In today’s world, it’s getting seemingly more difficult to “talk to people about Jesus.” Traditionally, there are two schools of thought. One is the idea that we have to “preach” at the person we are talking to, while the other is the opposite extreme where we default to not telling people about Jesus at all because we don’t want to “preach” at them. “Witnessing” to people has become this abstract and almost intimidating concept; but what if it were as simple as a conversation?
Biblically, Jesus built his church through conversations. In John 1:35-51, we see one of Jesus’s first recorded conversations with two men who would soon become two of his twelve disciples. Through Jesus’s simple conversation, we can take away four concepts that are important when having conversations with people in our world:
- We must start by having conversations with those closest to us.
Andrew was one of the first people to “come and see” the person of Jesus. But the first person he told was his brother, Simon. He didn’t have to go halfway around the world to tell others about Jesus; he started in his own family with the person who was closest to him. One might say that invitation changed the world because Simon, who Jesus later renamed Peter, preached one of the most famous messages of all time on the Day of Pentecost where 3,000 people were saved. You don’t know what your conversations are going to do to change history.
- We must go where people are.
The catalyst for Jesus’s next conversation was His decision to go to Galilee (v. 43). Like Jesus, we have to be willing to go where the people are. We have to meet them where they are, and bring them along with us. The process is cyclical: when we see Jesus, we go and tell others, and when others see Jesus, they go and tell others. But in order to get there, we have to be willing to step out into our workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods, going where the people are.
- We must believe God is already working in their lives.
One of the greatest deterrents in sharing our faith is the feeling that the outcome depends on our ability to present Jesus. We are not that powerful; we are not God, and it is not all up to us. We have to believe that God has already been working on their hearts prior to our conversation. We can’t change people’s hearts; only God can do that. But we can have a conversation. Philip was willing to have a conversation with Nathanael, and through that, Jesus was able to change Nathanael’s heart in one encounter (v. 45-49). But it all started with a conversation. You never know what sort of encounter people are praying for. Your conversation could be an answer to that prayer.
- We must remember it’s all about Jesus.
At the end of the day, we aren’t inviting people to church because it’s a cool place to be; it’s all about Jesus. Just as Nathanael learned through Jesus’s interpretation of an Old Testament scripture (Genesis 28:10-17), Jesus is the ladder. Jesus is the stairway from death to life. He is the key, and he is what our hearts and the hearts of others long for. Once people come and see Him for themselves, their lives will be changed.
Jesus built His church one conversation at a time. Likewise, the way we can share Jesus with those around us is through the simple phrase, “Come and see.”
Watch the full sermon here.