A DISCIPLES PATH
Come and See
John 1:35-49 (NRSV)
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. 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 about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
One of the dirtiest words in the Christian lingo among mainline Christians and non-Christians is the word EVANGELISM.
That word tends to create all kinds of images in our minds
First Baptist Church of Hammond
Knocking on your door
People handing out tracts
More concerned about what you believe than how you live
But what does the word really mean?
According to the dictionary the word means
"the preaching or promulgation of the gospel"
Gospel of course means "good news"
So evangelism is sharing the good news
It is neither a positive nor a negative word in itself --- it all depends on how it is done!
Most of us have experienced what we would classify as negative evangelism --- however, if we ask ourselves how did we end up at Ridge Church? --- the reality is we came because of positive evangelism
So what does positive evangelism look like?
Let's take a deeper look at our scripture this morning and see if Jesus doesn't model a better way of doing evangelism for us.
Our scripture comes from the opening scene in the gospel of John.
In it we meet two disciples of John the Baptist.
They had been with him in the wilderness for some time.
They hear John the Baptist say:
“Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
When they heard their master say this they decided to see what John was talking about so they began following Jesus.
Jesus turns to them and asks them:
“What are you looking for?”
And then he offers the invitation:
"Come and see"
We are told that they remained with Jesus for a day and then the gospel story tell us that why they came across Simon Peter (Andrew his brother was one of the two who had encountered Jesus) they told Peter
“We have found the Messiah”
The next day they went to the Galilee and came across Nathanial and Philip said to him:
“We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Notice that Philip followed Jesus lesson in how to evangelize --- COME AND SEE
There is no coercing or manipulation
No ---- "Do you know where you are going if you die tonight"
No hard sell
COME AND SEE was the invitation
Come and see the one whom you will eventually understand is the answer to all the searching that you are already doing.
Later in John's gospel we find a similar story
Jesus has just met a Samaritan woman sitting beside Jacob's well
The story begins with a simple conversation about Jesus being thirsty and needing a drink of water.
By the time the story ends, this woman has discovered that Jesus is "Living Water" and runs off to tell everyone that she can find.
If you go home this afternoon and pay attention to the way that Jesus engages with people --- I think that you will discover that there was a pattern to the way Jesus reached out.
It seems to have a very consistent pattern that includes:
· conversation rather than confrontation
· invitation rather than invasion
· an adventure rather than an argument
· a meeting of the hearts rather than a making of a point
· personal discovery rather than vigorous debate
This style of evangelism is centered on loving people and giving them life rather than the negative images of evangelism that saturate our consciousness
The question really isn't should we evangelize ---
Charles Wesley said:
"We cannot expect the wanderers from God to seek us. It is our part to go and seek them."
The question is HOW, --- how do we share our love of Jesus with others?
It begins with friendship
It can't be manipulative
It must be centered in loving, caring friendships
You can't share Jesus until you really get to know somebody
We need to learn to LISTEN
We don't really need to tell about Jesus
We need to find out what people are looking for
Remember --- that is what Jesus did to Andrew
He asked him "What are you looking for?"
Listen as they share their story
Know your story
Know and understand how and why Jesus makes a difference in your life
Can you articulate that in a simple and concise way?
Offer an Invitation
What is the invitation that Jesus offers?
COME AND SEE
What do we offer them to come and see?
That is going to depend on the individual and their circumstances
It might be something such as:
Or it may be something totally different
One of the hallmarks of our Methodist tradition is the concept of Prevenient Grace
We believe God is already at work in their lives whether they know it or not
God helps us in this process --- we don't do it all
But what is the most important ingredient in evangelism?
What are you passionate about?
What does it take for us to become passionate for Jesus?
They key is knowing our story and how God intersects that story