God’s Invitation; July 16, 2021

Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.

Throughout the Bible we find statements of this sort, yet the devil’s lie is that God is exclusionary and discriminatory. God worked with Abraham and his descendants because He needed to start somewhere, but His love is for His whole creation. The devil has carefully fostered hatred for the descendants of Abraham, but every “justification” of such antisemitism is based on a lie. The Jews certainly have a unique place in history and in God’s plan, but both they and Gentiles have generally misunderstood it. Whether we’re talking about the Jews or the Church, God’s people are those who are obedient to Him to call others to Him. This verse expresses in the simplest terms what God wants communicated to all mankind. Sadly, not all will accept this message, but that in no way invalidates either the message or our opportunity and responsibility to communicate it.

As a missionary in Japan, I obviously take this seriously, but I will confess to burnout, because so few receive the invitation. I cannot force anyone to accept the message, or even really listen to it, but I can give them the opportunity. As Paul said, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14) I joke that if you don’t believe I’m a preacher, then listen to me for five minutes! Even so, if it’s just my words there is no power. I can talk people’s ears off, but unless the Holy Spirit touches their hearts, nothing changes. That said, God does use “the foolishness of preaching” (1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV) to save people. I’ve got to be faithful to speak, but I’ve also got to be faithful to live a life congruent with the truth I proclaim, and I’ve got to remember that I am never more than an instrument of God’s salvation. God has already told me His solution to burnout: rest, relax, rejoice. I am not to be lazy or hesitant, but I am never to think that my strength or ability can accomplish anything worthwhile apart from God. We are planning an evangelistic barbecue party for later this month. There is great potential, but we have to listen to what God wants us to do and not run off on our own. We are to express what God says in this verse, using His words and His actions, so that people will indeed turn to Him and be saved.

Father, Your Word is very clear, but human factors seem to make it all very complicated. I ask You to straighten out the communication among all those involved in the project ahead of us so that it will all be fully owned by all the believers, so that the end result will be growth in the Body of Christ on all levels, in numbers and in love and in maturity, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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