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God's Last Invitation, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2021 3:00 am

God's Last Invitation, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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December 27, 2021 3:00 am

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In verses 13 to 21 you have the Lord's final call.

You have the pleading urging invitation begging people to come to Jesus Christ and receive the gift of eternal life before it is forever. Too late. This is God's final clean, timely look at the last words of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Scripture.

It's a compelling study from the book of Revelation.

Titled final call God's last invitation and will get to the lesson in just a minute, but now as we approach the finish line of another year, and this is been a particularly difficult year across the globe. Maybe you found yourself wondering if the world is getting closer to some big or dramatic event and of course John. The fact is that that may be more true than some people actually realize well one thing is certain, were closer to the return of Christ was ever been before.

I want to be a date setter by any means, but I would have to say there is nothing in the world that needs to be dramatically altered before Christ could return everything that would need to be set for the return of Christ and the events of the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist is is in place and it's all in place. Literally, there is nothing prophetically that needs to be fulfilled before the rapture of the church. In fact, the rapture is actually a timeless event, but the clarity with which the Bible describes the events on the earth after the rapture demands a certain kind of reality around the globe and that reality exists right now, it could fit perfectly into the things the tribulation describes is happening all across the world.

So these are exciting days. Having said that we were not ready to get our pajamas on. Sit on the roof and wait for Jesus to arrive even he said occupy till I come. But we want to take some time and look at the return of Christ and do it in an evangelistic way and that would be to take us to Revelation chapter 22 verses 13 to 22 the very end of the last book in the Bible and in that passage you have God's final call that recalling the series final call.

What does God have to say to men and women who are on the brink of the end and don't know him, and if they were to die today are all these events would occur. Today they would step into a terrifying eternity forever separated from God. But we don't have to speculate about what God has to say because it's placed right in that 22nd chapter of Revelation.

So the study will take us through Thursday of this week and then on Friday will go to a message called the characteristics of true repentance. In the meantime, don't miss God's final call. Your responses invitation as a matter of life and death. Yes it is, and friend. Even if you truly believe that Christ could return at any time or that you could die at any time. Those events can seem somehow unreal because you've obviously never experience them. May today's lesson be a reality check for each of us and out to begin his study titled final call here again is John MacArthur we turn in our Bibles to the 22nd chapter of Revelation verses 13 and following under the title God's last invitation. By the time we have reached this point the voices from heaven have spoken of the visions are complete. The message has been delivered. The sermons have been preached, most powerful and compelling sermons. They were preacher was the divine omnipotent God of glory.

We have swept through the end of the world through this present age to the rapture of the church, then through the tribulation. Judgments and seals and trumpets and Bowls seeing the day of the Lord, the return of Jesus Christ in judgment power and authority.

We have been escorted through the visions of the millennial kingdom to the great white throne and after that, into the eternal state for the ungodly. The lake of fire for the godly, the new Jerusalem and the new heavens and the new earth and at the conclusion of all of this sweeping panorama of prophecy, and in light of its absolute certainty the book of Revelation closes with invitations. It demands right responses. First of all, from Christians in verses six through 12 for things were requested in the light of the coming of Christ. Immediate obedience immediate worship immediate proclamation and immediate service and now as we come to verse 13 we come to an invitation for non-Christians.

Obviously, since this great apocalypse was written for the church to be given to the church to be read in the church to be taught to the church. These are invitations that the godly must pass on to the ungodly. In verses 13 to 21 you have the Lord's final call. You have the pleading urging invitation begging people to come to Jesus Christ and receive the gift of eternal life before it is forever. Too late.

This is God's final plea follow as I read I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city outside of the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons in the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things for the churches.

I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star in the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let the one who hearsay, and not the one who is thirsty, let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book.

If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues, which are read and written in this book.

If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book you testifies these things says yes I am coming quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen. God's final call God's last invitation. Now there are two features to be considered as we look at this text. First there is the invitation and then there is the incentive to respond to the invitation. The invitation itself in verse 17 and all around at the incentives to drive folks to make the right response and the invitation then actually comes in the middle of the passage. As you can imagine at the end of a book like this.

And beyond that, at the end of all of the revelation of God. The 66 book, the final chapter. The final part of that chapter. You can imagine that there is a gathering together of a number of things and indeed, that is the case, but in the middle of these final words, there is a clear invitation and it is the heart of the text we find it in verse 17. Let's go back to that verse in the Spirit and the bride say, and let the one who hearsay, and let the one who is thirsty, let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. Now the emphasis of that verse is, we have to understand, however, that there are some distinctions to be made in this verse because the term come has two distinct meanings. The first part of the verse is a prayer. The second part is an invitation. The first part of the verse is addressed to Christ. The second part is addressed to sinners. The two halves, then do not refer to the same persons or the same coming and that is a distinction that you need to make very carefully the first part is the Spirit and the bride calling for Christ to come. The second part is calling unbelievers to come to Christ.

