Come, and Welcome
“And let him that is athirst come.” Revelation 22:17
The cry of the Christian religion is the simple word, “Come.” The Law was a dispensation of the whip, which drove men before it; the Gospel is just the opposite. It is the Shepherd’s dispensation. He goes before his sheep, and he bids them follow him, saying to them “Come.”
The Law repels; the Gospel attracts. The Law shows the distance between God and man; the Gospel bridges that distance and brings the sinner across that great fixed gulf which Moses could never bridge. The fact is that from the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the cry of Christ to you will be, “Come-come unto me.”
AY, BUT IT IS LIVING WATER
He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow him as the soldier follows his leader. He will always go before you to pave your way and to prepare your path, and he will bid you come after him all through life, and in the solemn hour of death.
Let us go at once to our text: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Well, there is a “water of life.” Man is utterly ruined and undone. He is lost in a wild, waste wilderness. The skin bottle of his righteousness is all dried up; there is not so much as a drop of water in it. The heavens refuse him rain; the earth can yield him no moisture. Must he perish? He looks aloft, beneath, around, and he discovers no means of escape. Must he die? No; for the text declares there is a fountain of life.
The deep foundations of God’s government, the depths of his own essential goodness and of his divine nature–these are the mysterious springs from which gush forth that fountain of the “water of life” which shall do good to man. This sacred fountain, established according to God’s good will and pleasure in the covenant opened by Christ when he died upon the cross, flows this day to give life and health and joy and peace to poor sinners dead in sin. This water can wash away your sins; and when your sins are washed away, then shall you live.
“But,” says the convicted soul, “this is not all I want, for if all my sins were blotted out, in ten minutes I would commit many more. Were I now completely pardoned, it would not be many seconds before I would destroy my soul and sin, helplessly again.” Ay! But see here, this is living water–it can quench your thirst of sin; entering unto your soul it shall overcome and cover with its floods your propensities to evil. It shall cover them first, and shall afterward drown them, and at last shall utterly carry them away, sucking them into its whirlpool depths where they shall never be found forever.
“But,” says one, “I have a longing within me which I cannot satisfy. I feel sure that if I were pardoned, yet there would be something that I want which nothing I have ever heard of or seen could satisfy.” “There was a time,” says another, “when the amusements, the pleasures of men of the world, were very satisfactory to me. Now my joys have faded. No longer can I rejoice in music of this world.”
NEVER KNEW WHAT HAPPINESS WAS
I never knew what happiness was till I knew Christ. I thought I did. I warmed my hands before the fire of sin, but it was a painted fire. But oh, when once I tasted the Savior’s love, and had been washed in Jesus’ blood, that was heaven begun below! Become a Christian, and you will be satisfied for life.
Observe how wide is the invitation–“whosoever will.” There are some ministers who are afraid to invite sinners; then why are they ministers, if they are afraid to perform the most important part of the sacred office! There was a time, I must confess, when I somewhat faltered when about to give a free invitation. My doctrinal sentiments did at that time somewhat hamper me. I boldly avow that I am unchanged as to the doctrines I have preached; I preach Calvinism as high, as stern and as sound as ever; but I do feel, and always did feel, an anxiety to invite sinners to Christ.
I do feel, also, not only that such a course is consistent with the soundest doctrines, but that the other course is the unsound one, and has no title whatever to plead Scripture on its behalf.
The one question I have to ask this morning is, Are you willing? If so, Christ bids you take the water of life. Are you willing? If so, be pardoned, be sanctified, be made whole. For if you are willing, Christ is willing too, and you are freely invited to come, and welcome, to the fountain of life and Grace.
IT HAS TO DO WITH ‘WILL’
“Oh,” says one, “I am so foolish I cannot understand the plan of salvation, therefore I may not come and drink.” But my question has nothing to do with your understanding, it has to do with your will. You may be as big a fool as you want, but if you are willing to come to Christ you are freely invited. Even if you cannot read a single letter in the alphabet, yet may your lips–ignorant lips though they may be–now drink of this water of life. It does not say, “Whosoever understandeth, let him come,” but “whosoever will.”
“Oh,” says another, “I can understand the plan of salvation, but I cannot repent as I would. My heart is so hard, I cannot bring a tear to my eye. I cannot feel my sins as I would desire.” Ay, but this text has nothing to do with your heart, it is with your will. Are you willing? Come, let the question go personally round the hall. Let me not talk to you in the mass, but let the arrow reach the individual. Gray head, give your reply; and let yon fair-haired boy answer also. Are you willing now to be saved–are you willing to forsake sin–willing to take Christ to be your Master from this day forth and forever?
OF COURSE YOU’RE NOT WORTHY!
“Ah,” says one, “God knows I am willing, but still I do not think I am worthy.” No, I know you are not, but what has that to do with it? It is not “whosoever is worthy,” but “whosoever will, let him come.” What a big word that “whosoever” is! There is no standard height here. It is of any height and any size. Little sinners, big sinners, black sinners, aggravated sinners–whosoever! Does this exempt a single one? Who can be excluded from this “whosoever”? Free as the air you breathe is the love and Grace of God.
And now this brings me to the last point–“let him take it freely.” I see one here coming with a half-penny in his hand, and that a bad one, and he says, “Here, sir, give me a cup of this living water to drink. The price is in my hand.” Why man, if you could bring the wealth of Potosi, or all the diamonds of Golconda, and all the pearls of Ormuz, you could not buy this costly thing. Put up your money.
Or perhaps you say, “I will go to church regularly. I will give to the poor, I will attend my meeting-house, I will take a sitting [occupy a pew], I will be baptized, I will do this and the other, and then no doubt I shall have the water of life.” Back, miserable herd, bring not your rags and rubbish to God; he wants them not. Stand back; you insult the Almighty when you tender anything as payment. He says, “Come freely.” He wants [requires] no good feelings of you [on your part]. You say you are willing but have “no belief” and “no repentance.” Do not try to get them yourself–come to him, and he will give them to you.Come just as you are.
And now will you refuse the invitation? Will you go this day and abuse the free mercy of God? Oh, do not so; grieve not the Spirit of God. Today is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation. Come, brother, let us go together and drink of the water of life. See, on that tree Jesus hangs; behold, he pays his life as a ransom for your sins and mine. Believe on him, trust him, commit your soul to him and be saved.
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