Andrew - The Bringer

Bible Book: John  1 : 36-42
Subject: Operation Andrew; Evangelism; Witnessing
Introduction

As Jesus began His public ministry on earth, He called disciples whom He commissioned to reach others, then those who were saved reached others and discipled them. Furthermore, those who were saved reached others and discipled them, and then - well, you get the idea.

It all began when a man named Andrew became a follower of Christ at the time of Jesus’ baptism. Interestingly, Andrew immediately did something that is innate in true followers of Christ – he went to tell someone else about Jesus. In his case, it was His brother, Simon Peter. He didn’t just tell his brother about Jesus, he brought him to Christ. Andrew is not an Apostle best known or loved among modern Christians. Many present-day Christians probably name Peter as the best known and perhaps best loved of all the disciples, but do not realize there would not have been a disciple named Peter had it not been for Andrew.

The Christian in the 21st Century thinks mostly of the personal benefit of being a Christian. Jesus taught His disciples to “go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-

20). He told them just before His ascension, “You will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

One cannot read Luke 15 without seeing the nature of Jesus and His love for that which is lost. Jesus, in that great chapter, told of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In each case, there is a search for that which his lost, a discovery and the bringing in of that which had been lost. Afterward joy and celebration was experienced because that which was lost was brought to safety and security. Jesus was revealing His love for the lost in Luke 15 and He was also showing believers how to regain the joy of the Christian life – find the lost and bring them in. More church problems will be solved through this process than all the study teams that the Christian world can form.

Sadly, the modern Christian body has lost something of the Andrew passion for bringing people to Jesus. Andrew found Christ and he wanted those whom he knew and loved to know Christ as well. When you read the Book of Acts, you see how the Church grew, not by addition but by multiplication. Just think, if each one of us in a local church were to reach just one person in a full year, our church would double every 365 days. But that is not happening. In fact, every report we receive these days indicates that the church is in neutral or reverse. In the book, “The Death of the Evangelical Nation,” we read that the greatest years of evangelism in America passed by us over 20 years ago. How can that be? There is only one answer; we have lost the Andrew passion – the Jesus passion – for reaching those who need to know Christ.

Let’s back up for a moment and look at Andrew and see exactly what happened. We might learn something that will help us renew our own Andrew Passion.

I. Andrew Reached His Brother, Peter

 Andrew was present the day John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” He immediately believed on Jesus and followed Him. That day Andrew had made the most important decision a person can ever make – he placed his faith in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. It was a life changing decision – it was an eternal decision.

Andrew was not satisfied, however, to have something as wonderful as a Friend Closer Than A Brother, and not share that Friend with someone whom he knew and loved. Andrew immediately went to his familial brother, Simon Peter. He told Him that he had found the Messiah and then he did something else – he BROUGHT him to Jesus. Andrew did not just tell Simon about Jesus, he brought him TO JESUS.

Now, I want to say something here that is very important to every Christian. Many of you seek to live the Christian life and you see that as a witness for the Lord, and it is a type of witness! But that is not enough. Some of you even talk about the Lord and your church in a positive way to others and you see that as a witness, and it is a type of witness for Christ! But that is not enough. A few of you share your faith by presenting the Gospel presentation to others and may even lead them to pray a sinner’s prayer. But, as strange as it may sound, that is not enough. Let me tell you what I mean. Jesus did not say, “Go and make converts.” He said, “Go and make disciples.” We are to bring people to Jesus and draw them into a fellowship where they can be with other Christians so they can grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I know that not all witnessing is harvesting. Sometimes we plant, and at other times we water. Then, of course, there are times of harvest. But, sadly, too many Christians have decided to plant and water and leave the harvesting to someone else!

Some years ago I pastored a church that had a very exciting evangelism, outreach and soul winning ministry. One man in our church was especially involved in that ministry. He was often telling me about someone he had witnessed to and occasionally about someone he had personally won to faith in Christ. However, in all my years in that church, I never saw one person come into our fellowship, make public his or her faith, or become a part of growing in discipleship because of that man’s witness. Where were all those people? Perhaps some of them went to some other church fellowship, but I doubt it. The Christian witness had correlated sharing the truth about Jesus and having people acknowledge that truth as the full plan of Christ in evangelism. To complete the plan Jesus set forth we must become “bringers” like Andrew.

