February 27, 2022 | Who's your one? | The Impact of One| John 1:35-42; 4:39-42
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There are usually two general approaches to evangelism in the American church. One, we will call Come and See evangelism. This is inviting someone to ‘come and see’ what God is doing by issuing an invitation to a church service, a special program, or an event hosted by the church. Two, we will call Go and Tell evangelism. This is meeting people where they are and telling them about Jesus and what he is doing in your life.
I firmly believe that to be effective in reaching our ones and beyond we must stop an either/or approach and embrace a both/and.
Both are equally impactful and important. Let’s look at these two sides of the evangelism coin under the title ‘The Impact of One’ and ponder two questions together.
The Impact of Inviting one (Come and See)
The first question is, ‘What could God do with your one?’
One disciple that modeled this approach well is Andrew. Andrew is one of Jesus’ inner circle disciples. He was his first to follow Jesus. He was one of the first four disciples we saw in week one, when Jesus officially called his first disciples. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.
Now. we know a lot about Peter, the outspoken, brazen, spokesman of the group. James and John, known as the sons of Thunder. Ready to call down lightning and desiring to be seated in places of honor.
But there is not a lot of information about Andrew. Andrew seems to be fine taking a back seat to Peter’s outspokenness, and James and John’s desire to be the greatest. But he’s there, in the background, from the very beginning, faithfully following Jesus.
He is the disciple, in the midst of a test by Jesus when he asks Philip about feeding the multitudes (John 6:1-15), faithfully brings a small boy and his lunch and hesitantly asks, what is this in comparison to the need. When Gentiles wanted to meet Jesus, they came to Philip, who went and found Andrew, who then brought them to Jesus. His motto seemed to be getting people to Jesus, even the insignificant and the culturally different.
It is that attribute that we want to look at this morning, in the first recorded incident we have of Andrew inviting someone to come and see.
John 1:35-42 (ESV) 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Andrew was John’s disciple, he had been hearing all that John had been proclaiming about the one who was coming after him. Baptism with fire and spirit, that John wasn’t worth even to untie his shoes, etc.
So when John said, there he is, Andrew, followed Jesus, who he believed to be the Messiah.
Don’t miss that, he believes that he has found the long-awaited savior, the King, the Messiah, and even in the midst of what must have been overwhelming excitement and anticipation, the Bible says, he did something first, before he followed.
The bible says but first, he found his own brother and said, come and see.
Andrews essentially says ‘Come and see the Messiah, come and see the Christ, the anointed one, the long-awaited savior.’
Then the Bible records these simple, beautiful, wonderful words, ‘So he brought him to Jesus.’
Are there more wonderful words that could be said about you than that?
Simple, not 'so he answered all of Peter’s questions' (because you know he had them), not 'so he went to Jesus and asked him to train him in relational evangelism so he could find the perfect time to tell Peter', no He just brought him to Jesus.
More than anything else, that is what every man, woman, and child need, to be brought to Jesus. More than economic equality, more than affordable housing, more than universal access to affordable healthcare, more than anything, they need Jesus.
The bible says he is the answer to all of humanity's greatest need.
8 billion people on this planet, all with the same need.
You may ask, ‘what can I do in the face of that great of a problem?’ To start, you can bring one.
Statistics say that something like ninety-six percent of the people that will ever set foot in a church will be because somebody invites them, an inviter. They’ll invite them, they’ll come and hear the gospel. They’ll come to Jesus on the arm of a friend, a neighbor, a work associate, a relative, and they will be changed forever.
“Most people do not come to Christ as an immediate response to a sermon they hear in a crowded setting. They come to Christ because of the influence of an individual. Andrew brought one—Peter. Peter then brought thousands. All the fruit of Peter’s ministry is ultimately also the fruit of Andrew’s faithful individual witness.” Pastor Johnny Hunt
That’s powerful, isn’t it? Without Andrew, there is no Apostle Peter.
I want to share with you a more recent historical example of the impact of just bringing one person to Jesus.
