God’s Last Invitation

Revelation

God’s Last Invitation

October 4th, 1964 @ 7:30 PM

Revelation 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
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GOD’S LAST INVITATION

Dr.  W.  A.  Criswell

Revelation 22:17

10-4-64    7:30 p.m.

 

 

Turn to the last page in the Bible, Revelation chapter 22.  We begin preaching and reading at verse 16.  On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled “My Favorite Sermon.”

Out of the thousands of sermons that I preached in the last thirty-seven years there are, I guess, a thousand of them that are my favorites.  And this is one of them.  It is entitled God’s Last Invitation, or it is entitled “All for the Asking,” or it is entitled “Revelation 22:17.”  That is the text, and now we read the context together.  Revelation 22 beginning at verse 16 and reading to the end of the Bible, all of us out loud together:

 

I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen. 

[Revelation 22:16-21]

 

And the text, God’s last invitation:

 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And ho thelōn, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

[Revelation 22:17]

 

            The Spirit of God pleads with a man to come, “Come to Jesus.”  And the bride of Christ, His church, pleads with the man to come, come to Jesus; and let him that heareth, a passerby, a sojourner, let him repeat the glorious refrain, “Come, come to Jesus.”  And let him that is athirst come, come to Jesus [Revelation 22:17].  Our Lord said “Whosoever drinketh of the water of this life shall thirst again” [John 4:13].  If you have drunk of the water of this life and are thirsty, come, come to Jesus.

            Bobby Burns wrote:

 

Pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, the bloom is shed;
Or as the snow falls in the river,
A moment white – then gone forever;
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the Rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.

[from Robert Burns, “Tam O’Shanter”]

 

          Let him that is athirst come, come to Jesus.   And ho thelōn, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely [Revelation 22:17].

It is as though God had looked down from heaven on the progeny of old man Adam and said to the apostle John, “John, before the book is sealed and the revelation is forever closed, make one last and final invitation, “If a man is just willing, if he is just willing to be saved, to be a Christian, I will write his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27], and I will keep him forever. Ho thelōn—write it, John.  Write it, John.  If a man is just willing to be saved I will save him and keep him forever, and someday he shall walk on My golden streets [Revelation 21:21], and live in My beautiful city, if he is just willing to be saved” [Revelation 21:17].

          For you see, when the Lord God looked down from heaven on the children of old man Adam, he found them vile, and villainous, and wicked [Psalm 14:2-3].  The Lord had said to our first parents, “Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat: but one I have reserved for Myself” [Genesis 2:16-17].  And they said, “No, we will not observe that interdiction,” and they broke God’s commandment, and they partook of that forbidden fruit, and they died [Genesis 3:1-6]. 

And the Lord God looked down from heaven, and the children of old man Adam were vile and wicked [Psalm 14:2-3].  And the Lord said, “Thus will I do to save the progeny of old man Adam.”  And the Lord took tables of stone, and He wrote out His Ten Commandments with His own finger [Exodus 20:1-17, 31:18].  And He handed them down to the children of old man Adam and said, “Do this and thou shalt live” [Deuteronomy 8:1].  And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we will not do this.”  And they broke all of God’s commandments. 

And the Lord God looked down from heaven on the children of old man Adam and they were vile and wicked.  And the Lord said, “Thus will I do to save the progeny of old man Adam.  I will send My prophets.”  And the prophets of the Lord Jehovah came and preached saying, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die” [Ezekiel 33:11].  And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we will not turn.”  And some of God’s prophets they put in fiery furnaces.  And some of God’s prophets they put in the lion’s den, and some of God’s servants they sawed asunder [Hebrews 11:32-38].

And the Lord God looked down from heaven on the children of old man Adam, and He said, “Thus will I do that they might be saved.  I will send My messenger before My face” [Malachi 3:1; Luke 7:27].  And the messenger of the great Prince of glory came and preached, saying, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [Matthew 3:1-2].  And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we will not repent.” And they took God’s messenger and cut off his head, and he died in his own blood [Matthew 14:8-11; Mark 6:20-28].

