Most of us have used the invitation evangelism style along our journey. Nothing energizes us more than getting someone to come to church with us. Did we use the invitation to share what Jesus had done for us? We were probably so excited someone was coming we didn’t share our testimony. It was the testimony of the woman at the well making her invitation powerful.
The Power of Invitation Evangelism
The Power of Invitation Evangelism
Scriptures: John 4:4-9, Luke 9:55-56, Galatians 3:27-28, John 4:16-
38, Acts 1:8
In today’s lesson we will talk about the “Invitation Evangelism” style. However, most of the lesson is an opportunity to observe Jesus as he operated evangelistically. We always learn something when we observe Jesus. I believe it will be a fun lesson, but a challenging lesson.
Let’s go ahead and look once again at the different styles of evangelism that we are studying.
1. Intellectual Style (Paul at Athens)
2. Confrontational Style (Peter – Day of Pentecost)
3. Relational Style (Levi – Luke 5)
4. Invitation Style (Woman at well)
5. Serving Style (Tabitha)
6. Testimonial Style (Man born blind)
7. Prayer Style (Cornelius)
Now, remind me again, please. Which of these is the most important? Which of these can help bring people into the kingdom of God?
Scripture Reading John 4:4-30, 39
John 4:4 Now he had to go through Samaria. Jesus was traveling from Judaea to Galilee. The Bible says that Jesus was leaving Judaea to go back to Galilee. He needed to go through Samaria to do this. King James says “he must needs go through Samaria” (Joh 4:4). Perhaps we have heard a preacher talk as though Jesus was divinely compelled to go through Samaria. The original text doesn’t say that. It was simply that to get from point A to point C, he needed to go through point B. Jesus simply needed to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. It was the normal route. Jesus passed through Samaria frequently (Luk 9:52; 17:11; John 4). So much so that he told a parable about the journey (Luk 10:33).
The point I want to make here is that it is usually during the normal route of life that we will cross the paths of people that need to hear about Jesus. Most of us will never have an overseas mission ministry. That is not what we are called to do in the kingdom. However, we all are traveling from point A to point C. We need to go through point B to get there. We simply need to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. This is what the Lord did.
….the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. The Lord was about half way to Galilee when he and his disciples came to a city named Sychar. It was at Sychar that Jacob’s well was located. There is a lot we could say about “Jacob’s well.” Many sermons have been shared about it, but I want to make one point of something I see. The well helped provide life to that area for millennium. It dated back to about 1730 BC when Jacob bought the land and dug the well. The route that Jesus took caused him to pass by the well. He decided to get a drink.
The well speaks of much, but I see heritage and ancestry. Jesus went by the well to drink from it. From time to time we need to take time and drink from our ancestry. There is life in one’s lineage.
John 4:6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. The Bible says that Jesus was tired from the journey. We see the realness of Jesus. He could become tired. Do you ever get tired from the journey? I know we all have gotten tired, but I mean tired from the journey. Do you every become tired of church and doing what you know you are supposed to do for God? For example, do you ever want to sleep in on Sunday mornings? Maybe sometimes you do sleep in, but about 11:00 you are kicking yourself knowing you should have gotten up and gone to church. You say, “It was just a couple of hours.” Do you ever get tired from the journey? Well, Jesus got tired from the journey and sat down on the well, but I noticed something. I noted what revived him from being tired and then actually energized him once again.
John 4:7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”As Jesus sat on the well tired from his journey, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus immediately turned the encounter into an evangelistic opportunity. We can hear in his words and nearly see Jesus as he revives and energizes. He began reaching out to that woman. He was no longer tired.
I hope we can draw from this thought. All it will take to revitalize us when we become tired from our journey is to reach out to someone far from God. Many think that preachers don’t get tired from the journey. That is not accurate. We are probably the worst, but do you know what always energizes me? It’s when I get to reach out to people and offer living water. That pushes my buttons. I forget that I was tired from the journey.
I don’t’ guess I will ever forget when I first came to this town. I would go over to a couple’s house after church on Wednesday nights or during the week. We would sit and talk about the living water until two or three o’clock in the mornings. Many of their family members came by. That became a very fruitful time. It would always energize me no matter how tired I was from the journey.
I was at a place this week. I was aggravated about a computer situation. However, there was someone at this place that I began to talk to about Jesus. I forgot about being exasperated as living waters began bubbling out of my soul. When we get weary from the journey, we need to find an opportunity to minister living water.
John 4:9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) The woman was shocked that a Jewish man would speak to her. It wasn’t that she was a woman. It was that she was a Samaritan woman. John tells us parenthetically “For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” Jesus speaking to her so shocked her that she said, “How can you ask me for a drink?”
Time doesn’t permit me to show us why the Jews abhorred the Samaritans, but does it matter? Should God’s people abhor any ethnic group? The problem went way back to the days of king Solomon. The prejudice was reciprocated. The Samaritans loathed the Jews in return. Remember the time that James and John, disciples of Jesus, wanted to call down fire from heaven and consume people? Because Jesus was a Jew going to Jerusalem, those Samaritans would not let Jesus come into their cities and hold meetings (Luk 9:52-56). How many remember the reply of Jesus to James and John concerning their desire to destroy what they felt were inferior Samaritans?
