THE GREATEST INVITATION
The greatest invitation there ever was or ever will be, began with the greatest demonstration of love ever shown to mankind. Father God demonstrated “His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Over and over again in scripture we see God pursuing the hearts of men and women, graciously inviting them into a personal relationship with Him.
When sin entered the world it brought immorality, discord, and restlessness. The human heart steeped in sin, living apart from the presence of the Lord, is in a constant state of heaviness and unrest. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He wasn’t just speaking of a physical rest, although He has also promised a beautiful place of rest in eternity for us. He was specifically speaking of an inner peace so great it surpasses all understanding of the mind. It’s perpetual peace of the heart! Speaking to the woman at the well Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Again, Jesus is speaking in spiritual terms. Sin can only fill you up briefly, but it never quenches your thirst. It’s a dark dry place with promises of fulfilment that never completely fills, never lasts, and always runs dry. Jesus invites us to come and rest, drink and become a spring full of life, that never runs dry.
The Lord said, “If anyone serves Me, let him Follow Me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26) This is an invitation to be a disciple and make disciples, to partner with Jesus Himself in the redemption of mankind by sharing the good news of the gospel of Christ with the world. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8) When you are filled with the love of Jesus you naturally have a deep love for others and desire to see them saved, free, whole, and full of the love and joy of Jesus that you’ve now come to know!
Last, but not least, the greatest invitation of all can be summed up in just three words that Jesus says: “Abide in Me.” We are invited to stay forever in the beauty and presence of the Lord! He isn’t inviting us in for just a visit. We can’t outstay our welcome. We are invited into His kingdom, into His family, into His being, to permanently belong to Love itself, to have a constant dwelling place in the glory of our King. It’s an invitation to remain forever secure in His covenant of love, full of His joy and peace, basking in the presence of the Almighty God for all of time. Psalm 91 says, “Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place- the Most High, who is my refuge- no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” And even more so He says, “When he calls to Me, I will answer Him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” When we abide in Him, He abides in us, meaning all that we are and all that we have belongs to Him, and all that He is and all that He has, belongs to us. We got the better end of that deal, didn’t we!
The Lord is so good! His love is irresistible, His faithfulness unfathomable! His greatest desire is to have our hearts, and in return, He gives us His everything! His invitation is the greatest invitation because He has invited us to have Him, be with Him, and be His for the rest of eternity! So, we say, Yes! A definite, emphatic, overwhelmingly grateful, “Yes!”
Sarah Thomas | Sarah Thomas Paintings
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