Summary: A sermon on witnessing preachied in conjunction with the observance of the Lord’s Supper.
Today we are celebrating the Lord’s Supper. One of the purposes of this observance is to remind us, as Christians, of that which makes possible our intimate fellowship with God and our shared fellowship with one another -the cross of Christ. As 1 John 1:7 (NIV) tells us, "we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
It is for this reason that this observance is also referred to as "communion." Webster’s dictionary defines communion as "intimate fellowship." That’s what we enjoy with God and one another because of the cross, and the elements of the Lord’s Supper remind us of that.
Because of the cross, we have an intimate fellowship with God and one another that is not only a blessing on earth, but its blessedness will only intensify once we enter into eternity.
Aren’t you looking forward to the fellowship that awaits us in heaven? Indeed, as we reflect on the fellowship that we enjoy by virtue of the cross of Christ, we find that it is a fellowship we cannot and should not keep to ourselves. We need to invite our friends to be part of this wonderful fellowship. This was John’s conclusion. He said, "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ," - 1 John 1:3 (NIV).
Today, I want us to look at a story that is recorded in John 4:25-42. It is a story of how Jesus touched a woman’s life, and how she, in turn invited others to experience Christ’s life-changing touch.
Jesus met this woman, this Samaritan woman, at a well, where he was waiting for his disciples to return with food. He engaged her in conversation, which eventually led to His revealing to her that He was the Messiah. Let’s pick up the story there.
Let’s notice what we can learn today from this story about inviting our friends to the fellowship.
1. The person God uses - vs. 25-29
The person God uses to invite others to the fellowship is one who is willing to share how God has touched their life.
God doesn’t necessarily use the knowledgeable person, or the talented person, or even the pious person, but will always use the willing person.
One survey reported the top five reasons why people do not reach out to others as follows:
A. "I don’t know enough."
Note the contrast between this woman and the disciples. The disciples had also been touched by Jesus. Additionally, they had been privileged to spent countless hours and days enjoying intimate fellowship with the Master. Yet, this woman, who had only spent a few moments with Christ, went to the same village the disciples had visited only moments before, and shared her story, while they had kept quiet. God doesn’t necessarily use the knowledgeable ones, but He always uses the willing ones.
B. "I’m not an evangelist."
After surveying 10,000 people, the Institute for American Church Growth concluded that 79 percent began attending church after receiving an invitation from a friend or relative. Only 6% were attracted by the pastor, 5% by the Sunday school and 0.5% by an evangelistic crusade.
C. "I don’t want to appear to be ’pushy.’"
In one survey of non-church attenders, it was revealed that 65% said they would respond favorably to an invitation from a friend. 15% said they would respond favorably to an invitation from a stranger!
D. "I don’t know any non-Christians."
You know more than you think.
I do not know if you knew this but the number of unchurched people is growing every year. In his book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, Tom Rainer tells us that only 41% of Americans attend church services on a typical weekend. Each new generation becomes increasingly unchurched. Slightly over one half (51%) of the builder generation (born before 1946) attends church in a typical weekend. But only 41% of the boomers (born 1946-1964) and 34% of the busters (born 1965-1976) attend church on the weekend. The younger generation, the bridgers (born 1977-1994), indicates that only 30% attend church.
The lost are all around us, even as they were all around the disciples. That’s the point that Jesus made in verse 35. No doubt, our Lord said this as He gestured toward the crowd that was coming toward them as a result of the woman’s invitation!
E. "My walk with God isn’t all it should be."
The Bible tells us that if we will seek to share our faith with others, our walk with God is strengthened.
In Philemon 6 (NIV), Paul wrote, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ"