Polishing the pulpit  For building sermons today 


Are you wondering if the invitation is a little, well you know... "old fashioned?"
by Ed Thomason

The "invitation" is really "heaven's invitation" or "the Lord's invitation" to respond not just to the message of today's sermon (whatever points you may have made) but to respond to the grace of God extended to mankind through the gospel. The gospel tells us about God's love, promises and commands. And those who are listening to us may need to be taught or reminded of these precious things.

I know, I know. . . these days the "invitation" does not always get the honor that it is due by either the pulpit or the pew. 

Many pulpits "opt out" when it comes to extending heaven's invitation. They bemoan the fact that  it is somewhat "repetitious" (after all there is only so many ways to say the same things.) And they are afraid their audience will "tune out" when they start talking about God's plan of salvation.

Yes, it is true that the pew can become so conditioned to hearing the invitation that they regard it as their "cue" to take out the song books, get their coats on, go to the restroom, etc. But shame on them. Sometimes those in the pew say, "Give me a break. When our preacher extends the invitation, he really "extends" it.  I mean the invitation gets longer and longer, we think its never going to end." Shame on us. Surely we can do better than that. When a good sermon is concluded can't we "briefly" and lovingly  ask those who need to respond to heaven's invitation to come in obedient faith? Can't we "throw open" rather than "drag open" the door to heaven to the precious souls who have listened to us so patiently. 

Let us not think of the invitation as just an anti-climatic distraction from our well presented sermon. It is actually the climax? But the way it is perceived by our audience depends in part upon how much joy and enthusiasm we put into it. Let us not deprive them of an opportunity to respond by either omitting the invitation or by belaboring it. Remember, most of the time there will be someone in your audience who is not a Christian and there will be Christians who need to repent or be restored. Why not give them an opportunity. 

Old fashioned? Yes, but still effective!


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