The gospel is more than an invitation. It is certainly not less. Christians are called to extend Christ to the world and invite them to come to him in faith. But if we fail to see that the gospel is more than an invitation, then our gospel will lack power… like a lion caged at the zoo.
A pastor named Andrew Fuller wrote a book showing that it is every human being’s duty to believe and obey what God reveals. If God says he will be somewhere on Tuesday at 9:00am then we must believe him. And if he commands us to join him then we must obey. Most Christians would agree with this but many fail to see that the gospel is God’s message. The point is, it is his message and therefore it must be believed and obeyed.
When Jesus walked this earth he told sinners to come to him (Matt. 11:28). He did not ask them to come, he told the to come. The first words of Christ in the gospel of Mark are “repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). He was not inviting people to repent and believe. He was commanding them to repent and believe. Christ is the King and he has issued a decree, “Repent of your sins and trust in me”.
His command is not burdensome. Remember his yoke is easy and his burden is light. There is no reason to be angry with a King who commands you to do what is best for you. If your heart does not delight in his command it is because you have taken up the arms of rebellion against this good King. Lay down your arms of rebellion. The cause you fight for is unworthy and unhelpful; it will end in your ruin. You are fighting against a King who will not be conquered. Hear his decree today and do not harden your heart to his command.
Christian, continue to extend the gospel as an invitation but do not neglect to state it as a declaration from Christ. The lion of the gospel is not to be caged. All authority has been given to Christ and he has told you to go out and winsomely declare the same message he preached. Declare it lovingly, graciously, and joyfully; but do not fail to declare it. Yes, you will be an aroma of death to some, but you will be an aroma of life to others (2 Cor. 2:16).