How To Bring People To Jesus

Bible Book: Mark  2 : 1-2
Subject: Witnessing; Salvation; Soul Winning

Today we begin a new series of messages... "Some Things Every Christian Ought to Know." This will not be anything new, but I believe it will be a reminder of our very basic commitment to Christ as believers and that's always a good place to go back to at the first of a brand new year!

I want the words of verse 1 to be said about FBC Jonesboro every Sunday, "After several days Jesus entered Capernaum (on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee), and it was heard that He was in the house."

I want people to visit this church because they hear that Jesus is in the house - surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

What happens when Jesus is in the house? Look at verse 2: "Immediately, many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door, "They were either going to have to go into a building program or get a bigger meeting place. Why were the crowds so large?

Verse 2b..."and He preached the Word to them." Here was the living word preaching the written word...People are hungry for God's Word!

Far worse that the drought we have experienced the last few years in Georgia is the drought we are experiencing in our churches. It is a famine of the Word of God!

We don't need a sermonette from a preachette so we can smoke a cigarette and then go home and ette! We need someone who will be quiet enough to get a message from God and then brave enough to proclaim it! We need to pray to hear the Word of God and where the word is preached, Jesus will be in this house!

Verse 3 introduces us to the main characters of our story...4 men are bringing their paralytic friend to Jesus. There are 8 principles within this story that remind us of our chief bring our lost friends to Christ. Every one of us as believers should be doing all we can to bring our friends and family members to Jesus.

If there is one resolution you ought to make before God in 2002, it is that God would help you to bring men to Jesus:

How do we do tha?.What's involved? Bringing men to Jesus...

I. Demands We Believe People Are Hopeless Without Christ (Vs. 3)

Verse 3- "Then they came to Him bringing a Paralytic who was carried by four men." The KJV says this man was sick of the palsy. The Greek word used here is "paralyktos" from which we get our English word paralytic. Here was a man paralyzed. Why did they bring him to Jesus? He was helpless and hopeless without a miracle. These friends knew his ONLY HOPE was to get him to Jesus!

There is a creeping universalism that has entered into our churches and is fortified by our pulpits today - a belief that everybody is going to be OK and that no one is going to go to Hell. Jesus is not the ONLY WAY to Heaven. He is just one of many ways we can gain entrance into Heaven.

All you have to do is examine a church's priorities. BINGO to BAZAARS...And the fact is there are many pulpits today that never preach on Heaven and Hell, the lost and the saved, reaching their community for Christ. Countless numbers of believers never even think about inviting someone to church, or sharing with them about Christ, or having a burden for the lost. Jesus reminds us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me." People need the Lord! They are hopeless and helpless without Christ!

II. Insists On Having A Sense Of Urgency (4A)

Verse 4- "And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd they uncovered the roof where He was. So, when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying." Verse 4 implies a sense of urgency about these men as they tried to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus.

It is estimated that 300,000 people die every day on our planet. Of those 300,000, over half have never even heard of Jesus, and 200,000 will die lost without God and without hope. Is there any sense of urgency about your life in trying to witness to your friends about Jesus? Do you pray for them and beg God to save them? Is your heart ever broken over their lostness?

Note P.T. Forsythe was confronting a condemned prisoner with the claims of Jesus Christ when the man interrupted Forsythe and said, "If I believed what you Christians say you believe about those who are lost, I would crawl across England on broken glass to share the message." Where is our urgency to share the message?

III. Will Involve Discouragement (4B)

When they finally got their friend to where Jesus was they couldn't get him in to see the Savior because of the crowd. How discouraging that must have been. So they devised another plan. Let's lower him through the roof. But the Palestinian tile roof was very thick and was held together by a tar-like substance; imagine that, a tar-like substance in the Middle East. It was going to be a tough job.

There are going to be times where you will become very discouraged in your efforts to bring a friend to Jesus. That person may promise to come to church over and over and yet never show. You will find all kinds of obstacles when you try to share with them about Christ. They may even tell you to get   lost and you will be tempted to give up on them. Keep praying for them and sharing a word of witness every opportunity you get. There will be some discouragement but don't give up!

IV. Will Require We Count The Costs (4C)

Some churches would have witnessed the scene of men bringing their friend to Jesus by tearing up the roof and their immediate response would be, "Who's going to pay for that roof?"

"We're spending too much money on all these people outside of the church! We need to spend some on our own needs.We need to fix this or replace that. I don't know why we give all that money to missions when we could keep it here and use it on ourselves.

Illustration: Man said during revival, we spent too much money on PIZZA!

