The Sticky Invite

Luke 14:16-23 NIV

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and INVITED many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’  23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads & country lanes and COMPEL THEM TO COME in, so that my house will be full.’ ”

You have nothing on tomorrow night and so are making plans, you WhatsApp several friends to invite them over.  None can make it!  Most have good reasons – working late or something else on. Then there are a few who say they’re too tired, or they say they don’t like cheese and wine, or …

Now what they didn’t realise was you had invited a friend they hadn’t met yet, someone who was looking to make an investment in a new business, but also employ someone on their own business – a unique role.

Everyone had declined the invite not realising what was on the other side.

Last week I received an invite to go to Australia next year.  However, I have something else already pre-booked.  However, I know the huge value of the event I am being invited to and how beneficial it will be. So I am working on how I can move the pre-booked activity so I can say yes to the invite.

People don’t know the great thing on offer down at Church, until they try it. They will think the things they are doing are more appealing, more significant and more satisfying – until they come, and they discover meaning, belonging and destiny.

I have met very few people who have come to our church and not liked it, many want to return and some give their lives to Jesus there and then.

For this reason Jesus says ‘Compel them to come in’.  This is more than an invite, this is a sticky invite – and invite that is hard to say no to, an invite that is attractive and sticks, it’s a compelling invite.

To compel we need a compelling reason. He says the compelling reason is  ‘So that my house maybe full’ – compel them to come to church (the only House Jesus has on earth) so that His House may be full with people restored to Jesus.

* When was last time your heart broke for someone who didn’t know Jesus?

Jesus has made an open invitation to the greatest party of all, a heavenly, eternal party, but how do you really communicate to people that this they really need to say yes to?

Here are some thoughts springing out of verse 21 (literal translation) :

And coming to his side the slave reported to that lord of his these things, then being provoked, the householder said to that slave of his, “Go out speedily into the broadways and rush of the city and the beggars, and mutilated and blind and lame take in here.”

coming to his side’ – the servant draws to the side of the master.  Of course, a picture here of us drawing alongside Jesus – the only place from which you can bring a message.

  1. LIVE IT FOR SOMEONE

The first aspect of a sticky invite is that we must live it – authenticity isn’t being ‘real’ it’s ‘being real to our faith’. You living free in your faith in front of others, is their passport home.

You are the light of the world.  Nothing has colour in the dark, light brings colour. YOU bring everything alive.

As we live out in full view, the freedom, joy, peace in storms; as we show unusual kindness we shine.

If your life looks no different to anyone else’s then you have to ask yourself “Have I let Jesus transform me?”

The Spirit of the Lord has anointed you to do this!

He goes on to say, go out and invite others in, don’t be dismayed at those who say no, invite others, invite again, don’t give up, keep believing, keep inviting …

  1. INVITE SOMEONE

 It’s not always the people we think will say yes that actually do say yes.

Philip invites his friend Nathanael to come and meet Jesus.  Philip says to Nathanael “We have found the Messiah from Nazareth …”   46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. (John 1:45-46)

Nathanael the cynic – how can you believe in one you can’t see?  That’s just out of date right?  I’m not the religious type … Jesus says “Nathanael you are a true Israelite, in you is no deceit”. Nathanael’s cynicism disappears, he is blown away by Jesus’ ability to simply know him so intimately.

People need a touch from God. Your story and invite can help even the cynical.

Be an inviter. To Church, to your Group, to a dinner party … Not everyone will come – I’m tired, Johnny has swimming lessons, I go to the gym on Sunday mornings… compel them but if they won’t come, invite others … the unlikely, surprising, or those with a need.

Jesus uses the phrase ‘Go out’  meaning to send a message or a report out. So when you invite be sure to ‘give a report’. Tell them specifically what’s going on – so its more than an invite – tell them what’s happening, let them into the picture :

  • Describe the church
  • Describe the events on flyer you are giving them
  • Describe your story … TAKE A REPORT
  1. BRING SOMEONE

When Andrew decided to follow Jesus, his first thought was to go and get his older brother.  A bold move, as Simon was not only the older brother, but also the more dominant brother, the loud mouth, act before thinking brother.

Andrew could have easily been tempted to think of inviting someone else.  But no he went to Simon …

Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. (John 1:42)

Don’t just invite someone, bring them. People are looking to belong to a community, they are not looking to simply attend an event. Include them in your life, introduce them to your friends and help them see they belong already.

What time can I pick you up for church? We are going out with a few people afterwards, we would love for you to join us. Let’s go a little early so I can show you where the kids will have their activities. Introduce them to others.

Draw them into the community by sharing your story, and what the community has done for you.

The end of the story of Andrew and Simon, is that Simon also follows Jesus, and becomes one of the most renowned of all apostles, having his name changed to Peter.

And finally, but not at all least :

  1. PRAY FOR SOMEONE

James 5:16 tells us The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
What you are unable to do, God can do!
Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power to save people!
Be that sticky invite today …
If you would like to listen to my podcast on this subject you can find it here.