We are going to look at Peter’s life to see what three things helped him become a person who powerfully helped people find and follow Jesus.
God never meant for us to receive the salvation blessing and have it end with us.
Good morning. It’s good to see you again. My wife and I are 11 days away from having our third child, and I’m 11 days away from a breakdown. You can pray for us. We are excited. We don’t know what we’re having. We decided to be surprised. Hopefully, it’s not an alien. Hopefully, it’s a baby.
We are in the final week of our series called The Deeper Life where we’ve been exploring what the first Christians did to experience the deeper life that Jesus promised them. Jesus said, “I’ve come to give you life, life to the full, or life abundant,” and they really had that. I believe that’s possible for us too. So we’ve been exploring what they did to experience that deeper life. We talked about how they met together, how they were seeking Jesus daily, how they were sharing, how they are giving, or meeting together, seeking, giving, sharing, and we’re going to talk about that sharing portion today.
Jesus, when he came, he said he came to seek and to save the people who are sitting in church. No, he said he came to seek and to save those are who are on a Hawaiian vacation. No, but they’re already saved, man. They got the good life. He came to seek and to save the…
Lost. He came to seek and to save people who are far from God. And then, Jesus gave that same mission to his disciples. He gave it to fishermen and tax collectors, and now he continues to give that mission to you and to me. He gives it to stay-at-home moms and dads. He gives it to a customer service reps, and financial agents, and bankers, and all of us, people who are working every sort of job in every sort of area. He gives it to every single one of us the mission to seek and to save the lost.
We rephrase that and say our mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. It’s really simple. We’re to help people find and follow Jesus. That’s what he’s given to us. We’re supposed to share Jesus with others. But have you ever wondered why he gave that mission to us? Why did he give it to the disciples then? Why did he give it to us now? Because it seems like there could be a more uniform method of communication.
We’re pretty unreliable at times. We tend to bungle things up and yet Jesus could have done it in a lot easier and simple and cleaner way. He could have had great Instagram posts. It would have been really easy to share that way. He could have done hilarious TikTok videos and everybody would have loved it, or he could have done an annual Superbowl commercial and that would have been the best commercial in the Superbowl, right? But he didn’t do that. For some reason, he gave you and I the mission. Why did he do that? Why did he give you and I mission? Well, I think it’s because of this. He wanted to include us in what he’s still doing.
Our God is still seeking and saving the lost, and he wanted to include his people, his children, in what he’s doing. One of my favorite things to do is to include my kids in what I’m doing. I love it when they get to show up at work and see what I do. I love it when we get to play games together. I love including my kids because I like being with them. And do you know that Jesus actually likes being with you? That he wants to include you in what he’s doing. He’s still seeking and saving the lost, so he’s included us to do it as well.
But how do we do this? How do we help people find and follow Jesus? I’m reading a book right now by J.D. Greear, Pastor J. D. Greear, and it’s called Gaining By Losing. It’s a book about church planting. And maybe you didn’t know this, but we as a church are a church-planting church. We want to plant churches in areas and in people groups where the gospel has not been planted yet. So we are going to be doing that and continue to be doing that. We’ve got a long history of that.
So I’m reading this book and he says that there’s three ways typically that people think about the church and how we as the church accomplish the mission of Jesus. And he says it in a really fun way. I think you’re going to like this. He says three different ways. The first way is people look at the church in accomplishing its mission for Jesus as a cruise ship. People look at it as a cruise ship. Like, “Okay, if we’re going to help people find and follow Jesus, what we have to do is we have to get them on board. We’ve got to feed them and entertain them, and we’re just going to sail off into heaven.” Like if we can just get them on board, we’ll just entertain them, we’ll keep them here, and it’ll be awesome. That’s people’s mentality, some people’s mentality about how we do mission. We just get them here.
Well, he says, “That’s not quite right.” He says, “Some other people look at the church as a battleship.” How many of you think that’s cool? The church is a battleship, right? In this image with the church, we as the church, a battleship literally goes into the battle. It’s got guns and weapons, and that we as a church, we would be in the battle, that we would have powerful things onboard of us that would impact people with the message of the gospel. And so, this would be looking at the churches like we’ve got these powerful programs that will impact people.
