by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
A Season of Invites
At this time of year, many of us receive invitations to parties and events. The office Christmas party. The Church Choir fellowship. The family Christmas dinner. Perhaps you received an invitation to a beautiful Christmas wedding. A New Year’s Eve celebration. Some invitations may have been received through a text. Or maybe through a Facebook event invite. Some may have come with an elegant and costly formal invitation. Perhaps someone you know received a coveted invitation to an event you longed to go to, but you didn’t receive an invite and now you feel hurt, rejected. Without the invite, you don’t have the information to reserve your spot at the event. Without the invite that would be checked at the door, you would never get in.
The Most Important Invite
Of all the invites you could ever receive, there is one in God’s Word that is the most important invitation you’ll ever receive and it’s one that has a required RSVP and the invite will be checked at door.
The good news about this particular invite, which we find in Revelation 22:17, is that it has your name on it. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve come from, where you are today, or how many times you’ve declined the invitation in the past. If you just read Revelation 22:17, this invite is for you. Read the verse again.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever to come and take a drink of the will, let him take the water of life freely.
Like any invitation, you can choose to go to the event, or reject the invitation and stay home. But the cost of saying no to this invitation is eternity in hell.
Whosoever will may Come
That word…whosoever…that means YOU. The invitation is for you. So if you’ve been waiting for your invite – here it is. It is 100% free.
Those who Come Receive A Robe and A Crown
You don’t even have to worry about what to wear because Jesus will give you a robe of righteousness and a crown of life.
my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)
be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
Those who Come are Carried by Angels
You don’t have to worry about transportation because God will send angels to carry you there. We find this in Luke’s gospel in the story of Lazarus and the rich man. As Jesus tells this story, we see two very different people who live very different lives, have very different death experiences, and experience very different eternal destinies.
The rich man lived with every luxury known. Jesus said this man was “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day” (Luke 16:19) It was a great life. But his death was not. The rich man died without ever acknowledging God. Upon entering his eternal destiny, the rich man found himself in the torments of hell.
But Lazarus has a very different story. In this life, Lazarus was poor and sickly. Jesus described him as a beggar who sat at the gate of the rich man every day, covered in sores that dogs would lick and hoped for just a few crumbs from the rich man’s table. He may have been physically poor, but spiritually Lazarus rich. Lazarus had chosen to place his faith in God and so when he died he was carried by the angels to his eternal destiny in Heaven. So there is no transportation needed.
Those who Come Receive Free Water of Life
When Revelation 22:17 invites each one of us to take freely of the water of life, it means exactly that. It’s free. There is nothing you can do to be accepted into heaven except simply receive this free gift. There is any “good deed” good enough to earn your way to Heaven nor does it matter how many good deeds you do. Our good deeds simply are not good enough. In fact, in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah paints a rather disgusting picture for even our very best good deeds.
Those who Come trade in their Filthy Rags
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
The Hebrew phrase for “filthy rags” is ukabeged ehdim and literally means, “like as rags of menstruation.” Sorry if that’s disgusting and grosses you out – but it is in the Bible so the rightful credit for such a description is Isaiah’s. However, hopefully you get the picture that no matter what we do, all our acts are disgusting to God and He is repulsed by our efforts to try to earn our way into Heaven.
Think about it for a moment. God, out of His love and mercy, has already provided a way for us to get there. That way came at a huge cost to Him – the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. But we want to throw that gift back in his face and try to find our own way to Heaven. Getting to Heaven, sounds rather hopeless – and it is, if we try to do it our own way. Ephesians 2:1 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Have you ever seen a dead person do anything for themselves? The only thing a dead person can do is lay there and be…well….dead. That’s it. And that is exactly how hopeless we are to earn salvation apart from God’s plan and His free gift. So how is getting to heaven possible?
