Invitation; May 18, 2022

Acts 2:38-39 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

This is certainly one of the most glorious invitations ever given, not just in the Bible but in all of human history. It is the offer not simply of forgiveness of sins and eternal life (as though that were a simple thing) but of intimacy with our Creator even on this earth. And it is of the utmost importance to realize that the invitation is extended to all, far and near, “whom the Lord our God will call.” Peter himself didn’t understand the breadth and the impact of the words God spoke through him in this moment. It took a pretty dramatic experience in Joppa and then in the home of a Roman Centurion for it to get through to him. (Acts 10) God was and is calling people “from every nation, tribe, people and language.” (Revelation 7:9) Making it more personal for those present, Peter specified “you and your children.” It is tragic that many Christians fail to pass their faith on to the next generation. Sometimes they say things like, “I want it to be their faith, and not mine pressed on them.” On the face of it that’s valid, but the devil is actively trying to steal our children from us, and from the family of God. We need to be active and intentional in equipping our children with a framework that will make it easy for them to have a deep, personal relationship with their heavenly Father. They too need to be fully equipped with the Holy Spirit in order to resist all the unholy spirits that are rampant in the world today. I can’t specify when a child is ready for baptism. My mother was baptized at five, after a genuine awareness of sin and repentance. I was baptized at seven, but got sidetracked by pride to the point that when the Lord really got my attention at 24, it was so dramatic that I requested and received baptism a second time. That sort of timing isn’t so important. The vital thing is that the invitation expressed here be expressed and understood by all who will receive it, for their eternal salvation and God’s glory.

This is of course of vital importance to me, for many reasons. I am first of all a Christian, and I am also commissioned as a minister of the Gospel, a missionary in Japan. This invitation is what I’m all about! There are young people in the church right now whom I would baptize at any moment they expressed their desire for it. We will be having a barbecue this Sunday evening as an outreach to the families in the neighborhood, and that is all about this very invitation. Actually, my every interaction with people should be a reflection and an expression of this invitation. I cannot control people’s response, but I must be faithful to extend the invitation in the first place. No one on the face of the earth is NOT in need of this invitation! I am not to be intimidated by anything, but be as bold as Paul was regardless of the status of my audience. God wants His invitation to go out!

Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Thank You for the further witnessing You enabled me to do at school yesterday, with another contract teacher and one of the fulltime teaching staff. Help me not miss, or misuse, any of Your appointments for me, but be fully useful to You to draw people to Yourself, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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