Series: Evangelism Category: Core Seminars, Church Life, Discipling / Mentoring, The Nature of the Church, The Gospel, Evangelism
Evangelism Core Seminar
Class 6: How to Disciple Others in Evangelism
Welcome to the Evangelism C.S., Introduce yourself / co-teachers, Handout, Pray
We’ll be jumping around to different passages – don’t feel obliged to try keep up
We’ll have time for you to ask questions – remember to mention your name
In today’s class we are going to think about how to biblically disciple others evangelize.
But, before we get started, I’m curious; does anyone have any encouraging evangelism stories from this past week?
Let’s recap what we’ve learned thus far in the Evangelism Core Seminar this summer.
Week 1 – we walked from Genesis through Revelation, highlighting God’s plan to save sinners
Week 2 – we talked about God’s sovereignty and our responsibility in evangelism summarizing our responsibility in three “p” words – can anyone tell me what those were? (Pray, Pursue and Proclaim)
Week 3 – we talked about what the Gospel is in four main parts – can anyone name them?
Week 4 – we thought about how we can use our personal testimonies as a helpful tool in evangelism
Week 5 – we talked about the local church gathering can be an effective tool in evangelism
Q: Why should we make it a goal to train up others in evangelism?
Simply, there are many areas we need help with as Christians. Think of your spiritual maturity as you would a person. A baby isn’t born with any significant abilities. They can’t talk, or crawl, or even hold their own head up straight. They need to be fed, cleaned, kept warm, and be protected. As that baby grows, it learns to sit, progress from milk to solid foods, smile and laugh. You watch it go from sleeping a lot, to crawling a lot, to running, and jumping on the couch! And all along the way, did it do it by itself? Of course not. Very nervous parents spent countless hours without sleep and with much caffeine feeding, cleaning, playing with and teaching their child.
Well, the Christian walk is really no different. We start as new believers, as spiritual babes. We need to learn new skills. Like how to read the bible, how to pray, how to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Along the way, one of the skills we learn is how to share our faith.
So I want you to think of discipling others to evangelize as more than one separate component of the Christian life. It fits into the bigger picture of what it means to follow Christ.
Consider that evangelism is often awkward, or difficult. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. It can be quite challenging. It requires on our part a certain level of boldness, confidence and courage. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t readily enjoy the rejection. But, telling others is the greatest privilege that we have as Christians. The hope that we have in our salvation through Christ is the same hop we get to share with others.
So we live in this tension of joyfully proclaiming the Good News, while at the same time accepting that our proclamation will not always be well received. If that’s the case, then we need all the help we can get!
So today we will look at ways we can imitate Jesus through raising up others to tell the Good News. If you look at the handout, you will see that:
We can imitate Jesus by intentionally investing
We can imitate Jesus by being patient
We can imitate Jesus by inviting our disciples to join us
Any questions before we get started? (Wait more than 15 seconds)
Well, I’ve got a question - why is Jesus our role model worthy of imitation?
Why should we look to Jesus as our guide, as opposed to Billy Graham, or Ray Comfort, or Billy Sunday or George Whitefield?
The Bible provides all we need in order to live a Christian life
Jesus Christ is our perfect example – the founder and perfector of our faith
Jesus Christ is the executor of God’s eternal plan to save his people
Jesus Christ is the greatest evangelist to ever walk the earth
Now, we cannot cover all of discipleship in today’s class. Nor can we cover all of evangelism in today’s class. Discipleship is multi-faceted and is not just about evangelism, but that is certainly a part of it. So, let’s get started:
Imitate Jesus by selecting a few people
During Jesus’ three-year ministry, he had hundreds, if not thousands, of followers. We often read in the gospel accounts that crowds and multitudes and throngs crowded and followed and pressed-in on Jesus.
Matthew 9:23-25 we read, “ And when Jesus came to the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, ‘Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.”
Mark 5:24 says, “… and a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.”
Mark 12:37 says, “ …and the ” great throng heard him gladly.
Luke 6:17 “…with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon,”
Luke 19:37 says, “… the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,”
Luke 23:27 says, “ And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.”
John 6:2 says, “ and a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.”
In addition, in all four gospel accounts, we also see that Jesus intentionally and specifically chose twelve disciples whom he kept particularly close.