The Andrew passion is the desire to BRING a person, not just to faith in Christ, but into a Christian family where they can grow and develop. That is why it is important during an evangelistic crusade, revival or great gathering of God’s people, to BRING someone with you. Someone has well said that the greatest number of empty seats at a church are not those inside the building, but the empty seats in the cars people drive to church because they do not BRING anyone with them. Indeed, it is estimated that if you count the number of cars in a church parking lot, the number of people in the building will be 1 ½ persons per car. Since most cars will hold 5 to 6 passengers, with vans and SUVS carrying even more, you can see that we simply do not invite people. On Sunday morning, just think how many people would be in attendance if we filled our cars with people that we are BRINGING to church? Think of how many people would fill an evangelistic crusade, festival, or revival if everyone attending would fill their vehicles with guests?

But, let’s rejoin Andrew for a moment. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Christ. Just think of all that Peter did for Jesus. Without Andrew there might never have been a Simon Peter in God’s work. You and I never know just how important our effort is in bringing people to Jesus.

Some years ago, I was told about a couple that needed a visit. I went by to see them and discovered a husband and wife hungry for Christian discipleship. They had been saved watching a Billy Graham televised crusade service. Neither of them knew any Christians and didn’t know what they should do. What a delight it was for me to promise to bring them to church the following Sunday. They said they had their own car and promised to attend. I agreed, but set a specific time to meet them in front of the church. Like clockwork they were there at the appointed time. The one-time carousing, partying, hard driving young man who had come to Christ, came to church that Sunday and soon became a key leader in a few short months. He soaked up everything he could, as did his wife. He later taught Sunday School, worked in VBS, and sang in the church choir. Most importantly, he BROUGHT others to church and helped them find their way into the Kingdom of God through Christ. That was in the late 1960s. I heard from him about a year ago, in 2007, and he sent word that he was still serving Christ and reaching people. How many times could this story be repeated by those who will go out, find people, and bring them into the worship services and fellowship of God’s people?

II. Andrew Reversed His Evangelistic Practice

This may seem strange, but I think Andrew may have fallen victim to a condition one might call anti-Andrewism. That is, Andrew might have, as time passed, lost the passion to reach people – a passion that he had when he first met Christ. Let me explain.

You will remember the story of Jesus and the woman at the well of Sychar. You find that story in John, chapter 4. Jesus remained by the well and the disciples went into Sychar for food. A woman came out to the well and Jesus encountered her with the truth of the Gospel. She believed on him, and then she went back to town and told everyone she knew about Jesus. Soon, the entire town was coming out to meet the Savior at the well.

Now, think about his. The disciples, including Andrew, had gone into the town of Sychar before the woman came out and met Jesus. They came back after their shopping spree to find that Jesus had been conversing with this woman. These trained disciples did not bring back one person to meet Jesus that day. They shopped in the local market, met people in the street, perhaps bought some personal items they needed, but they told no one about Jesus being outside of town at the well. Yet, the woman who had no training and who had only met Jesus a few minutes before, ran back to town and began to publicize that Jesus, the Messiah, was at the well. Then we see that the people came out of the city to meet Jesus and persuaded Him to stay for a while. Many believed on Him.

Isn’t it interesting that the disciples did not reach anyone, even though they were trained by the Master Himself. Yet, an untrained, but truly converted woman from the wrong side of the tracks went back to town and caused a virtual revival to break out at Sychar. How did this happen?

It is apparent that the disciples had become official Jesus followers. They lost their passion for Him and for His mission to save the lost. Their passion became business and the business became nothing but a job. That is the problem in many of our churches today!

Andrew was in the group that went into town for food supplies and apparently he had not spoken to anyone about Christ. Peter was in that group of disciples and ostensibly he also had not spoken to a single person about Christ. One sinful woman who had just met Jesus went back into town and brought dozens of people out to meet Him. The disciples who had been in training with Christ went into town and brought back no one!

This is a critical problem in following Christ. When we have been followers of Jesus for a while, we can be guilty of losing our Andrew Passion – the passion to BRING others to Jesus. No one knows why this happens the way it does, but it is a common experience. Some of you here today have not brought anyone to Jesus, no one to church, or no one to a revival or crusade in weeks, months or perhaps even many years. Why? Surely there are people all around us that need a Savior.

When the disciples came back from the city with the food, Jesus told them to look at the fields white unto harvest. What did he mean? Many suppose that Jesus spoke these words as He was pointing to the people coming out of the city to meet Him because of the witness of one woman. Sad, isn’t it, that one woman did that day what twelve disciples could not do – she brought people to Jesus!

Perhaps Andrew had assumed his job was merely to serve Jesus within the Christian group. Maybe he felt that he was just to be a learner and soak up all the truth that Jesus shared. Perhaps Andrew had people around him in the group of disciples who did not share with others about Jesus so he assumed that he was not to do that either. Whatever the reason, Andrew had reversed his former practice and was obviously not bringing anyone to Jesus when we encounter him in John 4.

