Make Disciples: Jesus’ Call to All Christians/Program 3
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Robby Gallaty; ©2010|
|We have seen the importance of making disciples and some of the differences between someone who calls themselves a Christian and a person who is a disciple or a learner. In this session, we’ll address some of the basic how-to questions concerning the Great Commission, including Here are the five questions: “To whom do we go?” “Where do we go?” “With what do we go?” “How do we go?” and then finally, “Why do we go?”|
Announcer: What do you think is the main thing, the number one thing, Jesus wants every Christian in America, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Philippines, and Australia to do? Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? How do you make a disciple?
My guest today who will tell us is Robby Gallaty, a man who pastors a church of 3,200 members and has four morning services, yet personally disciples seven or eight people each year. They in turn have gone on to disciple others. Now if you have never discipled anyone, is it really possible you could do this? What are the practical things you need to know? Today you will find out on this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. You know, we’ve got over 200 nations that this program is going into, so people around the world are watching what we are doing today. And all of us, we’ve got to realize that we are on a planet where you’ve got seven billion people. And for Christians, we need to realize that four and a half billion do not know the Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus gave us a plan for reaching them, and we’re talking about that. It’s called the Great Commission. And I’ve invited one of the premier Bible teachers to come and explain this to us and to teach us the tremendous promises that God has put in His Word surrounding the Great Commission. And, Robby, you have said that Jesus asked and answered five different questions in the Great Commission. What are they?
- Gallaty: Here are the five questions: “To whom do we go?” “Where do we go?” “With what do we go?” “How do we go?” and then finally, “Why do we go?”
- The first one, “To whom do we go?” Right in the text, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” That word “nations” is the Greek word ethnai. It’s where we get the English word ethnicity from. A Greek-English lexicon says this about that word; “It is a body of persons united by kinship, culture and common traditions.” Now here’s the problem, John. We begin to think of “go to all nations” as a geographical place. But Jesus thought of it as a people. In fact, let me give you an example. In Indonesia, Indonesia is one country. But within Indonesia, there are 300 different people-groups that make up the one country.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Jesus calls us to go to each of those people-groups.
- Gallaty: Yes, exactly. Now, why don’t people follow the Great Commission? Why aren’t people going to the nations? I think the Great Commission is connected to the Great Commandment. You remember what Jesus said in the Bible. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” And the connection is this: Jesus said you will have a love for your neighbor when your love for God is in order.
- Here’s the way to think of it. If our horizontal relationship is skewed, then our vertical relationship may be the culprit. And so when our love for God grows, naturally our love for others will grow as well.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, that’s so true.
- Gallaty: John says it this way in 1 John 4. Listen to what verse 7 says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Look how it flows. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Verse 11: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”
- We saw this a couple episodes ago. The love of the Father goes through the Son by the Spirit to the disciples. And as we begin to love others, because of the love of the Father, we will have a heart to go to the nations.
- Ankerberg: And we see that in the early church. They practiced this.
- Gallaty: Yeah. See, evangelism, we have made it to be a one-night event. And praise God for one-night events in the church. We have made evangelism as a gospel pitch, or sharing a tract with another person. And praise God for that; I’ve used that many times in my own life. But we have to love people beyond that – beyond the one-night event. We have to love people all the time, everywhere. It’s a… to create an awareness of the surroundings and the people around us, that we would begin to love them.
- Ankerberg: Robby, let’s be practical. How does that look in someone’s life?
- Gallaty: Yeah. It’s going to the same places at the same time to see the same people. Maybe you frequent a coffee shop. And you go there – I like coffee – so you go there and you foster relationships with people. It’s getting to know people. It’s getting to develop a relationship with people. And I want to ask our church members, how many people are you fostering relationships with? A better question is, how many unbelievers do we know? You know, in Christian life, we can be so secluded from the world – we go to Christian schools, we go to Christian colleges, we have Christian marriages, we have Christian baptism, we go to Christian services, Christian Sunday schools – that we can get so secluded from the world that we really don’t have many unbelievers who are our friends. And Jesus would say to us, we need to go to the lost.
