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Monday, July 2, 2007

Holiday Mesages and Invitations

One of the newsgroups I'm part of was having a discussion about whether or not pastor's should preach "holiday messages" on Mother's Day, etc, and whether every message must have a gospel invitation. For what it's worth, here are my two bits.

As far as holiday sermons are concerned, after 16 years of pastoring the same church, I think I've said about all I can about "Mother's Day", etc...and I have rarely seen any real Kingdom benefit come out of giving into Hallmark Card Sentimentality . Instead, it's long been my practice to preach verse by verse through God's Word. When a message coincides well with a Holiday, like it did this past week (We were in Romans 13:1-6 and it was near the 4th of July!) that's wonderful. If not, I may mention the cultural event, but little more. Above all I want to make it my goal to build solid truth into the lives of our people with the same balance and emphasis that I find in the Word. Now, having said that, I may sometimes take advantage of a Holiday to speak on biblical themes related to them, but I do not feel bound or constrained to do so. As a baptist I do not feel bound by any sort of liturgical calendar (catholic or cultural)

As far as 'invitations' are concerned, it surely must come down to what is meant by such. I have seen some so-called invitations which were ungodly, manipulative attempts to wrest a "decision" out of people who'd not been told the Gospel and had no idea what they were "deciding for". Ever since Charles Finney introduced his so-called "new measures" with the idea of developing methods that could be used to 'draw the net" and "bring people in"...ever since those days some preachers have believed it was in their own power to force a change upon the heart and so press for that which only God can give through the power of the Gospel.

But, if by invitation what is meant is calling on people with passion to hear and apply the Gospel Word they've just heard, and turn from sin to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who lived, died nad rose again, to flee from the wrath to come and put their whole hope in nothing but Christ's finished work on the cross -- well then, praise the Lord -- and why wait to the "end" of the sermon for such urging? Why not at any and every point in the message where the Scriptures point to Christ?

Just my two bits....

Pastor Scott
To God be the Glory,

1 comment:

Scott said...

Pastor Scott,
As usual, your "two bits" are far more valuable than the price of admission.
Unfortunately, the debate over "invitations" will not go away, especially when our state sends out speakers to our associations promoting the very emotional manipulation you speak of. Praise God He chooses to work in spite of the messenger some times (in my case it's most often in spite of the messenger!)

Keep up the good work, brother.