And that’s good. We can have powerful programs, but he says, “That’s not what the church is. The church isn’t a battleship.” He says the church is an aircraft carrier. The church is an aircraft carrier. Now, does an aircraft carrier go into battle? No, it stays as far away from battle as it can. It’s not equipped for battle. The aircraft carrier carries all these planes, and the planes fly off and go accomplish the mission.
In the same way, J.D. Greear says that we as the church, us together as the church, when we gather, we fuel up. We get ready for the mission. And then when we go out, we are each individually sent out to fulfill the mission. How many of you think it’s cool that you’re like a fighter jet? Just call me Maverick, baby. You are sent out to fulfill the mission. So that’s how the church accomplishes its mission. We get together, we gather, and we praise Jesus. But it’s when we go out that we are really accomplishing the mission. It’s when we go out that we’re actually helping people find and follow Jesus.
How do we do that? How do we help people find and follow Jesus? Well, 30 years ago, a brilliant missional guru named Pastor Joe Wittwer came up with this thing, and it’s actually in the Bible in John 1. We call it, Find, Tell, Bring where in the Bible, in John 1, Andrew finds his brother, Simon, tells him about Jesus and then brings him with him to meet Jesus. So we say, “Find somebody you love, tell them what you know, and bring them with you as you follow Jesus. Bring them to Jesus with you.”
Now, when I was in middle school, God had put a fire in my heart. I had been homeschooled from kindergarten through sixth grade, which explains a lot if you meet me and have a conversation with me. I love all you homeschoolers, okay? So when I went to middle school, I was in public school for the first time ever, and God put a fire in my heart. And I had so much fun sharing Jesus with my friends around me.
One of the coolest things was to see my friends who didn’t know Jesus, come to know Jesus. And then they caught fire to help our other friends come to know Jesus, because they were so overflowing with the forgiveness of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the grace and hope of Jesus that they just couldn’t help but share with others. How many of you have had that experience before, where when you first got saved, you were just so on fire for Jesus. Okay, nobody, awesome.
Now, many of you have experienced that, where when you first meet Jesus, you’re just overflowing with this sense of forgiveness that he’s given you, with the love that he’s given you. And these friends were feeling that, and I was too. But it’s interesting because after a while I, as we were sharing our faith, we continued to get rejected. We continued to hear nos as we’d invite people along with us. Over my lifetime, I’ve experienced that as well, that as I’ve shared Jesus…
I remember one time in the park, I shared Jesus with this lady and she’s like, “No, I’m not about that.” And that rejection hurts, doesn’t it? For many of us, we’ve been sharing Jesus with a friend or a family member and we’ve been doing it for years and years. And despite our best efforts, we feel like we’re still being stiff armed. And that’s incredibly discouraging, isn’t it? How many of you are in that place right now, where you’ve got somebody in your life who you’ve been trying to share Jesus with them, or a neighbor, a friend, but you just feel like, man, I’m discouraged.
What happens is, as Christians, we’re supposed to accomplish this mission but we get plugged up in our hearts. We get plugged up with that fear of, what’s somebody going to think or say if I start sharing Jesus? What will this person do if I share Jesus with them? Or maybe we’re getting plugged up by discouragement. Maybe we’re getting plugged up by busy-ness. But one way or another through discouragement, or fear, or busy-ness, or distraction, we get plugged up and we stop sharing Jesus. We forget that this is our mission given to us by Jesus.
We were never meant to receive the blessing of salvation and keep it to ourselves. We were meant to pass it on. We were meant to be people who share Jesus with others. He gave the great commission to you and to me, just like he did his first disciples. But we do, we get plugged up. I think we need some Holy Spirit Drano in our lives. We need him to come in and clear out those things that are plugging us up so that we can share Jesus with people who desperately need him.
If I’m really honest, I still struggle to consistently share my faith. I get plugged up. I get plugged up by the fear of what my neighbor’s going to think if I really share it with him. I get plugged up with the discouragement that I’ve experienced as I’ve tried to share but I get rebuffed. I get plugged up. We’re going to look at a story today about a guy who, for one reason or another, got plugged up.
He wanted to accomplish the mission, but for one reason or another, he ignored the mission. And this is Peter, the disciple Peter. We see that he struggled with this too. And we’re going to look at three things that we can do to engage the mission that Jesus has given us. And we’ll get to the Bible in just a second. But before we do, we’re going to pray. Would you pray with me? God, we ask that you would speak loud and clear to our hearts, in Jesus’ name, amen.
I’m going to invite the ushers to come to receive today’s tithes and offerings. So thank you so much for giving generously. Hey, last weekend I gave a message about God’s generosity to us and how we can reflect that generosity to him. And I just want to celebrate that over 190 of you said that you’re going to start giving to God or a non-profit. So thank you so much for sharing that decision with us. That is amazing. And over 240 of you said that you’re going to in some way increase your giving to God. And that’s just the people who were able to drop in the card right at that moment. I know many of you were able to take that card home and think through your decision, but I want to thank you for receiving God’s generosity and reflecting God’s generosity. And I pray that that blesses you in incredible ways.
You can pass the Bibles out now. In just a moment, we’re going to be opening them. But we’re going to go to two different stories about Peter, about the disciple Peter. I’m going to summarize and paraphrase things that happened before and after these stories. So pass those Bibles down. In just a second, we’ll crack them open. But we’re going to start with how did the disciple, how did Peter first meet Jesus? Peter, then called Simon, Jesus renamed him, and Peter means the rock. How many of you think that’s a cool nickname? Like, “Yeah, you’re the rock, man.” I would love that.
Simon is there with Jesus, and Jesus is preaching on the beach. Jesus at one point feels the crowd pressing him into the water. And so, he looks at Simon. He says, “Hey man, can I get in your boat and can you take me out?” So he takes Jesus out on his boat and Jesus preaches from the boat. And when Jesus is done preaching, he looks at Peter or Simon, and he says, “Hey, let’s go out into the water and let’s try to catch some fish.” And Simon says, “Hey, man. Look, I’ve been trying to catch fish all night and I didn’t catch anything. But because you say so, I’ll do it.”
So Simon drops the nets and he gets this miraculous catch, this huge catch, so much so that he needs to call his partners over in another boat to carry this huge catch back into the beach. And when they get to the beach, Jesus looks at Simon, looks at he and his friends and says, “Hey, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He redefines Peter’s whole life mission. He says, “Look, you were fishing in a normal way, but I’m going to make you fish in a supernatural way. I’m going to make you a fisher of men.” And Simon gets this mission then to come along with Jesus and help him seek and save the lost.
It’s interesting that Simon was at one point in the crowd taking in the message of Jesus, but then Jesus invited him into his crew where he got the word of Jesus out. And I believe that Jesus wants to do the same thing for you and me, that we can be in the crowd consuming the message of Jesus, taking the word in, but he wants us to be in his inner crew getting the word out. So Jesus brings Simon along, and for three years, Simon is with Jesus learning how to help people come into the kingdom of God and experience relationship with Jesus.
But near the end of Jesus’ time with Peter, there is a commissioning that Jesus gives him, sort of like we commissioned graduates, you know what I mean? Jesus gives his disciples this commission. It’s in Matthew 28. Would you turn there with me? Matthew 28, page 857, and we’re going to be looking at verses 18 through 20. Now, there’s some things that happen after this. We know that Jesus meets his disciples after the resurrection. He meets them in Galilee. And this is where we see Jesus meeting his disciples in Galilee. But we know that they go back to Judea after this.
But Matthew, the author of this gospel, just leaves us with this because this is incredibly important to him, and it’s incredibly important to Jesus, what Jesus says here. So he leaves these as Jesus’ last words to the disciples and to us. So Matthew 28 starting verse 18. “Then Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. And surely I’m with you always to the very end of the age.”
Again, Matthew leaves these as the last words of Jesus, even though they go back to Judea because he wants us to know that this should be the drum beat of the disciples’ lives, the drum beat of our lives. This is the thing that should keep us moving forward. It’s how we keep in pace with Jesus. It’s this great commission to make disciples to help people find and follow Jesus. So we know that Peter heard this loud and clear. But when we move forward in time into John 21, we see that there’s something missing still.
So I’m going to paraphrase John 21 for us. This is after Jesus gives the great commission. Then in John 21, we see that for some reason or another, Peter, instead of fulfilling the great commission, has gone back to fishing. Instead of fishing for men, he’s back on the boat fishing for fish. And Jesus comes to him and Jesus is on the beach, and he looks at Peter and some of the other disciples out on the boat. He calls them and says, “Hey, have you guys caught anything?” And of course they said, “No.”
Does this remind you of the first time Jesus saw them? And so Jesus, just like the first time, he says, “Cast your nets on the other side of the boat.” And when they cast their nets on the other side of the boat, all of a sudden, they got this miraculous catch once again, Jesus repeating the first time he calls Peter, now on the second time. They get this miraculous catch and the disciple who’s with Peter says, “I think that’s Jesus on the shore.” And so, Peter goes crazy and jumps overboard and swims to the beach to be near Jesus. And then Jesus has this conversation with them.
He says, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And he asks him this three times. He says, “Do you love me?” And three times Peter says, “Yes, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” And Jesus responds each time by saying this. He says, “Then feed my sheep.” Apparently the fishing metaphor wasn’t working for Peter, so Jesus switched it up and said, “Then feed my sheep. Take care of my people. Look out for the lost. Look out for the weak and the hurting. Do exactly what I’ve asked you to do. Fulfill the great commission. Help people find and follow me.”
Isn’t this so interesting that Peter in this moment probably felt discouraged, probably felt disqualified. He was out there fishing. But Jesus doesn’t address any of those things. He just looks at Peter and says, “Do you love me? Do you love me?” And the response is, “Well, yes, if you love me, then feed my sheep.” Now remember, this guy who ignored the great commission. This guy who had been given it by Jesus and yet ignored it. This is the guy whom Jesus called the rock on whom he would build his church. If this guy ignored the great commission, if he ran away from it, and Jesus still went after him, don’t you think there’s hope for us when we ignore the great commission?
Don’t you think there’s hope for us when we get plugged up, when we get distracted, when we feel disqualified and fearful? I think there is. So point number one is this on your outline, remember your mission. Remember your mission. Why did Peter go back to fishing? Why did he choose to ignore the great commission? Did he forget so quickly what Jesus had told him to do? Well, maybe it’s because Peter felt disqualified. Maybe Peter thought maybe the mission is for the other disciples, the disciples who didn’t deny Jesus. “It couldn’t be for me. They wouldn’t want me along. Jesus wouldn’t want me to do this. Maybe if he invited me, it was just out of courtesy, but he actually doesn’t want me because I am a failure. I couldn’t do it. I denied Jesus, therefore I’m not worthy to take part in this mission.”
Don’t you think that that’s partly why Peter went back to fishing because he felt unworthy to do what Jesus had done. He felt unworthy to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and yet Jesus showed up to him. And friends, there’s many of us who, because of our past, we disqualify ourselves from following in Jesus’ footsteps. We disqualify ourselves from sharing Jesus because we say, “Who would believe me if I started sharing about Jesus? Because look what I’ve done in my past.”
And yet Jesus came back to Peter and he’s coming to you, and he’s calling you back to the mission. Nothing you can do can disqualify you from the mission of Jesus because of everything Jesus has done on the cross to qualify you for it. You cannot disqualify yourself from this because Jesus has already fully qualified you for it. And he qualified Peter as well. Maybe Peter felt fearful. He’d seen what they’d done to Jesus, and because of that he was fearful of what they’d do to him.
Many of us are fearful about what people will think and say when we start sharing Jesus. What will our coworkers think? What will our family think? Will it make things awkward? Will they lose respect for me if I start sharing Jesus? And because of that fear, we push the mission out of our lives and down. We also fear messing up, and because of those things, we stopped sharing Jesus. But Jesus comes to Peter, even when he’s fearful and he calls him back into the mission.
Maybe Peter felt distracted, maybe because of all of his failures, maybe because all of his fear, Peter said, “You know what? I’m just going to distract myself with what I know. And I think for many of us, we distract ourselves because we feel disqualified. We feel fearful of what might happen if we start sharing Jesus with others. And so, we distract ourselves with things that we know, with things we know that are safe, instead of engaging in the mission with Jesus.
Maybe he felt hurt and forgotten. Maybe he doubted Jesus’ promises, and because of that he felt like, man, if I’ve doubted his promises, who am I to share his promises with others? I think all of us have felt one of these ways or all of these ways at times. Have you ever questioned Jesus’ timing in your life? And because you doubt him sometimes, you feel disqualified to share him with others. This is how many of us feel.
But again, I love that while Peter was feeling all of these things, Jesus didn’t address things that he thought disqualified him. Jesus didn’t even deem those things worthy of addressing. He just looked at him and said, “Do you love me? Do you love me?” And Peter’s answer was, “Yes, Lord. Of course, I love you. You know that I do.” Peter’s the bold one, right? Peter’s the one who denies big and claims big, and he says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And Jesus just responds, “Then feed my sheep.”
The mission is predicated on our love for Jesus. The mission is based on our love for Jesus. Jesus invites us to accompany him in this mission because we love him. Our love for Jesus should overflow for love for people, to love God. And to love people is the great commandment, and the great commission is founded on that great commandment. When Jesus promised us life abundant, don’t you think it’s involved in the life that he called us to, to make disciples? Why would Jesus promise life abundant and then call us into something that’s not abundant, that doesn’t give us life abundant? He’s called us into life abundant by sharing him with others.
That’s how we experience the deeper life. That’s how we engage in it, is by sharing him with others. So wherever you go, remember your mission. Whether you’re at the grocery store, or at work, whether you’re at a restaurant, remember that Jesus has sent you there for people there. Whatever you do, remember that you’re on mission. Whether you’re golfing or driving, it doesn’t matter. You are on mission with Jesus. Whatever you feel, remember that Jesus chose you, that Jesus qualified you, that he’s called you, and he’s calling you still into this mission with him to help people find and follow him. Remember your mission.
Just before Jesus ascends to heaven in Acts 8 or in Acts 1, we see Jesus talking with his disciples just before he ascends. He’s talking with Peter, and he tells Peter and the disciples to wait until they’ve received power from on high. Acts 1:4. Jesus says to them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you’ve heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So Peter and the disciples, wait for the promise of Jesus, wait for the promised Holy Spirit. But why did they have to wait? I mean, they had everything that they needed, it seemed like. They had the gospel. They had transportation. They had boats. They had a gospel that would transform people. They had all of these things that they needed, and yet Jesus said to wait. Why did he say to wait?
But they did. They waited, and we see the fulfillment of the promise, the sending of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. So would you turn there with me? It’s in Acts 2:1 through 4. It’s page 936. Acts 2:1 through 4, and we’re going to see why Jesus told them to wait. So they’re waiting together. And in Acts 2, after a few days of waiting, we see that the promise comes. Acts 2:1 through 4. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
We’re going to pause right there. Peter and the disciples believed that Jesus is God. They believed that he’d been resurrected from the dead. They believed that if you believe in him, you receive forgiveness of sins, but they still had not received the Holy Spirit. Friends, you can believe in Jesus, but you need the Holy Spirit to do what he’s asked you to do. So, number two, if you want to fulfill the mission of Jesus, if you want to engage this mission, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s point number two. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The filling of the believers with the Holy Spirit is a fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies. This is something that’s incredibly important to God, not just in this moment, but He prophesied about it through His prophets, coming through the centuries. So this is the fulfillment of promises from hundreds of years back. It’s the fulfillment of Joel 2:28 through 29, Ezekiel 36:27, all of Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 32:15 and many more. God wanted them to wait before they started sharing, but why?
Why did he want them to wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Here’s why. Because you share what your full of. You share whatever you’re full of. So I’ve got this. You’re probably wondering what this is, right? You share what you’re full of. And I’ve got a nice drinking glass here. Let’s say that you’re full of anger. If you’re full of anger, when people bump into you, what’s going to splash on them?
Anger, right? Let’s say it’s not anger you’re dealing with right now. Let’s say it’s envy or bitterness. If you’re full of envy or bitterness, when people bump into you, when they come in contact with you, when they get close to you, what are you going to splash on them? What are you going to share with them? Envy and bitterness, right? Or let’s say it’s not those things. Let’s say that right now you’re plagued by doubts, and your doubts just keep piling on you. And when people bump into you, what are you going to share with them? You’re going to end up sharing doubts with them.
But when you’re full of the Holy Spirit, when you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re going to share what you’re full of. So if you’re full of the Holy Spirit, man, when people bump into you, what are you going to share with them? Yeah. You’re going to share living water. You’re going to share the presence and power of God with them. And friends, there are so many people, there are so many people who are waiting to experience God. There are many people who say they don’t believe in God, but if you said, “If there is a God, would you want to experience him?” They would raise their hands so quickly. They want to experience God and we have Him. So are you full of the Holy Spirit?
What are you full of? What are you going to splash out when people get next to you and near you? When they start hearing you, what are you full of? I pray that you and I are full of the Holy Spirit and that he would just keep pouring himself out so that it would keep going and splashing and coming out of us, that we will be overflowing with the Holy Spirit. If you want to accomplish the mission that Jesus has given to you, every morning, you need to pray that he’d fill you with the Holy Spirit. You need to pray, “God, here I am. I’m emptying myself so I can be filled with you.”
Oh sweetheart, thank you so much. This is the kingdom of God. Can you get a shot of this? Look at that. It’s where he lives. Thank you, sweetie. Don’t you love kids?
What a blessing they are. So what are you full of? What are you full of? Are you full of the Holy Spirit? I pray that we are. I’ve met a few people where, before they say anything, before they do anything weird that would say that they’re a Christian, because you know how some people do that, I’ve just known right away that that person is a Jesus follower. You know why? It’s because they’re full of the Holy Spirit. I’ve met people like this, where when you come into contact with them, you just immediately know that they’re full of the Holy Spirit.
And then when you start listening to them, you hear that actually they have incredible struggles in their lives. I’ve met a few of these people that, when you listen to their story, you realize, man, you are going through some tough things, and right now you should be down. You should be depressed. But instead, you’re full of joy. You’re full of peace, in spite of the things that you’re going through, in the midst of the things that you’re going through.
What this means is that our greatest weakness when we’re full of the Holy Spirit actually becomes our greatest witness, that when we’re full of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit starts leaking out of our brokenness and people see him instead of our woundedness and our pain, that our greatest weakness can become our greatest witness. We don’t have to hide those things. We don’t have to push them back and look perfect for everyone. We can just be who we are when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and people will see him coming through us.
So what are you full of? If you want to share Jesus, like I said, you’ve got to seek every day to be filled with the Holy Spirit so you can splash him out. We’re going to end with a few practical tips on how to do Find, Tell, Bring. As you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, how do you practice this Find, Tell, Bring thing, because you could say, “Find somebody you love. Tell them what you know, and bring them with you as you follow Jesus.” But how do I tell them what I know? How do I bring them along with me? We’re going to talk about a few of those things.
Well, point number three is this. Are you ready? Here’s the two tips I’m going to give you for how to do Find, Tell, Bring. As you do Find, Tell, Bring, here’s some pro tips, I’d call them, okay? You’re going to love it. Ready? Number three. Are you ready?
Are you sure, because you’re going to love this. You’re going to love it. Ready? Number three, eat food and start with one. Isn’t that good? Eat food. How many of you… I’m ready to go help people find and follow Jesus if it involves eating food. Eat food and start with one. Here’s why I say that. Many historians, when you look at the early church and how it spread so rapidly, many historians believe that the gospel spread quickly because it traveled on the established social tracks of eating food together.
If you look at Acts 2:42 through 48, you see that they were breaking bread daily, that they were eating together in their homes. That when you eat together, you develop these natural relationships. You have natural talking points with people. And the gospel spread quickly because they were inviting people into their homes to eat with them, that they allowed the gospel and sharing the gospel to become part of even their home life, this sacred home life that we try to protect.
