People who attend our services may be perplexed by the way we end each sermon. I, or whoever is in the pulpit, invite those present to respond to the lesson if they need to become a Christian or if they need to share a need for prayers or even forgiveness for living sinfully. This is a perfectly acceptable, logical thing to do, since the message will often be persuasive and call for a change of heart and action. We never find an example of “offering the invitation” in scripture or a command to do it after the preaching, but it is an suitable, convenient, and advantageous thing to do. The power of God’s Word, when preached, has frequently touched and convicted hearts (Acts 2:37; 7:54). Many have come face to face with the reality of who God is and wanted to know what to do to be saved (cf. Acts 16:31). Our preaching answers that question, after most every sermon. One can respond to Christ’s invitation (cf. Rev. 22:17) any time of day or night, in a public assembly or privately. Many times, the sermon will simply build our desire to live more like Jesus . We may not come to the front row, but we have that resolve within ourselves.
But, let me make this confident pledge to you. If you feel like you need to publicly respond after the sermon, you will not be judged, criticized, looked down upon, or rejected by any godly, faithful Christian. The overwhelming majority of those present will simply hug your neck and a great many will add you to their daily prayers. You will feel the love and support of a loving and supportive church. You will understand that we are all dealing with the same struggles and temptations, all of us trying to make it to heaven! We often build up fear and anxiety about how traumatic “responding to the invitation” will be, but that is almost always a figment of our imagination. God gave us the blessing of the church so that we would have a spiritual family to aid us on our spiritual journey. Never fear taking that step “down the aisle,” if it is necessary. Your example may be the catalyst for someone else to consider their need to come forward, too!