            And the Lord God looked down from heaven on the villainous children of old man Adam, and He said, “But they will reverence My Son.”  And the Lord Jesus Christ came down from glory, and the children of old man Adam laid violent hands upon Him, dragged Him outside their city [John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12], and between the earth and the sky lifted Him up and nailed Him to a tree.  And He died in shame, and in agony, and in His own blood [John 19:1-37].

            And the Lord God looked down from heaven on the villainous and vile and wicked children of old man Adam, and He said, “This will I do that they might be saved.  I will send them My apostles and My evangelists,” and the apostles and the missionaries of the Lord came and preached, saying, “If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that He liveth, thou shalt be saved” [Romans 10:9-10].  But the children of old man Adam said, “No, we will not believe in our hearts, nor will we confess the Lord with our mouths.” And they took God’s apostles, and some of them they beheaded with a sword, and some of them they put on a lonely isle to die of exposure and starvation, and some of them they threw into boiling caldrons of oil, and some of them they crucified like their Lord.

            And the Lord God Jehovah finally looked down from heaven on the vile and villainous and wicked children of old man Adam and said, “Thus will I do that they might be saved.  John, before the Book is closed and before the revelation is sealed, you write there in My Book, ho thelōn.  If a man is just willing I will save Him [Revelation 22:17].  If he won’t keep My commandments, if he won’t listen to My prophets, if he won’t heed My messenger, and he won’t turn at the voice and the call of My apostles, then write there John, ho thelōn.  If a man is just willing to be a Christian I will save him,” said the Lord God, “I will forgive his sins, and I will write his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and keep him forever” [Revelation 22:17].

 For you see, I believe this Book is inspired word by word and syllable by syllable.  I believe God’s Holy Spirit wrote this one last invitation, and the Holy Spirit said to the apostle John as he wrote with his pen, “John, don’t you write there ho pisteuōn, ‘Whosoever believeth, let him come.’  Don’t you write there John, ho lambanōn, ‘Whosoever receiveth, let him come.’  Don’t you write there ho ginōskōn, ‘Whosoever understandeth, let him come.’  Don’t you write there ho phileōn, ‘Whosoever loveth, let him come.’  Don’t you write there ho paschōn, ‘Whosoever feeleth, let him come.’  But John, in that last invitation you write ho thelōn, ‘Whosoever will, let him come, says the Lord,’ and I will forgive his sins, I will wash him clean and white, I will write his name in the Book of Life, and I will save and keep him forever” [Revelation 22:17].

Now it’s just like this.  When I was a young fellow starting out to preach, I was holding a revival meeting under a big tabernacle, an open tabernacle in central West Texas.  And on a Saturday night after I had preached the best I could and they were singing an invitation hymn and I was pleading with sinners to come to Jesus, not a soul came, not a soul moved.

So I turned to the singer and I said, “Now wait a minute.” And I made a proposition.  I said, “If there is anybody here in this great throng of people here tonight, if there is just somebody here that will come down this aisle and say, ‘Preacher, I am willing for Jesus to save me,’ and ask God to save him; if he is not saved, I’ll never preach again.  I’ll close my Bible, I’ll quit the ministry, and I’ll never preach again.  Now singer, heist a tune,” I said, “and will anybody take me up on that proposition?”

So he started singing the invitation hymn again, and there was an old cowpoke out there on the fringes of the tabernacle who came inside and walking bow-legged with his hand extended like that came down to the front.  And he said, “Preacher, I’ll take you up on that proposition.”

I said, “Fine.  Now will all the congregation be seated?”

So they were all seated, and I said, “We are going to get down here on our knees, and we are going to ask God to save you.  And you ask Him to save you, and God will save you like it says in the Book.”

He said, “All right.”

