The second easy and effective step to bring people to Jesus is to find people to invite to what you found. Andrew said, WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH! Maybe it is your small group where you FOUND excitement and a real experience with Jesus. Maybe it is the praise and worship where you FOUND the reality, presence, and excitement of the Lord. INVITE your family and friends. Maybe you FOUND great preaching and teaching and that makes Jesus alive, real, and exciting. INVITE your family and friends to hear what you FOUND.
HAVE YOU INVITED ANYONE?
by Delbert Young
We Have Found
We Have Found
Scripture: John 1:38-39, John 1:43-49
John 1:35-45 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and SPENT THAT DAY WITH HIM. It was about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was toFIND his brother Simon and tell him, “WE HAVE FOUND the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip FOUND Nathanael and told him, “WE HAVE FOUND the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote…”
People are looking for the real thing, but need someone to point the real thing out to them. John the Baptist was not the real thing. He even said he wasn’t (Joh 1:27), but he pointed out the real thing. People have questions. They usually do not know exactly how or what to ask, so they just ask something. We will read a little more from that passage in a few minutes. Five people have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus: two disciples of John the Baptist (Andrew and John), Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. Only one, Philip, did Jesus seek out. In every other case, someone pointed to Jesus and said we are excited about what WE HAVE FOUND and you need to come check this out. It is important that someone, somewhere was excited about Jesus and invited us to check it out – church, youth meeting, home group, concert, something – where we meet Jesus ourselves. Your life changed because of that invitation. How many of us have family, friends, and loved ones that we want to meet Jesus? We will talk about this for the next two weeks. Today, I want to give you the two-step, foolproof plan to get people to respond to your invitation.
First, I need to take a minute and ask a few people exactly how it happened when they first heard about Jesus Christ and it really made sense to them. I do not necessarily mean when you first “prayed the sinners prayer.” I mean when Jesus became real and made sense to you. Who was involved, etc., when something happened that brought you to Jesus? I only need a sentence or two. (SOME INTERVIEWS…) What we should see is someone invited them to something.
We all say we want our church to grow and do well. We all say we want our friends and loved ones to come to Christ. Yet, we have a bad image of “evangelism.” We think about “evangelism,” and think about putting pressure on people. We remember some of the horror stories we have experienced, or heard of, in an attempt to get lost people to come to church.
Jesus never did that. Jesus told us to make disciples. He told us to share the good news, so there has to be an easy and effective way to do it. Let’s get a few thoughts about that from the passage we read.
John 1:38-39 turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and SPENT THAT DAY WITH HIM…
Andrew spent that day with Jesus. He was excited about it. The point I want us to see is the first thing necessary in successfully and easily bringing people to Jesus is we need to spend time with Jesus ourselves. We need to be excited about Jesus and about what we are hearing and learning and doing.
I was thinking about my passion to fish. I love to fish and I am dedicated to it. I fish frequently. During our vacation, there were only a few days that I didn’t go fishing. Actually, I should say, “Go catching.” I don’t just fish. I catch. I was thinking about how I began fishing and my earliest memories of fishing are of my uncles inviting me to go fishing with them. I had one uncle, Tommy, who let me spend the summer with him and my aunt Florence. He took me fishing a few times every week when I was there. He had a passion to fish. He spent time fishing. I had another uncle, Bob, who was similar. They spent time fishing and were good at it. They were enthusiastic about it and loved it. It takes someone excited and enthusiastic about getting up early and working hard all day fishing in a boat to get someone else to do it the way I do it. I work at it. It’s that way about anything. Excitement and enthusiasm is contagious.
Perhaps you enjoy music and going to concerts. You enjoy it because someone excited about music invited you to go to a concert and now you are willing to pay $50 for a ticket to go listen to loud music. It took someone excited and enthusiastic about it to get you to do it. It’s that way about anything you do. Someone excited and enthusiastic about doing it invited you and you became excited and enthusiastic too.
Has anyone ever invited you to go to a college or professional football or baseball game? Everyone is yelling and screaming and excited. What did you do? Did you get caught up in that excitement too? Most likely you did. Someone invited you and now you enjoy it too and invite people. (Think about how much people pay for World Series tickets because someone excited about baseball once invited them to a baseball game.)
So, the first thing we need to happen in our lives to effectively get people to church/Christ is have a real, authentic, and exciting experience with Jesus ourselves. We have to spend time with Jesus.
