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 share it with you in hopes that the information will be helpful in your service to Christ.
[These notes are from a broadcast series taught more than 40 years ago.]
I want to speak with you today on the subject of discipleship.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to do three things in making disciples. If all three are not done, then we have failed to be obedient to the great commission of Christ to His Church.
We Are To Teach All Nations
Teach them what?
Our answer is found in Mark 16 where Christ explains that we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.
What is the Gospel?
- It is that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, came to give His life as a ransom for many.
- It’s that Jesus Christ, the great Messiah of Israel and the wonderful Savior of the Gentiles, died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. In doing so Jesus satisfied His Father who said that “the wages of sin is death.”
- It’s that Jesus Christ, the fulness of the Godhead bodily, was buried in a dark tomb and three days after arose from the dead.
- It’s that the eternal God-Man ascended into the Heaven of God and is seated at the right hand of the Father above every power and principality.
- It’s that human beings who repent of sin and confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, are forgiven by the Father and receive the gift of eternal life.
That’s the Gospel, the “good news,” and what good news it is!
The song writer wrote:
“We’ve a story to tell to the nations that shall turn hearts to the right, a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light. We’ve a song to be sung to the nations that shall lift their hearts to the Lord, a song that shall conquer evil and shatter the spear and sword. We’ve a message to give to the nations that the Lord who reigneth above, hath sent us His Son to save us, and show us that God is love. We’ve a Savior to show to the nations who the path of sorrow hath trod, that all of the world’s great people might come to the truth of God.” Sterne and Nichol, 1896
Powerful words! The first duty of Christian disciple-making is evangelism. We must tell others about Jesus Christ, His Cross, His suffering, His death, His burial, His glorious resurrection, His mighty kingdom, His powerful coming, His eternal victory.
I’m sure that each of us at one time or another has been through a soul-winning course or has heard messages on soul-sinning and has some idea of how to approach a person with the Gospel message. Some of you may have even had the great privilege of leading someone to Jesus Christ.
I want to give you eight insights into evangelism or as it sometimes called, “spiritual obstetrics.”
1. Love People With All Your Heart
Now this may sound like a strange thing to say, but if you try to win souls without love, and some do, we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that we are wasting our time. Evangelism without a love for people and a deep heart burden for them will “profit you nothing.”
2. Tailor Your Approach To The Individual
We must not approach people with a “canned’ presentation that we use over and over again. We must carefully prepare each presentation to the individual’s needs. Find out something about the person and his or her needs, then ask God for help to present the Gospel to the person to reach him where they live.
3. Choose The Questions That You Want To Answer And Ignore The Others
In other words, don’t let the person take you down a rabbit trail. I remember spending five hours with a man trying to help him understand the Lord’s love for him. He kept bringing up every objection in the book and I followed him down many rabbit trails trying to reach him. I try not to do that anymore. I’ve since learned how to block the objections (or set them aside for later discussion) and actually use them to help the person consider the truth of the Gospel.
4. Strike For The “Open Nerve” That Causes The Person To Express His/Her Need
The key is to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in discovering each person’s deep spiritual need. Listen closely to words or phrases the person may repeat. Listen for inconsistencies in their story or answers to your questions. Ask pointed questions about their life and relationships. Share from God’s Word their personal responsibility for sin and need to repent. Don’t make salvation easier or harder than God has made it.
5. Tell The Truth Even If It Hurts
If a person asks if they will have to give up things to be a Christian, don’t cop out and make being a Christian sound easy. Tell them the truth.
6. Agree With The Person As Much As Possible
By this I don’t mean that you agree with their sinful lifestyle or what they think will get them to Heaven. What you can do is agree on incidental points of life and use that agreement as an opportunity to present the Gospel more powerfully.
7. Don’t Let The Conversation Get Off The Subject
This is very important! We MUST keep their attention on Christ. They may try to talk with you about everything under the sun, from religion to politics to the heathen. Whatever you do, keep them coming back to Jesus. It’s only as they are confronted with the living Savior that anything can be accomplished for eternity.
8. Be Sensitive To How The Holy Spirit Is Working In The Person’s Life
While you are witnessing to them, you should also be praying to God that He will give you spiritual sensitivity to the person’s deepest needs. If you are talking with someone and they are hungry, feed them. If you are sharing the Gospel with someone and they are thirsty, give them water drink. This is not a “social” Gospel. It is following Christ’s direction and treating people in the same way you’d want to be treated.
Finally, as you are talking with a person about Christ, be sensitive to knowing when to ask them to make a commitment to Christ. It’s important the person understands what you have said about sin and salvation. This is a spiritual moment that has eternal implications, so let God bring the person to Himself. Only the Holy Spirit can draw people to Christ. What we do is present the Gospel and live a life filled with the Spirit of God. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”
[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.]