READ : Revelation 22:6-21
The Bible ends with grand invitations: for us to come to Christ, and for Christ to come again.
Think of this friends: Three times in the final chapter of Revelation the risen Lord
assures his people, “I am coming soon” (vv. 7, 12, 20). The first two times, it’s “Behold,
I am coming soon.” The last one: “Yes” or “Surely I am coming soon!” What are we to make
of this, nearly 2,000 years after the New Testament was written? In first-century days,
there were already mockers, scoffers who asked, jeeringly, “Where is the promise of his
coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were” (2 Pet.
Peter answered in this way:
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand
years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some
count slowness, but is longsuffering with you, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance.
That’s surely one answer for the delay: God’s patient, yearning heart to save. We
should remember also that Jesus himself testified that he did not know the time of his
return: “but about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the
Son but only the Father” (Mt. 24:36).
Why then would he say over and over again that it will be soon? Jesus described a
number of general events — signs — wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes —
things like that that would be taking place near the time of his return. Christians in
every century have pointed to what they believed to be the fulfillment of those signs, and
have sometimes predicted a time. But as one New Testament scholar dryly observed, “If you
tell me that Jesus is coming on such and such a day, I’ll know it’s not then, because he
said “In an hour when you think not, the Son of Man will come.”
When you think about it, what has been the value for Christians in every age to think
that in their lifetime it might be soon? I think the Lord has arranged for that because
what he wants in us is alertness and readiness. Think of how many times he emphasized
this: “keep alert, watch, pray, because your Lord may return in an unexpected hour.”
Let me say a word about those people who produce charts of the ages, elaborate
timetables of when they believe all the final events will take place. I think most of
their effort, with all respect, is a waste of time. Jesus doesn’t tell us about these
things to satisfy curiosity, or encourage predictions, but to have his followers always on
the ready, always expecting that it might to TODAY! That’s the way Christians are meant to
live. Listen to Luke 21:34 ff:
Be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and
drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day not catch you unexpectedly like a
trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the earth. Be alert at all times,
praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to
stand before the Son of Man.
And again in Mark 13:
And what I say to you I say to all: “Keep awake.” (v. 37)
The last great day may indeed be soon — sooner than we think, surely sooner than
when we first believed.
Entire Book of Revelation is a Call to “Come”
Think next of the fact that the entire book of Revelation is a call to “Come.” Listen
to these words like a refrain, like a holy song,
The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let
everyone who is thirsty, come; let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.”
Have you thought of this, that the entire Bible leads to an invitation? In its pages
are revealed the mighty acts of God, his faithful promises, his grace and salvation in
Jesus Christ. These acts are all directed to us who hear and read, so that we may respond,
that we may repent, believe, and move in God’s direction. And the call is always this
beautiful word “Come!” Listen to God speak through the prophet Isaiah.
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and you who have no money come, buy
and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money
for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isa. 55:1-2)
Yes, and hear the King who prepares a great banquet, and sends out his servants with
the invitation: “Come to the feast. Come, for all things are now ready.” And then hear
Jesus himself on the great feast day, “If anyone thirsts, let him or her come to me and
drink. Those who believe in me, from their inmost being will flow rivers of living water.”
And see him also, as he stretches out his hands toward us and says, “come to me, all you
who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
And for us who preach and teach the word. No message we give is authentically Christian
if it doesn’t bring some kind of invitation to come to the Lord, to feast at his table, to
receive his grace. So it’s altogether fitting that the last chapter of the last book of
the Bible should abound in invitation. The Holy Spirit, through the Bride, the church of
Jesus Christ, is always proclaiming the good news and inviting people to taste and see
that the Lord is good. When we receive the grace of God in Christ, we can’t keep from
offering it to others and inviting them to respond.
The next line is, “Let everyone who hears say `Come.'” The group of Christians I knew
when I first trusted in Christ really believed that. I think it was three weeks after I
became a Christian that they had me up in a street meeting, giving my testimony, inviting
people to receive the Lord. Everyone who hears and believes ought to say to anyone within
reach, “Won’t you come?” Won’t you put your trust in Jesus Christ?
And the last line makes the invitation directly to everyone who hears or reads this
book. “Let everyone who is thirsty come.” In other words, whatever deep, unsatisfied need
you have in your life, come with it to Jesus Christ, and see how he can meet that need.
Again, “Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.” Yes — whosoever will
may come. Anyone, anywhere, coming to God through Christ will receive the gift of
forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.
And so I extend this invitation to you. Perhaps you are a Christian and know that you
have received eternal life. But perhaps not. Perhaps you have never really come to Christ,
never received him as your Lord and Savior, never invited him into your life. Oh, friends,
if that is true, this is the day of all days for you. Simply come, with all your sin and
need to Jesus Christ who invites you today. We who preach, Paul tells us, are ambassadors
for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us. We ask you in Christ’s name: be
reconciled to God, put all your trust in the crucified and risen Jesus. Will you this day
respond to his wonderful invitation?
As I am bringing you this message, I remember that just a few days ago an aged lady I
know had been told by Hospice Care that she had only a month to live. She responded to the
gospel, and invited Christ into her life. What a joy that was! And it can be that for
And now for the last use of this lovely word Come. Right after Jesus’ third promise
“Surely I am coming soon,” all who love and trust him pray from the heart: “Amen. Let it
be so! Come, Lord Jesus!” Did you know that that’s what you pray for every time you pray
the Lord’s Prayer? That’s the ultimate answer. Then the name of God will be fully hallowed
and glorified. Then God’s Kingdom will have fully come. Then God’s will shall be done
indeed on earth as it is in heaven. Then every human need for sustenance, daily bread,
forgiveness, and deliverance from evil will be fully and finally satisfied — when
Jesus comes again.
Do you long for that? Do you pray “Come, Lord Jesus”? There’s a promise for you if you
do. Listen to Paul, very close to his death,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who
have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV
If the thought of Jesus’ coming fills your heart with joy, if you crave to see him, the
Crucified One, fully vindicated, with every knee bowing before him and every tongue
confessing he is Lord, then you are truly praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” You are one who
loves his appearing. And did you know that when you pray for that, there may be things you
can do that will hasten the day? You say, “Really?” Listen to the apostle Peter, chapter
3, in his second letter, verses 11 and 12:
Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought
you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming
of the day of God.
Did you hear that? “hastening the coming of the day”? Imagine that! Your life of
holiness and God-likeness can hasten the day. And surely your prayers can. And also your
efforts to spread the gospel. Listen to Jesus in Matthew 24:14, “And this good news of the
kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations and
then the end will come.” In other words, when the last missionary effort and sacrifice
have been made, the last Bible translation offered, the last culture reached with the
gospel, the end will come. The Lord will return.
So friends, your godly living, your heartfelt prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!,” your gifts
and labors in the gospel, may well speed the coming of the great day. Oh yes, let it be!
“Come, Lord Jesus.” And then right at the end of the last words of the book, this
revelation, this apocalypse, this letter ends with these beautiful words, “The grace of
the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.” Amen.