Luke 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
Luke 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
It’s an issue of prejudice. Prejudice cannot enter the picture if we are to do the work of the evangelist. Allow me to ask a question. Do any of us know why we are prejudice? It goes way back to a time when another person was king in our lives. There is prejudice in Satan’s kingdom. However, in the Kingdom of God there is none.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
I am thinking of this beautiful child in our congregation who is biracial which is a terrible attempt to describe his skin tone. The word “biracial” means “two nationalities.” This child is not of two nationalities. Both his parents were Americans. One has Caucasian skin and one was black skin. He is a beautiful child. He is very intelligent and people in our church love him very much. I wonder which part they love. Do they love the white part or the black part? The truth is there is not a white part or a black part. They love the person. It is exactly that way in the kingdom. There is no race difference. There are only people. Notice that Jesus did not even acknowledge her prejudice statement. He simply offered her his living water.
During our journey, we will meet people that are different from us. They may have a different skin tone. They may be of a different nationality. They may be of a different economic background. They may be of a different religious worship. They may be Baptist or Methodist or . . . How does that effect us? Can we offer them living water without prejudice? Or, do we want to call down fire from heaven and consume them? I even get irritated with preachers wanting and praying for a rapture so a great tribulation can come upon and consume all the sinners. There is something wrong with that theology. Jesus didn’t come to destroy. Of what spirit are we?
The prophetic gift was also energized. We saw the evangelist gift come out as Jesus offered her salvation. He said he had living water that would quench her thirst. She was spiritually thirsty and looking everyplace for satisfaction. He began giving her drink as he energized the prophetic gift.
John 4:16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
John 4:17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.
John 4:18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
Not only was she a Samaritan woman, but she didn’t seem to have the highest moral standards. She was attempting to satisfy her thirst through husbands and men. Without Jesus, we will all attempt to find something that will satisfy our thirst. Jesus didn’t condemn her. In fact, if I see anything, he let her know that he knew this about her, but still accepted her by speaking with her. Her lifestyle would be dealt with, but that was not the time nor place.
As we offer living water to people will usually know things about them either by knowledge or by the Spirit. That must not affect the way we accept them. It doesn’t matter what they have done or are doing. What is important is they receive Jesus. The rest the Lord will deal with in time.
Next we will see the teacher energized in Jesus.
John 4:20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
John 4:21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
John 4:22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
John 4:26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
The woman did have some questions. It was about whom worshiped God correctly. Were the ways the Jews worshiped correct or were the ways the Samaritans worshiped correct? The people we meet along our journey will have similar questions. This will be true especially if you invite them to Life Gate. Is the way we do it correct or is the way the Roman Catholics do it correct? Maybe the way the Baptists do it is still better.
I love the answer the Lord gave her. The place a person worships is not the primary point. The name on the sign is not the important issue. The primary point is that worship is done in spirit and truth. The Father is seeking people that are seeking the spirit and seeking truth. As long as the spirit and truth are present, the physical location or the name on the sign is not important.
I have one more thought on this point. From time to time some will place great importance on the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. According to that doctrine, Jerusalem is where worship is to take place during the great tribulation. The use of animal sacrifices and their blood are to be renewed, etc. After that, another temple is to be built where again worship is supposed to take place using animal sacrifice, etc. The Lord Jesus told the woman, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” Mandatory worship in or from Jerusalem is not in the plans of the Lord. Something is wrong with that doctrine.
People far from God do have questions. When we invite them, we should be ready to answer. They have heard all sorts of things and been told many strange things that are not accurate. We are to help people worship in spirit and truth. Some teaching is necessary when reaching people and making them devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It is wonderful if we can answer their questions. If we can’t, then call someone and get the correct answer. It is important that the person know we desire to help them find truth.
The disciples returned. Their prejudice was recorded though not verbally expressed. We do that often. Even though we say we are not prejudice and don’t outwardly express prejudice, we should not think that the Holy Spirit does not notice our prejudices. He noticed the prejudice of those disciples.
The woman left her water jar. All sorts of things have been imagined about what that meant. I think she simply left the jar so the Lord and his disciples could use it for drinking water. I don’t think there is a deep spiritual truth there.
I love what she did next. This is really what we are wanting to accent today.
John 4:29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
John 4:30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
After meeting Jesus, she went back to the people she knew and told them about him. She said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” The woman used the power of invitation evangelism as she said, “Come see a man.” To make it more powerful, she blended into the invitation her testimony. She spoke about what had ministered to her. She said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” The prophetic ministry of Jesus had touched her and she couldn’t stop talking about it.
Most of us have used the invitation evangelism style along our journey. Nothing energizes us more than getting someone to come to church with us. Did we use the invitation to share what Jesus had done for us? We were probably so excited that someone was coming that we didn’t share our testimony. It was the testimony of the woman that made the invitation powerful.
John 4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
Her invitation included her testimony. Her testimony was compact. She didn’t get into a lot of detail about all the men she had been married. She didn’t get into a lot of detail about how she was living with a man that was not her husband. She simply said Jesus told her everything she ever did. That had touched her life in a tremendous way. Her ability to share that brought the people. It wasn’t only inviting people. It was telling them how Jesus had ministered to her life.
We all should be able to do this. It is a power. We should be able to tell people we meet along our journey how Jesus has touched our lives. It doesn’t need to be in great detail. It should to be quick. Our being able and prepared to share our testimony in a few minutes will bring many people to believe in Jesus.
The Samaritan woman was interested in the prophetic. Others will be interested and excited about other things. Some people will talk about praise and worship. Some will talk about the teaching. Some will talk about the children’s ministry or nursery. Some will be touched by the Life Groups. The fact is that we need to be able to reach and touch people in many different ways. However, when people are touched, they will tell others and others will come.
There is power in the Invitation Style Evangelism. Many of you are constantly inviting people. It is a power within you given you by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I encourage you to use it. Blend in a little of how the Lord has really touched you. It may have been through the prophetic or some other way. It is a power given you by the Holy Spirit to witness all through your journey. Invitation! Invitation! Invitation!
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