Critical Truths Concerning Evangelism and Discipleship

September 16, 2016

Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray you are finding the joy of the Lord to be a point of perpetual praise, as well as your sufficient strength, as you fulfill your duties and responsibilities this day. What a blessing it is to have this opportunity every week to share my heart, and sometimes my home, with you guys. Our family has been so encouraged by our move to Bowie, and we are finding living in this area to be a real blessing as it relates to both life and ministry. We are making great progress on our “remodel” turned “reconstruction” project, and this house is truly starting to feel like a home. In light of getting some of the major renovation completed and finally feeling a little settled, I will be taking my family away for a few days to visit with Amy’s sister and her family in Virginia Beach. This will be a quick trip, just staying two nights, but I am confident it will be a refreshing one for all of us as we praise God for all that He has done for us, in us, and graciously through us with our move from California to Bowie.

Therefore, I will not be at Belcroft on Sunday, but how thankful I am for the steady leadership of our elder board as they will be overseeing the service. Most specifically, Tom Fox will be preaching, and Neal Luebbers will be teaching during the combined Sunday School hour as he builds upon the great lesson last week by Elder Marty Orcurto. Through the ministry brought by both Tom and Neal, you will have an opportunity to grow deeper in your understanding of the priority, purpose, and plan for evangelism and discipleship as it relates to Scripture and our renewed vision here at Belcroft. Thus, this Sunday will be another occasion for you to be encouraged in your walk with the Lord and one another, as we seek to be a church that is marked by proclaiming the truth, growing in grace, and serving with love. In order to help prepare your heart and provoke your thoughts for both Tom’s message and Neal’s teaching, let me share with you some critical truths concerning evangelism and discipleship.

Critical Truths Concerning Evangelism and Discipleship

 OAC

The critical nature of taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the lost both locally and globally, “evangelism,” is an undeniable command,[1] a primary purpose,[2] and a main reason[3] why the church continues to exist in this world.[4] This authoritative, unequivocal, and all-inclusive mission to reach the world[5] with the gospel[6] is ultimately driven by the glory and worship of God[7] so that His name may be great among the nations.[8]Therefore, biblical evangelism is not about securing decisions for Christ, but making every effort, under the sovereign grace of God,[9] to see that every person who walks in darkness[10] becomes a life-long worshipper, devoted disciple, and a humble follower of Christ![11] Thus, every evangelistic endeavor of the church must be rooted and grounded theologically in a biblical understanding of conversion[12] under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.[13]

Furthermore, this all-encompassing reality of the Great Commission is not something simply given to the leadership[14] of the church, but should be the daily heartbeat of every believer[15] who proactively lives and takes the light of Truth into their community that is trapped in darkness.[16] However, it is incumbent upon the leadership of the church that they personally model,[17] specifically train,[18] and effectively provide opportunities where the congregation can be involved at multiple levels in both local evangelism and global missions.[19]Moreover, since making disciples of Christ is the ultimate mission in evangelism,[20] then planting doctrinally sound churches both in the states and abroad[21] that are self-governing, self-propagating, and self-supporting is one of the congregation’s greatest opportunities to spread the gospel and ultimately glorify God.[22]

However, “witnessing about Christ” is actually in a symbiotic relationship with “making disciples of Christ”, as discipleship is a non-negotiable duty, inseparably linked purpose, and a perpetual part of the life and evangelistic mission of the church.[23] This reality was declared and vividly displayed through both Jesus Christ,[24] the Apostle Paul,[25] and was a pillar within the practice of the early church.[26] So then, everything the church does must be, in part, collectively joined to the all consuming passion of seeing people become lifelong worshippers, devoted learners, and humble followers of Christ![27]

Thus, every ministry and person within the church is called and gifted to be a part of this task, from the pastors and elders to the Sunday school teachers and nursery workers.[28] Discipleship is also a primary task of parents as they seek to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.[29] Therefore, it is imperative that the church support and practically equip parents in this pivotal task of raising the next generation for Christ.[30]Discipleship happens within the church both formally through organized classes, biblical counseling, and gender/age specific ministries that seek to encourage, equip, and exhort a growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ.[31] However, discipleship also happens informally as the older teach and model for the younger[32] and the leadership pours their life into the lives of others who also go and do the same.[33] While there will be many elements and aspects of discipleship within a local church, true biblical discipleship is not complete until these exist; 1. Personal training and equipping that explains and practically applies the Word. 2. Relational accountability that models, encourages, and exhorts. 3. Ministry enlistment that propels sacrificial service, promotes the building up of the Body, and perpetuates further discipleship.

I pray this will be an encouraging Lord’s Day for our church as we grow as a gathering of believers who are passionate about the proclamation of the Word of Christ, who are seeking to grow in the grace of Christ, and who are eagerly endeavoring to serve Bowie and beyond with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you by His grace and keep you in His peace until we see each other again!

Yours for the Master,

Pastor Matt

 

[1] Matt 28:19-20

[2] Rom 10:14-17

[3] Acts 1:8

[4] Jn 17:17-18; 20:21

[5] Mk 16:15

[6] Lk 24:25-29

[7] Rom 11:36; Eph 3:21; 1 Pet 2:9-12

[8] Ps 67; 117:1-2; 2 Cor 4:15

[9] Jn 1:12-13; 6:44; Acts 13:48; Titus 3:5-7; James 1:18

[10] Col 1:12-14

[11] Lk 9:23-27

[12] Lk 24:25-29; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 20:20-21; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Thess 1:9-10; Titus 3:5-7

[13] Mt 10:34-39; 16:24-28; Rom 10:9-13

[14] 2 Tim 4:5

[15] 1 Thess 1:6-8; 2 Tim 1:5; 2 Tim 3:15

[16] Phil 2:14-15

[17] Acts 20:18-27

[18] 2 Tim 2:2

[19] Acts 13:1-3; Phil 1:3-4; Rom 15: 24-25; 3 Jn 5-8

[20] Mt 28:19-20

[21] Acts 14:21-27

[22] Col 1:3-8

[23] Mt 28:18-20; Lk 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:9-13, 12:1-2; Eph 1:4; Col 1:22, 28-29; Tim 2:2; Titus 2:1-15; 2 Pet3:18

[24] Mk 9:30-32; Lk 9:23-27;  13:1-17

[25] Acts 20:17-35; 1 Thess 2:7-12; 2 Tim 2:2; 3:10-4:8

[26] Acts 2:42-47; Eph 4:11-16; Titus 2:1-15

[27] 1 Thess 1:2-10

[28] Rom 12:3-8, 11; 1 Pet 4:7-11

[29] Deut 6:6-9; Mal 2:15-16; Eph 6:1-3

[30] Titus 2:1-8; Col 3:18-20; 1 Tim 3:4, 12, 5:14

[31] 2 Pet 3:18

[32] Titus 2:1-10

[33] 2 Tim 2:2

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