “What will we do with Jesus?” The question when He comes for us will be, “What will Jesus do with us?” One day He is coming back to this world and His loving call will leave us without an excuse if we refuse His grace!

We live in a day when many people shake their heads and ask, "What is our world coming to?" Friend there is a greater question, "Who is coming to our world?" The answer to that question is that Jesus is coming!

The New Testament mentions the return of Christ over 300 times. The first time and the next time can be illustrated as follows:

i. First time He came in Poverty – the next time he will come in Power!
ii. First time He came on a Cross – the next time to a Coronation!
iii. First time He came to die on a Tree – the next time to take a Throne!
iv. First time He came to Redeem – the next time to Reign!
v. First time He came on a Donkey – the next time on a White Stallion!
vi. First time He Stood before Pilate - the next time Pilate will stand before Him!

Look at the following passages:

Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 19:14 – But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

John 5:40 – “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Again and again we are called to “come” to the Savior. How sad that His loving call is rejected by so many in this world and in our current age.

C. A Major Part of Revelation

The Lord called out in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, but we see His call specifically in the Book of Revelation – a “last call” of sorts to those who have refused every other appeal from heaven. The Book of Revelation is like a Book of Invitations! Our text today serves as the last one recorded in God's Word.

II. The Invitation of the Savior

Note Revelation 22:11-15.

Jesus said, "…How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” The Lord pointed out that He sought in every way to call the lost to Him for salvation, but they would not come to Him. Isn’t it the same today?

We see His call throughout the New Testament in the following ways…

A. The Words of Jesus

Again and again in His personal ministry our Lord called people to Himself, or confronted them. From the little man in a tree in Jericho, to the raving fanatic in a cemetery, Jesus cared for the souls of men and women.

B. The Work of Jesus

From the woman at the well, to the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus reached out in love to provide the water of life and healing. He worked the works of the Father throughout His ministry. We see Him serving as He knelt to wash His disciple’s feet in the Upper Room, and we see Him praying in Gethsemane as sweat drops as blood fell from his brow.

C. The Welcome of Jesus

From Nicodemus to the people around the cross while He was dying, Jesus welcomed sinners. Even while dying He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The woman caught in adultery and Peter after he had denied the Savior, each found the grace of the Savior sufficient for their sinful need!

III. The Invitation by the Spirit

Revelation 22:17a

A. Note That it is an Urgent Call

The Spirit of God calls deep in your heart. It is not the preacher’s voice that one hears, but the voice of God that goes down into the soul and calls you from death unto life. It is an urgent call, for no one knows how long he or she has before there is not another drawing, loving call to the heart.

B. Note That it is an Ultimate Call

There is a day when the ultimate, final, last call will be made to the heart of the unsaved. There are those who think they can come to God whenever they wish. That is not true! You cannot come unless the Father draws you to His Son. When you sense His call, you must respond immediately.

Now, let me hasten to the finish…

IV. The Invitation of The Saved

Note Revelation 22:17b

A. Invited to the Well

The Christian is to witness and call out to a lost world. We are calling the thirsty soul to come to the “Well” where Jesus provides the water of life. Satisfaction is not found anywhere else. (recall woman at the well – she had tried everything for fulfillment but only found it in Christ.)

B. Invited through the Will

How can you be saved? As you hear His voice, you must “will” to obey. No one can make you respond to Christ. It is up to you to listen and accept His call. Be assured that there is only so much time available for one to respond to the Lord. In the final analysis, once God has called, the decision rests in your "will." You either respond, "No,  I will not come to Jesus," or "Yes, I will come to Jesus." Your eternity is bound up in your will!

Somewhere I read about a tombstone contained these words:

“Pause my friend as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now you soon will be.
Prepare my friend to follow me.”
Someone had written below those words the following:
“To follow you is not my intent!”
Until I know which way you went!"

We are not asking you to follow us, but to follow Jesus. If you look at Christians, even a preacher like me, you will be disappointed, but if you look upon Jesus, you will find a perfect Savior! He loves you. He is calling you. And, one thing we know for sure – we know which way He went. He died, rose and ascended into heaven. He is preparing a place for all who will repent of sin and believe upon Him by faith. He wants you to be with Him forever! What amazing love, at such great cost, freely given to all who will beleive!

The songwriter penned:

"I am thine, O Lord,
I have heard thy voice,
And it told thy love for me.
But I long to rise
In the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to thee."

He is calling. Listen and respond to Him. Even the Christian can hear a call to be closer drawn to Christ. Perhaps some people have not responded to Jesus because our lives have left them without a clear witness. Even we ought to listen and respond to Him in rededication today.

Conclusion

As we conclude the Book of Revelation, listen closely. Can you hear it? It is the voice of the Savior calling you. One day, in a church somewhere in the world, there will be a last church invitation for people to come to Christ. Somewhere in the world, one day, there will be the last witness being used of God to call a person to faith in Christ. Once the last invitation is closed, there will never be another.

As I prepared to preach today, I wondered if perhaps this might be the last invitation. But, let me take it a step further. I wondered if it would be the last invitation heard by someone here today. Even if time moves on and churches and Christians keep sharing God’s loving invitation, it is always true that someone is hearing an invitation for the last time. “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.”