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Invitation to Life
John 1:43-51
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 11, 2012
*Invitations make a difference!
-- I am standing here today because of an invitation Georgia Savoie Canterbury gave to me 36 years ago.
Georgia simply invited a new co-worker to church, a lost co-worker, one who, by the grace of God was seeking the truth.
She invited someone who was almost ready to receive Jesus Christ, and I got saved less than two months later.
*Invitations make a difference!
-- We can see this truth in the life of Jesus Christ, because He is an inviter.
In Matt 11:28 Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!”
*That’s just one of many examples.
Jesus is an inviter and He calls His followers to be inviters, too.
The Lord wants you to invite people to come to Him, and God’s Word shows us how.
First we have to find the Lord.
*It is most unlikely that we will help other people find Jesus, unless we have found Him ourselves.
WE have to find Jesus first.
*Philip is our example in vs. 43-45:
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me.''
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
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.''
*Philip had a definite, personal testimony about finding Jesus.
What about you?
-Have you found Jesus Christ?
-Have you really found Him?
-Has Jesus been a vital part of your life this past week?
*Do you have the presence of God in your life?
-- Or are you living a godless life?
*One of my all-time favorite professors was Dr. Donald Potts from East Texas Baptist University.
Over at the seminary in Shreveport, he used to give these killer pop quizzes, but he graded easy.
Dr. Potts would let out this deep belly laugh and say, “Grace abounds!”
*Someone would ask him: “Is so and so right?”
-- Dr. Potts would laugh again and say: “No! -- And we’re only giving half-credit for wrong answers today.”
*The reason I mention Dr. Potts is because he taught me something so important about living a godless life.
I used to think that a godless life meant living some kind of horrible, sinful lifestyle, but that’s not necessarily true.
A godless life is just a life that leaves God out.
A godless life is living your life on a day-to-day basis without God.
*Did you leave God out of your life this week?
-Has Jesus Christ crossed your mind?
-Has He been the central focus of your life this week?
*We can find Him!
You can be as close to God as you want to be.
The Lord promises that we will find Him, IF we will search with all our heart.
*So, how can you find Jesus?
-- Philip reminds us in vs. 45.
Listen again to the testimony Philip gave to Nathanael: “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
*How can you find Jesus?
-- You will find Him in the Word of God.
And you will find Him through His witnesses, like Philip and the Holy Spirit who is here with us right now.
*But the ironic thing is that after you find Jesus, you will learn that He really found you.
Philip thought he found Jesus, but vs. 43 tells us the greater truth that Jesus found him.
That’s because Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who came into this world to find His lost sheep.
He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
*The Good Shepherd even gave up His life on the cross, so that He might save you.
And the same Jesus who found Philip in vs. 43 is here today by His Holy Spirit.
-He loves you.
-He died on the cross for you.
-He rose again.
-And He wants you to find Him by putting your trust in Him.
-We have to find Jesus.
2. Then we have to follow Him.
*What was the first thing that Jesus said to Philip in vs. 43?
-- “Follow me.”
-Are you following Jesus?
-- The biggest mistake we can make in life is not following Jesus.
*Matthew Stoll compared it to being in a burning building with smoke all around.
Then a fireman comes in and yells, “The building is on fire!
All of the exits are blocked by the flames.
You need to follow me!
I know the only way out.”
*But some of the people respond, “How do I know the building is really on fire?
-- Maybe you created all of this smoke just to get us to abandon our comfortable place to follow you.”
Others say, “I believe there is a fire but I think I would rather find my own way out of the building,” -- not trusting the word of the only one who could save them.
How foolish those people would be.
*But are you following Jesus?
-- This is vital for us to become the people God wants us to be.
Remember what Jesus told Peter and Andrew in Matt 4:18-19:
Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.''
*We can be the inviters God wants us to be, if we will follow the Lord.
But we also need to find our friends.
*That is exactly what Philip after he started following Jesus.
Verse 45 says: “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.’”
*Philip found Nathanael.
I wonder how he did it.
No cell phones, no GPS, no email, no facebook, the only way that Philip found Nathanael was by some dedicated, intentional effort.
*We live such hectic lives these days, and are so busy with other things that we forget about finding our friends for Jesus.
But God wants us to be intentional about it.
[1] God wants us to set a goal to find friends for Jesus.
*Invite them to church, knowing that you are really inviting them to Jesus.
This is a great time to do it, because Easter is just four weeks away.
Lord willing, over the next two Sundays we will take an in-depth look at the cross.
*Then on Sunday, April 1st, we will hear our Easter Cantata.
And on Easter Sunday, April 8th, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a special service at 8:00, followed by a great fellowship breakfast.
*God wants you to invite your friends.
It might be someone you have known for years.
But maybe it’s a brand new friend.
It may be someone who is struggling with all kinds of issues.
Or it may be the best person you know.
*It’s worth remembering that Nathanael was a good man.
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