Here we see a very important fact. As it was written from of old, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18). Further, as the Psalmist writes, “what is so good or so pleasant as for brothers to dwell together in unity.” (Psalm 132:1 LXX). Even in the Book of Hebrews, we read about the importance of not forsaking the assembling together as so many have. Thus Andrew, having spent the day abiding with the Messiah quickly rushes to tell his brother, Simon.
And notice with what zeal he proclaims this to his brother, Simon. With no fear of rejection, although one would assume that such a proclamation would in fact evoke such. With no fear of mockery, nary a shred of doubt. He neither states, “I think that we have found,” nor “we have found a man who claims,” but instead, “we have found Him, you must come.” And notice also that it neither states that he spent the evening debating or persuading him, arguing pettily over minor nuances or details, but that with that same assurance of faith, he brings Simon to Jesus; to allow Jesus Himself to convince him of who He is.
I think of our approach in this generation. I think of the countless hours we spend arguing and debating these small matters. But consider, our goal is not to coerce, but merely to offer. A man starving for food need not be convinced to partake of a meal offered to him, neither need a man hungering for God need be convinced to come to Him when the means by which to do so is offered. Our goal should never be to convince an unbeliever to cast down their beliefs and pick up their cross. Phillip Yancey once said that “No one ever converted to Christianity because they lost the argument.” And that is very wise advice that we seem to have forsaken. No, our goal is not to “win the argument,” but rather it should be to display the love and peace and contentment in our hearts that Jesus offers us; and to offer those very traits to all those who see us. Our goal should be to live a life that makes people question how we are able to live in such peace and contentment in this world, and then to answer the question that they will inevitably ask as to the reason and the source of our hope. Not to convince them that Jesus is that reason, but to explain that He is that reason and then bring them to Him so that they can see for themselves.
And when we bring people into our Church, we must be mindful of what we are bringing them into. Scripture describes it as a “sacred assembly of the saints,” being “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” So many of our church services are akin to lecture halls and theology classes. When someone comes into our Church for the first time, are they being brought into a situation where they must sit and listen to someone preaching words of human wisdom and interpretation for an hour, or are they being overwhelmed by the presence and glory of entering into worship with the heavenly hosts, joining the choirs of angels singing and praising His all-holy and honorable and majestic name. When we invite someone to come to our Church, they should leave having experienced something beyond comprehension; not reeling from words of human wisdom being spoken at length for the better part of an hour. Consider what you leave a Sunday service talking about; now consider that is the focal point of the service. Is it the sermon; is it the interpretation of whatever words of whatever verse that you are overwhelmed with; or is it the overwhelming feeling of having entered the presence of God and worshiped Him with the angels and the “cloud of witnesses.” Notice that Andrew doesn’t take Simon to John the Baptist to explain who Jesus is; he takes him to Jesus Himself. Because anything that John could say would pale in comparison to being in the presence of Jesus.
My brothers and sisters, so often we become so prideful. So often we consider our clever arguments and debates, our words of the wisdom of the age, to be more potent than the presence of Jesus. We consider our “new and innovative” ideas to be more impressive than the sheer power of the Gospel itself. We consider that we are better able to lead people to Jesus than Jesus Himself is. St Paul himself writes that “I did not come to you with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified…my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2,4). When we presume to use our own clever words and arguments to lead others to salvation, in reality, we are leading them to ourselves. We are feeding our own pride rather than truly seeking the salvation of their souls. We must instead, as Andrew did, lead others to Christ and allow His power to save them. And that not through persuasive arguments and debates, but rather simply through displaying His love through our own love and leading them when they hunger for that peace and contentment. How are we able to live through the perils of this world at true peace; because we know the love and peace, the contentment of Jesus. Through exemplifying this life, we display that peace and love to the world, and they will either seek it, or hate us for having found it. Those who seek it, we should lead to the source of it, those who despise it, we should continue to love them, never arguing with them, but heeding Paul’s admonishment to, “have nothing to do with stupid senseless controversies, knowing that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient when wronged.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24).
May we, my brothers and sisters, always remember this. May we never argue with those who do not believe, but rather live a life that makes others look to us and long for the grace, for the peace, for the love which we have received through our Lord Jesus. May we who bare His name live lives worthy of baring the name of He who was praying for the forgiveness of the very men who were driving nails through His hands to crucify Him, and may we do the same. May our lives be characterized by mercy, love, grace, compassion, peace, contentment, regardless of our circumstances; and may those traits alone help us bring many to hunger for Christ. And when they have hungered for Him, may we bring them to Him, not merely to words of human wisdom.
May the peace of the Lord be with you all, my beloved family.