Sadly, Andrew would have been right at home in a 21st Century Christian church! It has been estimated in several studies that approximately between 3 and 5 percent of regular church members will every share their faith in Jesus with someone and actually bring them into a grow discipleship walk with the Lord.

III. Andrew’s Renewed His Passion

When we come to Acts chapter 2 (and beyond), we note that something amazing happened. The Holy Spirit came to indwell the believers at Pentecost and there was a sudden ingathering of people to Christ. Three-thousand souls came to Christ on the day of Pentecost alone. Then, we are told at the end of Acts chapter 2 that people were being added to the church daily. Note, they were being added to the church. Someone was bringing them in. I have little doubt that one of those who was bringing people into a relationship with Jesus and into a fellowship with the redeemed was the original “bringer” – Andrew.

Apparently, not only Andrew, but all the disciples were busy BRINGING people to Jesus and into the church. The rapid growth of Christianity can be attributed to the Holy Spirit working through Andrew-type believers who were seeking people and bringing them in.

We must renew our passion for reaching our neighbors, friends, co-workers, family members and even strangers for the cause of Christ. Every Christian can bring someone! In fact, you can bring several “someones” at a time, or several over a period of years. In an upcoming evangelistic crusade, festival, revival or one of the regular services of your church, become an Andrew. Invite someone to come WITH YOU. BRING someone WITH YOU. Renew the Andrew Passion – which in fact, is the JESUS PASSION conveyed to us and through us by the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

A few years ago, my wife and I were going out to make a visit to a family that had showed an interest in our church. We arrived at their home, but they were not present. Either they had forgotten the appointment, had an emergency, or just got cold feet and decided to leave the house so they would not have to talk to the preacher. My wife asked what we were going to do. I bowed my head and prayed for divine direction. I knew the Lord had sent us out to visit that night and I felt He wanted something wonderful to happen. I turned to my wife and said, “Let’s just drive around and find a home with lights on and stop there. After all, many people need the Lord.” And then I added, “By the way, the Firechief, Jeff Cash, spoke to me the other day and said that his sister and husband needed Jesus and he wants us to see them. He told me he would give me their address and names, but he hasn’t done it yet.” My wife said, “Well, you can’t visit them if you don’t know their names or where they live.” I acknowledged that she was right but insisted that we drive around and see who we could find. As we drove along, I came to a duplex apartment and the lights were on at each home and on the front porches as well. I pulled in and decided to take a chance on a cold call. I walked to the door, rang the bell, and one of my faithful members opened the door. “Oh,” I said, “I didn’t know you lived here.” She replied, “We just move here last week. We are building a new house and we must live here till it is finished. How can I help you, pastor?” I told her what had happened to us and that we were trying to find Jeff Cash’s sister and her husband but I don’t even know their names. Patty stood in the doorway looking confused. “You don’t know where they live? Preacher, they live in the other side of this duplex apartment. Their names are Neal and Wendy. They are at home right now. Just go across the porch and knock on the door. Steve and I will be praying while you talk to them.”

Needless to say, at this point I was in a state of shock. I had spiritual hairs standing up on the back of my neck. This was a miracle – truly a divine act to send me directly to the only place where I could have found Neal and Wendy. So, I got my wife Jayne out of the car and we walked to the front door. I rang the bell and Wendy appeared. “Oh,” Wendy said,” with tears forming in her eyes, “Neal and I were just saying that we would give anything if we could talk to preacher Mike tonight. Come in! Come in!”

Before I could begin, one of them, I don’t know which one, said, ”Preacher, we want to get saved right now. God has been dealing with us." So, I opened my Bible and quickly strolled down the Roman Road. They both bowed down on the floor with Jayne and me, and they cried out to God to forgive their sins. They admitted their faith in Jesus. In that moment, they were gloriously saved.

The following Sunday Neal and Wendy walked down the aisle at First Baptist Church, Cherryville, North Carolina where I was Pastor, and requested baptism and membership. I am back in that church from time to time. You see, my daughter married a ministerial student who several years later became pastor at that same church. So, now my daughter, son-in-law are in that same church now and have been for almost fifteen years serving as pastor and pastor’s wife. But, Neal and Wendy are there too – still growing and serving. And, Jeff Cash and his wife Cynthia are still there. They have become such wonderful leaders through the years. Jeff had a prayer for his sister and brother-in-law. God sent my wife and I to BRING them to Jesus. They have all been serving Jesus faithful and helping to reach others since then.

May God help us not lose that passion to BRING people to Jesus. Who can you bring? Who will you bring? You will bring no one unless you determine to obey the One who gave you a commission – to obey the One saved you to be a BRINGER!