Now look at it. With that in mind, in the Spirit and the bride say, come. That's fairly clear the Holy Spirit and the church. The church is already been identified repeatedly as the bride as far back as chapter 19 where the church was identified in verse seven as the bride who made herself ready was clothed in fine linen, bright and clean, which is the righteous acts of the saints ~the bride is the church and the spirit is of course the Holy Spirit and the Spirit and the bride say, come. And to whom are they saying that well go back to verse seven. Blessed is he apartment the first part of verse seven behold I am coming quickly then verse 12 behold I am coming quickly and then as we read a moment ago.

Verse 20. Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. And so what we have here is the spirit and the church answering the promise of the soon coming by saying, Lord Jesus. They want the Lord to come. It is the desire of the Holy Spirit is the desire of the church that Jesus come now. First of all, why does the Holy Spirit desire Jesus to come. Why would the Holy Spirit be saying, come, come, come. Well, the text doesn't tell us, but it doesn't take much to stretch our minds beyond this one. Text and understand why the Holy Spirit wants Jesus to come. There would be both a negative and a positive reason the negative reason would be that throughout the years.

The age of grace throughout the time up until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Men and women of the world have continued to reject Christ ignore Christ denied Christ. They've even mocked and blasphemed the work of the Holy Spirit, whose task it is to point them to Christ and even before that in the Old Testament.

You remember that the spirit of God was striving with man to lead them to the truth before the flood that exhausted the patience of the Holy Spirit who will not always strive with man. And then there were the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, while Scripture says Israel provoked the spirit of God according to Hebrews chapter 3 verses seven and eight until the spirit has labored long bring about conviction and repentance and has been striving and fighting and agonizing over sinful men while they have been provoking him throughout the centuries but nothing I'm sure nothing in the Old Testament air even before the flood, and certainly after nothing, through the church age. As we know it today. Nothing has reached the apex of blasphemy that has been true of the time described in the great tribulation in the book of Revelation. All along the Holy Spirit through the struggle would be wishing that Jesus would come.

So when the Lord says I come the striving, grieved, clinched, blasphemed, agonizing Holy Spirit echoes come subdue your enemies, and mind judge sinners and this long battle to produce conviction. But then there's a positive side as well is the desire, it is the work of the spirit as you know, to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He shows us Christ. He points to Christ and obviously the last time the world saw Jesus lifted up. It was on a cross and he died in shame between two criminals rejected, despised, mocked and murdered in the Holy Spirit desires to see his fellow member of the Trinity exalted in beauty and splendor and power and majesty and triumph, so it's no wonder that he says, come and take the glory due your name.

This is a good indication that the purposes of God are the purposes of the Trinity of God Lord Jesus says I'm coming spirit says come the father has laid out the plan. What about the bride. Why does the bride, why does the church that the bride of Christ the bridegroom say, come for obvious reasons. We too are weary of the battle against sin, as is the Holy Spirit, we too long for the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

We who are the church to belong to Christ to sheep who love him, who long for him to bring us to himself.

We have been waiting and praying and hoping and watching and longing for the coming of the Lord God's people have always longed for this. They've always longed for the day when the serpent said would be bruised and crushed. He would be destroyed. God's people ever since.

In the in the very beginning when God announced redemption that there would be someone who would come and bruise the head of the serpent God's people of longed for that destruction to come so that righteousness could prevail in sin be destroyed. So here you have, then the Holy Spirit and the church. The people of God. The bride in harmony together.

Longing for the return of Jesus Christ. They too want no more sorrow no more tears.

No more crying no more pain, no more death no more rebellion.

All glory to God.

All glory to the Lamb, a dwelling place for God's people in the father's house immortality.

Christ likeness the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and God dwelling among his people. The glorious new Jerusalem eternal riches. All of that snow law. It's no wonder that the church and the Holy Spirit long for the return of Christ is what Paul talks about his second Timothy 48 when he says we love his appearing fact, I would suggest that it's incongruous for a person to be a Christian and to say they are a lover of Jesus and not to look in long for his return. We are destined for fellowship with him and it should be that our anticipation of that fellowship is our chief joy the church would never be satisfied until it is presented a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

So the church and the Holy Spirit, cry, come, then the second half of the verse and let the one who hears say, come. And let the one who is thirsty, come. But the one who wishes take the water of life without costs. Now we have a change.

This is an invitation not to Christ to come but to the sinners to come to Christ.

Notice it carefully. The first one says the first phrase says and let the one who hears say, June.

Does this refer it somewhat difficult. Admittedly, at the simplest and best explanation is the one who hears the message one is listening and believing the one is hearing with understanding the one who hears the Spirit and the bride say, the one who hears Jesus say I'm coming. Let that one, say, let that one join in. Let that one chime in and say, and he can't chime in and say, to lease come to Christ. That's the implication. The Bible frequently pictures unbelievers who have no ears to hear, but on the other hand there are those who do have ears to hear, and they are the ones who become redeemed man must desire to hear.

