Responding to the Invitation

Responding to the InvitationText: Acts 2:40

At the end of a sermon, we typically offer “the invitation.” This is natural since the gospel CALLS us, there is an appeal made for the hearers to ANSWER that call. How do we (or others) respond to the invitation? What is our attitude? What is the reason for our response? How is the invitation offered? Let us consider what the New Testament teaches that instructs us about responding to the invitation.

A Personal Response

  • Every response is personal – we must each decide whether we will follow the Lord or not (cf. Joshua 24:15); yet what we’re talking about here is a PRIVATE decision/response; this private decision will bear fruit (Matthew 7:16-18), but will not necessarily be known to others at the time
  • Encouraged to continue serving the Lord and growing – this is a faithful Christian, and is more about the response to the sermon than the invitation; if we are serving God faithfully, we need to continue (Revelation 2:10); the word is preached in order to encourage this faithful service (Acts 14:22)
  • Convicted to correct something that is amiss – this is not about a non-Christian [we’ll discuss this later]; this is a Christian who needs to correct some sin and does so; Christians can sin (James 5:19-20); when we sin, we must repent (Acts 8:22) and pray for forgiveness (Matthew 6:12)
  • Reject and ignore the message – this could be a Christian or a non-Christian; not everyone who hears the message will accept it (Acts 7:57; 19:9); they heard and understood the message, but would not accept it (cf. Acts 24:25)

A Public Response

  • When we think of responding to the invitation, this is typically what comes to mind – there is a PUBLIC response to the invitation in the presence of others
  • To be baptized – this is for the non-Christian; baptism puts one into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27); baptism is the point in which one is saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21); the gospel is the power for salvation (Romans 1:16) and it must be preached to lead to this (Romans 10:13-14)
  • To acknowledge repentance – this is for the Christian; no re-baptism, must repent and pray (Acts 8:22); a Christian can repent and pray to God privately (1 John 1:9) and this must be done; this public response is not repentance, but acknowledging repentance; involves confession (James 5:16; Acts 8:24); often necessary (or at least helpful) in the case of public sins
  • To request prayers/encouragement – Christians are to pray for one another (James 5:16); we need regular encouragement (Hebrews 3:12-13), especially during difficult times (Luke 22:31-32); if we are facing especially difficult times, it can be helpful to let brethren know this; it does not necessarily need to be a public response to the invitation, but it can be done then

The Invitation

  • The invitation is a call for people to respond – we invite the lost to obey the gospel; we admonish the fallen to make corrections; we encourage the struggling to seek the prayers/encouragement of brethren
  • We do want to be careful how we offer the invitation – should not de-emphasize baptism (as the denominations do), even to emphasize prayer; should not emphasize personal feelings over gospel obedience; the NT calls people to obey (Acts 2:40-41; 10:48; et al.), not “if you have a need…”

Conclusion

  • Why do we offer the invitation? – because God, through the gospel, calls us to respond
  • Do you need to respond?

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