I said, “Now you are willing for God to save you?”

“Yes.”

“And you mean it in your heart?”

“Yes,” he said.

“All right,” I said, “Let’s kneel and ask Him.”  So we knelt down, and I bowed my head and I prayed, “O God, save this cowpoke and save him now.” Then I said to William, “Now, Bill, you bow your head and you ask God to save you.”

So he bowed his head and said the best prayer an old cowpoke could, and when he got through, I extended my hand and I said, “Bill, if God saved you, take me by the hand.”

He looked at me and not too elegantly he replied.  He said, “I’ll swear, preacher, there ain’t nothing happening to me yet.  I am just like I was.”

Well, I said, “Bill, we’ll do it again.”

“All right,” he said.

So I bowed my head and I said, “O God, save this boy.  Save him now.” And then I said to Bill, “Now Bill, you pray.” So he bowed his head and he said the second prayer the best an old cowpoke could, and when he got through I extended my hand and I said, “Bill, if God saved you take me by the hand.”

He said, “Preacher, there ain’t nothing happening to me.  I’m just like I was.”

Well, I said, “Bill, we’re going to try once more.”

“All right,” he said.

So I bowed my head.  “O Lord, You know what I have said tonight, and if I come down here and asked You to save and they weren’t saved, I’d never preach again. Now Lord, save this boy and save him now.” And I said, “Bill, you really ask Him.”

“Oh, I will!” he said.

So he bowed his head and he prayed his third prayer.  And when he got through I extended my hand, and I said, “Bill, if God saved you, take me by the hand.”

He looked over at me and said, “Preacher, there ain’t nothing happened to me yet.  I’m just like I was.” 

Well, I couldn’t stay there all night long.  So I had the benediction and everybody went home.  Well, I got in the car to go up to the ranch house where I was staying in the days of the revival.  And when we all assembled in that car, they thought that was the funniest thing they ever saw in their lives, and they began to kid me about it.

They said, “Preacher, do you know what you did tonight? You said if anybody came down that aisle and asked God to save them, and was willing to be a Christian and wasn’t saved, you would close your Bible and never preach again.” They thought that was the funniest thing that had happened in their lives.

Well, I was about to die.  I was just about to die.  And when they found out I was taking it so seriously, nobody said a word.  Just as silent, you could hear the flies buzzing in the milk pitcher.  You could hear the grass growing, just as quiet and as silent.

So when we got up to the ranch house I dismissed myself, went into my room, shut the door, got down by the side of the bed, and I said, “Lord, this is the end for me.  This is the end for me.  I’ve just started my ministry and it’s already over.  This is the end for me.  I don’t understand, Lord.  For I read in the Book where it said ‘Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find’ [Matthew 7:7] and ‘Whosoever will, let him come’ [Revelation 22:17].  And I don’t understand, Lord.  And this is the end for me.”

And I went to bed, rolled and tossed all night long.  Got up the next morning, the Lord’s Day, dressed, and went with the family down to the tabernacle grounds.  I had no idea what to do, or what to say, or where to turn. 

When that car rolled up on the tabernacle grounds and stopped, I opened the door and put one foot out on the ground.  And when I did, I heard a voice up the road calling to me just as loud as he could shout, “Say, preacher! Say, preacher!”  And I turned to see the fellow hollering at me, and it was that bow-legged cowpoke running to me just as fast as his bowlegs would carry him.  And when he got to me, he grabbed me around the neck and he said, “Say, preacher, guess what?”

And I said, “Bill, what?”

And he said, “I’ve been saved!  I’ve been saved!  I’ve been saved!”

I said, “Bill, when were you saved?”

He said, “Preacher, last night on the way home God came into my soul and I’ve been saved!  I’ve been saved!” 

Why, you never heard such shouting in your life.  You’ve never heard such gladness in all the history of glory!  And when we had a quorum gathered there under that tabernacle, I called them into conference.  We took that boy in on his confession of faith, I had him baptized in a little pool of water by the side of the tabernacle, and let him dry out while I was preaching through the eleven o’clock Sunday morning service.