There's nothing cheap about being in a soul-winning church or a personal soul-winner as well. If you want to be a soul-winner, it will cost you time...will demand your will demand you be trained...that's why we have made a large commitment to the FAITH ministry! It will cost you in the pocketbook to be a part of a soul-winning church...New ROC is not cheap! New Lighthouse Ministries will cost Money...People will have to be hired to help with it. It will demand we give up our prejudices. It means we are willing to declare, "Red, or yellow, black or white...they are precious in His sight." It will demand that everything we do revolve around the purpose of "knowing Him and    making Him known."

V. Insists We Leave Men With Jesus (4C)

These 4 friends knew they had come as far as they could with their friend. They now had to leave everything up to Jesus. Listen, it's safe to leave people we care about in the hands of Jesus! We don't do the saving, we just share the message! If your friend rejects the message...leave him with the Lord Jesus! Pray for him. Ask God to sic the hounds of Heaven on Him! In 2 Kings 5 when the powerful and mighty Naaman, Captain of the Syrian army, contracted leprosy, he was told that Elisha, the prophet, might have a cure. So he took his entire entourage and went to the home of Elisha. But He let God do his convicting work on Namaan first! Elisha didn't go chasing after him. Leave people with the Lord.

VI. Reminds Us Only Christ Has The Power To Save (V. 5)

You and I don't save anybody...The 4 plus the paralyzed man. Vs. 5 says, "When Jesus saw THEIR FAITH, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.'" He was asserting that He was God! You can take your friend to a doctor when he gets can recommend a lawyer if he gets trouble...encourage him to seek counseling if he needs some can even point him toward a minister if he needs spiritual guidance...but there is only one place you can take him to find salvation! ONLY ONE HAS THE POWER TO FORGIVE SIN! And His name is Jesus!

VII. Will Bring Criticism From Those Who Oppose (Vs. 6-9)

Immediately there was a theological controversy. "Who does this man think He is? Why, you'd have to be God to make such a declaration!" They were incensed! They began right there to plot to kill Jesus! Since Jesus was violently opposed for drawing men to Himself, it should be no surprise to   us that the world's greatest opposition will be reserved for those who seek to bring men to Christ. In my 28 years of ministry I have seen those Pastors and those church leaders who are evangelistic and desire to reach people for Christ draw far more criticism and opposition than the leaders who do nothing or are afraid they will hurt someone's feelings or step across the boundary of political correctness.

A hundred years ago I started out as a youth pastor. My first church was the West Corbin Baptist Church in Corbin, Kentucky. It was a little country church that had never had a youth minister before. We started out with 12 young people and when we left to go to seminary a couple of years later we were averaging over 70. The great thing about being the first youth minister is that you never had to worry about what the guy did before you. We could sing Kumbaya and they thought it was cutting edge. By the way, God really used that experience to call me into the Pastorate. After my third lock-in I felt God's call to preach.

I remember one of the innovative things we did back in 1975 was to have a special VBS for youth called "Jesus University". We had over 150 young people attend and nearly 30 receive Christ that week. It was glorious. I received a call from a local pastor the following week and he ripped me up one side and down the other. He told me that the name I used for youth VBS was blasphemy and where did I get off thinking that I could do something like that. Then I asked him about his Vacation Bible School. He didn't have one. What did you do with your youth? Nothing!

I remembered the words of evangelist D.L. Moody who got criticized for his evangelism by the social gospel preachers of his day, "I like my plan better than your lack of a plan to reach people for Christ." Before you criticize a Pastor, or evangelist, or a soul-winning ministry you better ask yourself, "How many people have I won to Christ lately?"

I'm sure we will get our share of criticism for our new ROC Ministry and Lighthouse Ministries and FAITH Ministry and all our other outreach ministries for being too aggressive, but hey, I like our plan better than everybody else's lack of a plan.

VIII. Produces Great Glory And Honor To Jesus (Vs. 10- 12)

Look at verse 12..."Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all; so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this.'" Anytime a broken ruined life is restored by the Lord, He gets the glory! In 1995 I preached the Michigan Youth Evangelism Conference in Detroit. My friend, Tommy Clawson led the music...Cynthia Clawson's brother. I preached and gave the invitation and kids started responding to the Gospel. Then one young man stepped out and approached the stage. He had long stringy, greasy black hair, a jacket with Mega-death insignias on it, a long chain draped from his belt to his knees. He came and stood in front of the platform and reached in his pocket. He threw a nickel bag of marijuana at my feet and with a grimace on his face he said, "I need to be saved." When he said that all the kids that had brought him surrounded him and buried him on the floor praying for him to be saved. After a few moments he stood up and looked like a completely different person. He had been gloriously saved. Jesus had forgiven him of his sin and set him free from the bondage of his past, but it was his friends who cared enough about him that they brought him to Jesus! Will you make a commitment to bring your friends to Christ?