Yesterday morning I shared a message with the Meadow family concerning the call of Christ for His followers to carry their own cross and deny themselves. Strongly worded, Jesus made this a non-negotiable requirement for following Him.
At the end of the message I confessed to the church that I often struggle at the close of our worship services. The reason for the struggle is that I firmly believe in offering the congregation an opportunity to respond to what they’ve just heard (commonly known as the invitation) but, at the same time, I see the risk in someone making a decision based more on emotion than informed conviction. Grieved to the core with the flippant state of evangelism in evangelical churches, I believe there needs to be clarity concerning what it means to come to Christ. Yesterday’s sermon focused heavily on this issue. A handful of people requested a transcript of the invitation I gave at the close of the service so I have chosen to post it here for anyone who cares to read it.
Please know that I believe that it is a dangerous thing to invite people to receive Christ as Lord of their lives when we fail to inform them of what it is that they are actually doing.
Someone asked Jesus while he was here on earth, “Are there few who are being saved?” (Luke 13:22-24); the response of Jesus indicated that salvation was a decision mired in warfare and struggle; he stated that many would desire to enter but find that they are unable. It is anything but light and casual to come to Christ. May we soberly ponder the teaching of Scripture and gauge our response to His call to obey the faith.
Here is what I shared with the congregation as I closed the morning service yesterday:
“I invite you to commit your life to Jesus Christ today. Renounce your loyalty to yourself and this world with all of its goals and philosophies. Commit this morning to identify with Jesus Christ and His selfless sacrifice. Come hollow and hungry and ask God to keep you this way. The path is not one of brilliance and laughter and gain but, rather of death and sacrifice and loss. You will forfeit your own glory and your desire to make a name for yourself. You will renounce sole ownership of your time and your talents and your treasure. You will embrace being misunderstood and maligned, scorned and slandered and being viewed as a fool who lived for Another whom you have never seen. Your joy will then rest in the fame of Jesus. Your sorrow will be in discerning how others little regard Him. You will speak of Him, pray to Him, wait upon Him, trust Him, obey Him, praise Him, sing of Him and serve Him. Ultimately you will so delight in Him that you will be convinced that there is no greater reason for living. He will become everything to you and you will most certainly be aware that you are daily carrying a cross of temporary loss but eternal gain. Your selfish ways will die and you will endeavor to serve others. Your pride will be affixed to the cross you carry as you will know that to live for yourself is to die a slow and meaningless death. There will be much reward as you carry your cross but most of that reward will not be tasted in this life. Repentance and release will become deeply ingrained parts of you. Suspicion of yourself will replace your judgment of others. Mark it down, life will no longer be about you: your rights, your preferences, your aims, your independence, your self-assertion. Come to Christ and lose all claim to self governing. Come to Christ and give up control of every area of your life. Forfeit this world and find Him. In doing so you will also find you. Come to Jesus and receive a cross today. You will do this before you can ever come to Him and receive a crown.”
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