Oh, what a glory!  What a glory.  I don’t make invitations like that anymore.  I don’t extend propositions like that anymore.  But I’ll tell you why.  Because I don’t have the faith now that I had when I was a seventeen-year-old boy.  The world has calloused me and hardened me.  But in those days, oh! the Lord seemed so near, and I just felt God would move.

Now, since that time and since those years, I have been to school, and I have learned a whole lot of things.  And as I have learned and studied, I have found that the gospel that I preached that night as a seventeen-year-old boy, and the invitation I extended that night as a seventeen-year-old boy, is the truest and the finest gospel according to the Word of God that a man could ever preach.  And I am going to show you why, and that’s the sermon tonight.

You know, there is somebody who lives on the inside of me.  You don’t see the real me.  You just see the house made out of dust and clay and ashes.  You just see the house that I live in, and I look out at you through these two windows of my eyes.  But there is a me.  There is a somebody me who lives on the inside of this house. 

I believe I could do it better by saying it like this: there was an old man named Peas.  And Peas died.  And when he died, they wrote an epitaph on his tombstone, and it went like this:

 

Here lies the body of old man Peas,

Beneath the daisies and the trees.

But Peas ain’t here, only the pod,

For Peas shelled out and gone to God.

 

            That’s what I mean.  That’s what I mean.  On the inside of me there lives the real I.  Now that I, that is the real me that lives inside of this house, is composed of three major parts.  There are three great components that make up that me who lives on the inside of this house.

            There is first my mind, and second my emotion, and third my will.  There is my understanding, and my feeling, and my volition.  Now of all of those three that make up the real me who lives on the inside of this house, where is the seed of salvation?  Am I saved in my mind?  Am I saved in my head?  Am I saved in my understanding?  Am I saved because I am smart, or erudite, or academic, or educated, or because I have a college degree?  Am I saved because I have a grasp of things intellectual?

            Oh, how I wish it could be done like that!  Then we could just educate the world and the whole world would be saved.  But in my experience I found it just the opposite.  The more causedly, so-called “learned” a man is, the sometimes harder and more difficult it is to reach him for Jesus. 

            A good illustration lies in the most cultured and educated and intellectual of all the nations and races of people who have ever lived.  We have never had a nation and we have never had a race of people who were as brilliant and as educated and as scientific as the Nazi Germans.  Nor have we ever had a people that were so merciless, and so cruel, and so diabolical!  All you have to do is walk through those concentration camps at Dachau or Buchenwald and see how they used human guinea pigs for those atrocities of war.  It is unthinkable, the blood that stained the hands of the Nazi Germans!  And yet he was the most educated and the most cultured and the most scientific of all the nations and races that ever lived.

            I am just saying, you’re are not saved in your head.  You’re not saved in your mind.  You’re not saved in your understanding.  You’re not saved by being smart, or erudite, or learned, or academic.  You’re not saved because you have been to school.  You’re not saved in your mind.

            “Well then, preacher, I know exactly where we are saved.  I know exactly where the seed of salvation is.  We’re saved in our emotions.  We’re saved in our feelings.  I’m saved because I feel that I am saved.” 

            Well, I wish that were so, and most people are persuaded that it is.  But, oh!  Emotions are nothing but a concomitant, and a summation, and a corollary of all of the anatomical changes in our body.

When I went to school, I was taught the James Lange theory of emotions, and, “If it isn’t true, you can’t prove that it’s not true.”  The James Lange theory of emotions is this: that emotion is nothing but a summation of all the anatomical changes in your body.  Put them all together and that is an emotion; it is a feeling, it is a physical thing.  An emotion can be graphed, and your emotions can be graphed.  And if you are normal your emotions rise and fall, and rise and fall, and rise and fall, and if you are normal they can be graphed.