Our Only Hope
Our only hope for eternal life in Heaven is by accepting the invitation. We do so by recognizing our hopeless, broken, sinfulness that separates us from God. Then, by faith we believe that God sent his Son to die on the cross, to hang there as our sin, in order to pay the just punishment for sin that we deserved. Jesus did the work for us. He paid our debt. He took our place. That is our only hope, that Jesus became sin—our sin—and in so doing, he likewise became our righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says it well, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
This is why no matter what we do or how good we are God still sees us a filthy rags. Imagine how dishonoring it is to God’s grace and to Christ’s who endured the cross in our place when we try to save ourselves by our acts of righteousness or try to find another way. It is only through the power of Christ’s resurrection and our death to our sinful self (Philippians 3:10-11) that we are changed and given a new heart. Because of what Christ did, we are transformed from hopelessly lost with a destination to hell to gloriously saved with a destination (and a free angelic ride) to heaven. Only after we are transformed are we then able to confess that Jesus is Lord. In that moment, God no longer sees us as a “sinner” but as His child, dearly beloved, justified and cleansed from all sin.
Jesus invites the spiritually thirsty to Come
In Revelation 22:17, the invitation is for whosoever will to come freely and take a drink of the water of life. There is no cost because Jesus already paid the expense. What is this water of life that He invites us to drink? During His earthly ministry, Jesus met a spiritually thirsty woman at a well. Her reputation was wretched and she drew water alone and at an inconvenient time of day to avoid the other women. This spiritually thirsty woman was the kind of woman the other women in town gossiped about. She was the sort you didn’t hang out with if you cared about what others think about you.
A Divine Appointment
But Jesus had a divine appointment with this outcast woman. You see the disciples and Jesus were traveling and usually the Jews avoided Samaria often taking a longer route to go around it rather than through it. But John 4:4 says, “He must needs go through Samaria.” Did you catch it? Here it is again: “He must needs go.” Jesus knew this spiritually thirsty woman would be at the well at that specific time and orchestrated things so that He was there waiting on her.
When she arrived, Jesus asked her for a drink of water and engaged her in a conversation about water. He told her that water from Jacob’s well would quench thirst only temporarily but the water He offered would quench thirst forever. Now hauling water in Bible days wasn’t easy, so naturally the Samaritan woman was intrigued by the idea of never being thirsty again. She was still thinking physical while Jesus was talking spiritual. The woman says, “Give me some of this water so I am never thirsty again and don’t have to come to the well and draw water every day.”
After some further conversation, Jesus tells her that He is the Messiah – the one promised to come to save people from their sins. She was so overjoyed that she left her heavy water pot at the well and went into the city telling them all about Jesus and then she brought them to Him. Jesus is the living water and the invitation extended to “whosoever” is the gift of eternal life.
The Way, The Truth, & The Life
Yes, eternal life is a free gift. But in order for any gift to become yours, what must you do? If I offer you a gift of some expensive item but you turn and walk away from it, is the gifted item yours? No. For it to become yours, you have to reach out and accept it. The same is true with the free gift of eternal life – and there is only one way to receive it.
In John 14:6 Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. And in John 10:9 he said, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. Luke wrote in Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Jesus is the only way. He is the door to Heaven. There is no other way. As a kid, we used to sing a song that says:
One door, and only one
And yet its sides are two,
Inside and outside,
On which side are you?
One Door, and only one,
And yet its sides are two,
I’m on the inside,
On which side are you?
On Which Side Are You?
Those on the inside are the ones who placed their faith in Jesus, and asked Him to be their Lord and Savior. Lazarus is on the inside. Those who have partook of the living water of life are on the inside. Jesus stands at the doorway to Heaven. He is the door. To gain entrance you have to go through Him. You’ve been given the invitation, but you must RSVP (by confessing and repenting of your sins and asking Jesus to forgive you and be your Savior and accept the gift of eternal life to gain entrance. He’s not only issued the invitation to you – but if you accept, he will provide you with the appropriate attire and your transportation for getting there.
Come. Whoever you are. Come. Come drink of the living water. The invitation has been offered. Will you accept it?
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Tee of the Week: Giants
From the song, “Confidence” by Sanctus Reel. As we start a new year, what giants are you facing? What big thing is God asking you to do? Do you need faith like Daniel in the lion’s den? Hope like Moses in the wilderness? A heart like David? Do you need God to be your defense? If you have giants, you can face them with confidence because God is God of the impossibles.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
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