Some of our greatest moments in life are the result of an invitation. Some of our greatest regrets are too. The right invitation can change the trajectory of our lives.
The story arch of the Bible is that of an invitation, of God inviting us into relationship with Him. In the New Testament book of John, Andrew was invited to meet Jesus, and it became a defining moment in his life. He began to do for others what had been done for him.
The same should be true of us. This week we look at how One Invitation Can Change Everything.
Full Sermon Script
Today we conclude our series, One by One
Talking about the one… the one son who is wandering away from God
the one daughter who is going through a difficult time in life
the one coworker, neighbor or friend who needs a relationship with God
First time or you missed a week … not a problem
blueoakschurch.org/message-archive for previous messages
Week 1 – One Relationship Can Change Everything
Step 1 – Develop significant relationships with unchurched people.
the challenge was to pray, “God use me”
I believe many of you have and will
Last week – One Conversation Can Change Everything
Step 2 – Help unchurched people take next steps spiritually.
spiritual conversations when there are opportunities
people are in PAIN
people struggling with GUILT
people feeling AIMLESSNESS
moments of SHARED EXPERIENCE
Sunday afternoon Jamie and I at the mall and ran into a friend in pain …
Today is the final message – One Invitation Can Change Everything
The third step in our three-step strategy
Step 3 – Extend an invitation to “Come sit with me.”
You may be here today because you were invited, you came with a family member, a friend, co-worker …
Maybe it was the first time they’ve asked or maybe you came just so they’d stop!
Today you get a look behind the curtain … the motive behind why
You’re thinking we get a kick-back, a spiff, a bonus of some sort
Stick with me and you’ll learn why
We feel differently about different invitations, don’t we?
Holidays approaching, some of you are dreading inviting THAT family member
Family dynamics, family politics, family disfunction
Other invitations we can’t wait to give!
Inviting Jamie out to meet over a glass of wine
Some of our greatest moments are a result of invitations
Some of our greatest regrets are a result of an invitation
Some have changed the trajectory of our lives …
Invitation to join the church in San Diego
The Institute for American Church Growth asked over 10,000 church goers this question:
What was responsible for your coming to a faith in Christ and to church?
79% I was invited
Lifeway Research asked church goers about inviting others …
31% “I don’t know why” when asked why they don’t invite more people.
17% they don’t know anyone to invite
11% they aren’t comfortable asking people to come to church.
21% totally offensive in how they asked and should just shut up
(I made that one up…)
Think about that … 79% have a faith in Christ because of an invitation
and 59% of church goers don’t invite
Our mission is to lead everyone into Christ-centered living … to see everyone experience the power of God’s love and grace
The mission statement that matters is not one that’s on a website.
It’s the one in our hearts that we live out in the world around us
So, the question is, are we on mission?
Do unchurched people matter to us like they matter to God?
The 4th book of the NT is John (Gospel of John)
John was a disciple of Jesus, spent about 3 years with Him
wrote a first-hand account of what he experienced, saw and heard
he was an eyewitness
I want us to look at a couple of encounters from his book …
Side note … here’s what’s wild about what we’re about to read …
This is the literal start of the church
35The next day John (the Baptist) was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Lamb of God
some of you right now are like, what?
That’s a baaaaad analogy
John recognizes that the man passing in front of him is the One promised in the Hebrew Scriptures, the OT
OT worship was a system of animal sacrifices to atone for the sins of man
Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice, the final sacrifice for our sins
This was John (the Baptist)’s circle of influence …
he recognized … my guys need to meet Him, they need to meet Jesus
37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following …
Turning around, Jesus saw them following
two guys following behind me on the block, I’m going to start thinking of speeding up and losing them
38…Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
What do you want? What is it you’re after?
What do you want for your life?
What do you want for the lives of those close to you?
What do you want for the people around you?
Hopefully to develop significant relationships that will open opportunities to help them take their next steps spiritually and invite them to an introduction with Christ … to lead everyone into Christ-centered living
Here’s what I LOVE about this …
Jesus isn’t afraid to engage in a dialogue … He wants to know what’s important to us, what matters to us, what’s the longing of our heart
If you’re here today and you’ve pushed back against the closed-minded church because of your experience, know that’s not Jesus
Jesus goes beyond that … He INVITES two strangers back to where He’s staying … “Come and see…”
would you invite someone you just had a two-minute conversation with back home?
40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus…
Notice what Andrew doesn’t do…
John (the Baptist) should tell my brother about Jesus … He’s the evangelist, the extrovert
He goes and INVITES his brother to meet Jesus … “Bro, you gotta come with me!”
Andrew becomes known as an inviter in John’s account…
name often mentioned in the context of inviting others, bringing others to Jesus
He began by bringing his brother Peter to Jesus.
brought the boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus which Jesus miraculously multiplies into enough food to feed 5,000+ (John 6:8-9)
Brought a group of people to Jesus (John 12:20-22)
42 …Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
John (the Baptist) invited Andrew to Jesus, Jesus invited Andrew to follow him, Andrew invited his brother Simon (Peter) … who became a founding father of the church
one invitation can lead to a cascading impact we couldn’t imagine and often that we’re never aware of
Who remembers the Faberge shampoo commercial from the ’70’s-’80’s?