There are certain times in the month when your emotions rise, and there are certain times of the month when they fall.  And if you are normal, they rise and fall, rise and fall; all emotion does.  If you are down all of the time you are afflicted with melancholia.  If you are up all the time you are an idiot.  But if you are normal you are up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and all emotion is like that.

Love is an emotion and it can be graphed.  It rises and it falls and it rises and it falls.  It goes up and down.  Sometimes a man will love his wife so much he could eat her up.  And the next thing he will wish he had done it.  Well, that’s just normal.  That’s just normal.  All of our emotions rise and fall.  They rise and fall, and they can be graphed.  All emotion does.  Religious emotion is no different.  It rises, and you could just shout all over God’s glory; and then it falls, and you are so blue and discouraged you can’t hear nobody pray.  That’s just normal. 

I heard of a testimony meeting and a dear old saint stood up, God bless her, and she says, “Pastor, sometimes my cup is full and overflowing and sometimes my cup is dry.  Pray for me” and she sat down.  And then a second saint stood up right behind her and he said, “Pastor, that’s not my experience at all.”  He said, “I was saved thirty-three years ago,” and he said, “thirty-three years ago my cup was one-third full.”  He said, “After thirty-three years it has still stayed one-third full, and my cup is one-third full still tonight.”  And he sat down.  And when he did, a third saint stood up right behind him and pointed to him and said, “Yes sir, and I bet thee every cent I got that your cup has got wiggle tails in it.”  Now that’s just typical.

 All emotion rises and falls.  And religious emotion is no different from any other.  And my brother, if you ever tie your salvation to your feelings, they will drag you to death!  One day you will feel you are saved.  “Man, I’ve got it.  I am born again.  I am a Christian.  I’m nearer and going to glory.”  And the next day you will say, “You know I was mistaken.  I wasn’t really saved.  I wasn’t really regenerated.  Why, I don’t know the Lord.  I haven’t been born again.”  That’s because feelings rise and fall.

I’m like that old Negro song, “I’m sometimes up,” and I am, “and I’m sometimes down,” and I am, “but still my soul am heavenly bound.”  You know, a Christian is like the mercury in a thermometer.  It goes up and down and up and down but always inside the thermometer.  And when I am blue and discouraged, God doesn’t love me any less because I am sitting under a juniper tree; and He loves me more then than at any other time because I am just not saved in my emotions and in my feelings.

You know, it’s a funny thing.  In the New Testament language, the Greek, and in the Old Testament language, the Hebrew, the emotions without exception were all placed in the bowels.  You have sometimes in the King James Version translated “bowels of mercies.”  The viscera was the seat of the feelings and of the emotions.  And you are not saved in your feelings.  You are not saved in your emotions.

“Well then, preacher, if I am not saved in my head, in my mind, and if I am not saved in my emotions, in my feelings, then where is it that a man is saved? Where is the seat of conversion, and where does God make us new creatures, born again into the kingdom of Jesus?”

My friend, it is exactly where this holy and inspired Word says it is.  A man is saved in his will.  A man is saved in a choice.  A man is saved in his volition.  “Ho thelōn, whosoever will, let him come” [Revelation 22:17].  Let him come.  Whosoever will.  It’s in a decision that a man makes.  And when a man makes that decision for Christ, he is saved.  God regenerates him.

“Well, pastor, do you mean to tell me, do you mean to tell me that a man’s eternal decision, a man’s eternal salvation, that a man’s eternal destiny is conditioned on just one “I will?”  Yes, and that is no different from all of life.  All of life is just like that.  It is change, it is turn, in an “I will.” 

I want to show you that, and take it out of the life of our Lord.  Nobody could illustrate spiritual truth like our blessed Savior.  Nobody could say it as our Master could.  I am going to take out of the life of our Lord one of His stories.  I want you to see how heaven or hell is made in that simple decision of “I will” or “I will not.”

