Topic: Sunday Message Verse: John 17:3, Luke 9:23, Galatians 5:13
We are a community of grace and truth inviting people to know and follow Jesus.
John 17:3 NIV
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Luke 9:23 NIV
Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
Invite People: Implication #1
"We are an open church." We’re not a closed club or some kind of secret society where only a select few are welcomed in. There always has to be room for more. To get beyond our tendencies toward excluding and judging others, we need to realize that God does not show favoritism, but accepts those from every kind of background who want to know Him more.
Invite People: Implication #2
"Only God can change a heart." We can't make, force, coerce, pressure, or even lead someone to know Jesus. We need to understand the difference between God's work and our responsibility. Like the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, “I’ve done some planting of the Gospel in people’s lives. My friend Apollos has done some watering. But only God can make it grow.” When we realize it's not up to us, the pressure’s off, and we’re free to love, care for, listen to, and serve others in the name of Jesus.
Invite People: Implication #3
"People are in process." There are all kinds of barriers standing in people's way: ignorance, fear, stubbornness, anger, pride, mistrust. So there is a lot of spiritual ground, emotional ground, and informational ground that people have to cover before they’re “this close” to knowing Jesus. In an environment of "Gospel + Safety + Time," God uses the work of His Spirit, the truth of His Word, and the love of His people to open and change hearts.
(1) 99% of people will respond politely if you invite them to church. (2) It takes 5 or 6 personal invitations before someone will actually step foot in church. (3) Some people are just waiting to be invited. (4) There is no such thing as the perfect time to invite someone, but the best time is now.
Words and experiences need to line up. It comes down to this: Are we a church of consumers or contributors? Is our predominant attitude: What can I get or what can I give? Our mindset has to be one of giving and serving, and not taking and demanding. This is part of taking up our cross daily, where we make choices to die to selfishness on the inside, so that more of Jesus will come through us on the outside.
Galatians 5:13 NIV
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
In Titus chapter 2, the Apostle Paul makes the audacious claim that how we live affects how other people believe. So he says to Christians: "Live in such a way so that no one will malign the word of God… Live in such a way so that no one will have anything bad to say about the church… Live in such a way that you will make the teaching of God our Savior attractive." People are drawn to passionate, humble, and authentic faith.
Our Mission Together
There is no greater cause than the cause of Jesus Christ and living that out together as His church. As long as there are still people in process (in our community, in our lives, in our world), our work is not done. So as a community of grace and truth, let's keep inviting others to know and follow Jesus with us... as His church... by His grace... and for His glory.
Next week, we’re beginning a new series entitled “the Afterlife.” Through the lens of Scripture, we’re going to explore issues like eternity and our existence after death. Pastor Dan will kick things off by talking about who we are as people and what our makeup tells us about what else might be out there.