An Open Invitation

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

  • Mark 1:16-20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

  • Revelation 3:20

“God is an inviting God.  He invited Mary to birth his Son, the disciples to fish for men, the adulterous woman to start over, and Thomas to touch his wounds.  God is the King who prepares the palace, sets the tables, and invites his subjects to come in.

“In fact it seems his favorite word in ‘come.’

“’Come, let us talk about these things.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they can be as white as snow.’

”’Let anyone who is thirsty some to me and drink.’

“’Come to me, all you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.’

”God is a God who invites.  God is a God who calls.”

  • Max Lucado, And the Angels Were Silent

I think in another Lucado quote that I have used, he gives the statistics for the word “Come” in the Bible.  So, here goes from an internet search of the word “Come” in the NIV.  “Come” appears 1644 times in the Bible, 537 times in the New Testament.  In the four Gospels?  Matthew 83 times, Mark 52 times, Luke 85 times, and John 95 times.  Many of the uses of the word “come” have no relation to God’s invitation, but with the 315 uses in the Gospels, there must be a large number spoken by Jesus.

But then, read in the Revelation Scripture above, my favorite verse, I suppose if I had to name one, Jesus is saying that He will ‘come.’

Yes, Jesus is inviting us to be His disciples, to follow Him, to lay down our burdens so that He can give us rest, but Jesus is also promising to enter our souls, to come into us.  We don’t have to follow Jesus alone.  He is within us, helping us along the journey.

I think that many of the arguments that I have been subjected to at church business meetings have stemmed from my unwillingness to invite certain people to join the church.  Come to the services?  I’m fine with that, but join, with full rights as a member?  Not really.  Funny, I once had a pastor, while I was on session, tell me that I must not “mess with the people that our church attracts.”  I knew what he meant, the staid, frozen, lack-of-spirit folks that want to be told that they are on the right track although their track was derailed before it ever left the station.  Forget I said that.  It was unkind.  Probably in most cases true, but unkind.

No, the liberal faction within the church wants to open the doors to anyone who will join and give money.  Don’t let their flowery words about being inclusive fool you and how God loves everyone.  Their bottom line has always been and forever will be money.  That’s what got them to be ‘leaders’ in the church, money.  I think my post for tomorrow will be on a statement that I read in a Billy Graham book today, about how true Christianity is NOT a religion – and for good reasons.

No, if a group of people wants to join the church, but not repent of their open sinfulness, I am skeptical.  In fact, most of our decay within the tenets of the major denominations have come from letting the secular world’s redefinition of sin affect how the church states their beliefs.  In a world that thinks “sin” is never to be mentioned, because it is a four-letter word…  Yes, we live in a math-challenged world, but you get my point.  Satan, the master of lies, has redefined “sin” as being something that is natural, and all natural things are good, right?  No!  Sin is sin.

But God loved us all, while we were sinners.  And He made it unmistakable.  He calls us to repent and follow Him.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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