Now as you know, I grew up as a boy in far West Texas.  I grew up in a line camp that one time belonged to the XIT Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the world.  And as those old timers gathered in my father’s shop, I would listen to them by the hour and the hour as they’d talk about the days of the XIT Ranch and all of the roundups and the things that would happen in that far high western prairie.

Now I want to take a story and tell it as Jesus would have told it had He grown up there in West Texas.  The Lord said there was a Christian bossman, a Christian ranchman, and he had two sons.  And upon a day, the younger of those boys came to the father and said, “Father, I’m tired of this place.  I’m sick of everything around here and I’m dragging out.  I’m heading west.  And if there is anything coming to me, give it to me now because I am leaving home.”

And the father pled with the boy, “Oh son, oh son!”  But when you’ve lost the heart of your son, you can’t keep him.  So the father took the part, the portion that was coming to him, and placed it in his hands.

And say, you should have seen that boy as he headed out and dragged west.  Man, he bought him the prettiest palomino pony you’ve ever looked upon.  And he got him a silver studded saddle and a silver bridle to match.  He got him hand-tooled boots and golden spurs.  He got him a ten-gallon hat and headed west.  And when he hit town, say, did everybody know he was there!

It wasn’t that way back home.  One night at the supper table the mother said to the dad, “Dad?” And the dad said to the mother, “Mother, what’s the matter, Mother?”

“Oh,” she said, “No, no, Dad, there’s nothing wrong.”

“Yes,” said the dad.  “What’s the matter, Mother?”

And the mother said, “Well, Dad, if you just have to know, I was thinking about our boy.” And that evening on the veranda looking down a long, long road the big man doubled up his fist and wiped a tear out of his eye, and the mother said, “Dad, what’s the matter?”

He said, “There’s nothing the matter.  There’s nothing the matter.”

She said, “Dad, I know something’s the matter.  I saw you double up your fist and wipe a tear out of your eye.”

And he replied, “Well, Mother, if you just have to know I was thinking about our boy.”

Way out there in the West, sitting on a corral fence, watching the hogs eat, sat a boy.  Gone his palomino pony; gone his silver-studded saddle; gone his golden spurs.  And as he sat on the corral fence watching the hogs eat, the tears made furrows through the dirt on his face as they fell down on the ground.

And as the boy sat there an old cowpoke came sauntering by and looked at him, walked over to him and said, “Son, what’s the matter?”

“Oh,” said the boy, “there’s nothing the matter.  There’s nothing the matter.”

“Why son, there is something  the matter.  Look at the furrows in the dirt on your face where the tears have been falling down.  What’s the matter, son?  What’s the matter?”

And the boy replied, “Well sir, if you just have to know, I was thinking about home.”

The old cowpoke said, “Son, do you have a home somewhere?”

And the boy said, “Yes.”

“Son, do you have a Christian father and mother somewhere?”

“Yes,” said the boy.

And the old cowpoke said, “Son, you know one time I had a Christian father and mother, and I broke their hearts.  They are in heaven today.  Son, I’d give my life if I could go see them.  Listen, lad,” said the old cowpoke, “if you have a Christian father and mother and a home somewhere, son, get up and go back.  Go back.  Go home.”

And the old cowpoke sauntered away.  And as the boy sat on the top of the corral fence, the Book says the boy replied.  What did he say?  “I will.  I will arise and go back to my father and home.  I will” [Luke 15:18].

And the rest of the story, don’t you know?  The father saw him, and the fatted calf was killed, and they began to rejoice and be merry, “For this my boy was dead and is alive again.  He was lost and is found.”  And they began to be merry, and to be glad, and to thank God all because of, why? [Luke 15:20-24]. The boy, “I will, ho thelōn[Luke 15:18].

“Whosoever will, let him come” [Revelation 22:17].  Let him come.  Let him come. 

