"Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the promises assured to David." (Isaiah 55:3 HCSB)
Political promises--what an oxymoron! It is election season--a time when promises are spread like manure on a field—often yielding a bumper crop of disappointment. But, there is a Kingdom where the promises are steadfast and sure. The Leader of that land never fails--He cannot! The Lord of Heaven makes an everlasting covenant with the citizens of the Kingdom of God. He promises eternal life to any and all who will bow to Him.
God made promises to David in a covenant of grace. Ultimately, all these would be fulfilled in David's descendant and our Savior, Jesus Christ. While, we are not recipients of those promises directly, we are blessed by the One who is the Promise.
God has made an everlasting covenant with us. Jesus said, "For this is My blood [that establishes] the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28 HCSB).
The fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah focuses on several features of this most precious of all the promises--the Promised One and the everlasting covenant He seals with His blood. He is the Son of David and His Kingdom is eternal. So, is the life He brings to His subjects.
First, observe THE OFFER OF SATISFACTION: A GRACIOUS INVITATION.
"Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the promises assured to David. Since I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples, so you will summon a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you will run to you. For the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you." (Isaiah 55:1-5 HCSB)
All that is of this world can only gratify temporarily--to thirst and drink is to thirst again, to eat and be full is to hunger later. We spend our money on stuff with no enduring value, and when purchased, we soon want a newer toy or a more novel trinket. But, by contrast, what is from heaven will satisfy eternally--drinking to never thirst again (see John 4:14) and to feed from Him is to hunger no more and live forever in the nourishment of that Bread (read John 6:47-58).
But, you can't buy it. It is too valuable a commodity. All the wealth of the world cannot purchase it. The good news is that it is already paid for—the poorest of men may have it freely. Eternal life was purchased as a gift for us at the cost of Christ's blood.
God gives a gracious invitation. He bids us, "Come!" We are not forced. It is our choice. But, why would we spurn so generous an offer? To do so is to thirst forever in a waterless place of fire and to gnaw the tongue in hunger with no chance of satisfying that craving.
So, how do we respond to this exquisite offer?
By faith, we receive Christ. We simply take Him at His Word. It sounds too good to be true, but it is the promise He has made.
There are two dimensions to this faith--two sides of the same coin: an acknowledgment of our poverty and of His plenty.
Our Poverty is expressed in the word, "thirsty." If you try to satisfy the hunger and thirst in your soul, you will never do so. In our pride, we don't want to stoop to be beggars—to admit that we can't merit salvation. Religion calls us to earn our bread, but Jesus said that we must ask for it. Only those who admit their spiritual bankruptcy can have the riches of His grace. You can only have the priceless if you have nothing to buy it with.
His Plenty is emphasized in the word, "satisfy." In the heavenly city there is a crystal clear river of life flowing from the throne of God—you could never drain it dry. There we find the tree of life, and can eat and eat, and there is fruit enough to feed every nation to the full. In fact, Isaiah records the witness--a summons to the nations who do not know Him, to run to Him--to come quickly to the banquet and sit at the marriage supper of the Lamb! Access to that inexhaustible supply, this everlasting satisfaction, is given through Jesus. This is the promise; He is the promise.
There is not only the offer of satisfaction: a gracious invitation, but THE OPPORTUNITY OF SALVATION: AN URGENT DECISION.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive.
‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.’ [This is] the Lord's declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:6-9 HCSB)
Our Response is an urgent imperative. We must "Seek the LORD while He may be found..." indicating a time when He will be obscured and "call to Him while He is near" implying a time when He will be departed. Recall how God warned through His servant Noah of the judgment of the flood. The door of the ark remained open for a period of time. When God closed the door, it meant that Noah was safe, secured inside, but it also meant that none could enter. When the rains came pouring down the door could not be pried open. Opportunity was gone forever.
It is presumptuous and pompous to say, “I know I need to be saved, and I intend to give my life to Christ—but, not now. I will someday.” You do not know. Someday may never come. Without Christ you are a heartbeat away from an eternity of despair.
Our Repentance is an uncompromising imperative. There is no negotiation. God's terms are unconditional surrender. Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you will all perish as well." (Luke 13:3b) We must have a change of mind—that is literally what repentance means. We must turn from our wicked ways to the Lord’s way of salvation. Compassion and forgiveness is God’s desire for us, but we must turn to Him and trust in Christ.
We have seen the offer of satisfaction: a gracious invitation and the opportunity: an urgent decision, but there is more--we note THE OPERATION OF SCRIPTURE: A TRANSFORMING PROCLAMATION.
“’For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it [to do].’
You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap [their] hands. Instead of the thornbush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up; it will make a name for the Lord as an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed.” (Isaiah 55:10-13 HCSB)
The promise of salvation rests in the Power in God's Word. It is the seed of eternal life. As the Gospel message finds fertile soil, it bears fruit unto salvation. We never know when or where—that is God’s business. Our duty is to sow the seed.
The promise of salvation results in the Peace in God's Will. It is the source of everlasting joy. When we experience salvation, we are promised peace with God. What a joy to know that walking in His will leads us onward and upward—home at last.
It is a thrilling possibility that I will preach tomorrow and the Spirit of God will speak through the Word of God to bring a soul to God! His Word always brings results—and fulfills the purposes of God—whether we see them or not.
There will be 100% response to the invitation following the sermon. Some will say, “Yes” and some may say, “No” but all will make a decision. It is urgent that when God bids you, “Come” that you do not delay!