Let’s look at the next step.
John 1:41-42 the first thing Andrew did was to FIND his brother Simon and tell him, “WE HAVE FOUND the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And HE BROUGHT HIM TO JESUS. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
The second easy and effective step to bring people to Jesus is to FIND people to INVITE to what you FOUND. Andrew said, WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH! Maybe it is your small group where you FOUND excitement and a real experience with Jesus. INVITE your family and friends to your small group. Maybe it is the praise and worship where you FOUND the reality, presence, and excitement of the Lord. INVITE your family and friends to that. Maybe you FOUND great preaching and teaching and that makes Jesus alive, real, and exciting. INVITE your family and friends to hear your fabulous preacher (just kidding) that you FOUND. Maybe it’s the Elevation student meetings that excite you and there you FOUND Jesus. Then INVITE your family and friends to that. My point is INVITE your family and friends to where you HAVE FOUND Jesus. What excites you and makes Jesus real and alive to you? Andrew was excited about what he had found and, to what Andrew was excited, Peter willingly came.
I want you to think about that. Someone “evangelized” the Apostle Peter and all they did was INVITE Peter to something they FOUND that excited them. Peter’s brother Andrew was responsible for Peter coming to Jesus by simply INVITING him. It’s difficult to imagine the Bible without Peter, and Andrew is the person who INVITED Peter to come meet Jesus. WHO HAVE YOU INVITED?
The point is that we should be inviting people to what we have FOUND. From what we FOUND, we express the excitement needed to excite those we INVITE. I was 28 years old and far from God. I had heard that a man I knew named Billy Shirah had been “saved.” I knew Billy and I knew he was a wild and crazy kind of guy. I honestly did not think Billy’s salvation experience would last. So, I watched Billy at the ballparks and other events where our paths crossed. I was impressed and saw his “salvation experience” was sticking and his life had changed. I saw and heard an excitement in him and knew he had FOUND something that I did not have. One day I stopped by his place of work. He was a real estate salesman. I questioned him about his “salvation experience” and we began talking about church stuff. He was excited about his experience months after it happened. He told me about his personal experience. He told me about the church and pastor he FOUND. He had begun teaching a Sunday school class and he was very excited about that. Excitedly, he told me about what he had FOUND. I knew then that if I went to church, it would be to Billy’s church. He INVITED me to come. It may have been the next Sunday, lying in bed, I waited for Judy, my wife, to awake and asked her if she would like to go to church. She asked me where I wanted to go. I said, “Billy’s church.” We loaded up our family and went. The rest is history. Today, 30 years later, here we are and some of you cannot imagine your life without me. It is because someone INVITED me to church and was excited about what he had FOUND!
That’s it! Just two steps. Andrew was excited about what he had FOUND and immediately INVITED Peter. The rest is history. Peter’s life changed. He was Simon. He became Cephas/Peter. It was a drastic life changing experience. Peter’s family changed. It all happened because someone simply invited Peter to what he FOUND that excited him. Andrew INVITED Peter to share with him what God was doing in his life. Billy INVITED me to share in what he had FOUND and in what God was doing in his life. It works!
My life changed. My family’s life changed. You probably had a similar experience. Most likely, someoneINVITED you to something he or she was excited about. They INVITED you to where they FOUND Jesus to be real and alive and present. Then, your life changed.
Let’s look at the remainder of that passage.
John 1:43-49 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “WE HAVE FOUND the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth!” Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Do you see the similarity? In this case, Philip himself was not INVITED by someone else, but yet his excitement about what he FOUND and then INVITING Nathanael worked. It is foolproof and works. (1) BE EXCITED about how you spend time with Jesus: and (2) INVITE people to what you FOUND that excites you.
Notice that initially Nathanael was not sold on the idea of going with Philip, but Philip’s excitement and challenge to come and see was enough to bring Nathanael to Jesus and to change his life – YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD! Can anything good come from Life Gate Church? COME AND SEE! Once Nathanael was there, Jesus spoke to him. Once people get here, Jesus speaks to them just as he has you and just as he has me.
So, I need to ask you WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND AND ABOUT WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED? Is Life Gate exciting to you? If not, then we need to work on it. If so, then we need to express that excitement to people and INVITE them.
How many are going to INVITE people this week to where you have found excitement about Jesus? I will ask you next week, “WHO HAVE YOU INVITED?”
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