Summary: Strategy for reaching out to the unchurched -- invest in serving them and invite them to hear more.
Luke 14:15-23—Invest & Invite
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."
16 Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ’Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ’I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 "Another said, ’I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 "Still another said, ’I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ’Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 " ’Sir,’ the servant said, ’what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 "Then the master told his servant, ’Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
I. The Heart of God
a. This passage of scripture shows the heart of God for gathering people into His Kingdom and blessings. He cares passionately about people and has given so much.
b. Yet this passage has a pressing tone in verse 23 – “Make them come in.” In the King James it says, “Compel them to come in.”
c. The message from the heart of God is clear.
i. The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.
ii. Look at what Jesus has done to draw the world to Himself.
iii. He wants us to feel the same urgency and passion to bring people into His Kingdom.
iv. Do whatever is necessary to reach pre-Christians with His grace and goodness.
v. If you must be persistent, then be persistent.
vi. If you must be compassionate, be compassionate
vii. If you must be self-less and serving, then unleash everything you have to make an eternal difference.
d. But what “compelling” means is different depending on the culture.
i. Paul said, “I become all things to all people that I might by all means win some.”
ii. To the Jew, Paul reasoned from the Law and the Prophets.
iii. To the Greek, he preached a message entitled “to the unknown God.”
iv. To governors sitting as a judge, he gave his powerful testimony at His trial.
e. The generation we live in has been described as “post-modern” and “post-Christian”.
i. We do not live in a 1950s “Leave it to Beaver” society, but many churches have been frozen in time and do not realize the world around us has changed.
ii. When you go to the missions field, the first thing you must do to be successful is to learn the language of the people.
iii. If you don’t learn their language, eat their foods, and live among them, you’ll never relate to them with the Gospel.
iv. So we must speak the language of our culture.
v. To reach this generation for Jesus Christ, we must move past being an “Andy Griffith church” and do whatever it takes to reach people for Jesus.
f. I believe the most “compelling” thing we can do is counter-cultural—both to the world’s culture and that of the church.
i. But it is rooted in the example of Jesus. It is so contagious and compelling, yet so unusual.
g. Let me say that I believe that most of us want to live lives of purpose.
i. We want to give our lives to a worthy cause.
ii. But years of bombardment by the messages of a self-serving culture has confused us: indulge yourself, fulfill your desires, satiate your appetites, pursue pleasure, it’s all about you.
iii. True fulfillment will never come through self-gratification.
1. Self-gratification will never lead to the fullness of life you are looking for.
2. It will lead you to emptiness and self-destruction
3. And, along the way, you will destroy other people.
II. The decision of Jesus followers radically changed their lives.
a. They left their families, friends, and jobs to become homeless travelers, banking their futures on the often-disturbing words of a revolutionary teacher.
b. For a while it felt like a grand adventure.
i. Take Peter, for example.
1. Every day for years he had walked down to the seashore, cast off in his boat, dropped the nets, hoisted up a catch of fish, counted them, took them to the market, traded them for a few coins, bought food and went home.