- Well, how do we do that next? Well, Jesus tells us. We need to go to where people are. Remember in Acts 1:8, Jesus is about to ascend into heaven and He gives the disciples this interesting command. He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Now He wanted the disciples to start in Jerusalem. And, you know, we talk a lot, John, about going over to the nations, but we forget we have to go to our neighborhoods first. You know, before we can go to the nations, we’ve got to walk across the street, or walk down the street to visit someone and tell them about Christ.
- But then Jesus says, once you go in Jerusalem – your neighborhood – then go to Judea, which could be our state, or the state you live in. Then go to Samaria, the hard places, which could be the country that we live in. But then He says, go to the ends of the earth. Now I thought always what was interesting is, the connecting word there is not “or” – you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, OR the ends of the earth; it’s AND. And I think, as a believer, we need to be a part of the Great Commission to all four areas of the world.
- Ankerberg: How do you do that?
- Gallaty: Well, Jesus gave us some interesting ways to do that. I’ll just tell you a personal story for me. I used to think that God was going to use me in an itinerant evangelistic ministry. And so I used to travel, much like you, around; and I would do these big crusades. A couple years ago, I got asked to go to the Philippines. They wanted me to come to preach this huge youth crusade. And we did that. We got a place to be right in the middle of a high school and a college, and right at the time of the students coming out of class. We had a worship band playing and then I was to get up and preach. And, John, it was amazing. God’s Spirit poured out upon that service. We saw almost, in two days, 1,000 people give their life to the Lord. Not because of me as a speaker, just the grace of God. And as I got off the stage, the Lord spoke to my heart. And God said to me, “What are you going to do with the people who have made a decision for Me?” He said, “Will you help them grow in their faith? Who is going to follow up with these people?” And as the lights turned off and as the sound equipment was picked up, God began to impress upon my heart the importance of discipleship and evangelism.
- John, I want you to hear what I’m saying here. We need gospel presentations. We need tracts. We need impromptu evangelistic outreach events. But we also need personal relationships, that every believer needs to be fostering these personal relationships. What would churches look like if all the believers were actively and intently about the business of developing relationships with people? Jesus showed us the example. He took 12 men and changed the course of history. John Wesley, the great revivalist, said this. He said, “Give me 50 men who hate nothing more than sin and love no one more than God, and I will turn the world upside down.”
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Now, people think, “Well, you know, Robby, I think I could have a relationship with somebody. I could have coffee with them and along the way I could be friends with them.” The thing is, what do we tell them when we actually are with them? What’s the message?
- Gallaty: Yeah. That’s a good question, because coffee for the sake of coffee is not the answer. We need to go with the message of the gospel. Jesus said it right out the gate. Remember in Mark 1:15, it said, “After John was put into prison, Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God, saying, Your time has come. The kingdom of heaven is near.” Now how could He say that? The kingdom was around them because He was there. And then He says these words, which are profound, “Repent and believe in the good news of God.” That’s the message. That is the authorized message we have. And it’s a two-fold message. There is repentance on the one side of the coin, which is the negative side. And then on the positive side, there’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me take repentance.
- Ankerberg: Yeah.
- Gallaty: Repentance is the idea of turning around. We’ve heard this before. It’s you’re heading in one direction and then all of a sudden you realize you’re going the wrong way and you turn around. We love, today, the technology we have in a GPS system. You know, in the old days I used to rely on my wife, or you’d rely on a family member to say, “Hey, turn around.” Nowadays, we live in a day and age where the GPS will say, “If possible, make a legal U-turn.” Well, that’s repentance. Repentance is heading one way, making a U-turn back. But it’s more than that. It’s not just turning, it’s changing the way you think about something, namely sin. It’s seeing sin the way God sees it. It’s hating sin the way God sees it. And it’s turning – and we put this in our faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, Robby. When Jesus came to Israel, they had to repent. And they had to repent of a couple of things. One, they had to realize that they were sinners. They thought they were God’s people, they were all going to make it. And Jesus said you have to recognize your standing before God. You’ve broken the law, okay? You need a Savior. Then they had to recognize who the Savior was. They had a tough time believing that God’s Messiah, Jesus, was God the Son, okay. And people today have that same problem. A lot of folks think they’re as good as their neighbor and, “Hey, if he makes it, I’ll make it.” But if they don’t make it, you won’t make it. We have to recognize how God sees us. We’ve broken His law. And you’ve got to change your mind about “you’re just okay.” You’re a sinner. You’re separated from God. Your relationship is broken.
