03.01.16 – Chicago Fire

i02811_posterThe Drowning Sound of Fire Trucks; the Drowning Souls of Men

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” – Acts 2:38 & 41

Think about the word “invitation.” What really is a gospel invitation?  The answer is found in its name; it is an “invite.” If you were to receive an invitation in the mail to a particular gathering, it is inviting you to come and be a part of that particular event. And so it is with the gospel invitation.  It is an invite for one to join themselves in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is an invitation for a person to trust Christ as Savior, and submit to His Lordship.  And, it is an invitation to a lost person to come and be a part of the family of God.  As a shepherd of a local flock of believers, I will always extend a gospel invitation.  And there will never come a time in my ministry when I feel that the gospel invitation has somehow become archaic.  To the contrary; I will always feel that the gospel invitation is a necessary ingredient within a worship service.

D.L. Moody had an incident happen to him in his ministry that forever changed his viewpoint of the public gospel invitation.  On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, while preaching in Chicago, Illinois, D.L. Moody asked his congregation to evaluate their relationships to Christ and return next week to make their decisions for Him. He did this instead of offering and extending a public gospel invitation.  He simply wanted them to go home and think about where they stood with the Lord for a week and return the following Sunday.  But that next Sunday never came because the crowd never re-gathered. While Ira Sankey was singing a closing song, a group of fire trucks rang out, for Chicago was on fire. The great Chicago fire forever changed the landscape of the city, along with the lives of the people dwelling within the city. After that terrible tragedy, where so many men, women, boys, and girls lost their lives, Moody made a promise to God, to himself, and to his congregations that never again would he end a gospel sermon in that way and that from that point forward until the day that he died, whenever he preached, he would extend a public gospel invitation.

The early church believed in a public Gospel invitation.  In our passage above, we read how the Apostle Peter at Pentecost extended a gospel invitation after preaching a message out of the Old Testament book of Joel.  Thousands were saved that day, and they made it public by following in believer’s baptism.  On that day, the early church exemplified what a healthy church will do.  A healthy church will always extend a gospel invitation. But sadly, many churches today have taken the invitation out of their worship services They have done so in an attempt to make their services  more appealing and less confrontational.  But there is a radical flaw within this approach; for the gospel message itself is confrontational and uncomfortable.  Don’t misunderstand me; there are no salvific qualities within an invitation. Stepping out into a church aisle during an invitation does not save you. Shaking the pastor’s hand during an invitation does not seal the promise of eternal life. Only Jesus Christ can save you.  The invitation simply is an opportunity for you to make your decision for Christ public. We must remember the importance of a “public” profession of faith. Luke 9:26 says, “ For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”  Make sure that you have accepted Christ’s personal invitation to you to trust Him as Lord and Savior.



35 thoughts on “03.01.16 – Chicago Fire

  1. We are only able to recieve the salvation of Christ through our acceptance in Christ and believing in him. We cannot become saved for ” walking the walk” or by being able to act like a Christian in the church. We are not able to recieve Christ for just shaking the pastors hand or getting to know him.

  2. Christ is the only one who saves us. Nothing else. He can deliver, and he is faithful. We really need to remember that about him. He can save us from the fires of Hell, or the Hell that is Chicago.

  3. In life, we need to actually be more merciful and kid. God request that we legit worship Him and not just, “shake the pastors hand”. He loves us and wants us to give Him the true love that He deserves. Let’s worship Him and give what is due to Him.

  4. It is a huge blessing to be accepted and invited into God’s family. It is amazing that we can publicly proclaim our faith to people who aren’t “invited.”

  5. Isn’t everyone “invited” into God’s kingdom? We have salvation through Christ. God is our protector. We shouldn’t just go through the motions of being a Christian but do what we called for and do it with our hearts.

  6. This is a great analogy. We can only be saved through Christ and not by being “good” people. We should not be comfortable: we should be real and improving our relationship with Him. Don’t take light of the invitation, and I agree that its an important part of the service. We also need to remember that Christ is the only one who can save us from the fire.

  7. We should never miss an opportunity to non- believers the salvation that we as Christians experience. Even as the invitation in choice is offered each Sunday, we should never ignore an opportunity to share Christ with others daily. We never know if we will have the opportunity again.

  8. We should never miss an opportunity to share with non- believers the salvation that we as Christians experience. Even as the invitation in church is offered each Sunday, we should never ignore an opportunity to share Christ with others daily. We never know if we will have the opportunity again.

  9. I think the gospel invitation is the most important part of the church service. If you take this out of the service, then someone might miss the opportunity they needed to put Christ in their heart. God might be using the service and the invitation to pull people to him. God also might be using this part of the service to remind the rest of us of our blessings.

