Invite People to Jesus
April 12, 2010
Last Friday while my oldest daughter and I were shopping, a friendly older gentleman handed us little booklets about one inch square that said “God Loves You” on the front. They were full of scriptures telling the Good News. He wasn’t obnoxious or pushy – just freely sowing the Word everywhere he went. I put them in my pocket and thought, “Maybe I will find someone to give them to before the day is over.” But.. the sad truth was I didn’t have the guts to do it.
Lately I have been thinking hard and long about how to share my faith. I have never been actively involved with any Christians who regularly did this (outside of a “program”) and lately my desire to do so has been getting stronger. But I don’t know how, and I’ve given up hope of finding a group of people to show me. I keep thinking there is a right way – a safe way – an effective way. But the truth is – the sower goes out to sow and scatters seed. It’s that simple. If I am waiting for a safe way that is guaranteed results – I will never start. In most churches evangelism is something someone else does. We sit and wait for them to come to us. In this I think lies the problem and the cause of our handicap.
Discipleship is the art of passing on what you know and do to someone else. Those who followed Jesus were discipled by hearing Him, watching Him, and walking with Him. They imitated what He did. He empowered them and sent them out to do what He did. Today we sit in churches while one man speaks to a whole bunch of people, and very few people hearing him can duplicate what he does. We look to the pastor to give the invitation and say the prayer that leads hearts to trust Jesus. So lets say a miracle happens and someone actually hears the true gospel in a church and is challenged to trust Jesus as Lord. When the new believer is excited about his faith and wants to share it with his friend, what will be his first inclination? How did he receive salvation? Listening to a preacher preach! The logical way to get your friend saved is to bring them to church, so they too can hear the preacher preach. This isn’t a bad thing, but it puts alot of pressure on one man, and one method. And we all know how hard it is to get anyone out in the world to walk through the doors of any church. What if we invited people to Jesus? Isn’t it that simple? What did the woman at the well in Samaria do? She asked people to come and see if this Jesus was for real – as He claimed to be the Messiah.
What if Christians were empowered by the Holy Spirit (to prophesy .. boldly speak the Truth) and sent out like Jesus sent out His first followers? Shouldn’t we be? What if most of the people who came to believe and trust Jesus did so as a result of someone reaching out their hand or personally speaking the truth into their lives? Faith comes by “hearing the Word of God.” What if the occupation of proclaiming the Word was not seen as something only a professional could do? It seems to me, people would not have this notion that they could not also go out and do as it had been shown to them.
Network marketing companies stress the importance of duplication. That is – you recruit new members by a method they themselves will easily use to recruit others. The key is to keep it simple and people are encouraged to know, “If you can do it, I can do it too.” If we can apply such a simple concept in the business world to make money, why can’t we practice this type of discipleship for God? The early church was a miraculous success story of evangelism, through the power of the Spirit and obedience to the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel… teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you.” It would seem simple that this first command would also be taught, yet it rarely is. We see evangelism as a special gift or function rather than something all disciples are called to pass on.
I have procrastinated long enough. God has laid on my heart some simple things I can do, and I have made a beginning. No, I don’t truly know how. Yes, it terrifies me. And no, I have no idea if I will ever personally see the seed that I sow sprout and grow, but that is up to God. I greatly desire others to share the joy I have found in Christ, and to be obedient to Him, as He ordained that we are His hands, feet, and voice to proclaim His Kingdom in this world. I see stories every day of my brothers and sisters in hostile nations who are putting themselves in great danger to carry out this simple act. Will I let my own fear stop me in a free country? I don’t yet have to face prison or death for sharing Jesus with others. How could I stand before Him without shame at His coming if I kept such a great salvation to myself?
We can’t all preach – but we can sow the Word in many ways. Let’s be about our Father’s business! Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Let it be so for us too!