THE POWER OF AN INVITATION

 

Invitations mean a great deal to our society whether you are young or old. There is something about invited to an event that makes you feel special and accepted. For instances when we use to be in school you could determine very quickly if you belonged to a particular group if they invited you to their birthdays and such. I know sometimes some kids cross their fingers hoping that they will be invited to the cool kids party and if that happens then that person will jump for joy at the invitation. There are certainly other examples of this such how a young lady feels when a handsome young man invites on her on a date or how a person feels when then boss invites them out to dinner. Of course many more examples could be given but we can certainly see that giving and receiving invitations are powerful in our society. But, this same thing is true when it comes to Bible and learning about God and that is what I want to look at this morning.

 

We will be examining several aspects of what the Bible shows about the power of an invitation. The first thing we are going to look at are several examples of how some came to know Jesus because of a simple invitation. Our first example comes from,

 

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?"39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ).42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).

 

Here we can certainly see the power of invitation and what became of it. Because Andrew took the time to invite his brother Peter to come and see Jesus, Peter ends up becoming one his followers which leads him to becoming one of the chosen 12 apostles of Christ. From there as we a read in our Bible we learn that Peter becomes a reckoning force in furthering the kingdom of God and he even serves as a elder during his life time. But none of this would have happened to Peter if Andrew had not taken the time to invite him to know Jesus. Again this shows us the power of invitation and we can never know what potential a person may have for the cause of Christ who has been invited to know Jesus. Lets us continue on to verse,

 

John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me."44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote -- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

 

Once again we see a simply invitation given to Nathanael by Philip. At first Nathanael is hesitant because he couldnít understand how anything good come from Nazareth. Nazareth was a city that was not really that important and it had bad reputation of immortality and so this is why Nathanael said what he did but fortunately for him he overcame this and came to know Jesus. Some believe that Nathanael is Bartholomew as mentioned in the other gospels and if this is true then we have another example where a simple invitation lead to a man becoming a great servant of God.

 

What we need to learn from this is that sometimes people are going to be hesitant about being invited to know Christ but we must be persistent and tell them how important it is to know Christ and that they just need to see it for themselves and experience it. There is no greater invitation that you give as Christians or accept as a non-Christians than to know Jesus because He has the Words that lead to eternal life. When you get to know Jesus and understand what he represents it is only natural for you to want to invite other to know him as well, and we have example of this when Jesus stops at Samaria and is waiting by Jacob well,

 

John 4:7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

 

You have to understand most Jews would walk around Samaria because Jews considered the people being un-pure because they were part Jew and part Gentile and Jewish talking to a women was taboo as well yet we find Jesus in the Samaria talking to Samaritan women.

 

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?12 "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,14 "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,'18 "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?"28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

 

Now put yourself in the shoes of this women and imagine how awkward you would feel for a Jew to be talking to you and then for this Jewish man to start telling you that he has water that he can offer that cause you never thirst again. While your pondering that thought He lets you know that you are open book to him and he knows about your personal life even though you have never seen him before. At this point you realize there is something very special about this man so you ask him about worship and tells what true worship is going to be which worshiping God in spirit and in truth. Then finally he reveals to you that he is the Christ the coming Messiah. Thing about how overwhelmed you would be to know that you were in the presences of the Son of God. You would have forgotten all about your water pot as well and as we see this cause this woman to go tell all the people she could about Jesus and what he had done. She was inviting people left and right to come see Jesus.

 

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.

 

Once again we see the power of an invitation and how this sinful women was able to lead many to Christ that would not have know him otherwise. This is what God is all about. He invites people to share in his love and to become his servant. He never tries to force anyone because he wants you and I to choose whom we will serve because he has given us a free will. Just as Joshua says,

 

 

 

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

 

Since he has given us this free will this is why God only asks us to invite people to know the Lord and to let them choose their own fate. This is illustrated for us by Jesus in,

 

Luke 14:16 Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,17 "and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.'18 "But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.'19 "And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.'20 "Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'21 "So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.'22 "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.'23 "Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24 'For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.' "

 

This is an easy story to understand. The supper was made and people were invited and the first set of people rejected the invitation and they made excuses of why they couldnít come. It important for us to realize that not everyone will accept you invitation to know the Lord and just the people in the stories when they donít want to say no they will start making excuses but this is going to happen and we must press on just the man did in our story. He went back out and went to a different class of people and invited them and they accepted but there was still more room so he went out and invited all to come to his feast. Of course Jesus was showing in this story the rejection of Jews to hear him and how that the Gentiles would be called to know him and become a child a God and how that there is room for everyone in Godís kingdom who will accept the invitation.

 

We must always keep this is the back of our mind. Never give up on giving out invitation to know the lord. When you rejected over and over again just keep inviting the next person. Most likely you finally find someone that will accept the invitation and who knows they may become the next great leader for the cause of Christ. Another thing you should consider is even if you invite people all your life and no accepts the invitation you can feel confident that you did not fail because you have done what God has asked you to do and you can rejoice in that.

 

The last thing I want to look at this morning is 2 different ways that you can use the power of an invitation to lead people to Christ.

 

1. We need to invite people to come worship with us or to come to our Bible classes. One survey I looked at showed that the number 1 reason why people started attending the worship services was because a friend or a loved one invited them. Now I donít remember the exact percentage but it seems that it was around 80% of the people said this was the reason.

 

Each one of you comes in contact with people that nobody else knows and you should be inviting these people to worship with you. Now, I know that is scary to ask people this sometimes but must overcome this fear and not worry about what they are going to think about you because your invitation could be the key to their salvation. Notice what Paul says in,

 

1 Thessalonians 2:3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness -- God is witness.6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. I encourage you donít pass up the power of a invitation.

 

Basically Paul is teaching that as Christians we are not to be concerned about trying to appease men and women by speaking flattery to them instead we are should be sharing with them the truth from Godís Word. But at the same time we are not to shove it down their throats. We are to be gentle and inviting by building relationships with them which will cause their hearts to more open to Godís Word and to your invitations.

 

2. A second thing we can do has do with building relationships and that is by inviting people into your homes or inviting them to events where you can get to know them better and open up opportunities to have a Bible study. This could also include accepting invitation to other peopleís homes. Again, donít waist any opportunities of inviting people to know the Lord.

 

In conclusion we have learned just how powerful and invitation can be. We saw how Peter was invited by his brother to know Jesus and how Philip invited Nathaniel to know Jesus and we saw the results from this and we looked several other examples that showed how difference a invitation made in people lives and we can harness that same power today by inviting people to know Jesus and allowing them to choose whom they will serve. So donít ever forget the power of an invitation.

 

As always at the end of every lesson I want to offer you invitation and that invitation is from the Lord,

 

Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." ††

 

Jesus want you to know him and he wants to be part of your life and he is standing at the door knocking waiting for you to invite him in. (give plan of salvation)