And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke 3:3
The protestant evangelical invitation to the lost is come just as you are, but God's invitation is repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! I never really thought about the "Invitation" given in every church in the world at some time or another for the lost to come and get saved, but no where in the New Testament do we see such an invitation given! Neither John the baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul or anyone else for that matter ever gave an invitation for anyone to get saved.
No wonder most of the modern day church members are lost because they were never convicted that they had broken the laws of God, inherited the generational curse of the sin of Adam and were falling headlong into the very fires of Hell! Never told, just invited to walk an isle, pray a nice little prayer of decision and join up; so simple (every head bowed and every eye closed) and everyone gets weepy and has goose bumps while they allow another guilty sinner entrance into eternal damnation forever!
Jesus came to set the captives free from the bondage of sin and eternal death by the washing of His own shed blood, cleansing the sinner from his rebellious lifestyle of blatant iniquity and evil desire! It would be like sitting before your doctor after his diagnosis has disclosed that you have a terminal disease and unless you submit to his treatment plan you will surely die! So it is with the sinner, the diagnosis is terminal, the disease is sin and the treatment plan is repent and receive forgiveness for your sins and iniquities that you might live!
Then he said to the multitudes that came to be baptized by him, "Brood (offspring) of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Luke 3:7
BEAR FRUITS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE
"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father. 'For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Luke 3:8
John the baptist was preaching to the Jews who came for another religious ritual when he told them that just because Abraham was their father didn't mean they would gain entrance to the kingdom of God. So it is today, there are multitudes who think they are saved because mamma and daddy are saved or because they grew up in church, or attended Sunday school or summer camp and so they go through life thinking they are OK when actually they are busting Hell wide open!
If men like John, Peter or Paul or even Jesus Himself walked into our churches and preached the gospel that they had preached, multitudes would flee for safety, jump out of their stained glass windows and run for cover, because what they would be hearing would absolutely scare the Hell out of them! We have invited people to come and be comfortable while they are entertained and all the while this sugar coated mushy, lukewarm, watered down (perverted) version of a man-centered gospel lulls them to sleep in their seats, reinforcing their belief that are saved when in fact their conscience has been hardened to the point of rejecting the Holy Spirit's call to repent.
Everyone wants to be saved and receive the benefits of eternal life, the joys of Heaven and the riches of God's grace, but not many want to hear the truth of how this is to be obtained. No one wants to walk a narrow path, take up his cross, deny himself, repent of his evil lifestyle or follow Jesus wherever He leads; there must be an easier way. Remember the rich ruler (a seeker) who asked Jesus how he could obtain eternal life? Jesus told him to keep the commandments, something He knew he couldn't do, then He told him to sell all he possessed, give it to the poor and then come follow Him. The rich boy couldn't do it because his heart was tied to his riches. Jesus didn't invite him to pray a prayer, join His church, get baptized or just come along and see if he liked it, He was grieved that the man rejected salvation and was headed to Hell!
"And even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Luke 3:9
WHAT SHALL WE DO?
So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?" He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." Luke 3:10,11
In actuality the invitation is reversed by the sinner inviting the one preaching the gospel to deliver his soul from the torment of damnation. In the days of John the baptist and the formation of the New Testament church the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached exposing peoples sins and bringing them to a point of desperation and conviction leading to salvation. As godly sorrow broke the sinner's heart they cried out for mercy and forgiveness saying, "What shall we do?"
The multitudes coming to be baptized by John cried out wanting to know what to do and he told them to repent of their evil practices: to the tax collectors he told them to collect no more than what was owed, to the soldiers he said for them not to intimidate anyone and so on! When Peter preached to the crowd outside the upper room and the message convicted them that they had put Jesus on the cross they cried out saying the same thing, "What shall we do?" Peter told them to repent and let every one of them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We would do well to rethink our commission and repent of inviting people to come for salvation when God has not drawn them nor convicted them that they are lost and deserving of eternal damnation. Millions I am afraid have prayed a worthless oath because some preacher or so-called evangelist cohearsed them down an isle only to count them saved but actually aborted another spiritual baby by lying to him that if he prayed a prayer he would instantly, if some how by magic would become a Christian. May God have mercy on us!
"I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Luke 3:16
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
IMPORTANT NOTE: The salvation of a person's soul is the most important event in their life and it cannot be taken lightly because their eternal destination depends on the choice they make when God begins to draw them and convict them of sin. Jesus came to not only save our souls but He bled in seven places to give us a complete deliverance from sin, sickness, poverty and eternal death in Hell! If His death, burial and resurrection did all of that for us, should we not in return give our lives and hearts totally back to Him?