He must want to hear the voice of God to believe the word of God. And when he has his ears tuned to hear the voice of God he can hear with faith and believe that's what he's talking about what the one who is hearing with the years of understanding in the years of faith join in with the church and the spirit. It's all those who are not yet saved not yet in the church, let them join and say, they're kind of the transition group, they'll say, come with the spirit in the church, but they can't say until they have come as those in the second half of the verse are invited to do.

Can't say come until you've come no one save man is going to say, come, Lord Jesus, come, Lord Jesus, they're going to scoff and mock as a did in second Peter chapter 3, they're not to say where is the promise of his coming for since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was in the beginning of creation to mock the return of Christ ago to mock the fact that Jesus is coming, but the one who hears who is that hearing is associated with obeying hearing is associated with obeying effect, often in the New Testament hearing is synonymous with obeying those who obey the gospel and come will join with the church and they will join with the spirit and longing for the return of Jesus Christ.

If you apply that for example to people today.

It fits if you apply it to people during the time of the tribulation.

It fits all of those of you who are outside the church and who are outside the ministry of the Spirit of God you come in. You join and say come. It's kind of a play on words before you can say, come, you have to come in. So the end of the verse let the one who is thirsty come the one is talking to the one who has ears to hear that Allison is the one who is thirsty, let the one is thirsty, come let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost and so returns to that reality that before you can say, come, you have to come but before you going to come. You have to want to, that's all about spiritual thirst here then is the invitation to sinners made clear what does thirsty indicate it indicates a recognition of need, when you say your thirsty, you are identifying your need is only when the center feels the dryness of his soul is only when he knows his heart is parched and barren that he's interested in coming to drink there you have than the prerequisite of of repentance. Understanding one's need and it was this the Jesus started really his ministry with in Matthew chapter 5 very familiar words verse six. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. It all starts with a spiritual hunger a spiritual thirst in John chapter 6 and verse 35 I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst and in the seventh chapter of John in verse 37.

If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink and all that is doing is is demonstrating the reality of need. You know your soul is dry your heart is parched and barren. That's why you're listening is why your hearing and then he adds another dimension to it in verse 17 and let the one who is thirsty come let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. That's half the loan that translates whosoever will letter wants to whoever desires to whoever wishes to your thirsty and you wish to have your need met that by the way, is an unlimited invitation typical of the gracious and wide offer of salvation that you see in Scripture is essentially what Jesus said said in John 637 where he said all that the father gives me shall come to me and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out. If your thirsty is because the father has begun to move on your heart. You recognize your need and if you come because you want to take the water. It's because you've been prompted to come and there's no way the Lord would ever turn your back. So whoever wants to come he receives and other terms. Matthew chapter 11 in verse 28. He said come on to me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I'll give you rest uses another metaphor to describe the same thing. Not thirsty but weary not needing water but needing rest and all you have to do is, if you sense the need and you're eager to come and you desire to come then come is not something that you have to find out about first like are you qualified here is by the way human volition and salvation. I don't ever like to use the term free will because man has a will. It's just not free but here is home human volition God saves, but not apart from our desire salvation that is offered to those who know they are parched and barren and who desire to have that change and then there's one final component. First is the recognition of need. Second is the desire to have the need met. And thirdly, he says let the one who wishes or whosoever will take the water of life.

Take the water of life without cost that's appropriation you recognize your need. You know where the supply is and you take it by faith. That's what without cost means free to you. The only prerequisite a recognition of need and a desire and a willingness to take your hardest parts for forgiveness. Your mind is thirsty for truth. Your soul is thirsty for purpose in the Lord Jesus whites to quench your thirst eternally in the water that he gives you is so fulfilling that you'll never thirst again. That's all it takes its without cost. As Isaiah said, without money and without price. There is the invitation see your need. You see the supply and you take it by faith and not by works.

The price is Artie been paid by Christ.

Very simple terms, and so the invitation is there in verse 17, the church, the spirit say come anyone who's hearing with believing years who has come joins in and says come in the invitation that is extended to everyone who is thirsty, who sees where the supply is the come and take the water of life freely. That's the invitation. Salvation is free because the price was paid. The invitation is from the supreme.

One of the universe. How can you turn it down in heaven is exclusive on the inside are those who've been washed on the outside are those who haven't, let's bow together in prayer.

Father, we acknowledge that we are not worthy to be considered as citizens of heaven because we don't deserve it.

You offer to any who will come to Christ confess their sin, except his sacrifice on their behalf. Repent and submit all to Christ. May that be the response of many parts of the name of Christ. This is grace to you with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. John's titled our current series.

A compelling look at the Bible's final words final call in our friend during the quarter, a bit weird. Just days away from the start of a new year so as 2021 closes. Keep in mind that grace to you is supported by friends like you and about 1/4 of our budget is met by gifts that we receive at years end. If you benefited from John's verse by verse teaching in 2021.

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