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We Want You Here

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“We Want You Here”

Invite Your One Sunday [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

September 8, 2019

Introductory Comments:

Today is a special Sunday for our church. This is “Invite Your One” Sunday. Every person who is a regular part of our church was challenged to bring at least one guest this week. 

To all of our guests, we want to say, “Welcome!” We’re so glad that you’re here. We want you here. 

Some of you may have had people invite you to church before and you might wonder what the deal is with that. 

Well, just so you know, there’s not a competition in Bartow to see which church can have the highest attendance. None of our church members work on commission. There’s no trophy for the person who brings the most guests. 

We want you here for a reason, actually several reasons, which we will talk about this morning. 

Before we do, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to bless our time together. 


Have you ever been invited to someone’s house and you’re not really sure why? Sometimes you wonder, are they trying to sell us something? Do they want me to donate a kidney? Do they want us to be godparents for their kids? Your mind may start to race when this happens. 

Well, rest assured that we’re not selling you anything this morning, you can keep your kidneys, and I’m not yet ready for you to be godparents to my kids. 

However, there are at least three specific reasons we want you here at First Baptist Church Bartow. 

Let’s dive into those now.

First, . . .

I. We want you here because God loves you.  [on screen]

This is not just some cliché. God really does love you. 

You see, in the book of Genesis, we learn that God created everything in this world and the pinnacle of His creation was mankind. It was you! He loves you! In fact, Genesis chapter 1 tells us: 

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” [on screen]

God did not have to create us, and He certainly didn’t have to create us in His image, but He did so because He loves us!

Not only that, after we rejected God’s way for our lives and went our own way, after we sinned against our holy Creator God, He showed love for us again by sending His Son to rescue us from our sin. 

Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, says this: 

16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. [on screen]

John is telling us that God loves us so much that we can actually measure it, in part, in the fact that He sent His Son to die for our sins. 

The apostle Paul also speaks of this. You might think, “Well how do I know that God loves me?” Well, Paul answers that in Romans 5:8. He says,

8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [on screen]

The death of Jesus Christ for you and me is proof that God loves us. God loves you and me: sinners, and He proved His love for us. 

Listen, we want you here because God loves you. We want you to know about and experience the love of God. We want you to feel God’s love. We want you to be changed by God’s love. 

Second, not only does God love you, but . . .

II. We want you here because we love you. [on screen]

Can you believe that? We love you!

I’m not sure if you caught this earlier during the welcome time, but our very vision statement consists of us loving others. We exist to develop disciples who love God, love the church, and love others. We exist to love you!

Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. [on screen]

The second most important law in all of God’s laws is to love other people, and it’s second only to our love for God Himself!

We want to give you a peek behind the curtain about what we’re trying to do around here at First Baptist Church: we’re trying to love others! We’re trying to love you!

Now, some of us are easier to love than others, but we’re trying to love everyone. We truly do believe that God has called us to love others, even those who may not be quite as lovable. 

We want you here even if you’re not just like us. In fact, we’re each quite different. We are different ages. We have multiple ethnicities represented here. We have people who have very little money and people who have a lot of money. We have people from the city and people from the country. We have people who were born and raised in Bartow, and some who have lived here less than a year, some who don’t live here at all. We have people with decades of background in the church and some who are quite new to church life. We’re not all the same, and we want you here to add to our diversity. We want all kinds of people here!

We want you here even if you’re not a follower of Jesus. Make no mistake, we’re hopeful that you will become a follower of Jesus. We want nothing greater for you than that you would submit your life to God, but we love you either way and want you here either way. 

We want you here because we love you. 

Third, . . .

III. We want you here because you were designed for something great. [on screen]

Did you know that you were designed for something great?

Think of the greatest person who you know or even the greatest person of whom you’ve ever heard. What makes them great? Fame? Money? Power? Achievement? Invention? Creativity? Good looks? What is it?

The world has produced some great people throughout history. Some even had great in their name, such as Alexander the Great! Wayne Gretzky, the former hockey player, was nicknamed, “The Great One.” Muhammad Ali, the famous boxer, said, “I am the greatest.”

What truly makes someone great? Well, I think to be great is to achieve that most important calling there is in all the universe; to achieve the pinnacle of human existence; to accomplish that which you were put on the earth to do. 

