Recently God has been wrestling with me about being bold in obeying the leading of the Spirit. So as I’m writing this post to you, I’m also writing it to me.
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (See Luke 19:10). The word “seek” implies an aspect of going out and searching for something until you find it. Jesus always went to where the people were at. Jesus went out of His way to seek out the Samaritan woman, He went to the homes of tax collectors and sinners, and He always associated Himself with those in need. I think it’s very significant that 3 out of 4 of the Gospels records Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees when He was called out for associating with sinners. Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (See Matthew 9:10-13, Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5:29-31).
We are commanded by Jesus to do likewise (See Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus told us to go and make disciples. I heard Carl Lentz, Senior Pastor of Hillsong New York City, say “We need to go to where the fish are.” If the lake or pond you’re fishing at has no fish than you need to go and find one that does. A great fisherman doesn’t just go to any lake or pond to try and catch fish, but he goes to where he knows the fish are biting the most. We would think that the fisherman was crazy if he kept casting his line into a pond where there was no fish, so why do we keep doing it. Get out there and go to where the fish are.
So many times we get caught up with just inviting people to church. Jesus didn’t invite Zacchaeus to church but He went to Zacchaeus’ house (See Luke 19:5). The crazy thing about inviting people to church is the fact that as you are asking them to come with you to church, they are staring right back at the church. We are the church! Paul tells us that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Everywhere you go, God goes. I heard Apostle Ron Carpenter, Senior Pastor of Redemption World Outreach Center, say “The world has been to church and they’re not impressed.” The world is searching for what they want and will never be satisfied, but we have what they need. Peter gave the cripple at the temple gate what he needed not what he wanted (See Acts 3:6). The first time someone hears about Jesus should not be when they finally come to church, after you have harrassed them enough times, and hear the Gospel message from your Pastor. They should see Jesus in you, hear about Jesus from you, and be led to Jesus by you. There’s a song called “You’re the only Jesus” that my uncle use to sing that says “You’re the only Jesus that some will ever see, And you’re the only words of life, some will ever read, So let them see in you the One in whom is all they’ll ever need, ‘Cause you’re the only Jesus, some will ever see.” You might be the only Jesus that someone will ever see. We are so consummed with the idea that the church is some holy building or hallowed ground and is the only place where people can come to meet Jesus, be healed, be delivered, and be set free. Everywhere you look in the Bible, people were healed, delivered, and set free outside of the church walls. The church has been around for hundreds of years and there is still lost people in the world today. People aren’t waiting for another church to be planted nearby them so it’s convenient enough to attend, people are waiting for you and me to rise up and give them what they need (See Romans 8:19). Paul tells us earlier in Romans 8 that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us (See Romans 8:11). You have what the world is searching for inside of you, they’re just waiting for you to go and tell them about it.
Have you ever been in the situation where no matter how many times you’ve called, invited, or harrassed a particular person to come to church, they just keep rejecting you? I’ve been there. Or how about when they finally say yes and you get so excited, but then you get discouraged and lose hope when they don’t raise their hand, stand up, go down to the altar, or respond to the invitation by your Pastor. I’ve been there too. Maybe the reason why they won’t come to church or when they do finally come to church but don’t respond to the invitation is because God put you at your job, at your school, or in your neighborhood to be the church for them. Maybe you are suppose to be the one to tell them about Jesus and lead them to Christ. I remember leading people in my neighborhood to Christ right in the middle of the parking lot outside my house. Recently I prayed for healing for a co-worker. But there has been so many times where I have failed to be obedient to God. I hear of stories of people who say that they have been inviting someone to church for years and finally they are coming. I wonder if we had just been obedient to God and shared Jesus with them what He could have done in them those years we were inviting them to church, what He could have done in us for those years, and what other people might we have been able to reach for Jesus those years we were caught up with just inviting that one person to church.
So go to where the fish are, be the church, and start giving the world what they are searching for, Jesus. You can do it. I’m praying for you.