This is the sermon for March March 13th, 2011.  This is the second sermon of the two part series.

The invitation part 2.

Isaiah 55 NIV – 1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money,  come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.  I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

Introduction: We’ve been looking at Isaiah 55.  We started last week, looking at verses 1-6.  And we are ending this week looking at verses 7-12.

We are looking at this passage in the context of God’s invitation to forgiveness.  Here is the points we covered last time:

  • God’s invitation (verse 1).
  • God’s invitation to listen (verses 2-3).
  • God’s invitation to see (verses 4-5).
  • God’s invitation to seek (verse 6).

Let’s continue looking at this chapter in Isaiah with the theme of God’s invitation this morning.

God’s invitation to turn.

Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.

  • This invitation is to a specific person – the wicked.
  • This is such wonderful news.  There are a couple of truths that we need to realize this morning.
  • The first truth we need to realize is that we are all wicked, and we need to point the blame for our wickedness, not at the devil or other people, but ourselves.  Notice what Paul says.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  • That “all” listed in this verse here is me and you.
  • Earlier in Romans, Paul says something really powerful.

Romans 3:10-18 – 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

  • The Law points to the fact that we are all wicked, born in original sin.
  • But the good news is the second thing we need to realize:  This invitation goes out to us wicked people – it is an invitation of forgiveness, God calling for the wicked sinner to repent and be forgiven in Jesus Christ.
  • I can’t help but think of one of Christ’s parables.

Luke 14:16-24 – 16“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

  • Here we see repentance mentioned, “forsake their ways and their thoughts.”
  • It is not enough to just say some type of repeat after me prayer.  You see, God the Holy Spirit is involved.  He moves upon you, and changes your heart, and out of this change of heart, the wicked forsake their ways and thoughts and seek the Lord in repentance.

Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

  • It is not just forsaking their ways and thoughts, but they must turn to the Lord.
  • When they turn to Him, He has mercy and freely pardons.
  • We live in a time that sinners want us to accept them and their lifestyle of sin, so they can feel better about it.
  • But God’s word declares they must forsake their lifestyle of sin and turn to the Lord who will have mercy and forgive.
  • Feeling better about your sin is not the answer, God’s forgiveness found in Jesus Christ is.

The invitation to know God’s thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 – 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  • It doesn’t matter what we think about our sins, whether they are big or little; whether we can forgive others or ourselves or not.
  • God’s view of our sin and His great forgiveness is so much higher than our ways.
  • So when it comes to thinking about our sins and His forgiveness, we need to look at them through His thoughts and ways.
  • How is this done?  Only through His Word.
  • Let’s look at just a couple of passages quickly.

Psalm 145:1-3 – 1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

  • Why should we praise Him and extol His name forever and ever?  Because He is great and pardons us sinners.

1 Corinthians 2:9-13 – 9“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

  • God’s Word tells us these spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words, through the Scriptures.
  • We understand that the Scriptures are telling of the realities of salvation and free forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through the Spirit who indwells believers.

God’s illustration of truth.

Isaiah 55:10-11 – 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

The illustration: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater…

  • Here, Isaiah uses a natural explanation to explain God’s pardoning of our sins, the effects of rain and snow.
  • When it rains and snows, it provides nourishment to the land so that the land can produce growth and fruit and vegetables.

The explanation: so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

  • God’s Word does the same thing; it nourishes our souls with the promise of complete total forgiveness and pardon of our sins before a holy, righteous God through Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.
  • This Word does not come back to God empty, but accomplishes the task for which it was purposed to do.
  • Again, let me quote from Romans.

Romans 10:14-17 – 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

God’s invitation for us to rejoice.

Isaiah 55:12-13 – 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

  • Those who are in captivity to their sin, God will release, they will be forgiven, and in the mist of the forgiveness be joyful for God’s unmerited favor toward them.
  • One day, even nature itself will join in this song of salvation.

Romans 8:18-21 – 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

  • Notice what Jesus said about those shouting Hosanna as He entered Jerusalem to those who were complaining.

Luke 19:37-40 – 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

  • Where once the works of the flesh and sin grew wildy, through Christ and His Spirit and Word the fruit of the Spirit will begin to be freely produced in a believer’s life.
  • This is a sign to all that Christ saves sinners, and glorifies the Lord God Almighty.

Conclusion: I want to close with the words of an old Hymn:  “Jesus has a table spread, where the hungry souls are fed, He invites His chosen people, come and dine.”

The invitation is to both those in Christ and those not in fellowship with Him.  We all need this invitation to forgiveness.  He is calling, let’s forsake our sinful ways, for in Christ we been freely pardoned.

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