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Sunday, April 30, 2017
Working Together to Bring People to Jesus BY RICK WARREN — APRIL 30 Sunday
“[God] reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18b NIV).
You and I have been given the same mission that Jesus had. It’s one of the most critical acts of mercy we can take.
The Bible says, “[God] reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18b NIV). Your mission is simply to pass on to others the same Good News about God’s love that somebody told you.
But God doesn’t expect you to fulfill your mission on your own. He gives you other Christians to support you. In fact, evangelism is something you can do as a small group.
God has given us a wonderful example of this in Luke 5:17-26. It’s the story of a group of friends who brought someone to Jesus. They couldn’t find a way to get into the house where Jesus was, so they lowered their paraplegic friend through a hole in the roof on a stretcher, right in the middle of everyone and in front of Jesus. Jesus was impressed by their faith and told the man to get up and walk, and the man immediately did! The people were amazed.
In this great story God gives us five principles for how your group can reach out to other people and how you can fulfill your God-given mission in the world.
The Principle of Compassion: This small group cared enough for a helpless friend to do something about his pain. Mercy is not just a feeling. It is love in action.
The Principle of Cooperation: God has assigned each of us a task in evangelism. Paul says, “I planted the seed and Apollos watered it” (1 Corinthians 3:6 BSB). In other words, you don’t have to do it all yourself, but you do have to do your part. And God will reward you for it.
The Principle of Faith: Jesus says that the faith of paraplegic’s friends leads to him being healed. Nobody is beyond the reach of God’s love. God specializes in doing the impossible. So don’t give up on people you care about. Have faith in what God can do in their lives.
The Principle of Action: The friends had a plan, and they put it into action. The paralyzed man needed other people to bring him to Jesus because he couldn’t get there on his own.
The Principle of Persistence: The friends could have been discouraged when they couldn’t get into the door because of the crowd, but they didn’t give up. They showed determination. They said, “Whatever it takes, we’re going to bring our friend to Jesus.”
Are you willing to go through the roof for a friend? Everybody needs to know Jesus! Without Jesus, people have no hope in eternity. The Christian who doesn’t care about the lost is really saying to the world, “I don’t care about you. You can go to Hell.” But the Bible says, “The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV).
Don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up. Keep praying, keep asking, keep inviting, and keep working to reach that person for Jesus.
Helping people get into Heaven is the greatest act of mercy you can do for them.
Talk It Over
What friends (or family members) can help you “carry” someone to Jesus?
In your small group, agree on four or five people you want to bring to Jesus as a group.
Of the five principles mentioned above, where do you most want to see growth as you work together with others to bring people to Jesus?