The Invitation

Posted on 10/16/2016 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
with Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice


BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name

For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name


STILL

Hide me now, under Your wings
Cover me, within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

Find rest my soul, in Christ alone
Know His power, in quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God


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We've all been given invitations throughout our lives, maybe to a party, or a wedding, or just to spend time with a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

Even a job offer, a sales pitch, and a marriage proposal are invitations. And with each invitation, came a choice, a decision, that was understood without having to be stated. Even the response of "maybe," is only a putting off of the eventual answer of "yes" or "no."

Many of the invitations we've received are of no real importance, while others are a little more weighty. But today, I'd like for us to look at a few invitations that are more important than any you have or will ever receive.


1. The Invitation to The Cross.

John 3:13-15 (KMV*)

13 And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up;
15 That whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

What does that mean, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness?" Well, let's read the Old Testament account of that story.

Numbers 21:4-9 (NKJV)

4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.
5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread."
6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live."
9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

So the serpent was the salvation, if you will, of the people from the fatal consequenses of their sin. Just as Jesus is the salvation of all mankind from the eternal death the is the just reward for THEIR sins.

"That whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

The word "believes" does not refer to a mental persuasion, but can be translated as placing your full trust in, to commit to, and to follow. And within those things -- fully trusting, committing to, and faithfully following -- comes the common thread of Full Surrender.

So you could say, fully surrender to Him, and you will find Life. Surrender WHAT? Well....... EVERYTHING.

Your attachments to the things of this earth. Your attachments to your lifestyles and addictions. Your attachments to your own plans and your own path.

Just let go.

This, of course, could take your entire lifespan to fully realize. But that is exactly what the invitation from God is: Let go of the things which are separating You from Me, separating You from Life, and dwell in the Peace that is greater than any turmoil those things have caused.

So today, if you have not already laid down the world and embraced the cross, that is what God is inviting you to do right here, and in this moment.

"Maybe" is just putting off the inevidable answer of "yes," or "no;" and as long as "maybe" remains, your answer for this Present Moment is "no."

So say "Yes!" to Life, and as you surrender to Him the old, He will make all things New.


2. The Invitation to Come Back Home.

Luke 15:11-24 (NKJV)

11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons.
12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood.
13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.
15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.'"

20 "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.
23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;
24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.


So the second invitation today is to the prodigal -- the one who has wandered away from God.

Perhaps the cares of this world, the responsibilities, the troubles, the business, of your earthly life, have clouded your vision of Him. Or perhaps you have picked up some of the things that have held you bound, the sins from which Jesus saved and washed you.

Well, the invitation to you today is this: Come Back Home!

The prodigal son expected his father to be angry with him for what he had done. He had rehearsed what he would say, in hopes that his father would let him be his slave in exchange for something to eat and a place to lay his head.

But instead, his father was so overcome with joy at the sight of his son finally coming home, that, despite what he had done or where he had been, or what wealth he had squandered, the father welcomed him back with opened arms, clothed him in a robe of righteousness, and invited him to feast with him as they celebrated the return of this poor sinner who had finally come back home.

I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see.

Those words are not reserved for only those who are coming to Jesus for the first time; rather, they can be often more deeply sung by the one who has wandered away, has seen the utter folly of their choices, and has been undeservedly received into the everlasting arms of the Heavenly Father.

So the invitation to you today is this:

No matter where you've been, no matter what you've done, Father God is calling to you today: Come Back Home.


3. The Invitation to Rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 (KMV*)

28 "Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Being lost in this temporary world, all its troubles, all its stories, all its gains and losses, all its joys and sorrows, can be a very wearying place to be.

Our minds accumulate the memory traces of once was and the stories about those things; and all things in the past,
stories about the present, and hopes and fears about the imagined future, become a very heavy burden to carry.

Even a seemingly happy past, present, and future, respond to gravity, and are a
burden we don't even realize we bare. And even the happiest story can change, as stories tend to do.

So if you are attached to the greatest fairy tale, can you possibly know if your house will stand when the tornado, earthquake, and hurricane suddenly appear out of nowhere?

But the firm foundation invites us all to rest upon Him. And the need for relief is most clearly seen when the sky is dark, the waters are stormy, and the burden we carry is filled with loss, stress, sorrow, or despair. But God has promised, if you will only say to His invitation "Yes," He will give you Rest.

Release all those things of this earth to Him. And instead, walk with Him side by side, hand in hand. For His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, and You Will Find Rest for Your Soul.


4. The Invitation to Everyone.

Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Are you lost?

Come.

Have you wandered away?

Come.

Are you weighed down by the troubles of this life?

Come.

As Jesus told the woman at the well, "If you drink the water I give you, you will never thirst again."

John 4:5-14 (NKJV)

5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."
8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?
12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"

13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."


So if you have lived your whole life ignoring or rejecting Jesus, He offers you the Water of Life.

If you have known Him, but have wandered away, He offers you Living Waters.

If you have allowed the cares of this Life to weigh you down with a heavy burden, He offers you the cool, refreshing springs of Living Water that never will run dry.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"

And let him who hears say, "Come!"

And let him who thirsts come.

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.


So come.

Lay down your burderns; lay down your attachments to the things of this earth; lay down your clinging to the stories, the expired past, and the imaginary future; surrender it all to Him.

And with your eyes completely upon Jesus, rest within the holy temple of God, and feast with Him upon the Peace and Joy that are found only the the Presence of The King.