Too many Gospel invitations are in danger of being cursed. They subtly (or not so subtly) add to the one requirement for salvation, faith alone in Christ alone.
Just think about some of the commonly used catch phrases that litter many preachers’ Gospel invitations:
“Ask Jesus into your heart.” Actually, this phrase is never used in Scripture. We put our faith in Jesus and then he comes to dwell inside us. Jesus in our hearts and lives is what happens after we trust in him, based on his finished work on the cross, to save us.
“Turn from your sins and then come to Jesus.” If we could turn from our sins then why would we need to come to Jesus? We could save ourselves. Instead we come to Jesus in simple faith and he begins the life-long process of turning us from our sins and conforming us to his image.
“Just say this prayer and you’ll be saved.” Saying a prayer never saved anyone. But faith in Jesus can save everyone. It’s fine to lead someone through a salvation prayer as long as they know it was their faith in “Jesus Christ and him crucified” that saved them, not some magic words.
“Commit your life to Christ.” Instead, we should remind them that Jesus gave up us his life for us. Once a person receives him as their Savior, they can follow him as Lord, not as a requirement for salvation, but as a result of it.
We preachers will give an account before God of how clearly we gave the Gospel. Anyone who adds anything will be in serious trouble. As James reminds us, “…we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” in James 3:1.
For help in making sure your Gospel is as clear as it should be I recommend the book “Simply By Grace” by Charles C. Bing. It is the best book I’ve ever read on making sure we embrace and proclaim the simple Gospel.
Give the Gospel in every sermon. Give it clearly. Give it compellingly. Give the lost a chance to say “yes” to Jesus. Whether you have them text in their response, bow their hands and raise their hands, fill out a card or walk an aisle, do something. Do it every week. Do it until people respond.
It’s worth it for the one lost sheep.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.