We continue in our series about making disciples by sharing notes from a three-part broadcast series on the subject. The series aired more than 40 years ago and we hope the information will be helpful in your service to Christ.
You can read the first part of the series here.
[These notes are from a broadcast series taught more than 40 years ago.]
Today, I want us to look at the second step in discipling. Unfortunately, many soul-winners stop at evangelizing and expect someone else to pick up the responsibility for the new Christian. Let me tell you something … you are responsible to God for that convert and if he or she fails in their Christian life, you may share some responsibility for that failure. If the new Christian succeeds in his or her life as a Christian, you may share some responsibility for that success.
For a moment think back to all of the people you have led to Christ. How many have gone on with the Lord and are successful in their Christian lives? How many have either turned their backs on the Lord or have failed in their Christian lives? I looked at that some time ago and God broke my heart and showed me how I had failed Him in carrying out His great commission. I was winning people to Christ, but was not following up with them as I should. That realization led me to make some changes. Here’s what God showed me from His Word.
After you win someone to the Lord, go over again carefully with them the plan of salvation.
Make sure they fully understand what they have d0ne. Help them have full assurance about their salvation. I might mention that many Christians have difficulty assuring others because they are not sure themselves. Before you can show someone from the Bible that God has saved them and they will not lose that salvation, you must know in your own heart that you have a salvation that cannot be lost. You must be sure that you really are a child of God. If you’re not sure, your presentation to a new Christian won’t be convincing.
Pray for them daily.
You need to spend time each day praying for every person you’ve led to Christ. How would you feel if a friend had a child and brought that new bundle of joy home from the hospital and then left it on its own? If the baby ate, it would be because they got up and made something to eat. If the baby were to be dressed, it would be because they got up and dressed themself. You would probably tell your friend that he or she was a neglectful parent.
Well, that’s God is telling us today. If we bring someone into the spiritual world and then neglect that person, we would be bad spiritual parents. If we want the privilege of introducing a person to Christ, we need to also be ready to take the responsibility of making sure the new Christian is fed and clothed. We need to pray every day that God will bless them, protect them and provide for their every need. We need to pray often and specifically. Remember, Satan is like a lion who wants to devour us and the people we lead to Christ.
Write, call or visit the new Christian frequently.
Don’t just give him up to whatever happens. So often I’ve seen where someone will pray month after month for someone to be saved, then after the person becomes a Christian we never heard about them again. That’s not right! That’s not how God wants us to treat new believers. Physical parents know that once a child is born the hard work really begins.
I remember the joy I felt as my wife and I waited for our two sons to be born. What a pleasure it was to think about who God would give us. What a joy it was to see those little baby boys and call all of our friends and family to tell them that our little Nathan and Stephen had been born. But let me tell you something else … taking those two boys home and raising them is a story of hard work.
Making disciples is also hard work. Remember the joy you had in sharing the Gospel with someone and seeing them pray and place their faith in Christ? Remember when you saw them follow Christ in baptism and join the church? Those were great moments, weren’t they? But what you been doing since that time? How many hours have you spent with them in Bible study, tutoring, sharing your heart, counseling them about challenges in their life? How many hours a week have you prayed for them? How often have you visited them in their home to pray with them and share the love of Christ for them? How many letters or cards have you dropped in the mail recently to a new Christian to be a regular reminder of their commitment to Christ? In other words, how well are you following up with them?
Ensure a proper diet.
A. A new Christian needs a consistent quiet time.
They need a time each day to be alone with the Lord. We need to teach them the importance of doing that and how to do it. A good way to help teach them is invite them to join you for your quiet time for a week or two so they can see what’s involved and how wonderful it can be:
- Adoration … spend time adoring the Lord
- Confession … make a daily habit of confessing sins to God and rejoicing in His forgiveness.
- Thanksgiving … thank God for His love and mercy and gift of grace in bringing us to salvation.
- Supplication … learn how to pray for specific personal needs and the deep needs of others.
B. Bible reading.
A new Christian should be taught how to study the Bible. I suggest they read one chapter from the Psalms, one chapter from the Proverbs, one chapter from a Gospel account, one chapter from the Book of Acts, and one chapter from an apostle’s letter to get started. Whether they read those in one day or one week is not as much concern to me as they do it. Just like new babies, they need a balanced diet. If I fed a child nothing but milk until they were 12 years old, they would not be healthy. They would have serious physical deficiencies because the human body needs more ingredients than what’s available in milk alone. The same is true about any other type of food. Just as you must eat a well-rounded grouping of foods, so you must spiritually eat a well-rounded grouping of Scriptures.
C. Bible study.
Not only does the new Christian need to read their Bible, they also need to study the Bible. There are many excellent Bible study helps that will aid a new Christian in their understanding of the Scriptures. If you would like a list of some of the better Bible study helps, we will be glad to send it to you.
D. Good Christian reading.
The new Christian needs to begin reading the great classics of the faith. They need to sink their teeth into the writings of Spurgeon, Moody, Torrey, Meyer, and Murray. There are many great writers who are alive today who will thrill the soul of a new Christian. My pastor gave me my first Christian book a few weeks after I was saved that truly got me interested in the deeper things of God. The book was called “Calvary Road,” written by Roy Hession. Since that time my library has built up to contain several hundred of the best books ever written by God’s people through the ages. One of the best things you can do for a new Christian is to give them a good Bible, a good concordance, a good Bible handbook, and a couple of paperback classics in Christian doctrines and practice.
Ensure love, affection and acceptance.
A. Get together with the new Christian for meals, meetings and fun activities to make them feel part of your family. Let them sit in one of your family devotions so they can see how it is done. Don’t just tell them what to do, show them what you do.
B. Involve them in the warmth and fellowship of the church. If you are attending a church that’s cold or dead, by all means don’t send the new Christian there. [Unless you believe God wants you there because He’s going to use you to bring spiritual warmth and life to the church leaders and members, you probably should attend another church.] Send them to a church that’s fundamental and alive. Notice, I listed two qualifications. Being fundamental is not enough. It also needs to be alive.
C. Spend time with your new Christian friend. Take them with you where you go. Do things with them. Show them that Christianity isn’t living in isolation. It’s fun and exciting! We can swim and hike and play basketball and tennis and other things that are enjoyable and good exercise. Become deeply involved in their life and they will repay you a hundredfold by growing up to be a man or woman desperately in love with Jesus Christ.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]