Biblical Preaching Includes Extending an Invitation

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Bible, Church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Pastor, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching

Extending an invitation for response to a biblical message gives listeners the opportunity to respond to the activity of the Holy Spirit. While some preachers have used a variety of methods to get a public response, we should recognize that the Holy Spirit does not need man’s help to do so. The man who stands in the pulpit and tries to get people to jump through hoops to walk the aisle stands as a manipulator, not a preacher. Obviously, we want to see the unsaved converted by God, not emotional responses as a result of the manipulation of man.

Both the Old and New Testaments agree that God alone enables salvation by giving the ability to repent and turn from sin. In fact, every spiritual act requires divine enabling.

Because the Holy Spirit does not need our help, we simply need to preach the Word with integrity, extend the invitation with integrity, and trust the Holy Spirit for the results. Jesus offered a simple call to follow Him. When Jesus called His disciples, He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). On another occasion, Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus extended an urgent appeal for the lost to come to salvation in this public proclamation, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). When Peter preached at Pentecost, he extended a public invitation for the people to come and “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). So we do not need to resort to manipulative tactics to get people to respond. Rather, we should preach the Word with integrity, extend the invitation with integrity, and trust the Holy Spirit for the results.

In my preaching ministry, I will continue to extend an invitation at the conclusion of the message for these biblical reasons. First, this practice permeates the Scriptures. In addition to those noted previously, consider this sampling from the Old and New Testaments – Isaiah 1:18; Hosea 6:1; John 6:37; Acts 3:19; Revelation 22:17. Second, it promotes the sovereignty of God. God works through the preached Word to regenerate the dead. An invitation demonstrates expectancy for God to move in His sovereignty among the hearers.

Third, it emphasizes the moral responsibility of man. According to Scripture, man has the responsibility to repent and believe (Acts 2:38), and confess Christ as Lord. Note, also, the public nature of this response in Jesus’ words: “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33). Finally, it demonstrates an urgent desire for people to come to salvation. Jesus stood up on the last day of the feast, and, with urgency, extended a public invitation for the lost to come and be saved (John 7:37). In these last days, we should have urgency in our hearts to see the lost saved. We ought to be publicly calling all who are thirsty to come and follow Jesus. Therefore, let us preach with integrity, extend the invitation with integrity and trust the Holy Spirit for the results.

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