By Reid Saunders
The invitation by the evangelist is the most crucial part of any evangelistic sermon. As evangelists, you and I are inviting people to go from hell to heaven, death to life, and sinner to saved. Remember, GOD saves, we share. It is a beautiful partnership between the Holy Spirit and the evangelist. The Holy Spirit works in and through us as we share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God, and like a sword (Hebrews 4:12) uses it to convict people of their sins and draw them to the Savior. Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
Let’s look at the very first evangelistic message Peter gave at Pentecost in Acts 2. We see how he clearly and boldly proclaimed the Good News of Jesus and witnessed the beautiful and powerful display of the Holy Spirit working through the evangelist. Peter finished proclaiming the Good News of Jesus in Acts 2:36, saying, “Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Then we see the Holy Spirit take the Word of God and reach into the people’s hearts. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’”
I love how the Holy Spirit works powerfully and in partnership with the evangelist. Remember, GOD saves, we share. As the Holy Spirit has now prepared the people’s hearts after hearing the Good News of Jesus, Peter gives the invitation in verse 38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The message is preached, the invitation is given, the harvest is plentiful, as 3,000 people gave their lives to Jesus!
Personally, I always invite people to say a prayer with me to ask Jesus into their lives. Here is a simple prayer you can use, or maybe you have your own. “Dear God, I believe that you created me to be with you (pause) and that my sins separate me from you (pause). I know that my sins cannot be removed by good deeds (pause). But I believe that paying the price for my sin, Jesus died and rose again (pause) and I trust in Him right now to forgive me for all my sins and give me the gift of eternal life (pause). I know that this life starts now and will last forever (pause). In Jesus’ Name I pray these things, Amen.”
Let me give you four keys I believe are vital for a strong invitation:
1. Have faith.
Peter demonstrated great faith when he invited people to come to Jesus! As evangelists, it is vital that we entrust the results to the Lord! Remember, GOD saves, we share. Be faithful to preach the Good News of Jesus. Invite people to make a personal response and decision for Jesus, leaving the results to the Lord.
2. Be bold.
In Acts 2 we see Peter boldly call people to Jesus. At the invitation, I have sadly witnessed many preachers clam up and give a weak invitation to receive Jesus. We need to be bold as we are inviting people to Jesus! Boldly invite people to give their lives to Jesus. You may have them raise their hands or come forward, but no matter what, boldly call on them to respond to Jesus and choose to follow Him!
3. Be clear.
Peter was clear in his call to the people to trust Jesus. Like me, I’m sure you have heard preachers give an invitation that confused even you as to what they were asking people to do. We need to be clear in the call and invite people to respond to Jesus! Keep it simple. Never water down the invitation just because you want to see more people respond. Remember, God called us to make disciples, not decisions. Clearly and simply invite people to Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 says it so well, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
4. Don’t give up.
We’ve all been there…we powerfully share the Gospel, but then few if any respond. We can’t give up! GOD saves, we share. My prayer is that you will have faith and trust the Lord as you boldly and clearly share the Good News of Jesus and invite people into a personal relationship with Him…and never give up. Let me leave you with Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Time is short…let’s reach as many people as possible for Jesus and invite them to follow Him…all for Jesus!