Faithlife Sermons

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*God’s Great Invitation*
*Isaiah 55:1-9*
*/ /*
ADMIT your thirst and poverty.*
“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.”
–C.S. Lewis
LISTEN to God’s words of life.*
/Hey there!
All who are thirsty, come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love./
Isaiah 55:1-3, /The Message/
ABANDON sinful ways.*
“If you take seriously the positive side of seeking God you have to take seriously the negative side of turning from behaviors and thoughts that offend him.
You cannot seek God and practice sin or plan sin at the same time.”
–John Piper
RECEIVE God’s forgiveness.*
Isn’t it fun to get invited to something that’s a really big deal?
Have you ever had some event or party that is an exclusive thing, and YOU get invited to it?
You know that you’ll be on the front lines of something very cool.
It’s the *concert* that everybody will be talking about.
Or the *game* that people have been anticipating all year—and a friend invites you to go with them!
It’s an amazing feeling.
Sometimes *the thrill of the invitation has less to do with the event* than it does that somebody thought of you and cared about you enough to want you to be a part of something with them.
This has happened for me over the last three Easters.
*Molly and I are far away from our families* (hers in Ohio and mine in Colorado) and the holidays get lonely for us.
*If you have family far away, or if you’re single, maybe you can relate.*
All our friends have their big family gatherings with lots of *great food* and *laughter* and we are at home, wishing that we had a big, laughing family to share it with.
It stinks to be overlooked or forgotten.
Yet that is usually what happens to us.
After the fact, certain people say, /“Oh, I forgot you don’t have any family here.
I should have invited you over.”/
And I think to myself, */“Yeah, you should have.
Glad you had fun.
We didn’t.”/*
But a few years ago, a couple of our friends actually remembered that we were family-less and invited us to come over for Easter dinner with their family.
The dinner was so-so and the gathering was actually pretty corny (we played a couple of goofy games).
But *it was awesome that somebody cared about us* enough to make us a part of it.
Tonight we’re going to look at */one of God’s greatest invitations in the entire Bible./*
This invitation is amazing because of
□       what we get invited to and also
□       because it demonstrates how much God cares about us.
Perhaps you are here *feeling as though you’re missing out on real life.*
*Maybe you’ve had thoughts like these:*
§        *Nobody really cares* about me
§        The life I want seems to be *passing me by*
§        I’m *exhausted* and *unsatisfied* with my life
§        *God could never really love* a person like me
*/If you’ve ever had those thoughts, this invitation is for you./**/
Before we look at the invitation, let me briefly bring you up to speed on what’s going on in the book of Isaiah up to this point.
Isaiah (written about 700 B.C.) has been *prophesying against the idolatry of Judah*.
He predicted that they would be exiled to and then delivered from Babylon.
It is *written to give them hope in a coming Messiah*—a suffering servant who would bring restoration to Israel.
Isaiah has *often been called “the 5th gospel”* because it is so evangel-istic.
In fact, Isaiah 53 gives one of the most vivid descriptions of Christ’s crucifixion in the Bible *(53:5)*.
Then Isaiah 54 describes all kinds of benefits that were paid for by Jesus’ death *(54:10)*.
Finally, this chapter—Isaiah 55—is the invitation to enjoy what Christ purchased on the cross.
It was a wonderful invitation for Judah, and it’s a wonderful invitation for us today.
\\ Let’s take a look at it.
Isaiah 55, verses 1-9:
/“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.//
/(Isaiah 55:1-9)/ /
Hear the invitation?
Is this a great invitation or what?!?!?! It’s an invitation to *be a part of God’s everlasting promise (v.3)*.
It’s an invitation to be *satisfied in God (v.2).* It’s an invitation to *receive forgiveness (v.7).*
See the invitation?
*/4 times in verse 1 he says “COME!”/*
I want you to not only see it, but also accept it and delight in it.
Here’s the first thing you need to do:
ADMIT your thirst and poverty.*
All of us are thirsty and all of us are poor.
We are all *thirsty for satisfaction and meaning*.
We are thirsty *to be loved*.
We are thirsty *for our lives to count*.
*/We are parched and dehydrated./**/
\\ What makes it worse is our poverty—our inability to satisfy the longings we have.
We have tried so many things to quench our thirst that don’t work and we remain thirsty.
We hope that our *friendships and relationships* will satisfy our longings, but they don’t.
Friends backstab and gossip, and relationships are stained with selfishness.
Some single people hope that *being married* will satisfy their longings, but they don’t—that’s why half the country gets divorced.
Some married people think that *having children* will satisfy their longings, but they don’t.
If anything, they make the longings more intense after lonely days of caring for a young child.
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