The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Invitation

Ever feel alone, overwhelmed by life? Ever feel too young or too old to be included? Ever feel left out? Ever feel high and dry or low and soaked? Broken? Betrayed? Bankrupt? Ever feel you just don’t measure up? Ever feel any of that? I have an invitation to pass on to you. If you respond to the invitation it will change your life. This invitation is from Someone who can help you cope with life. This is an invitation from Someone who wants to be your Friend. It’s an important invitation. The way you respond to this invitation will have lasting effects. If this sounds interesting to you I invite you to read on.

The Bible is the supreme source of comfort and consolation from God who is called “the God of all comfort” (Rom. 15:4; 2 Cor. 1:3-7). To a great extent the Bible is a love letter from God to console us in life. One of the most encouraging portions of God’s word is the Letter to the Philippians. In the letter to the Philippians the apostle Paul is inspired to use the phrase, “. . . if there is any consolation in Christ . . .” (2:1b). When Paul says this he isn’t doubting that there is consolation, he is speaking rhetorically. He is saying if there is any consolation, and I believe there is . . . . An examination and study of this short phrase presents us with an inviting door of opportunity to experience consolation in our time of need.

“Consolation,” what is that? The word “consolation” (Greek - παράκλησις - paraklēsis) means encouragement, comfort, or exhortation. The idea is that Jesus comes along side of us to encourage, exhort and comfort us. This is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit who Jesus referred to as The Helper, or Comforter (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). This is a present reality for all who have been born again of the Spirit (John 3).

Paraklesis uses the prefix para which means to come alongside. The root of the word is kaleo (Greek - καλέω - kaleō) which means to call, name, summon, call by name, or invite. The sense of “consolation in Christ” is that Jesus comes alongside us and calls us by name. Jesus comes along side of us and presents us with an invitation. Let’s ask some questions about this invitation of Jesus and let’s answer them from God’s love letter the Bible.

Who does Jesus invite?

He invites all who are weary and have heavy burdens in life.

· Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

He invites children (Mat. 19:14).

· Matthew 19:14 - But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

He invites everyone.

· Revelation 22:17 - And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

What does He invites us to?

He invites us to put Him first.

· Luke 14:26 - “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

He invites us to obey and apply His word to our lives.

· Luke 6:46-49 - 46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

He invites us to be His friends.

· John 15:15 - No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Why should we respond to Christ’s invitation?

Because the scriptures are all about Him and in Him is eternal life.

· John 5:39-40 - You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Because only He can fill our hunger and quench our thirst.

· John 6:35- And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Because not one who responds to Christ’s invitation will be cast out by Him.

· John 6:37 - All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

Because He will give us the Holy Spirit who is able to empower us in life.

· John 7:37-39 - 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

How do we respond to this invitation; how do we come to Jesus?

By grace; not one who responds to Christ’s invitation can do so unless the Father draws him.

· John 6:44-45 - No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

We come to Jesus through faith.

· John 5:24 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

· John 6:47 - Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

· John 11:25-26 - Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

· John 12:46 - I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

· John 14:1 - “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

What will happen if we believe in Jesus?

We will receive eternal satisfying life and be empowered to do great works for God!

· John 14:12 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

What are the consequences if we don’t come to Jesus and believe in Him?

If we believe in Jesus we will not be condemned, but if we don’t believe in Jesus we are condemned.

· John 3:18-21 - “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Who comes to Jesus?

His sheep.

· John 10:27-28 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Jesus is calling you. There’s His invitation. You’ve just received it. What will you answer? What will you do with the invitation of Jesus? If you’re satisfied feeling alone and overwhelmed by life, if you like feeling left out, high and dry, low and soaked, if you’re satisfied with your brokenness, betrayal and bankruptcy, with always coming up short, do nothing. But if you want all of that to change, if you want some help to cope and get through life, if you want life like you’ve never experienced before, eternal life, I have an invitation to pass on to you. Jesus is here. He’s at your door. He’s knocking. He is whispering to you, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Now it’s your turn. Will you invite Him in?

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