Saturday, January 21, 2012

Proper Invitation

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Can you believe that God would entrust the treasure of His truth to imperfect people like us? Well, believe it or not that is what He has done: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you” (2 Timothy 1:14). His truth is the pillar of His church (1 Timothy 3:15), and the foundation in which the church was established (John 17:17). Truth is important to God’s church and the world around us needs to be able to see that conviction in us. It is through truth that the church can teach others how to be set free (John 8:32). So it is easy to conclude that when we invite others to come to worship services, we are inviting them to hear truth. But how are we going about inviting them? The psalmist shows us how we can be effective in our invitation.

First, we need to make sure we are asking them with joy. David said he was “glad” when they invited him to come. I have seen gladness from people who have just bought a new car or won the lottery. How much more glad should we be knowing we have been redeemed by our loving Savior? In the beatitudes, Jesus taught that faithful followers are “blessed,” a Greek word showing a gladness that is continually present in the inner being. It is present because of the work being done in them, not by them. Being a member of God’s church should always give us reason to rejoice (Philippians 4:4), and others need to see that gladness that comes from deep inside on the outside. They need to see how glad we are to be God’s children. They need to smell the smoke of a fire burning inside.

Also, we need to make sure we are inviting them to come “with us.” David said, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Anyone that has been to some place new knows how important it is to have someone there you know. If we ask someone to come with us, we need to make sure we are there for them. Although it is a familiar place to us, to others it may not be so familiar, and when people feel uncomfortable going somewhere they have a tendency to quit going. We are people of integrity and the ones we invite need to know they can count on us. We will be more effective in our invitation if we will make sure that those we invite know we are not going to leave them alone but will be there for them.

Thirdly, we need to make sure to ask them to come to Christ, not just “the church.” David was invited to go “into the house of the Lord.” Visitors to the assembly need to realize Whose assembly we are attending. It is not “our” assembly but an assembly of those who have been purchased by God’s own blood (Acts 20:28). They need to know they are not coming to a house of opinions, but a house built and sustained by God’s truth. We are not asking them to join us in a social club or political campaign. We are asking them to come to an assembly that the Lord Himself has put together, a place where the Lord is present. They need to know they will be attending a worship service that will look to serve God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). God’s house is a house of worship and the people we invite need to know how important God’s purpose truly is to us. They need to see in our hearts the conviction of the importance of the Lord’s house. These things will make our invitations more effective, and in turn will make our services more visitor friendly.

In His Grace,

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