In Luke 15 we read about how Jesus responded to the critics in his day. They accused him of receiving and loving sinners. His response was, “Yes I do!” In response to their criticism he told the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons to illustrate how Jesus and the Heavenly Father love us, seek us, and receive us willingly into a relationship with God. An important, but often overlooked, part of each story is the celebration that ensued when that which was lost was found. Easter is not over until we celebrate!
We can become so preoccupied with reaching those who are lost that we forget to celebrate when they are found. Heaven celebrates and we should too. Here are some ways we can celebrate when people get saved.
Care For Them
In all three stories they celebrated at home or by coming home. The shepherd came home to celebrate the lost sheep. The woman was already home when she found the lost coin. The Father threw a party at his house when the lost son came home. I believe this demonstrates how we are to care for those who come to Christ. Jesus cares for us and we should care for each other, especially those who have been found recently.
You can care for them by bringing them home to church. If you invited a person who got saved, then don’t stop there. Bring them back. Get involved in their life. Invite them to take their next step. Better yet, take their next step with them. One way you can do that is to attend the Next Step classes with them. Every Sunday in April we will have Next Step classes that will teach them how to connect with God, how to read the Bible and pray, how to live in in financial peace, how to connect with people and make friends at church, what baptism means, and how to grow closer to God. When people get connected at church they begin to grow and take their next step in spiritual growth. So don’t stop at inviting them to church. Walk with them and help them take their next step.
In each of the stories those who sought after the lost called together friends and neighbors to celebrate. I believe this kind of attitude is the attitude of serving. They celebrated, they feasted, and they rejoiced with friends and neighbors.
When people come to Christ we must serve them. That means we must help them and walk along side of them. The prodigal son probably would have had some residual effects from his past life. No doubt he had fears, insecurities, hang-ups, and questions. But he was not alone.
We must make sure that we do not leave new believers alone. Get involved in their life. Answer their questions. Befriend them. Walk with them. Don’t try to do this by preaching to them, but instead, invest in them. One of the ways you can do this is to invite them into your small group. If you are not in a small group, then join one with them. Invite them to serve along side of you on Sunday. In this way you will serve them and help them grow spiritually.
In each of the stories there was a great celebration. We must celebrate these new believers and welcome them home. Congratulate them on their decision. Celebrate with them by encouraging them to be baptized. Simple acts of celebration will go a long way toward connecting them and helping them grow in their faith.
We will have a celebration every Sunday in April in the Next Step classes. Celebrating with them will help cement their walk with Christ. Easter is not over until we celebrate! Let’s celebrate what God is doing in our church.