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Looking Across The Table

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Looking Across The Table              John 1:35-42

In our text today, we’re introduced to a man named Andrew. Andrew is a man’s man. In fact his name has the connotation of being “manly”. He’s a fisherman. An outdoorsman. A common laborer.

And Andrew is kind of a quiet guy. We don’t read much about him in Scripture.
He’s only mentioned 12 times in the Bible, and 4 of those are when his name is listed with the names of the other 11 apostles. Even in the traditions of the early church, he’s one of the few disciples about whom there are few legends.

But that’s not to say that Andrew is unimportant. The times he IS mentioned in the Gospels he’s usually doing something very important… he’s bring people to Jesus.

For example in John 12:20-26, there are some Greeks who want to meet Jesus. They talk to Philip, who then turns to Andrew for advice, and together, both of them bring these people to Jesus.

In John 6, when Jesus is asking His disciples where they could buy food for the hungry crowd, it’s Andrew that brings the boy with his lunch of 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. Jesus then uses that small meal to feed about 5000 men. And when they’re all fed, there are 12 baskets of bread left over.

Now, in our text in John 1 we find Andrew’s at it again, but this time he’s bringing his brother Peter to Jesus.

How does he do this? How is it that this relatively quiet man bring so many to Jesus, when many Christians have trouble bringing even ONE person to Jesus?

Back in May 2002 the Lilly Endowment sponsored a survey that involved interviews with 300,000 worshippers in 2,200 churches, representing 8 denominations. And they found that that ¾’s of churchgoers reported they came to church the 1st time because someone invited them. Yet 54 percent of those surveyed said they had not invited anyone to church in the past year.

Apparently, a lot of Christians just don’t invite people to come to Jesus.

So, why would Andrew do this while many Christians don’t? Well… part of the reason was that Andrew believed that Jesus was worth knowing.

John chapter 1 tells us that Andrew was one of the followers of John the Baptist, and one day John saw Jesus pointed Him out to Andrew and another man “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And Andrew took John seriously. He left John and began to follow Jesus.

And the very first thing Andrew did after meeting with Jesus was – he went and brought his brother Peter. Why?

• Well, Jesus was the Lamb of God everybody had been waiting for.
• He was the Messiah that had been promised.
• He was the one sent by God to change the lives of His people.

And Andrew loved his brother too much to have him miss out on that.

The problem with many church goers is they see church as a religious exercise.
They go to church because it’s what Christian people do, but too often they see it as a chore, a responsibility; a duty to be fulfilled.

It’s not necessarily that they don’t love Jesus, it’s just that they don’t realize the eternal significance of what they’re in to.

They know the Scriptures where Jesus says "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” John 6:35  And "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies”  John 11:25

They know of these – and other – powerful blessings they have as Christians. It’s just that somehow it never seems important enough to tell their friends/relatives.

And they also know the Scriptures where Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 And “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." John 3:36

But somehow it never occurs to them that if the people they love don’t love Jesus they’re not going to heaven.

Bob Russell (former preaching minister at the SouthEast Christian Church in Louisville, KY) once asked “If there was a fire in your house and you had 6 family members inside, how many would you have to get out of the house before you’d be satisfied?”

You see, Andrew felt an urgency to share Jesus with his brother Peter. Andrew believed that Jesus was worth knowing. And that’s the primary reason you and I should be bringing people to Jesus.

The 2nd reason Andrew brought his brother (and others) to Jesus was because he didn’t know any better.

• He didn’t realize you needed Bible College education to talk to someone.
• He didn’t realize he needed to construct complicated theological arguments that would overwhelm people and bring them to their knees.
• He didn’t realize that he needed to be a leader in the church to be able to witness.

He was so excited about Jesus – he didn’t care.

When Andrew approached his brother, he didn’t get tied up in theological jargon.
He simply says “We’ve found the Messiah” – and then he takes Peter to Jesus.

He was kind of like the little boy who’d moved from the farm into the city. He got up one morning so filled with excitement that his mother (who wanted to sleep in) dressed him in his play clothes and told him to play in the yard and to quit bothering her. About 20 minutes later, he came running back. "Mommy, Mommy," he exclaimed, "everybody has doorbells and they all work."

Andrew brought his brother (and others) to Jesus because he was so excited about what he’d found, it didn’t occur to him that he shouldn’t do stuff like that. And because it didn’t occur to him… he changed his brother’s life forever.

The 3rd reason Andrew brought his brother to Jesus was because Peter trusted him.
Now this can be the most complicated part of introducing family to Christ because your family KNOWS you.

o They know all your weaknesses.
o They know most of the stupid things you’ve done and said
o They may even have been offended by you in the past.

SO… it may be important for you to ask forgiveness; their forgiveness for things you’ve done in the past. It may be critical for you go out of your way to mend fences, or to show them love and appreciation.

Someone has said that “Most folks don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and that can especially true of family.

I suspect Andrew had a good reputation with his brother.  I mean Peter already knew he was very religious (he had been a disciple of John the Baptist’s), but when Andrew invites him to come see Jesus, Peter didn’t question Andrew’s honesty or integrity.

Andrew says “come see the Messiah” – and Peter gets up and goes because he knew he could trust something Andrew had to say, and because Peter knew his brother loved him.

The 4th thing to notice about Andrew was he invited people to come to Jesus at different times and for different reasons.
• For example in John 6, Andrew brings a young boy to Jesus. The crowd is hungry, and this boy seem to be the only person there with any food. It seems silly to bring a boy with a mere sack lunch to Jesus but it was in bringing that one boy, with his meager contribution to Jesus and a whole crowd of people were fed… and they all saw the power of Christ.

We offer that opportunity here – to bring the young to Jesus. Ø We have Sunday School every Sunday – faithful teachers work hard to introduce kids to Jesus.

So, Andrew brought a young boy to Jesus in John 6. A little later on in John 12, Andrew and Philip bring people who are interested in Christ. There are these Greeks who say “We would see Jesus” and so Andrew and Philip bring them for an “intimate meeting” with Christ

And we’ve got opportunities here for you to invite people to intimate meetings with Jesus.

o We have Sunday School that meets every Sunday.
o We have “Bible Study”  on Wednesday evenings.  
o And, we have special worship services throughout the year.

In our text today, we see Andrew inviting his brother to see Jesus. And, how does he do it?  Well, he tells his brother that he has great news. There’s something special going on… come and see! “Come see this Messiah that I’ve talked to.”

One of the ways we try to copy what Andrew did is we have something special going on

• Easter is a always a great time to invite people to church.
• We’ve shown the movies, and had special singing
• And we have hosted the parish Revival.

One of the key statistics I encountered while researching for this sermon was this one: Less than 3 percent of the non-Christian people in the world ever just walk into a church.

A man named Mark Wingler commented on that statistic by saying: Based on that information (only 3%) “…we will NEVER fulfill the Great Commission by building great buildings or by relying on flashy programs.

If great cathedrals would win the world, Europe would have won it long ago.
If impressive programs could win the world, Southern Baptists would have done it long ago.

It’s relationships that bring people into a saving relationship with Jesus. So, we must go to people.

And Jesus is our example in this. He went to where the thirsty individuals were. He met Peter at the docks... the woman of Samaria by the well, Matthew as he sat at his tax office, and scores of others while they were in the process of their daily pursuits.

Jesus went to the people.”  Go thou and do likewise.

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