“If he is just willing, I will save him,” says the Lord.  “If he is just willing, I will write his name in the Book of Life.  If he is just willing, I will save and keep him forever.  If he is just willing, I will fight his battles for him.  I will crown him with every victory and triumph, if he is just willing, ho thelōn.  Whosoever will, let him come.  Let him come” [Revelation 22:17].

And the Lord awaits and the Lord calls.  And the Lord prays.  And the Lord moves.  And the Lord makes appeal.  All I have to do is say, “Master, I am on the way.  Here I am and here I come,” and it’s done.  And it’s done.

Isn’t that the invitation that we sing?  “Come, every soul by sin oppressed, there is mercy with the Lord.”  And while we sing it tonight, you, somebody you, make it now.  Make it now.  In the balcony round about, you; down one of these stairwells at the front or the back at either side, and there is time and to spare.  “Here I am, preacher.  Here I come.  I make it now.  I will decide for Jesus, and here I come.”  The throng on this lower floor, into the aisle, and down here to the front, “Here I am, preacher.  I do decide for Christ, and I am coming.  God help me, and God save me, and God keep me, and God see me through.  I cast my life and lot with Jesus, and here I am.”  Make it tonight. 

A family coming into the fellowship of our church; how ever the Spirit of Jesus shall open the door, shall make the appeal, shall press the call to your heart, come.  Come. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, ho thelōn, and whosever will, let him take the water of life freely” [Revelation 22:17].  Come.  Come.  Make it now.  Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

GOD’S LAST INVITATION

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 22:17

10-4-64

I.          Introduction

A.  Let him who is athirst come to Jesus

1. If you have drunk of the water of this life and are thirsty, come to Jesus (John 4:13)

2. Robert Burns’ “Tam O’Shanter”

B.  Ho thelon, whosoever will

1. If a man is just willing, God will save him

2. The ways of God seeking to save the man He made

a. In Eden (Genesis 2:16, 3:6)

b. At Sinai (Exodus 20:1-18, 31:18, Deuteronomy 27:10)

c. The prophets (Ezekiel 33:11, Hebrews 11:32-38)

d. The forerunners (Luke 7:27, Matthew 3:1-2, 14:8-11)

e. The Son of God Himself(Romans 10:9-10)

f. The preaching of the apostles

g. Finally, just a willingness is required(Revelation 22:17)

C.  The inspired words of the last invitation

1.  Not ho pisteuo, “whosoever believeth”

2. Not ho lambanon, “whosoever receiveth”

3. Not ho ginoskon, “whosoever understandeth”

4. Not ho phileon, “whosoever loveth”

5. Not ho paschon, “whosoever feeleth”

6. But say ho thelon, “whosoever will”

a. Preaching a revival in an open tabernacle in West Texas – my appeal that if someone was willing and came, and was not saved, I would quit preaching(Matthew 7:7, Revelation 22:17)

II.         The seat of salvation

A. Three parts make up the me inside – mind, emotion, will; my understanding, my feeling, and my volition

1. Poem, “An old man named Peas…”

B.  We are not saved in our mind

1. Not saved by your smartness, brilliance, education

2. So many times it is the opposite – the more “learned” a man is, the more difficult it is to reach him for Jesus

a. The most cultured and intellectual of nations were the Nazi Germans

C.  We are not saved in our emotion

1.  Emotions are nothing but a concomitant and corollary of all the changes in our body

a. James Lange theory of emotions

b. Emotions can be graphed – they rise and fall

2.  Religious emotion no different than any other – rises and falls

a. “Wiggletails”

b. Negro spiritual, “I’m sometimes up…sometimes down…”

3. In Greek and Hebrew, emotions all placed in the bowels

D.  We are saved in our will(Revelation 22:17)

1.  Eternal destiny conditioned on one decision

2. Heaven or hell is made in that simple decision of “I will” or “I will not”

a. The prodigal boy(Luke 15:18, 23-24)