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                      "THE POWER OF AN INVITATION"


INTRODUCTION

1. There is something about an invitation...
   a. An invitation makes us feel special
   b. An invitation makes us feel wanted and accepted

2. An invitation is a powerful way to reach out to others...
   a. A man invites a lady out for a date
   b. A business person invites a client out for lunch
   c. A housewife invites a friend over for coffee
   d. A family invites another family to supper

3. Invitations are important in the Bible as well...
   a. Both God and Jesus extended invitations
   b. People extended invitations to their families and friends

[In this study we will look at some of the invitations found in the
Bible.  Beginning with...]

I. DIVINE INVITATIONS

   A. GOD INVITED SINNERS...
      1. "Come now, and let us reason together" - Isa 1:18-19
      2. Offering forgiveness of sins to those willing to obey

   B. GOD INVITED THE DESTITUTE...
      1. "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have
         no money, Come, buy and eat..." - Isa 55:1-3
      2. Offering those willing to hear that which truly satisfies

   C. JESUS INVITES THE WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN...
      1. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden..." - Mt 11:
         28-30
      2. Offering spiritual rest for those willing to become His
         disciples

   D. THE HOLY SPIRIT INVITES THE THIRSTY...
      1. "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who
         hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come..." - Re 22:17
      2. To all who desire the water of life

[We see that God's message is often in the form of an invitation.  It
should not surprise us, therefore, that servants of God would often
reach out to the lost in the form of...]

II. HUMAN INVITATIONS

   A. AS PROPHESIED...
      1. "Many people will shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up
         to the mountain of the Lord...'" - Isa 2:1-3
      2. As foreseen by Isaiah, many would invite their friends to learn
         about God

   B. AS PRACTICED...
      1. By Andrew, who invited Peter to meet Jesus - Jn 1:40-42
      2. By Philip, who invited Nathaniel to meet Jesus - Jn 1:43-46
      3. By the Samaritan woman, who invited her neighbors - Jn 4:28-30
      4. By Matthew (Levi), who gave a feast to introduce Jesus - Lk 5:
         27-29
      5. By Cornelius, who invited his family and friends to hear Peter
         - Ac 10:24,33

[We see that many came to know Jesus by way of an invitation.  And so it
can be today!  Consider, therefore...]

III. THE POWER OF AN INVITATION

   A. WE HAVE SEEN IT WORK...
      1. God and Jesus extended their invitation, and souls were saved!
      2. The disciples extended invitations, and won souls to Christ!
      3. Most people today have been saved by receiving an invitation

   B. LET US PUT IT TO WORK...
      1. Invite people to services of the church
         a. "Come, and let us go..." - Isa 2:3
         b. "Come and see..." - Jn 1:46
      2. Invite people to study the Bible
         a. "Come now, and let us reason together" - Isa 1:18
         b. "Come...He will teach us His ways..." - Isa 2:3
      3. Invite people to obey the gospel of Christ
         a. "Come...all you who labor and are heavy laden" - Mt 11:28
         b. "And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized..."
            - Ac 22:16
      4. Never give up extending invitations
         a. People will often make excuses - cf. Lk 14:16-20
         b. Simply extend the invitation to others - cf. Lk 14:21

CONCLUSION

1. Have we made evangelism more difficult that it really is...?
   a. Of course, calling it "personal work" may not help
   b. When it can be as simple as extending an invitation:  "Come..."
   c. And should someone decline an invitation, we are free to offer it
      to someone else

2. Never underestimate the power of a simple invitation...
   a. It transformed the life of Peter, brother of Andrew
   b. It has transformed the lives of countless thousands ever since
   c. Perhaps souls are not being saved because they are simply not
      being invited!

God and Jesus believe in the power of an invitation. They invite us to
believe and obey the wonderful gospel of Christ.  Have you accepted that
wonderful invitation...? - cf. Ac 2:36-41

Note:  Several ideas and illustrations were borrowed from a sermon
outline by Bill Denton.
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