Last week, we looked at F for Fellowship. This week is E for Evangelism.
The Bride has been busy carefully writing out the names and addresses of the wedding guests. She uses beautiful seals to make her invitations look special, with a royal flair for the recipients. An RSVP has been included so she can have a count to have enough food for the reception. Sadly, several come back stating the guests and families won't be able to attend. Some offer an excuse. So, with disappointment, she sends out a few more. She wants as many people as possible to come celebrate the special occasion with her and the Groom. More come back with favorable responses. She smiles because she can't wait until that day.
This reminds me of a passage I mentioned last week. Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees and other people gathered around Him. He had cleared out the Temple of the money changers a few days earlier. The religious leaders approached Him, when He and His disciples came back to the temple, questioning His authority. Jesus liked giving people something to think about in order to drive home His point, so He told several parables. This was one of them:
A man was setting up the wedding for his son. He sent out invitations, but many were rejected. Frustrated, the man sent word to them that there was more than enough food, come on over for the wedding banquet, even if it is just to eat with us. But there were so many excuses. Angry, the man sent invitations to anyone and everyone. He filled the banquet hall. But one man was not dressed in wedding clothes. A wedding crasher? He was escorted out and tossed into the darkness. Take time to mull that story over. We will come back to it.
It was Pentecost, Jesus had gone up into Heaven. The disciples (students), now apostles (teachers) had been filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke to everyone in the languages of the people present. It was an amazing time for the new Church. But people accused them of being drunk. Interestingly, Most people in the area understood them. Peter got up and preached the gospel story of Jesus to anyone who would listen. An astounding number of people came to the Lord and were baptized. The church grew by leaps and bounds! image from https://godshotspot.wordpress.com.
Even after the apostles healed people, shared the Gospel, then were arrested for causing such a disturbance, the church grew. Peter and the other apostles were arrested by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish leadership who judged Jews for breaking the Mosaic Law. However, many people were afraid to follow, but were greatly impressed with their words and deeds. Even under persecution, the church grew. Why? Because they were obedient to Jesus' command to make disciples beginning in the area where they lived, then spreading out further and further.
Don't Just Stand There. Go!
Jesus spent 40 days after rising from the dead going around to the disciples, spending time with them before He ascended into Heaven. They were grieving the loss of their Friend and Master. It was over. But it wasn't. Jesus showed Himself to them. He appeared to them in a closed, locked room where they hid for safety. He showed them the holes where the spikes had been driven into His hands and feet. They finally believed He was who He said He was.
Jesus charged (told) them to go share the Good News with people, healing, doing miracles, and baptizing them. He commissioned Peter to "Feed My sheep." (John 21:17) As He rose into the clouds He summarized His command, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:16-20 NKJV. image from http://www.antipasministries.com.
Is the Church, the Bride, sending out invitations?We have been given the same commission. Are we inviting people to come join us? Not only will there be guests at the banquet, they will also be part of the Bride! I have to say that quite a few Christians do extend the invitation to accept Jesus as Savior. There are several ways it's been done:
Some of us do not. Sometimes we are a selfish Bride, only wanting certain people to come. After all, we do have an image to uphold! Yet others do not out of fear of rejection. What will people think? We are to show no partiality nor favoritism (James 2:1-13) Are we embarrassed about Jesus? Jesus said, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26 NKJV Why would the Bride be ashamed of the Groom? This is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Paul says to not be ashamed of the Gospel and to proclaim it boldly regardless of the cost (2 Timothy 1:8-12).
Instead, the Bride is to go boldly reaching out to everyone because many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14) This is the wedding feast of the Bride and the Lamb! Remember the man inviting people to come to his son's wedding at the beginning of this post? There will be a lot of rejection. Don't be discouraged! Reach out to anyone and everyone who will listen. Not only should we invite, but we should help them grow in their newfound faith, by making disciples. There will be people who think they are Christians, but don't really know the Lord. We must be sure people understand what they are accepting. Anyone can go to church and go through the motions. Truly knowing the Lord is far different. The ones who come without wedding clothes will be escorted out of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.They will not have their sins washed away by the blood of the Lamb. Many will say, "Lord, Lord!" and Jesus will say, "Go away! I never knew you" (Matthew 7:21-23) Our Lord says this, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:12-17 NKJV
Bride, are you ready? Get those invitations out. He's coming soon!
May God bless you!