Before Jesus gave up His spirit as He hung on the cross, He took time to pray for those who were murdering Him. He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

God began to answer His prayer on the Day of Pentecost as some three thousand people repented and were baptized that day, and there have been countless multitudes that have been saved through the centuries. In response to Jesus’ intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12), God has snatched many souls from eternal death.

Do you have a heart to pray for the lost like Jesus did? Do you have the passion that inspired John Knox to plead, “Give me Scotland or I die”? Is your attitude that of George Whitefield, who prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul”? Do you, like Henry Martyn, mourn when you see others trapped in false religion and cry out, “I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored”?
God used those faithful men as powerful tools to bring salvation to dying people. Each of them had a clear and vivid understanding of what is at stake in the gospel — it’s an issue of life or death, an eternity in heaven or hell. Do you realize that your unbelieving family members, your co-workers, and your neighbors will spend forever suffering in torment away from the presence of God if they don’t embrace Christ? That realization should drive you to your knees to plead, not only with them to believe the gospel, but with God to save their souls.

The seventeenth-century English Puritan Richard Baxter wrote,

Oh, if you have the hearts of Christians or of men in you, let them yearn towards your poor ignorant, ungodly neighbors. Alas, there is but a step betwixt them and death and hell; many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever. Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God, and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others? (cited in I.D.E. Thomas, ed., A Puritan Golden Treasury [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977], 92)

It is one thing to pray for family and friends, those for whom you have natural affections. But God wants you to pray for all people. Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Kings and people in authority in Paul’s day weren’t bound by civil rights and were often unjust, self-serving, and cruel. Do you pray for the salvation of people like that — those who disagree with you politically, those who advocate ungodly agendas, those who openly embrace sin and reject the Scripture?

The Bible has several examples of radical evangelistic prayer, and for the worst of sinners. Here are a few examples:

Moses interceded for Israel after catching them in orgiastic idolatry at the foot of Mount Sinai. After he confronted and dealt with their sin, he turned to the Lord and prayed, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin — and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” Moses was willing to forfeit his life for his people, even though they were guilty of wicked rebellion!

While being stoned to death, Stephen followed the Lord’s example by praying for the salvation of his executioners: “And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!’ And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them!’ And having said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60).

Standing among those who killed Stephen was a young man named Saul of Tarsus. His salvation was an answer to Stephen’s prayer. Years later, the apostle Paul communicated the depth of his concern for his people Israel, and in Romans 9 he sounds very much like Moses:

I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, […]Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. (Romans 9:1-3; 10:1)

His brethren according to the flesh, fellow Jews, were the very ones who persecuted him so severely, disrupting his work, stirring up mobs, even plotting his assassination. And yet he loved them and prayed that God would show them mercy.

God honored those men’s prayers for the souls of the lost; He’ll honor yours too. Whether friend or foe; whether moral or immoral; whether you know them or not — pray for the lost. For those God brings your way, open your mouth in love and compassion to tell them the truth. Warn them of God’s judgment for their personal offenses against his holiness, but then tell them the good news. There is salvation in Jesus Christ from God’s eternal wrath, if they will only repent and believe. Once you’ve told them the truth, keep praying for them and trust God for the results. You will rejoice as you see God use you as He saves people from their sins and grants them new life in His Son.

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I believe that praying to receive Christ is biblical and invitations at the end of worship services are good practice.

Let’s begin with the order of salvation and move from there. The biblical order of salvation is as follows.

1. Election (foreknowledge) 2. Predestination 3. Gospel Call 4. Effectual Call 5. Regeneration 6. Faith 7. Repentance 8. Justification 9. Adoption and Indwelling 10. Sanctification 11. Glorification

Romans 8:28-30 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:4-11 ESV
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

1 John 5:1 ESV
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.

The following passages are clear in the following:

1. that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
2. that those who call upon the name of the Lord already believe in him, thus regeneration has already happened.
3. that regeneration and faith in Christ occur when one is exposed to the gospel message.

