Who's Your One - Part 3
Series: Who's Your One
October 20, 2019
We are still taking a break from the series I’ve been preaching for almost a year called God’s End Game. I’m still getting comments on the cliff hanger I left you with: no one’s actually in heaven or hell yet. You’ll just have to hang there until the Sunday after Bring-A-Friend Day.
But for now, for today, I want you to think about and focus on our special Who’s Your One emphasis where the goal is influencing somebody for Jesus, someone we know that is spiritually seeking, or maybe out of church, or maybe even just looking for a church.
And all we’re asking you to do is invite them to Bring-A-Friend Sunday. That’s it. Or maybe it would be better to say prayerfully invite them.
Speaking of prayer, some might have to pray for someone to invite. I get that. I’ve already mentioned how hard it is for me, being a pastor and all. I challenge you to actually pray, asking God to lay someone across your path. You might be surprised what happens.
We are tempted to think, “What difference can I make really? It’s just one person.”
There’s a story making the rounds these days that probably every pastor alive has used as a sermon illustration…
A storm comes through and washes thousands of starfish on the beach. Really beachcombers notice a guy picking up starfish one by one and flinging them back to safety in the ocean.
Someone asks why it matters when there’s no way he can ever save them all and he responds, “It matters to this one!”
Just like the footprints in the sand story this story is sappy and totally untrue, yet at the same time there’s a ring of truth to it.
It makes me think of stories Jesus told in Luke 15…
Luke 15:1–10 (ESV) — 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Folks, every individual, every person matters to God, and just one, just one coming to know him matters so much he went to the greatest lengths imaginable to find them.
Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome…
Romans 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
He wrote that, he believed that because he saw the good news of Jesus transform his life and the lives of countless others.
The gospel, the good news that Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died, still has the power to save. Maybe it’s even more powerful now than it has been in a while. The gospel was forged in a time and culture much like ours today here in the West.
This morning let’s look at a text that shows us the life changing simplicity of leading someone to Jesus…
John 1:35–45 (ESV) — 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Jesus found Andrew so Andrew found his brother and brought him to Jesus. Jesus found Philip and Philip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus.
You know, that’s kind of like the whose your one campaign! They identified their one and invited him to church (in a way).
God forgive us for making this so complicated. Soul winning, witnessing can be something as simple as inviting someone you know, someone in your circle of influence, to church.
Here’s one thing this text teaches us for sure. We should all…
I. Commit to being intentional about influencing others for Jesus.
Anyone own a “Christian” t-shirt? They have been a thing for a while. Here’s a few popular examples…
Show Examples/advance as directed…
Back in the day I thought wearing a Christian t-shirt or putting a fish decal on my car was influencing others for Jesus. What I was really doing was being passive/agressive. God forgive me for that.
Peter and Nathanael found Jesus because others who were found by Jesus intentionally reached out.
Being intentional about influencing others for Jesus involvers two simple but profound things:
Inviting - church, dinner, ball game
Investing - finding ways to show them the love of Jesus (Rosaria Butterfield)
Let’s make t-shirts that say…
- I’ll meet you at the front door and sit with you during the service. Seriously.
- Dinner, my house, just say when.
- How can I demonstrate the love of Jesus in your life today?
No one (or at least no one with a lick of sense) is saying this is easy. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The whole world is set up to prevent us from doing this. Because of that we must…
II. Watch out for what gets in the way of being intentional
1. Spiritual apathy
We can get so caught up in the busyness of life, and the problems that come with it, we lose sight of being intentional. We’re just surviving, how can we focus on bringing others to Jesus?
Or maybe it’s the other way, things are so calm, so good, we settle in and get too comfortable, losing focus.
One time I heard a fellow pray, asking God to sandpaper his heart, making him sensitive to his will. That’s a good prayer for us in this campaign.
Another thing that gets in the way is the …
2. Growing inclusiveness
… that pervades our culture. It’s the idea that all paths lead to God, all religions are just different ways to get to heaven. Jesus is just one savior, one way, among many.
As inclusiveness grows, so does resistance to the truth that the only way to God is through Jesus. Why, that’s intolerant! There is massive pressure to give into this but Jesus himself said…
John 14:6 (ESV) — 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
That’s the truth, but we must be careful how we proclaim that truth…
1 Peter 3:15–17 (ESV) — 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
We must also be careful not to..
3. Discount hell
Preaching hell to scare people into heaven is not my thing.
Romans 2:4 (ESV) — 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
But at the same time, we cannot deny there is a hell and people who die without Christ go there. If that’s not motivation to be intentional about influencing others for Jesus I don’t what it is.
Here’s a big barrier to being intentional we’ve already touched on..
4. Fear of rejection
Did you know research shows that only one in four unchurched persons will be resistant to faith discussions; 75 percent are open.
The few with an antagonistic attitude are not rejecting you personally; their anger is merely a reflection of something in their past.
People are open to invites whether it be to dinner and/or church. Which leads us to our last thing to watch out for. Just plain old…
5. Failure to follow through
When was the last time you invited an unchurched person to church? Have you offered to take someone to church or meet them? It’s such a simple gesture that can have a significant outcome.
Conclusion: Go back to our Luke text and look at verse 10. It reveals something fascinating about what matters in heaven…
10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
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