Easter season is one of the best times to bring someone to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know for the church family here at Liberty Baptist Church in Sweetser, Indiana we have an intentional plan to help our congregation invite their families and friends to events that will clearly present the gospel in several ways. On ( April 9) Palm Sunday we will offer two wonderful morning services with uplifting music and worship and the morning Bible message is entitled " The Cross of Christ". This message will focus on the great payment our Lord provided on behalf of all people as He became the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world. This timely message will be certain to bring each listener to a greater understanding that sin has been paid for and salvation can be provided for those who receive Christ's payment on the cross. On Palm Sunday evening our very own Amy Love will present " Finding Christ in the Passover". Amy has a deep knowledge of the Holy Festivals of the Old testament. This lesson will help each of us to understand more clearly the Old Testament promises of God providing a perfect lamb at a perfect time in a perfect way! At the conclusion of the lesson we will observe our annual "Easter Season Communion Service". This service is dedicated to preparing our hearts for PASSION WEEK 2017. During that week we will present our annual " ALIVE MUSICAL DRAMA" in three presentations. (April 13)Thursday 7 p.m. , ( April 14 ) Friday 7 p.m. and ( April 15 ) Saturday 5 p.m. This is our fifth year of bringing this amazing gospel outreach to our area. Then on EASTER MORNING 2017 we have two powerful morning services planned for children, teens and adults of all ages. The music will be moving and the message will be entitled " Christ's Conquest". The gospel will be clear and powerful in the entire worship services. So, I challenge you to be intentional and strategic about bringing someone to hear about Jesus this Easter Season 2017. Make Easter about more than family and your personal world. Make it focused on what matters—a Savior who really rose again, and a lost friend who needs to “get it.”
Here are some thoughts as you can invite someone to hear the gospel this Easter…
1. PRAY AND BELIEVE !
Start with belief that God is moving in hearts and the gospel is still powerful to those you know. Then ask God to intersect your daily path with that person with whom you should invite and share the gospel with. When at work, school, grocery, walkway, etc. Trust the Lord to lead your heart to those who need an invite. Anticipate that He will go before you preparing a heart to respond positively to your love and kind invitation.
2. CONSCIOUSLY CONTACT !
Make a list of people you know who need Jesus—family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances. It’s safe to assume that God is working in at least one of those hearts. Ask God to give you wisdom and courage—then reach out: cell phones, text messaging, email, social networking. Use these resources to invite others to EASTER SEASON outreach events.
3. PARTNER AND PARTICIPATE!
Partner with your church family in making the gospel clear. Get on board with your church’s existing outreach efforts—help distribute flyers and invite cards, promote online event invitations, share Facebook posts, retweet church announcements. Help clean inside and out at your church, join the special times to pray, ask to help to greet people the Easter Season events. God has a way of bringing people to churches where the gospel is priority and grace is abundant!
4. PERSONAL SERVICE!
Ask yourself In what way could I serve personally to help someone hear the gospel this weekend? Could you invite them to coffee or breakfast before church? Could you have someone over to your home for Easter dinner or take someone out for lunch after service? Could you offer someone a ride? Perhaps an offer to meet them at a particular entry and then a pledge to sit with them and help them to be comfortable in a new environment. In what way would some small gift, act of love, or gesture of self-sacrifice speak more powerfully than just a simple invitation? Your personal interest and love is what will make a difference! A simple invite is good but a "Extra Mile Invite" will work in amazing ways as we share the love of Jesus!
This is truth! Jesus came to the world and lived a perfect life, Jesus died on the cross to pay for all the sins of the world, Jesus was buried in a tomb and Jesus rose from the dead. He will save anyone who calls upon Him. He chose you and me to help others hear of Him. And the next several weeks people who normally do not attend church are actually planning to this Easter Season. Someone near you is deciding very soon what church to attend. Your invitation could be the defining difference in whether they hear the truth or error, works or grace, religion or relationship.
Let them hear truth! Love them enough to compel them to hear a clear salvation presentation via preaching, singing, and or drama!
One day, when time is ended and eternity has begun, you will look back on these opportunities with a different perspective. You will wish you had been more courageous, more confident and more concerned. If you decide to get involved, you will be glad for every time you made any effort to help someone hear of Jesus.
With great HOPE may each of us have a wonderful Easter Season of Gospel Sharing! — Lets make it all about Jesus!
The Apostle Paul had a great passion for souls, stating in Romans 9:1-3 —“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
The men and women who have made the greatest impact throughout church history—had this same zeal to see those lost in sin come to Christ and find the forgiveness of God. They were people who spent much time on there knees pleading for souls. THEY HAD A BURDEN FOR UNBELIEVERS!
How can we develop this type of a burden for souls? Let me suggest three steps toward such.
1. PONDER- Look In & Get In Touch With Yourself
In John 4 Jesus goes into an area where the Jews would not go. Samaria was not valued in the mind of a respectable Jew especially the Samaritan women at the well who had been with 7 men. Yet Jesus goes out of His way to talk with her and lead her to saving faith. His disciples were puzzled why he would do such a thing. Jesus was not only wanting to lead this dear women to saving faith but He wanted the disciples to gain the same burden He had for lost souls. He led each of them to see that they lacked a burden for down and out sinners and that the first thing they needed to do to gain a burden was to see they did not have a burden. The first step they needed to take was to look deep within and admit they really did not care about this women. They needed to acknowledge their need for a burden for souls.
2. PRAYER— Look Up & Get In Touch With God
The second step to developing a burden for souls is prayer. Effective evangelism always must include prayer. When you spend quality time with Jesus, His burden will become your burden and His priorities will become your priorities. Jesus proclaimed His purpose for coming to the earth in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus purpose for coming to earth was all about people, and the more we are in connection with Him the more we will become like Him get to Him. As we spend time with Jesus His passion for souls will become ours as well. His purpose will become the driving force in our life.
Peter and John's boldness in sharing their faith came from spending time with Jesus, Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Intimacy with Jesus develops within God’s children a passion for souls and the boldness to share our faith with them.
John Hyde, a dedicated missionary to India in the 1800s would pray for millions of lost souls daily. With tears he would pray, " Give me souls, oh God, or I die!" This is the burden that each of us need to win souls to Christ.
3. Presence—Look Out & Get In Touch With People
The third step to developing a burden for souls is presence. You must seek to get in the presence of unbelievers, how close you are to them geographically and relationally will determine how much a burden you will develop for them. Personal contact will move you with compassion, Matthew 9 teaches us that as Jesus lifted His eyes up upon the fields that were white unto harvest that He gained compassion for the souls in the harvest. We gain influence in relationships which develop into friendship. In order to develop a meaningful relationship that serves as the springboard for sharing your faith with people, you have to be in their presence as you earn their trust. As we personally experience the great burdens of those trapped in sin we will gain the God given burden it takes to share the gospel earnestly for those He loves!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.