Sunday, November 1, 2009

Turning Point (2): Invite A friend To Church

by Rev. James Wong

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him”

(Luke 5:27-28 NIV)

Levi was also known as Matthew the tax collector. Jesus broke all the rules about leadership when he chose Levi to be his follower. The reputation of Matthew was notorious. Imagine tax collectors were not allowed to be witnesses in court, and they were excommunicated from the place of worships and all religious activities. These ‘traitors’ of the Jewish people were the ‘rejects’ of the society. Having such a person in the team would be disastrous. However, Jesus saw beyond the current circumstances of this man. He saw what he could be in the future.

When Levi heard the call of Jesus to follow him, that was the defining moment and the turning point of his life. He did three things: (1) ‘He got up from his tax booth.’ It was a moment of decision; an irrevocable decision. (2) ‘He left everything.’ He left behind opportunities to gain wealth, power and connections with the Roman Government. He left behind a life of sinful living. (3) ‘He followed Christ.’ He remained as one of the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ till the end. There is much we can learn from this man.

Luke 5:29 continues with these words: “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.”

1. Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house and invited his friends. His friends included ’sinners’ from the society (Matt 9:10). It takes a tax collector to reach a tax collector. It takes a sinner to reach a sinner. It takes a friend to reach a friend. How can we lead more people to Christ? Invite your friends to Church. Overwhelmingly, word of mouth invitation is still the most effective marketing method for bringing new people to church. Page 7 gives you some important tips for inviting a friend.

2. Levi took something from the tax booth. Although the bible says Levi left everything to follow Christ, when he left he took his pen with him. Levi was a man who was proficient with his pen due to the nature of his work. Though he left his work behind, he used his skill of writing to pen what is know as the Gospel of Matthew today. This story about the life of Jesus continue to bring transformation of societies in the world. What has God given you that you can use to reach others for Christ? Your wealth, talents, time? Your specific skills? Think about this.

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