How to Win Friends and Influence People (John 1:40-42)
We have been healed of our soul’s diseases, and we want our friends to be healed, too.
The elders here are providing us with opportunities to assist us in winning our friends to Jesus.
Beginning the first of March, we’re going to have a visitation program in place. We’re gong to have four teams—one under the direction of each of the elders and one under my direction. One team will meet after worship each Sunday evening and assign visits we need making. The Lord needs you to be a part of this group and work to win the erring to him.
April 21 will be “Bring-A-Friend” Day here. We’re going to ask you to invite five of your friends to worship that day. We’re gong to ask you to invite five, because several may turn you down. We’re going to make a concerted effort through the visitation program to contact these people after they worship with us in hope of winning them to Jesus.
Since we’re gong to be working together to win our friends, it would be wise for us to consider the case of how one man won his brother. We’re going to talk this morning about the case of Andrew’s winning Peter.
Andrew First Brought Himself to Jesus, v 40
Andrew was a disciples of John the Baptist. One day as John stood with Andrew and John, Jesus comes by and John exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew and John followed Jesus that day and they spent the day with him.
One of the ones who followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. “Followed” here means that Andrew became a follower of Jesus; it does not mean that he followed him down the road somewhere.
From that time on, Andrew was a disciple—a follower—of Jesus. That day, Andrew pledged allegiance to Jesus; that day, his life would change forever; that day, his priorities would change forever. Andrew would spend the next three years hearing Jesus teach and the rest of his life serving in the kingdom of God.
We need to follow Jesus; we need to pattern our lives after him. “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27). “My sheep her My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn 10:27).
Before Andrew brought his brother to Jesus, he brought himself to Jesus. If we are to bring our friends to Jesus, we need to bring ourselves first. I a salesman obviously doesn’t believe in a product he’s selling, we’re not going to buy. Likewise, if we try to bring our friends to Jesus without being his followers first, we will be the laughingstock of town.
Have you brought yourself to Jesus? Are you ready to win your friends?
He Then Brought His Brother, v 41
Andrew found Peter and told him, “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew first found the one who was dearest to him and told him that he had found the Messiah. When we are met with good fortune, we cannot wait to tell those closest to us. Likewise, Andrew could not wait to tell his brother about his good fortune.
When he told Peter that he had found the messiah, he implied that he had been searching for him for quite a while. That’s the word “found” here means—to find after having searched. I can’t help but wonder if Peter wasn’t looking, too. I can’t help but wonder if that’s not the reason that Andrew went straight to Peter—because he knew he was anticipating the Messiah.
How many of our friends are searching for Jesus? How many are simply waiting for an invitation to come? I remember in one place I was working one of our members asked a lady to come to worship with him; Lois began to cry. When John asked her why she was crying, Lois said, “No one had ever invited me to church before.” When I baptized a lady in Alabama, she told me, “I’ve been searching for the true church. Where you y’all been?” How many of your friends are like these two ladies? How many want to know about Jesus?
Think about how much is known of Andrew. Not much at all. In fact, when he’s introduced in John’s Gospel, he’s introduced as Simon Peter’s brother.
Although we don’t know much about Andrew, where would the church have been without him? There would have been no Peter. There would have been no one at Caesarea Philippi to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” There would have been no one at Pentecost to say, “Repent, and be baptized for the remission for your sins.” There would have been no one to go to Cornelius, thus making the way for Gentiles—us—to be in God’s kingdom. There would only be 25 books in the New Testament instead of 27.
One man wrote that Andrew’s bringing Peter to Jesus was “perhaps as great a service to the Church as any man ever did.” How many of your friends could turn into a Peter? How many could do great things in the church if they were Christians? We’ll never know unless you seek them.
Think of what we know of Andrew from this text:
- He had no degree from a Bible college; he didn’t have all the answers.
- He wasn’t a paid staff member of a church.
- He wasn’t a mature follower of Jesus; he had just found Jesus and had just begun a life of following him when he found his brother.
You don’t need to know all the answers, you don’t need to be a preacher, you don’t need to be a mature Christian to win your friends.
Are you willing this day to commit to winning your friends for Jesus?
He Brought Peter to Another to Teach Him, v 42
John records, “He brought him to Jesus.”
Andrew made no pretext to having all the answers, but he took him to One who did have the answers. I wonder how many of you couldn’t do exactly the same thing? How many of you could say to a friend, “I’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus. I can tell you what I did, but I don’t know exactly where to find it in the Bible. Come, go to the church with me, and I’ll introduce you to one of the elders or Justin; they’ll be more than happy to help?” How many of you could say, “I’d like you to study the Bible. Let me call one of the elders or Justin, and we’ll let them tech both of us God’s will for our lives?”
Peter learned about Jesus, not from Andrew, but from Jesus? How many of you could bring a friend and let someone else teach him, if need be?
There’s something about Andrew I haven’t mentioned yet—this was just the first time he brought someone to Jesus. This was the first convert in a life devoted to winning souls. When Jesus fed the five thousand, it was Andrew who found the boy with five loaves and two fish and brought him to Jesus (Jn 6:8-9). Andrew brought some Greeks to Jesus (Jn 12:20-22).
Are you willing this morning to commit your life to God as a life of soul-winning? Wil you make a commitment to Jesus this very morning that you will seek your friends for him? Will you make a commitment to work in a visitation group that you can bring friends to Jesus? Will you make a commitment this morning to invite at least five friends to “Bring-A-Friend” Day?
But do you first need to bring yourself to Jesus? Do you need to come and be baptized into Jesus? Do you need to repent of sin in your life and ask for the prayers of the church? Maybe you need to ask God’s forgiveness for not winning your friends as you should have been doing.
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.