Jesus says that we should bring that into our home and bring people into our home. Have you ever thought how bonding food is? We have food at the most bonding experiences. Holiday parties with our family, we have food. At Superbowl parties, we have food. When we do backyard barbecues together, whenever you go on a date with your spouse, you usually go on a dinner that you get food because it helps you bond together. There’s something that unites us about food, and I think it’s this. It’s really simple. We all need it, right? We all need food. It’s a commonality between you and me and you and every other person, is that we need food.
When you’re united around one of your needs and your needs being fulfilled, it creates really natural talking points to share Jesus with others. I am so grateful that God blessed us with this natural way to engage with people, to have people over to our houses and not be weird about it. So, as you’re eating food, as you’re eating food, what would happen if you decided that once a month you’re going to invite someone who’s far from Jesus into your home? You decide I’m going to invite them in and I’m going to love on them. I’m going to share my life with them. I’m going to share my joy with them. I’m going to express that I care for them.
What if you did this once a month? I think if we did this, if every single one of us did this once a month, that we would see a move of God in our church, don’t you?
That if we would commit to doing this once a month where we just brought someone into our home and invited them into our lives, that they’d start getting Jesus because that’s who we’re full of. We’re full of the Holy Spirit, so we would start splashing out on them. Now, when you’re with people and you’re eating with them, what do you start telling them? How do you broach the Jesus conversation? Is that difficult for anyone else, that moment of transition where all of a sudden you go from sports to Jesus? It’s like, “Whoa, how did we take that right turn?” Right?
Here’s a few really natural ways. First, I want to free you from the obligation of making gospel presentations and let you know that you can just have gospel conversations. You don’t need to present the whole gospel to people. If we’re going to say that there’s 20 core truths of the gospel. I just made that number up. But if we’re going to say that there’s all of these core truths of the gospel, you don’t have to present all of them to them at one time. You can present one to them when the opportunity arises. So you don’t have to feel like, “Man, I have to present the whole gospel to them right now.” Just give them one piece as Jesus gives you the opportunity.
That’s one way to start. Oh, did you make me another one? Thank you so much, sweetheart. I am so blessed by you. We always say that when you’re with somebody, you should ask them their story. Ask them their story. It’s a great way to start a conversation. And usually, as I’ve been doing this, usually someone will bring up their faith or lack of faith. They’ll bring up their experience with God or their hurt about God. And it’s a natural opening for you to ask them more about it. Say, “Hey, tell me more about that. Tell me why you feel that way.” And usually after they share their story, what are they going to do? They’re going to ask you what’s your story? And you get to share your story and how Jesus impacted your life.
Here’s another few pro tips about how to make that switch and that transition into a conversation about Jesus. One of the things you can say is, “Hey, what are you doing this weekend?” And they’ll tell you what you’re doing this weekend. And then they’re going to ask you, “What are you doing this weekend?” And you’re going to tell them, “I’m skipping church now.” No, I’m just kidding. You’re going to say, “I’m going to church,” right? And they’re going to say, “Wow, tell me about that.” You’re going to say, “Man, Jesus has impacted my life. And because of that, I meet with his people weekly, and it’s so helpful for me.”
Another way is you can just say, “How can I be praying for you?” As I’ve asked this question, I’ve never had someone say, “I don’t want prayer.” Whether they’re an atheist or are so far from God that they would never step foot in a church, they’ve never said, “I don’t want prayer.” They’ll always say, “Hey, you could pray for this. This is what I’m struggling with.” And it’s a great way to broach that conversation and just plant a seed and let them know that you’re a Christian, that you’re a follower of Jesus.
So start eating food with people. Start having these conversations with people. But why do I say focus on one? If you’re like me, I look at the lost people in my life, and I look at how many people I’d love right now to know Jesus. And I look at all these people and I say, “Where do I start?” Then I get paralyzed by indecision of where to start. Does this happen to anyone else? You look at all the lost people in your life and you’re like, “Man, I don’t know where to start or who to start with. So my suggestion to you is just start with one. Start with one, focused on one person. Invite them over for dinner. Invite them into your life and start working on them, planting seeds in their life, and trust that God is going to do something in them.
