Summary: We offer invitations each week, but does the congregation know why we do that. This sermon will help in this area.
Why Do We Do What We Do?
Why Do We Have an Invitation Each Week?
Prior to Lisa and I getting married (and most of you did this as well), we invited as many people as we could to our wedding. We obviously wanted our physical families to be there and to share this special moment. We wanted our spiritual families there, we had already served three churches and we wanted all of them to be there. We invited friends, and family, our postage bill was outrageous, but we were willing to pay the price to have people come to our wedding because we were so excited about beginning our life together, that we wanted everyone that could to share our joy. We didn’t want to leave anyone out. But when it came time for the wedding and we looked around only about ½ of the people we invited actually came to the wedding. They had excuses like, "it’s too far away," or, "I just don’t like weddings," or, "I can’t come to Indiana to see anybody get married." Others had some prior engagements that they just couldn’t make it.
I can’t help to compare this to the parable that Jesus told of the great banquet that we find in Luke 14:16-24. "Jesus replied: ’A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ’Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ’I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ’I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ’I just got married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ’Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ’Sir,’ the servant said, ’what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ’Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet."
Preaching clearly communicates the message and then demands a response. 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? Invitations are all through the Bible especially the New Testament. John wrote in Revelation about the invitation and this is what he said: "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. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. 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" (Revelation 19:7-9).
In Acts, chapter two, Peter definitely offered an invitation at the day of Pentecost. The Scripture mentions that 3,000 men came forward and were baptized. How did they know when to come? Peter probably asked if anyone would like to come to Jesus and be baptized. In fact if we look at Acts 2:37-38 we see these words, “when the people heard all of this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter Replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And in verse 41, we see the response. “those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
You see the invitation was offered and there were some who definitely accepted the invitation. But it is also clear that there were some that didn’t, for reasons that we may never know. It is the same when we offer the invitation here; there are some that will answer the invitation and will come forward but there are those who don’t for some reason or the other.
When is it appropriate to come forward during the invitation time, especially if you are already a Christian? Maybe you have a serious prayer need in your life and you need the entire church body to pray for you, or maybe you want somebody to pray with you. You may be going through a sickness or a trial or battling something in your life. You may just need encouragement. Whatever it is, you just are in need of some great prayer.