Power of the Table
Power of the Table
Words of Faith 4-11-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him,  and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
The call of Jesus to be a disciple is about reaching others. Following Jesus is not just a personal and private matter. If we are going to be close to Him we will be close to Him plan. The intention of the Lord was and is to reach the world with the Gospel. Luke shows us the most common way that that God reaches people through us.
After Jesus called Levi from the tax stand, what was the first thing Levi did? Many would have said he ought to do nothing but study a while and mature in his new found faith. He should pray in quiet repentance. But Levi gave a banquet party for all his old friends.
Now Levi would have invited his Christian friends, but he didn't have any! He might have invited his religious friends, but there were none. That was the point! The opportunity for evangelism was the relationships he had with unsaved people.
A relationship with Jesus is contagious. The love of Jesus compels us to share the Good News with others. This is very different from religion. A religious spirit tends to isolate us from those who don't believe. In the time of Jesus, a convert to Judaism was required by law to break contact with the group of people called "sinners" which included tax collector. Levi did not do this. Instead, he threw a party and Jesus attended!
If you want a Biblical model for evangelism, this may be it, parties! Think about what would happen if every time someone came to know Jesus, they had a party and He was the guest of honor. The scripture does not even say that Jesus was preaching or teaching at the party. He was just having dinner getting to know these sinners. He was listening to their lives. Today we might say he was "hanging out" with them. There were no tracts on the table. There was no planned speech or a video after dinner. But you can bet that a lot of these folks were asking questions of their old buddy Levi and he was saying, "Let me introduce you to my Friend, Jesus." That is how the Gospel reaches the world.
It is a simple fact that every new believer has a web of influence. Even if you have known the Lord for years, there is a web of people that you interact with and influence. These relationships are not by accident. This is especially true of a new believer. When a person first comes to know Jesus they often have the most influence they will ever have among unbelievers. People come by invitation and they are reached through relationship.
Peter Lord once shared that the most powerful tool of evangelism we have is our dinner table. The invitation to break bread and share a meal is one of the most powerful ways that relationships can be built to reach the lost. An invitation to church is the most effective way that people come to church, but an invitation to lunch or dinner is probably the best way to build a relationship that will ultimately reach someone for Jesus. We don't need to have an agenda or even be very eloquent. We just need to love folks and at some point God will create the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus.
Are you a new believer? Believe it or not, you are the most effective evangelist on the planet right now. Is there a person or some people that the Lord wants to reach through you? Is there a cook-out or a meal or a connection that can be shared? Is there an invitation to be extended? Are you a long time believer? Look around. There are always people that the Lord is bringing across our paths. Is there a new neighbor to ask over? A new co-worker to invite share lunch with? Jesus goes with you every where you go. He meets every person you meet. Listen carefully, and He will guide you to the tables and hearts where He will meet those who need Him.
Father God, I never thought of myself as much of an evangelist. But I see that Your plan is to reach people through people. Show me today the people You are working on. Show me the invitations that You need for me to extend. Show me hearts that you plan to reach. Show me my part. In Jesus' name.