  10. That just shows you that we all need to be ready to face death and be sure of eternal life. We’re not promised tomorrow so we need to make the most if every day and witness as much as possible. We need to invite someone to church as many times as we can so they can have the joys of knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior. We can’t put witnessing or inviting off because we don’t know when anyone’s time will come so we need to be prepared. Thanks for the message Mr. Martin!! 🙂

  11. Many unbelievers who are just starting church are very shy. Most of those would not tell someone immediately when they got saved. I think the invitation is a great way to initiate new christians into the fellowship of others.

  12. We are not saved through an invitation or through works, we are saved by Christ alone. We should never pass up an opportunity to share God’s Word because we never know when someone’s time may come. We should strive to strengthen our relationship with others and God by doing this. However, an invitation is still a great way to get a congregation together and is an important part of service. Overall, we need to remember how Christ saves us and how we should spread His Gospel.

  13. I am so glad that there is an invitation from the Lord and we are able to accept! If there wasn’t many people would probably not step out on there own! Also it is very misguiding when a person in the church walks through the motions every Sunday and is not a genuine Christian in God. We need actual believers of God leading in our churches, schools, and every day lives! 😄

  14. I agree with this passage completely. We shouldn’t just shake the pastor’s hand after receiving the invitation. The only way to get to salvation is by accepting Christ for who He is. In the end we have to remember that Christ is the only one that can save us and nobody else.

  15. I think invitation is a very important part in church services. What if there is a non believer and they are really wanting to go and get saved, and they don’t have invitation, so they don’t get saved. We also need to unite people to church, so they get the opportunity to come to the alter and get saved.

  16. We should always look for new ways to witness to non believers. It is our calling to go out and minister to people that do not know Christ. We also need to remember that we aren’t saved by anything we do, we are saved by God’s sovereignty and his mercy and grace on us.

  17. We need to tell others about the gospel and make sure where we will be spending eternity. We also need to tell as many people as posible because we are not promised tomorrow and it could change someone’s life forever

  18. We really do need to accept Christ’s personal invitation and trust him as our Lord and Savior. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow or the next day so we need to stop stalling and wondering where we stand and just trust in Him. We need to spread the gospel as well to people in need and not let the opportunities slip away.

  19. The Chicago Fire was a tragedy, and we need to be careful, because something like that could happen again. If we aren’t right with God, something like the fire could happen and we could die without making things right. We always need to make sure that we and others are right with God.

  20. We should always strive to spread the Word of God to others. Matthew 13:31 says,”The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.” As Christians we should be planting little mustard seeds in non believers so they can sprout and grow stronger and stronger towards God and can be invited.

  21. We should always strive to bring others to God! We never know what difference we might make in someone’s life. We should help them come to know God. We are not promised tomorrow we should live life to the fullest, and to honor God.

  22. This story really drives home the point that there is no time to start living for God like the present. People are tempted to think that we will start tomorrow or next week when in reality nobody knows how much time we have left. We don’t know the future. God demands our obedience now.

  23. A gospel invitation is great because it encourages those in doubt. Sometimes seeing those around you being uplifted really motivates you to do the same. I would say the only danger of it is going up there solely because of emotion and not because of true conviction.

  24. Our job as Christians is to glorify God and reach out to unbelievers. We don’t know how long we have left so therefore we must bring people to Christ and live life for him. We must “invite” those who don’t know God to join his kingdom!!

  25. As a part of the family of God we have been given a special invitation to join Him.we aren’t just supposed to say we are Christians but we have to live as Christians and show Christ’s love to those around us

  26. Having the relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in our lives . We need preach and teach to others the gospel so they might have this relationship .

  27. I think that it is wonderful to have a God who wants to give you a personal invitation to have a relationship with him. It is also very important to listen to God when he is calling you because the sooner you have that relationship with him the sooner you can help people reach him and the more you can grow as a person.

  28. This is something that I struggle with. Mainly because my church and its members I hold very dearly, and I’m paranoid about bringing new people in to such an important part of my life and I want to be able to add something that is going to bring the church up and not be a negative influence and tear it down, but like I said it’s something that I struggle with and I hope to improve on in the future

  29. Tragedy could happen at any moment. We should try to spread the word to as many people as possible so that way they can be saved. There are so many people who were lost and some of them possibly not saved.

  30. Horrible things can happen at any time, so we must always be right with God. If you feel called to join the kingdom of God do not hesitate to run into his arms.

  31. It’s so comforting to know that God wants me in His family. It just motivates me to live out what He teaches and tell everyone I know about it.

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