For many years churches have ended the sermon with a call for people to come to the front and receive Christ or to rededicate their life. I realize no one has to come forward to the altar in order to be saved. People can be saved at home, at work, or anywhere the Spirit of God convicts and draws a man. Salvation doesn’t have to occur at the church altar. However, souls can be saved at the conclusion of the sermon in the house of God.
When a clear presentation of the gospel is given, an opportunity should be afforded to respond to the message by making a decision. No preacher should be guilty of failing to give people an invitation to respond to the Word of God. Some people may have made decisions in their home or at work and wish to make them public. Their public response will be greeted with excitement and joy by the members of the congregation. Nothing is more exciting than to hear the testimonies of new converts responding to the invitation and openly declaring their commitment before the entire church.
There will be times in a new church when it seems like there are few decisions being made and the tendency might be to discontinue giving an invitation. Even when no one responds outwardly there are several important reasons why the invitation should be extended after every sermon. Here are some reasons why an invitation should always be given:
1. The invitation gives people under conviction the opportunity to respond and be saved.
2. Backsliders may come under conviction and seek restoration.
3. Members will always know that if they bring an unsaved friend, they can count on an opportunity to be given for their friend to respond.
4. The public invitation reminds the church members of the importance of making a decision.
5. When decisions are made it challenges others who may need to make decisions.
6. The whole church is blessed by the conversion of souls.
When one is confronted with a decision it causes him to make a choice. If an invitation is never given, no one is pressed to make a decision, and thus many may never do so.
The invitation must be given in a way that honors the Lord. Excessive pressure is unwarranted. Trying to convince someone to make a decision by using manipulation is a gross error. Winning souls is not a business of getting people to pray a prayer, but rather it is God’s work of drawing lost souls to Him by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We are merely facilitators of this process. The Lord is seeking souls to come to Him. Let us not fear extending the invitation for them to come to God.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—Revelation 22:17