Summary: Part 2 of this series designed to stir up a passion for investing in other peoples lives and then inviting them to church.
Invest and Invite
Part 2 “This is Your Invitation”
Brian A. Moon
Story – My wife one time told me a story about this girl she wanted to invite to church when she was in 7th grade. The girl was a bit of a bully and Cheryl was very nervous about asking her to go to church for obvious reasons… One time she even saw an open Bible in Cheryl’s room and picked it up to see if there were any cuss words in the back. Finally, one day she mustered up the courage to ask her and the girl said, “I have better things to do.” Not disheartened Cheryl continued to pray and ask her to come to church. Finally, 5 years later the girl came to church and found a need for God.
Tonight we conclude our series called “Invest and Invite” with a look at the invitation side of things.
Last week we talked about how we can do one of three things with our lives, we can: Waste it on wild living only for the present, Spend it on trying to get to the top or, Invest it in other people. We looked at investing our lives in others by doing three things: Investing through words, Investing through actions, and Investing through prayer. If we do these things we will earn the right to make the invite, we will earn the right to ask someone to come here, and hear about the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. So now that we have been investing in other people’s lives with our words, actions, and prayers, how do we go about this invite thing? For many of us we may have some questions and concerns about inviting our friends to come to church, but don’t feel bad. Christians always have some questions and concerns when it comes to inviting people to anything church related questions like: Why should we invite them in the first place? What are we inviting them to? How should you do it? What are some do’s and don’ts of asking people to church? Tonight my hope is that all of these questions are answered and that each of us is able to go out and make that invitation to those people that we have been investing in. The first question that I want to tackle is:
Why do they need to be invited?
“Why do I need to invite my friends here? I am doing just fine as things are, I don’t need them coming here and making me feel awkward, I want to feel comfortable when I come, why can’t someone else do it…” These are all common complaints about bringing people who do not know God, people who are far from being the church type, into here. “We like the way things are and bringing un-churched people into here is just going to mess it all up.” Often times we think evangelism is just for me the pastor to do, or the other leaders are responsible for inviting people here, “it is not my job to invite my friends” you might have told yourself.
But the fact of the matter is, Lost people matter to the heart of God, and therefore they should matter to you! People who have given up on God because of the things they see Christians doing, people who see no need for God, people who are so bad that they make you look like a saint, All matter to God! 2,000 years ago Jesus told a parable about some lost things, he told a story of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and the lost son, look at this first story of the lost sheep:
Luke 15: 3 – 8 “So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 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. NRSV
Jesus was talking to the religious people of his day when he told them this story. You see He allowed sinners and tax collectors, who were regarded as the scum of the earth, to come and be near him And listen to his teaching, and the religious leaders were grumbling and talking to each other saying, “Who is this guy that he lets these evil people come and be apart of what he is doing?” This is when Jesus turned to them and said this story… This is where this applies to you and me today, when we feel ourselves not wanting to invite people to come and be apart of what God is doing, When we feel like these “sinners” are going to mess up the nice little thing we have going on here, when this happens we are in the same boat as those religious leaders of Jesus day!!!