The Greatest Invitation

John Piper, in the first of a series of messages from Isaiah 55, “The Great Invitation: Come! Drink! Eat! Live!”

And what I want us to see in this first message based on verses 1-3 is that God is a very inviting God.

The word inviting has two meanings doesn’t it? You can say, This spot is inviting. And you mean that it is pleasant and attractive and that you feel drawn to come here.

Or you can say, Tom is inviting us to come to his house on Thursday. And you mean that something special is happening and he says he wants us to come.

The great and wonderful thing about God is that he is inviting in both these ways. No text in the Bible shows this more vividly than Isaiah 55:1-3.

The Work of Redemption Foreseen in Isaiah

Let me put it in context for you. Back in Chapter 53 Isaiah described in amazing detail 700 years ahead of time how Christ would come and suffer and bear the sins of God’s people and die in our place and rise again. Look at 53:4-6,

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

There is the great substitution. Christ in our place, taking our sins on himself.

Now look at his death in verse 8,

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation,
who considered that he was cut off
out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?

So he died not for his own sin but for the sin of his people—the people who trust him and follow him.

Then look at his resurrection in verse 12,

Therefore I [God the Father] will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;

So death was not the end of Christ. He bore the sins of many. But God then honored him with the spoils of victory over death and sin. He is now alive and reigning in heaven till he comes again.

So in Chapter 53 we can say that the prophet Isaiah sees the work of redemption as accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ 700 years in the future.

Great Blessings as a Result of Redemption

Then in Chapter 54 Isaiah foresees some of the great blessings that will come to God’s people because the Messiah has overcome the problem of their guilt and sin (described in Chapter 53). Let me just show you one of these that will lead us to our Great Invitation in Chapter 55.

On Wednesday, May 31, 1792, William Carey, about to become the father of modern missions preached a sermon to his fellow Baptist pastors from Isaiah 54:2-3. He argued that this text is a great missionary text and that the point of it is that God wills for his people to expand until all the peoples of the world are included.

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.

In other words, one of the great blessings that would come to the people of God because of Christ’s death and resurrection is that all the nations would be touched. Christ’s redemption is not just for Jews. It’s not just for us. It is for all the nations.

And this leads us then to The Great Invitation in Isaiah 55. If redemption is accomplished, and God’s will is that the blessings of this redemptions spread to all the nations, then it does not surprise that God comes forward with a Great Invitation not just for a few, and not just for those who can pay their way, but for everyone.

Three Questions About Isaiah 55:1-3

Let’s look at Chapter 55:1-3 and ask three questions:

  1. Who are invited?
  2. What are they offered?
  3. What are they told to do in order to get it?

To find the answers to these questions, click here: (you can read or listen to the rest of the sermon)