Heather Locklear’s version in ‘82… I mean, come on
The shampoo was so good, so life changing, you couldn’t keep it to yourself
“they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…”
Andrew’s invitation brought Simon (Peter) to Christ.
Andrew never preached to large crowds (so far as Scripture records)
Peter led to thousands to Christ when he preached on the Day of Pentecost in the book of Acts
Cascading impact …
It doesn’t stop there …
John 1:43-46 43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip 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.”
Follow this … Jesus grabs Philip who then goes to Nathanael and says, “Dude, you gotta come with me…”
46“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
Kinda like saying, “Stockton! Can anything good come from Stockton?!”
46 …Come and see,” said Philip.
Throughout the chapter – invitations being given to come meet Jesus
Another story later in John’s account …
Jesus had an encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well
Samaritans and Jews did not mingle or socialize, so it was an usual meeting
middle of the day indicating the woman was on the sidelines of society
Jesus engages her in a conversation
tells her things about her life … 5 husbands, now with a sixth man
tells her about living water … spiritual thirst (manifest in her life).
the conversation ends with her saying, I know the Messiah is coming to which Jesus responds, “I who speak to you am He.” (you’re looking at Him)
John 4:28-29 28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
Pause here for a moment … “Could this be the Messiah?”
Either she isn’t fully convinced or she’s inviting in a very non-threatening manner
If #1 … we don’t have to have it all figured out before inviting others to Jesus
If #2 … wisdom in approaching others in a non-threatening, non-condemning, non-judgmental manner
The “church” over it’s 2000 years of history has done much in the name of Christ that reflects nothing of Christ
Many are resistant because that’s all they know
Show them something different
30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Jumping forward …
John 4:39-42 39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Such a beautiful picture …
All she did was invite others to Jesus
Jesus was the one who changed hearts
Backing up for a moment …
Jesus gave the disciples an insight … because they seemed to have lost sight of this principle already …
None approached the woman, “Excuse me miss, you really need to meet this guy…”
Like that would have gone over really well …
John 4:34-35 34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Opportunities are before us, around us, available to us … will we invite others to an introduction with Christ?
The entire narrative and story arch of the Bible is an invitation
Pastor and author Max Lucado once said: “The most incredible invitations are not found in envelopes or fortune cookies; they are found in (the) Bible. You can’t read about God without finding Him inviting. He invited Eve to marry Adam, the animals to enter the ark, David to be king, Israel to leave (the) bondage (of Egypt), Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. God is an inviting God. He invited Mary to birth His Son, the disciples to fish for men, the adulteress woman to start over and Thomas to touch His wounds. In fact, it seems that his favorite word is ‘Come.’”
Look at this…
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…”
Isaiah 55:3 “Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live…”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Mark 1:17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
John 7:37 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”
Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”
What was Jesus offering the Samaritan woman at the well?
The water of life
I love the fact that God ends the story arch of humanity with an invitation.
God is an inviting God. His invitation is to life in Him
For some of you today, the invitation that brought you here has been an introduction to the God who longs to have a relationship with you
to restore what’s been taken
to redeem what been lost
to renew our minds
Why is this important?
We’ve been given the ministry, some Bibles say the message of reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
the good news of the Gospel (Christ died for our sins so we can be reconciled back into relationship with God) has been given to us, entrusted to us, and it’s not meant to be kept exclusively by us
the church was never meant to be an insider’s club, a member’s only club (with your own jacket)
What God has done for us we are to take to others …
This is a bold statement, but an accurate one …
We are the hope of the world … Christ in us!
Andrew was compelled to go get his brother and INVITE him to meet Jesus
The Samaritan woman was compelled to go INVITE her town to meet Jesus
All of us are somewhere in the steps of the last three weeks
Developing significant relationships with unchurch people
Having spiritual conversations, helping people take their next step spiritually
You’ve done the first two steps and now you’re on the third…
inviting someone, bringing someone, saying Come sit with me
We’re all here today because of an invitation, Blue Oaks as a church exists today because of invitations that were extended …
We’re here because someone cared enough to invite us to meet Jesus
Two natural opportunities before us…
Christmas – obvious
January – new year, new resolutions, new beginnings, new goals
Come sit with me … a lifechanging invitation
Practical things to do when inviting …
Be honest and authentic
Don’t bait and switch … “want to grab a donut and come coffee Sunday morning?”
Use the opportunities that are before you
I know you’re hurting over …
I know the guilt you’re feeling …
It’s where I finally found purpose and direction …
Show you care by being proactive rather than passive
Passive – “If you’re interested let me know.”
Proactive – “I’ll pick you up on Sunday” or “I’ll meet you out front before the service.”
Adjust your routine to their schedule
attend the service that works best for them, not necessary the one you always attend
Make it personal
Come sit with me
Carry it beyond Sunday
We don’t do this from obligation … don’t make someone feel like that
Go to a meal afterwards, invite them over the following week
So … Do for another what was done for you.
That’s how the church was started and built
When we do this regularly and consistently, it will impact our spiritual lives and our church
We will impact this valley for God in an unforgettable way