I Invite You To Come
On occasion, I am asked why I have an invitation at the end of all my sermons, since we do not read of such an activity (so organized) in the New Testament. We should start by understanding that the practice of “offering an invitation” is a tradition, but one that is based on Bible principles. This is no violation of sound hermeneutics, by the way, since the practice neither interferes with nor replaces some revealed truth. In fact, it is an expedient method of fulfilling a very important function of the local church.
The Biblical concept of an invitation comes from several scriptures. Consider, first of all, what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28ff: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus encourages His audience to “come” to Him. Similarly, the reader is encouraged to “come” in Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” Notice that it is not just the responsibility of the Spirit to invite, but the “bride” also. The Bride is the church within the symbolism of the Revelation and other NT scriptures (Ephesians 5:22ff), and its duties include the proclamation of the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).
When we say “come” through the typical invitation, we are following the spirit of great sermons in the Book of Acts. From the very beginning, Christian preaching was meant to convict and encourage others to come to Jesus. Peter’s discourse in Acts 2 evoked a change of heart and action on the Day of Pentecost. His listeners were cut to the heart and asked what their response should be. In those immortal words, Peter responds, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). In response, around three thousand people became Christians that same day. They were not coming to Peter, and it was not Peter who was saving anybody. Rather, it was Christ working through the preaching, just as it is Christ inviting all people to repentance whenever and wherever preaching takes place (Revelation 3:20).
The typical invitation is a tradition in its form, but Biblical in substance. There might be many ways to invite unbelievers to salvation, or the unrepentant to a change of heart, or the weak and weary to comfort and love. We might invite someone through media or through the internet. A person might respond to the gospel after a one-on-one Bible study. The invitation might formal or informal. The important part, no matter how it looks, is to just invite and let the gospel do what it does best!