First disciples – Matthew 4:18-22
Apostles – Matthew 10:1-4
First disciples – Mark 1:16-20
Apostles – Mark 3:13-19
First disciples – Luke 5:1-11
Apostles – Luke 6:13-16
Let’s look at the account in
Luke chapter 6 verses 13-16:
13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 14 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 15 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. 16
And if we take an even deeper dive into the twelve, we see that Jesus chooses three – James, John and Peter – with whom he is particularly close. Jesus brings them with him to the mountain where they witness his transfiguration. It’s the same transfiguration the Apostle Peter remembers, when he mentions it his letter, 2 Peter, in ch 1:17. It’s the moment when Jesus allowed James, John and Peter to see him speaking with Moses and Elijah and hear the voice of God the Father call Jesus “His Son, His Chosen One.”
Well, maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “
I’m not Jesus, the God-man, the Messiah, and I certainly don’t have apostles and I’ve never been transfigured –so what does this have to do with me?”
That’s true, we are not Jesus. And there are not any Apostles with a capital “A” walking the earth today – that office is closed. But, I think we can glean some practical wisdom from Jesus’ example here.
Just being practical and realistic, the more things we try to do – the thinner we spread ourselves – the worse we do them.
We must exercise discernment and wisdom in our decision-making to determine when, where and with whom to invest our time. Our time is precious and valuable and we must steward it well.
Jesus was fully God and yet fully man – during his ministry, he lived the same 24-hour days that we are living. He ate, he worked, he slept. So, just like us, he had to make real decisions about how to spend his time and with whom to spend it.
There is actually a lot of freedom in disciplining ourselves to make decisions like this. Now, it may mean that we have to make sacrifices. We commit to certain things in order to do them well at the expense of other things that we forsake. In fact, it is probably the case that for most things in life worth pursuing, there is a cost or sacrifice that must be made.
[WORD PICTURE] We see examples of this all over the place:
An Olympic athlete sacrifices years of morning sleep-ins, and social activities to have a crack at a gold medal. Students study through the night for weeks on end to make sure they get the grade they need. Sometimes mothers willingly sacrifice their careers for a time in order to invest in their children and disciple them in the early years. We could list many more examples.
In the unique case of Jesus, one thing we also notice about him is that he did not neglect the rest of the world. No, we still see that he cared and had compassion on others.
But, Jesus had a plan in mind – he knew what was going to happen. He knew that he would leave his disciples and entrust the Christian ministry into the hands of these Spirit-filled apostles – we see that in the great commission in
Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.
In order for Jesus’ ministry to be effective, he selected a handful of working-class, and spent all of his waking hours with them. They weren’t remarkable men. They had not achieved anything worthy of our admiration. But Jesus spent time with them. That should give us hope and comfort.
Now, if we took the example of Jesus and his disciples, and applied the same principles to ourselves, what would that look like?
Question: I’m curious; would anyone from the class like to share what some of their discipling relationships are like? Any wisdom you would like to share with the class?
For me, all of my discipling relationships are with other men. Some are older, some younger. Some are married, some single. I personally do not have a preference. Generally, I try make to make regular time every week to meet with anyone who is interested in growing in the Lord.
That may look different for you. But the point is simple: choose a handful of people and intentionally invest in them like Jesus did. Do it well, for their good and for Christ’s sake.
Any questions before we move on?
Imitate Jesus by being patient and prayerful
After Jesus identified his disciples and invited them to join him, he began to spend time with them - he began discipling them.
Jesus did this because God’s plan has always been to bring glory to himself through groups of people who are made to be like him.
We see this throughout the Bible beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden, then when God set apart Israel, then with Jesus calling his apostles, and finally with the local church gathering in Acts and Paul’s letters.
Throughout the Bible, we see small, imperfect groups of people - often very different and diverse people – glorifying God as they grow and mature in holiness and sanctification; as they act, look, talk, walk and live more like Jesus. The more time we spend with God, the more we resemble HIM. What better way for Jesus to rub off on his people than for him to spend time with them?
In this same way, the more time we spend with others – the way Jesus did – the more they will resemble each other. I’ve always heard that married individuals become more and more similar after years and years of marriage.
Even though Jesus was spending a ton of time with his disciples, they did not immediately begin ministering. No, Jesus waited very patiently before sending out his disciples.
If we look at
Matthew’s gospel account, we see that Jesus began his ministry in chapter 4, verse 12. But, the first time Jesus sent out his apostles to minister was not until chapter 10, verse 5. Jesus may have spent upwards of one year with his disciples before sending them out to minister for the first time. He waited patiently for them to be ready.