“Few have ever heard of Edward Kimball. He was a Sunday School teacher who led D.L. Moody to Christ. Edward went to a Boston shoe store where the 18-year-old Moody was working, cornered him in the stockroom, and introduced him to Christ. Kimball was anything but bold. He was a timid, soft-spoken man. He went to that shoe store frightened, trembling and unaware of whether he had the courage to confront this young man with the gospel. Moody, on the other hand, was crude and obviously illiterate, and Kimball trembled in his boots as he recalled the incident. Moody had begun to attend his Sunday School class. Moody was totally untaught and ignorant about the Bible. Kimball said, ‘I decided to speak to Moody about Christ and about his soul. I started downtown to Holton’s shoe store. When I was nearly there, I began to wonder whether I ought to go just then during business hours. And I thought maybe my mission might embarrass the boy, that when I went away the other clerks might ask who I was, and when they learned might taunt Moody and ask if I was trying to make a good boy out of him. While I was pondering over it all, I passed the store without noticing it. Then, when I found I had gone by the door I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once.’ Kimball found Moody in the stockroom and spoke to him with ‘limping words.’ Later, he said, ‘I never could remember what I said, ‘something about Christ and His love, that was all.’ He admitted it was a ‘weak appeal.’ But Moody, then and there, gave his heart to Christ.”
Tens of thousands testified that they came to Christ under Moody’s ministry. Moody led C.T. Studd, the great pioneer missionary and William Chapman, who himself became a well-known evangelist, to Christ. Moody founded the Moody Bible Institute that has trained thousands for ministry. It all began when one was faithful to introduce another to Christ.”
Some of you may know my story and some of you may not, but God has used me for over a decade of ministry to preach from motorcycle rallies to churches in Mexico, to minister to students, to pastor churches, to work with adult groups, to disciple leaders, and so on. During that time, I have got to bring people to Jesus and watch him change their lives. I have got to be a part of some amazing things God has done in those years.
But what you may not know is that all of that probably would not have happened if it hadn't been for one pastor who saw the value of reaching one. Brother Buddy of Forest Home Baptist Church saw value in reaching a rebellious, disinterested, young man for the kingdom.
If you obediently brought one to Jesus, what could God do with your one?
Sometimes we have such a small view of our ability to affect the kingdom of God, but God can do amazing things through one individually radically sold out to him.
We think ‘I could never preach to a crowd’, maybe not, but maybe your one will.
‘I could never move overseas and be a foreign missionary’, maybe not, but maybe your one will.
Never underestimate the power of ‘come and see’ evangelism, inviting just one person to Christ could have dramatic effects for the kingdom of God.
Your one could be the next D.L. Moody, the next Spurgeon, right?
What if you knew that your one was going to do great things like that for the kingdom, you would run and invite them, wouldn’t you?
Here’s the truth we must grasp, they could be. The could be the Peter to our Andrew, the Moody to our Kimball.
The Impact of Proclaiming The One (Go and Tell)
The second question is, ‘What could God do with your story?’
Jesus' command to go and make disciples was summarized when he said you will be my witnesses. They were to go and tell what they had seen, heard, and experienced concerning Jesus. The apostle John summarizes it well in his first letter.
1 John 1:1-3 (ESV) 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul says it beautifully in 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (ESV) 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Those who have been reconciled, telling others that God wants to reconcile them to himself through Christ.
I want to revisit a story from last week. We looked at how Jesus, in the midst of his ministry, took time to engage with the one. Specifically, one Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
The Woman at the Well (John 4:39-42)
John 4:39-42 (ESV) 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
She encountered Jesus, and then went and told everyone about it. Many believed. Jesus stayed for a few days planting seeds and preparing the Samaritans for a harvest that would happen when Philip came and proclaimed a risen savior (recorded in Acts)
That’s what a testimony is.
This is who I was, then I met Jesus, and this is what he did and who I am now. If you are in Christ, that is your story.
Here’s what is holding some of you back. You think you don’t have a story, or it’s not very interesting. God didn’t save you out of a crack house, or prison, he didn’t speak to you in a great Damascus Road style way. Your think your story isn’t dramatic enough to make a difference.
That is a lie, straight from the enemy. Listen, the bible says you were dead in your trespasses and that God made you alive in Christ!
Here is the truth, if you are a disciple of Christ, your conversion was the most dramatic thing God has ever done in your life.
We talk about our kids, our job, the weather, politics, our favorite sports team, why don’t we talk about the fact that we were dead and God made us alive in Christ? Furthermore, every day after that is a miracle of God dwelling with you, a sinful man, sanctifying you from the inside out.
Statistically, the reports say that only 2% of believers, professing Christ-followers, will ever invite an unchurched or unsaved person to come and see.
It stands to reason then, that even less will go and tell.
Both are needed, both are necessary, and both are responsibilities every believer has been called to fulfill.
This series, who’s your one has challenged us to identify just one person that we would be intentional about reaching for Christ.
We do that by both ‘come and see’ and ‘going and telling’.
What could God do with your one?
What could God do with your story?