Reaching Out Through Friendship
“Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” ~Matthew 4:25 (NIV)
1. Jesus Attracted Crowds by Loving Unbelievers
It is love, not theology, church building or activities that draws people to the church. Our love must be focused toward newcomers, not just toward each other. Love draws people in like a powerful magnet. If we don’t love people nothing else matters.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~1 John 4:8 (NIV)
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' ~Luke 7:34 (NIV)
Members Can Help To Create An Atmosphere of Acceptance
Visitors will ask: “Do I feel welcome here?” To grow our church we must be nice to people when they show up. If the church members are unfriendly to visitors, they will not return. Greet people before and after service. Be approachable.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. ~1 Cor 13:1-2 (NIV)
· Jesus showed acceptance to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)
· Jesus stayed in the house of Zacchaeus, the head of corruption (Luke 19)
· Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery (John 8)
2. Jesus Attracted Crowds by Meeting People’s Needs
People crowded around Jesus because he met their needs—physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. Universal needs: the need for love, acceptance, forgiveness, meaning, purpose for living, freedom from fear, worry, resentment, discouragement and loneliness.
15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ~James 2:15-17 (NIV)