Summary: Talking about the invitation time of a worship service, based on Matthew 22:1-14 and James 5:14-16
Sermon for 11/3/02
A. My favorite invitations are the ones that come in the mail in nice envelopes with pretty pictures and fancy stationary and say something like, “Mr. and Mrs. John Doe request your presence at the wedding of their daughter…” It makes us feel important.
B. I love weddings. Not my own wedding (don’t want people to make a fuss over me), but everybody else’s. I love officiating at weddings and I love just attending weddings. I don’t enjoy getting all dressed up, but I would more than gladly wear a tuxedo to go to any wedding. It is a wonderful event; all the pageantry and all the fairy tale "ness" of it. I think it is funny to see how the wedding will go wrong. So much time and preparation to get everything right and something always goes wrong. I love the music, love songs. The ceremony is alright, but the climax is the reception for me. If anybody leaves after the wedding, they are missing the best part. Oh, the stuff about the bride and the groom coming in and feeding each other and letting each other drink from fancy cups is OK, it’s is a nice warm up. However, what I love is when the couple comes in and they cut the cake. After they are done, then everybody gets in line to get some of that golden manna from heaven. Wedding cake is the best food this side of heaven. It better be because it costs so much. I was an attendant in one wedding and the groom told me that the cake cost over $1000. I went and got a piece and it was the greatest looking and best tasting cake I have ever seen or experienced. I liked it so much I went back and got two more pieces. I would have gotten more except they had the wedding party go back into the sanctuary and take pictures.
C. Some people hate weddings and will not go. I don’t understand it. If we could leave out the pictures and the tuxedos, everything would be perfect, especially the cake. You can’t miss out on the cake.
A. Going over the parts of a worship service.
B. Last week it was the sermon.
C. This week we are going over the invitation which immediately follows the sermon. Part of the sermon. Preaching clearly communicates the message and then demands a response.
1. In some groups, they don’t have an invitation time.
2. Other groups offer what is called an altar call.
3. Other groups, like this one, offer an invitation time. Why? Because it is a Biblical concept.
a. In this parable of Jesus, it talks about accepting or rejecting the invitation. People need a chance to accept or reject. What are you going to do with Jesus?
b. (Rev 19:7 NIV) Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.(Rev 19:8 NIV) Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Rev 19:9 NIV) Then the angel said to me, "Write: ’Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’" And he added, "These are the true words of God."
c. Peter definitely offered an invitation at the day of Pentecost. Mentions that 3,000 people came forward, were baptized. How did they know?
D. When is it appropriate to come forward during the invitation time, especially if you are already a Christian?
1. To inform the congregation of a prayer need in your life.
a. Already a Christian
b. James 5:14-16.
c. Going through a trial, sickness.
d. Going through a battle.
e. Had this a few weeks ago.
2. To confess to the congregation.
a. Already a Christian
c. Preacher is speaking on a particular topic; you have had this sin in your life. Want counsel and prayer to break out from the sin.
d. (2 Cor 10:4 NIV) The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
e. As a Christian person, we should not commit habitual sins. (1 John 3:9 NIV) No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
f. Reconciliation. Harboring bitterness and hatred.
g. Take action. Probably want to do this in private. Need counsel.
3. Want to be a member.
a. Like the church, like the people, like everything.
b. If you are a Christian, an immersed believer, we have you come forward to have the church meet you and to pray for you.