And even after spending all that time listening and watching and learning from Jesus, the Christ, the God-Man, ministry wasn’t always pretty and polished for the apostles!
In the Gospel accounts, we see Christ correct and rebuke the Apostles on multiple occasions for a variety of reasons – the selfish apostles who wanted to sit at the right and left of Jesus in heaven, when the apostles are pumped-up because they had the ability to do signs and wonders, but Jeuss tells them to rejoice that their names are written in the book of life – yet Jesus is always patient with them.
Just looking at
chapter 8 of Mark’s gospel, we see two examples. In Mark 8:16-21, the disciples clearly do not understand Jesus’ teaching. And then in Mark 8:32-33, Jesus rebukes Peter.
But all the while, Christ patiently waited for them to understand the things of God. And later on, even after Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus remained patient and loving and welcoming to the one on whom he would build his church.
The Apostles finally came to understand who Christ was, and eventually were almost all killed for proclaiming his name. They were killed for their commitment to evangelism.
In addition to being patient with his disciples, Jesus also prayed for them.
Jesus’ high priestly prayer in
John 17 gives us a beautiful view of Christ’s affection for his Apostles as he prays for them before they go out into the World, and as he prays for the people to whom they will preach the gospel. I would encourage you to meditate on Jesus’ prayer in John 17 – it is so rich!
And of course, Paul and the other New Testament writers continue this trend by pouring out the heartfelt prayers we see on the pages of scripture.
Don Carson’s book,
now renamed A Call to Spiritual Reformation , is a wonderful collection and meditation on Paul’s prayers. If you want to better pray for your brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, then I highly commend this book to you. Praying with Paul
As we disciple others and encourage them in their evangelism, we should imitate Christ by being patient with them and praying for them and their evangelism.
Even more than that, few times have I felt more loved than when I was really struggling in evangelism, and faithful brothers patiently waited for me to improve, or caringly pointed my errors, or pointed me to Christ when I wanted to quit.
In the same way, I’d encourage you to tell people what they could become in Christ, and to pray for them and with them, and to remind them of the power of the Gospel even in the lives of their hardest friends or family.
As the Jesus’ disciples saw His love for people and his heart for the lost, their passion grew too.
One strategy that I have personally benefited from over the years, and one which I am currently part of is a missions group… Warmka’s home for Dispatches From the Front DVD.
Any questions? Or, any strategies you employ to encourage others?
Imitate Jesus by modeling ministry and training laborers
So Jesus didn’t just sit around praying and waiting. Jesus modeled, or demonstrated, how to do evangelism by doing it as he traveled with the Apostles. Jesus’ apostles saw how Jesus lived, how he prayed, how he used scripture and they also saw his singularity of purpose, the way he explained the kingdom of God and the way he showed people their need for salvation.
Jesus didn’t have ipads or iphones or powerpoint or youtube or DVDs – No! Jesus Himself was the training method. Jesus took advantage of the evangelistic opportunities around him to show others how to share the gospel and as a result, the Apostles learned how to evangelize. They absorbed things about the way Jesus evangelized that they probably didn’t know they picked up.
I think there are four practical takeaways for us on how to encourage others in evangelism:
Teach them how to pray by praying for them and with them.
Earlier in this Core Seminar, we summarized our responsibility in evangelism as pray, pursue and proclaim. If you’re going to evangelize with disciples, pray with them beforehand, during and afterward.
My prayer life has grown tremendously through simply listening to the prayers prayed here at CHBC during both pastoral prayers and during our Sunday evening services.
Remember that Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray in
Matthew 6 which we refer to as the Lord’s prayer. Pray for and with your disciples so that they may learn how to pray God-glorify, Christ-exalting prayers.
And pray the things we’ve been praying all summer in this class:
God please give us a heart for the lost
God please give us open doors and opportunities to share the gospel
God please give us wisdom in knowing what to say and when/where
God please give us a burden for three people
There are many different ways to get into conversations with people about the Gospel. From talking to friends on Facebook, to evangelizing you co-workers, there are boundless opportunities around us. But seeing that this is a class about discipling others in evangelism, consider doing your evangelism with someone else.
