Pray, invite, bring

I remember in college I entered a “preaching” challenge. I’m guessing most of you didn’t have that opportunity at your college. I did. I was a senior preparing for ministry and one of the courses in my theology and ministry training was for ‘homiletics’ or preaching.

This sermon was to be preached in front of my peers and visiting pastors.  The reason the message stands out is because I got it from my older brother.  My brother Jim was probably voted most likely to be a good preacher when he was in grade school!  I can’t remember if I heard him preach this message or I just asked and he gave me the reference and an outline.  As in most sermons, it’s not always about the originality, because God already gets the credit for that one in the actual text!  But it’s about being true to the text and relevant in application to your audience.

This is a long way to get to what I want to say.  The text was Mark 2:1-12.  The main idea is that a man is healed because his friends brought him to Jesus.  Literally.  But before the physical healing in vs 11-12, Jesus gave him forgiveness in v5. That was the bigger deal. Still is.

People may think they’re biggest need is to be ‘made whole’ or experience a healing or a positive turn in the events of their life, some pain to be removed. But the truth is, and we all know it, we need true genuine, unconditional forgiveness.  And that’s exactly what Jesus offers. That’s the gospel. And that’s exactly what we celebrate when we get excited about Resurrection Sunday.

The problem is most people don’t yet know about it. That’s where you and I come in.  God has forgiven us so we can demonstrate his love and grace and kindness and mercy towards others.

Let’s be the friends.  Let’s be the ones who will do anything to get someone in the presence of Christ.  Read the text; these guys literally tore the roof apart to let the man down through the new opening.

Pray for your friends. Then invite them. Then offer a ride, or lunch afterwards.  Bring them, introduce them to someone and sit with them.  And when you pray, pray believing!

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