Thus I believe it is biblical to evangelize the world for Christ, invite them who believe in him to repent and call upon him to save them.

I believe regeneration precedes faith and I believe the bible teaches the doctrines of total depravity, unconditional election, atonement limited to only those with faith in Christ, irresistible grace, and preservation through Christ.

Romans 10:9-17 ESV
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?3 And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. It is evident that everyone who really has faith will indeed call upon the name of the Lord, repent, and follow Him as Lord. They were indeed predestined to do so.

–David

OB”, please grab a few of these and help us understand how you perceive them. A dozen or so, more if you feel like it.

1Tim4:1 some will fall away by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demon doctrines
1Tim6:10 love of money will cause some to wander away from the faith
1Tim6:20-21 some have gone after empty chatter and gone astray from the faith
2Cor11:3 We are at the same risk of deception from the devil as Eve was
Col2:6-8 Walk in Christ, guard yourselves against deceivers trying to take you captive
Rom14:15 & 1Cor8:11 Do not destroy your brother, for whom Christ died
Rom11:18-23 It is arrogant to think we cannot be cut off for unbelief
Eph4:17ff Do not walk as heathens, ignorant and darkened, excluded from the life of God

Heb2:1-3 Be diligent not to drift away; we shall not escape who forsake so great a salvation
Heb3:6 We are Christ’s house if we hold fast our confidence & boast of our hope firm until the end
Heb3:8-13 Do not harden your hearts; guard against deceitful sin lest you fall away from God
Heb3:14 We are partners in Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end
Heb4:1 Therefore let us fear lest ..any of you fall short of entering God’s rest
Heb4:11 Do not fall and fail to enter God’s rest by imitating their disobedience and unbelief
Heb6:4-6 Those who were saved, but now fall away, won’t want to repent
Heb6:11-12 You need diligence, so as to realize full assurance firm until the end,
…..that you not be sluggish but imitate those who by faith and patience inherit the promises
Heb10:26-29 If WE continue sinning willfully, Jesus’ sacrifice no longer covers us
Heb10:35 Do not throw away your confidence (10:19, 6:19, “don’t throw away JESUS!”)
Heb10:36 You need endurance, so that when you have done God’s will you may receive the Promise
Heb12:7-9 If WE refuse God’s discipline, we will no longer be His children but illegitimate and will not live
Heb12:25 Much less shall they escape who turn away from God!
Heb13:9 Do not be carried away by strange teachings

Gal3:3 They were begun in the Spirit
Gal4:9 They were known by God (but turned back to weak worthless things)
Gal5:7 They were running well, obeying the truth
Gal5:4 By forsaking “grace” and trying to return to “law”, they are severed from Christ and FALLEN from GRACE

James1:14-16 Sin can deceive us to thanatos-death-and-Hell, do not be deceived beloved brethren
James5:19-20 Any one of you who wanders away from the faith, if another leads him back know his soul is saved and many sins covered

2Pet1:5-11 Supply in your faith godly fruits like perseverance; he who lacks them has forgotten former purification
…..therefore be diligent to make your calling and election steadfast, …that the gates of Heaven be provided to you.
2Pet2:20-22 The “true escapees” (vs18) were enticed back into defilements by the false teachers and
…..false prophets, and turned away from their salvation, and are worse than before they were saved
2Pet3:14 & 17 Be diligent to be FOUND blameless …guard yourself against deceivers lest you fall from your own steadfastness!!!

I’ll take them all actually. None of them are talking about a true saved believer becoming lost again. The answer is simple. An elect person will never become un elect. People become members of the visible church through profession of faith and baptism. Partaking in those and becoming a visible member does not mean one is elect and in the invisible church of only true believers. Some who are associated with the visible church are not in the invisible church and will fall away from that affiliation. However, those in the invisible Church of only true believers will never fall away because they are elected and predestined to salvation by God.

John 10:11 ESV
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:27-30 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

–David