For example, you can head out on to the city and do street evangelism, handing out flyers and engaging strangers in conversation. You can walk door-to-door. You can go to Union Station, Eastern Market, to the national mall – there are virtually no limits to the places where you can start gospel conversations. The obvious benefits of doing this together are:
You don’t give up or give in, because you have someone to support you
You have the advantage of listening in on conversations and learning how to share the gospel clearly with someone.
You get encouraged to keep doing it when you see your friends doing likewise
I remember doing this a few years ago when I lived in Brisbane, Australia. I recall going down to the city on a Saturday night with some good friends to hand out flyers and talk to people. We had one guy on a step doing street preaching. He draws in a crowd, some interested, others amazed that someone would be so brazenly talking about sin and hell and repentance, and forgiveness. As the crowd grows, some people laugh or mock and move on. Others stay engaged. And its those people I would stand next to and ask a simple question such as, “Hey, what do you think about what this guy’s talking about?” And that’s all I needed to do. Some people I would speak with for 5 minutes, others half an hour.
But what kept me going when I faced rejection, was that I would look around and still see my brothers and sisters around me talking to people they had just met, and with joy in their eyes, tell strangers the good news. That is so helpful to me. I know how weak I am, and how quickly I’d give up if left to myself.
So, if you do this, one of the best things you can do is to go out and evangelize together as a pair or in a group. If you’re in a small group, maybe go out and evangelize together.
One of the advantages of DC is that we have a great deal of diversity, and with that comes many opportunities to share our faith with people who are from other parts of the world. Think about the global effect of someone from another country hearing the gospel from you for the first time. They repent and believe, and in a year’s time they head back to their homeland. They are now ambassadors in their own nation, witnessing to others, because you took the time out to share with them.
Jesus was impartial when ministering, so we should be, too.
When you’re evangelizing, do not show partiality – everyone needs Christ! If you decide to go out and do some cold / contact / confrontational evangelism like I just described, don’t just approach those people who look like you or maybe even worse, who look particularly attractive or important.
In Washington, DC, there are a lot of attractive, important, powerful, wealthy people,
there are also lots of people down on their luck. but
Share the gospel with all of them! Think about Jesus, He shared the gospel with the rich young ruler, but then he also shared the gospel with a Samaritan woman, which was scandalous in his day!
Jesus was constantly going against the grain by ministering to people others would normally avoid whether they were blind, lame, leprous, crippled, deaf, dumb, female, Samaritan, you name it, Christ pursued them, so we should, too.
In the same way, let this be a lesson to us, that at our jobs, if God provides the opportunity, share the gospel with supervisors, DO IT. If He provides the opportunity to share with interns or janitors, DO IT. The ground is level at the foot of the cross and when we get to heaven, it’s not going to matter what kind of job we had on earth.
Jesus commissioned his disciples and sent them out
In the same way that Jesus sent out the 12, then the 72 and then each and every one of us via the Great Commission, encourage your disciples to go out and replicate ministry.
By God’s grace, our senior pastor, and many in this church model this very well. As just one example, many men who have sat under the leadership at CHBC, have themselves gone out to pastor churches or labor for the gospel. Take the time to look at the CHBC directory sometime, and you’ll see a few pages dedicated to pastors sent out by this church. Additionally, there are many more interns who spent time here, learning before moving on.
In the same way, we should encourage our disciples to go out and multiply and replicate. If after a while, your disciples aren’t anxious and eager to go out and model what you’ve modeled and you don’t see them building up and encouraging others to go out and evangelize and make disciples, then maybe you have not been very clear about the goal of discipleship.
Entrust others with the ministry of the gospel the way Christ entrusted it to his apostles and then to us. Think about
2 Timothy 2:2, “… and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” That is our goal – to raise up faithful men who will be able to do teach others how to raise up the next generation of faithful men.
In conclusion, imitate Jesus. There are countless verses in the Bible where we are instructed to do this:
1 Peter 2:21
1 John 2:6
1 Thess 1:6
We can do this by selecting a few people and intentionally investing our lives in them.
We can imitate Jesus by teaching others how to evangelize and waiting patiently for them to grasp and understand.
We can imitate Jesus by prayer for their evangelism and praying with them about evangelism.
We can imitate Jesus by bringing other with us when we evangelize and modeling faithful evangelism for them.
Finally, we can imitate Jesus by encouraging our disciples to go out and be evangelists without us and to teach others to the same.
Share the gospel
Take others to share the gospel with you