How Do We Make Disciples of All Nations If We're Not Gifted in Apologetics or Evangelism?

Greg shares how any Christian - no matter their skills - can play a part in making disciples of all nations.

 

Transcript:

0:04 I've been asked for my advice on an issue regarding the Great Commission

0:09 which is to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them what Jesus taught

0:15 the disciples, baptizing them, and building them up. And the question has to

0:21 do with, how do we make disciples? How do we fulfill the Great Commission if we're

0:26 not gifted in evangelism or we're not gifted in the area of apologetics. And I

0:30 think the question reflects a misunderstanding.

0:33 First, the command of the Great Commission was given to the church.

0:39 That means the church is to make disciples, and of course, the church is

0:43 made up of individuals who must be the disciple makers, but it also is a

0:48 group of individuals who have different gifts and different capabilities. And

0:52 there is a gift of evangelism, and we read about that in Ephesians chapter 4

0:56 where some gifted people like evangelists and pastors, for that

1:01 matter, are used to build up the body of Christ for the work of service. But it

1:06 seems to me that everybody has the responsibility to evangelize, which is

1:12 the first step of disciple building. You win someone to Christ before you train

1:16 them up in the Lord.

1:18 Everybody has a responsibility to be part of evangelism, even if they're not a

1:22 gifted evangelist. So, being a gifted evangelist may be a special role the

1:29 person plays in the body of Christ, but everyone is to speak forth the truth

1:35 of the Gospel and make the most of the opportunities as Paul put it in

1:40 Colossians chapter 4. So, you don't have to have a gift of evangelism to be

1:46 useful to communicate the good news of the Gospel. Now, there are things you can

1:52 do to improve your capabilities, and this is why we have Tactics and other

1:55 training tools that allow you to navigate a little more effectively in

2:01 the process, but you don't have to have a gift to do evangelism, and you don't have

2:06 to have a gift to do apologetics. Apologetics is a learned skill. That

2:13 is, you apply yourself to learning how to defend the faith and also make a

2:20 positive case for Christianity. So, there's a defensive and offensive

2:26 element involved in apologetics, and the more effective you are in that, the more

2:32 you'll be able to disciple effectively by encouraging those who are already

2:37 Christians to have confidence in their own convictions, and the more effective

2:41 you'll be in removing obstacles that some people have raised when you

2:46 evangelize them.

2:47 But the key thing i want you to see is discipleship does not require any

2:54 adeptness in evangelism or adeptness in apologetics because discipleship is

3:01 principally not about making children but about raising children. So,

3:10 evangelism brings people into the Kingdom. That's making children, but

3:16 discipleship is building them up. And I don't care where you are geographically,

3:23 or where you are in terms of your spiritual growth, or where you are in the

3:28 life of the church, whether you're high up, or low, or however you consider yourself,

3:33 there is always somebody you can have a discipleship influence on. That is, you

3:40 can pass on things to them to help them grow up in the Lord. And I started doing

3:47 that when I was a fairly new Christian. I didn't know much, but I knew more than

3:52 other people in my circle. Some people I I had led to Christ, others that were

3:57 fairly new Christians, and I could pass that on to them. I saw it on a one-to-one

4:02 basis to build them up in Christ, and that's what discipleship entails. It's

4:09 raising the children that are before you. Of course, somebody's got to make them

4:15 children, that's where evangelism comes in and apologetics comes in, but it may

4:19 not be you.

4:20 You can still be central in fulfilling the great commission by siezing

4:26 on the opportunities that you have with those in your circle who are less mature,

4:32 in a certain sense, than you are so you have something to hand down to them and

4:38 build them up.

4:40 That's the idea of discipleship. And it may be a long-term relationship, or it may be

4:45 a shorter term relationship, or it may be a little bit at arm's distance, but every

4:49 person has something to give if they're thoughtful about giving it, if they're

4:55 intentional about doing so. So here's my suggestion is to look for those people

5:00 in your immediate environment, those that you are personally connected with, and

5:06 ask yourself, "Who are the individuals that I can build up in Christ? Who are

5:13 those individuals I could be a bit of a father or a spiritual mother to?" This

5:20 would definitely be moms and dads of children. That would be the first place

5:24 for them to start. I've had groups of people that I've worked with over the

5:28 years. I have had individuals that I've worked with over the years, and I have

5:33 had people, many many people now, according to what they tell me, that are

5:38 at arm's length distance that are being mentored, not personally or

5:44 directly by me, but through the medium of Stand to Reason. I am simply trying to

5:49 take those people in my sphere of influence, however that's characterized,

5:53 and everybody has those people, and lift them up a little bit more from where

5:59 they're at to build them up and make them more effective disciples for Christ,

6:04 and you can do that too.

6:06 No matter who you are, no matter where you're at, and no matter how immature you

6:13 consider yourself in the Lord, there is always someone less mature that you can

6:19 pass something on. And I suggest that you look for those people and get about

6:25 doing fulfilling the Great Commission in that way.

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Greg Koukl

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