Bringing People to Christ (Cornerstone)
Mar 8, 2015 - Rev Paul Rasmussen
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Are you hesitant to invite people to church? Why or why not?
In Mark 2:1-12, we see the crowd has their backs to the person who arguably needed Jesus the most. In what ways do we turn our backs to the people who need Jesus the most?
What steps can we take to becoming a more invitational and inclusive community? How can we do whatever it takes to bring people to Christ?
This week we continued our sermon series, Mark. For the next few weeks leading up to Easter, we are working through the Gospel of Mark to learn more about Jesus and his journey to the cross. As part two of the series, Rev. Paul Rasmussen focused on the power of invitation to know Christ.
Paul explained that for every one of us who goes to church here in Dallas, there are about 6.5 who never attend church - it never occurs to them that a local church would be relevant to their life. This number is staggering for the kingdom of God.
Christianity essentially began with an invitation. Jesus invited Andrew and Phillip to follow him. Andrew then invited Peter to join him in following Jesus. Then Phillip invited Nathaniel to join him in following Jesus, too. One person invited another and now we have millions of people all over the world worshipping God. Many of us came to church because we were invited. The power of invitation to those who do not belong or do not know Christ is a gift that we have, but unfortunately, often neglect.
Re-read Mark 2:1-12. This passage highlights the power of invitation as it tells about four friends who do everything in their ability to get their friend to Christ. In these verses, Jesus is teaching in Capernaum and crowds have gathered into his house to hear him. Because they couldn't get into the door due to all of the people, several friends tear up a roof so they can get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus. Jesus then heals the paralyzed man.
From these verses, we learn two specific things from the friends:
1. They cared enough to get involved. The friends cared enough to bring their friend to Jesus. They understood the importance and significance of their friend getting to Jesus. Jesus isn't something that has to be explained. Jesus is someone to be experienced. Paul encouraged us to listen for cues people may say in order to prompt us to invite them the church. When people share that they are going through a challenging time (i.e., "I'm not doing so well right now") or that they are new to the area, an invitation to church (and thus to Jesus) may be just what they need.
2. They were willing to do whatever it takes. The friends had an unrelenting zeal. They dug through the roof to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. We need to do whatever it takes to get people to Jesus and not let obstacles stop us. We need to meet people where they are. God has uniquely positioned each of us to reach someone. We don't have to do the heavy lifting - we just have to extend the invitation - and God will take care of the rest.
The need for Jesus is enormous. We can't turn our backs on the people who need Jesus the most. I hope this week we each extend an invitation to someone to come to HPUMC even inviting them to watch online. Jesus is the source of hope that can transcend any of life's challenges or problems. Let's lean into his grace and love, invite people in, and watch God's redemptive action take over.
Blessings and peace in Christ,
Associate Pastor, Cornerstone