The Lord touched my heart last Wednesday night in prayer meeting/Bible study. We sang the hymn, “Just As I Am.” My mind went back to Billy Graham Crusades and his public appeal for people to come to Christ. I was trained to counsel people who came forward in his crusades. I led many people to Jesus on stadium floors in various cities. To God be the glory!
Invitations have been a major component of my personal evangelism and preaching ministry. As the Holy Spirit leads, I always want to invite people to come to Jesus. Jesus was invitational. He called people to make personal (and often) public decisions.
What do we need to know about public invitations?
1. The Gospel is invitational. Hearing the Good News of Jesus, His perfect life, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection, calls for a decision. It’s impossible to hear the Gospel and stay neutral. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23).
2. Jesus called people to follow Him. Jesus extended public invitations. A person’s relationship with Jesus is personal. However, his or her walk with Him is public. Jesus called two sets of brothers to leave their families and fishing business to come and follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22). Jesus invited Zacchaeus to come down out of a tree and follow Him (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus spoke two words to Philip that changed his life. Jesus said, “Follow me” (John 1:43). As you and I reflect back over our lives, Jesus invited us to trust Him as Savior and follow Him as Lord.
3. Public invitations are a personal (and powerful) witness. As you and I follow Jesus, He uses us as His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Seeing people walk the aisle on Sundays is evidence of God’s activity. My heart is thrilled to see children, students, and adults obey the Lord’s call to salvation, baptism, and church membership. As the Holy Spirit leads you to come forward one Sunday in an invitation, never forget, your obedience is a powerful witness to other people.
4. God is glorified by people’s surrender. Paul taught, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As you obey the Lord’s call to salvation, baptism, church membership, or Christian living, your obedience is an act of worship that glorifies the Lord. What a great way to leave the church facility on Sundays knowing that your response to the Lord’s invitation glorified Him!
5. Public invitations are foundational in my preaching ministry. As I come to the invitation each Sunday, I pray to be clear, convictional, and courageous. My heart is to see people come to Jesus. I rejoice in being able, as the Holy Spirit leads, to appeal to people to come to Jesus as Savior, to follow Him in baptism, to join the church’s fellowship, and to follow Him in repentance. As Alvin Reid said, “We cannot make a person respond to the gospel nor should we, but we should challenge them to do so.”
As the invitation comes this Sunday, I challenge you to do two things. (1) Obey the Lord’s voice. (2) Pray for other people to surrender. Therefore, the invitation this Sunday is for every person in the Sanctuary.
As you and I sing the hymn, “Just As I Am,” we may come to Jesus confused and convicted, stressed and stained, or broken and burdened, only to leave redeemed, peaceful, and healed. Grasping that truth leads you and me to rejoice!
I invite you to come to Jesus this Sunday!
Jesus Still Invites,