Here’s a fun story. There are some [inaudible 00:37:46] in our church, their names are Todd and Allie Curie. And they are really good at inviting people over into their lives and doing this whole Find, Tell, Bring thing. Here’s one story from their life. They recently were doing soccer for one of their kids’ soccer teams, and they decided, “Hey, we’re going to be really intentional about the parents on the soccer team.” So they got to know one of these parents and they invited them over for dinner into their house, and they started having gospel conversations with them, sharing Jesus, and hearing their story.
What they learned was that this guy was incredibly angry with God. He was incredibly angry because when he was a teenager, his brother died, and he could not get over his frustration and hurt that God let that happen. And so, now this guy was 40 and he’s still carrying this anger. He doesn’t want anything to do with God. But Todd and Allie start having these conversations with them, and this couple, they have a baby. And so, Todd and Allie are taking food over to them and they’re caring for them, and they start praying for them.
Then they start inviting them to church and they say, “No, no, no, no.” But finally one week they said, “Yes.” And this guy came to church and God rocked him. God released him from his anger and his bitterness, and Todd and Allie started continuing to disciple them and show them what it looks like to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. And it all happened because they started and just focused on one person. They invited them into their lives. They invited them to eat with them. They had simple gospel conversations with them, and then they brought them along with them as they were following Jesus. It’s a great story, isn’t it?
That’s a great story of success. But for every story of success, there’s also a story of discouragement where many of us have tried to invite someone, to share Jesus with someone. And for years, we’ve been stiff-armed. My dad, for years, for 25 years, was sharing Jesus with his dad, my Grandpa Dean. And for 25 years, Grandpa Dean stiff-armed him. As you can imagine, this was incredibly difficult for my dad. He wanted Grandpa Dean to know Jesus so badly. And so, for 25 years, he shared Jesus with him. For 25 years, he ate meals with him. For 25 years, he loved his dad and prayed for him, and yet his dad didn’t become a Christian, for 25 years.
As my dad was praying for him and praying for him and praying for him, in the last year of Grandpa Dean’s life, he said yes to Jesus. Friends, there’s many of us who’ve been praying for 10 years, for 15 years, for 25 years, for 30 years, and for 40 years, and you feel like giving up. Can I tell you right now, in the name of Jesus, don’t give up, that God’s arm is not too short to reach out and to save that person, that if we are faithful to bring those people to God in prayer, that he is faithful to do what only he can do and save them.
And so, if we would just stay faithful, if we’d keep praying, don’t give up on the people that you love. God’s called you into this mission and no matter what they do to stiff-arm you, keep loving them in the name of Jesus. We’re going to end with this passage. It’s Luke 10:2. Jesus is sending out the disciples. I’m going to have it on the screens for you. Jesus is sending out 72 disciples, and he looks at them and he’s sending them out. And he says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The harvest is plentiful. Do you believe that? There are so many people who are lost and need Jesus. There are so many people who are hurting and need his healing. There are so many people who are hopeless and they’re only going to be given hope because of Jesus. And you know what? We have that hope, and we have that peace, and we have that healing because the Holy Spirit resides in us.
He sends the 72 out, and in the same way, he sends us out. But as he’s sending us out, he says, “Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out more.” So as we’re going, we shouldn’t just be going alone. We should be going and praying that God would send out workers into the harvest, not just from our church, but from every church in Spokane, that God would be sending out workers for the harvest, that in every church people would be on fire to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given us. And if we do that, we’re going to see our friends saved, we’re going to be our see our family saved. Maybe it’s not at this church, it’s at another church. I don’t really care. I care that people meet Jesus, Amen?
We want to be on fire for Jesus, and we need to pray that God sends not just us, but all of his workers out into the harvest. Would you pray with me? Jesus, we ask just that, that as you send us out, you would light up every Christian in Spokane to fulfill the mission. God, we pray that you would fill us with your Holy Spirit so that as we’re around people, they would get more of you and less of us. God, would you become greater in our lives as we submit ourselves to you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and make us bright lights in a dark world. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Everyone said…