Did you know what you were put here to do? You were put here to bring glory to your Creator. A famous doctrinal statement in history, the Westminster Shorter Catechism says this, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

The apostle Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 10:31:

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. [on screen]

You see, you weren’t really put on this earth simply to build a career or make money. The biggest accomplishment is not to be the most popular, the best looking, or the smartest. The pinnacle of creation is not to have a good marriage, be a good parent, or live to enjoy time with your grandkids. The most important thing you can do in life is to glorify God! If you want to do something great then focus on bringing glory to God!

We believe that God created you for that and we believe that He has something great in store for you! We want you to experience that greatness. We at First Baptist Church are on that path as well, discovering how we can be great in God’s eyes and magnifying God’s greatness. 

You might ask, “Well, how do I achieve this greatness? What must I do?”

Well, the first step to being great, the first step to becoming who you were created to be is to give your life to Jesus.

You might be thinking, “Oh, great. Here he goes with that Jesus stuff.” Well, first of all, what do you expect? I’m a preacher! But more than that, consider this: without Jesus you cannot become who you were destined to be because without the forgiveness of Jesus you are chained down by the curse of sin in your life. 

The Bible teaches that all of us without Jesus are slaves to sin, it’s like we’re in chains. It’s like a ballerina with her legs tied together. It’s like a fisherman with no tackle. It’s like a public speaker with duct tape over his mouth. It’s like a photographer who lost her camera. You can do some things without Jesus, but you can never do what you were created to do without Jesus. 

However, remember, God loves you, right? God loved us not only by creating us but by setting us free from the chains of sin and giving us new life.

Paul says this in Romans 6:23:

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [on screen]

Sin brings death, but Jesus brings life!

Sin brings destruction, but Jesus brings restoration and regeneration. 

Sin brings hurt, but Jesus brings healing. 

With Jesus, you can love rather than hate. With Jesus, you can be healed rather than be hurt and hurt others. With Jesus, you can be rescued instead of being lost. With Jesus, you can be a child of God rather than an enemy of God. With Jesus, you can forgive rather than harbor anger. With Jesus, you can be generous rather than selfish. With Jesus, you can be an encourager rather than a discourager. With Jesus, you can do what matters, rather than what’s popular at the time. 

Jesus is better. Jesus is the greatest. You can be great by being changed by Jesus. 

Concluding Thoughts:

We want you here because God loves you, we love you, and you were created for something great. 

Here’s what it all comes down to:

Bottom Line: We want you here because of God’s great love. [on screen]


God’s great love is the most monumental force in all Creation. We want you to experience that. It changes us, it is still changing us, and we want to see it change you as well. 

We end each service with a weekly challenge. Here’s a way to challenge yourself this week. 

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Consider joining us again.  [on screen]

We’d love to have you back. After all, we want you here.

I want to challenge you to consider coming back. 

If you have a Bible-believing church home, go there. If not, please join us again. We’d love to have you. 

  1. Consider extending the invitation again.  [on screen]

To our regular church people, consider extending the invitation to someone again.

Invite people to experience the church with you. Invite people to experience the love of God. Invite people to experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

  1. Consider God’s great love.  [on screen]

God is offering the gift of His love to you. God’s great love can change you greatly. God’s great love can do something great in your life. 

Consider His great love this week. 


We want you here because God loves us, God loves you, and we love you. 

As we close, consider God’s great love even now. 

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

Invitation Song – I Surrender All


If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or any of our staff and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Don’t forget about our Adopt-a-School program at Floral Elementary. We’ll be providing breakfast for the faculty at Floral Avenue Elementary on September 16. If you’d like to help love others at Floral Avenue you can find out more about that in the bulletin. 

Also, for the month of September, we will be participating in our Diapers and Dollars to support the Florida Baptist Children’s Home and One More Child. One of the big things needed in the Bahamas is diapers. Through One More Child we can help with that. Our goal as a church is 2,000 diapers and $2,000. We can do it, church, so let’s get to it!

Finally, I hope you’ll join us again tonight at 5:30 for our series called Discovering Church History. Tonight, we’re looking at the Church during the time of the middle part of the Dark Ages. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

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