- Next, you have to change your mind about who is the Savior. It’s not you. This is not where you work and do things so you please God. It’s the fact is you recognize, “I’m a sinner and Jesus is the only Savior. He’s the only one that can rescue me.” And He came and He died on the cross. He paid for my sin. And He’s willing to forgive me.
- So the repentance, the change of mind, change of attitude, is that I recognize who I am and you’re holding out your hand. Repentance is holding out your hand. And then the faith is the opposite side, where you actually believe in the One who actually saves you. Explain a little bit more about faith.
- Gallaty: Yeah. Faith is the idea of believing that Jesus Christ is who He says He is; that He is the Son of God, chosen before the foundation of the world to come here for the sins of all of mankind; to not only live, but to die, to be resurrected, and to ascend into heaven. And we put our faith in Him. We believe that Jesus is the historical person that lived on this earth, and He is God. And that’s why we put our faith in Him. It’s the idea of believing in something, not just with thought, but with action. If I believe this chair is going to hold me, I can say it all day long. But until I exercise my faith by sitting in the chair – then I’m putting my faith into action in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, you’re saying, “Jesus, if you don’t save me I’m not going to make it. It’s all on you.” And so we repent and we have repentant faith. We turn from our self, trusting our self, and we trust Christ. And then He comes in and He changes us.
- Gallaty: Yes.
- Ankerberg: And that’s the message we need to bring to our neighbors. When you were an alcoholic and you were addicted to the drugs, you knew you couldn’t do it by yourself. You were at the last rung, and you cried out for help and He forgave you and He took you just the way you were.
- Gallaty: Yeah. My saying in the world, John, was, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” But I had gotten to a place – after going to rehab twice and being addicted to drugs and an alcoholic – I have gotten to the place in the past where I realized I couldn’t save myself; that I actually had to reach out to the Lord and ask someone else to save me. And that was the Lord Jesus Christ. And I had a radical transformation salvation because of that.
- Ankerberg: And I’d like to ask the folks listening right now, we’re going to just take a pause right here, okay. The fact is, have you repented? Have you seen yourself as a sinner? Have you realized that you can’t save yourself? You can’t get before God and say, “Well, I did this, this, and this.” It’s not good enough. How good would you have to be to get to heaven? You’d have to be perfect. Jesus says, “Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Are you perfect? None of us are. You’ve got to recognize this and then realize you do need a Savior, and who the Savior is, and then ask Him to save you. You entrust yourself to Him and He comes into your life.
- Have you done that? If you haven’t done that, why not do it right now? Just ask Him to come into your life. Just say, “I’m turning from myself and anything that I would do. And I recognize and I admit to you I am a sinner. And I need You to save me and change me. And from this moment on, I’m trusting Jesus – that He’s my sin-bearer, He paid the price that’s required for me to be free from all of my sins.” If you do that right now, the Bible says “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
- Gallaty: Yes.
- Ankerberg: And that’s the gospel, if that’s the wonderful message that Christ wants us to tell people and to share with them, now the question we’re going to talk to after the break is, how do we share it effectively with them? And you’ll hear about it when we come right back. Stick with us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Robby Gallaty. And we’re talking about the Great Commission. We’ve seen what the gospel message is, and now we’re going to talk about how do you effectively share that with people? Maybe, in fact, do a review for us from where we started and where we’re at now.
- Gallaty: Yeah. We’ve already talked about “to whom we go to,” and that’s people-groups. We talked about “where do we go,” and I said we need to go to our nations and our neighborhoods. Thirdly, we asked the question, “With what do we go with,” and we talked about the gospel, about how we need to tell the message of Christ, of repentance and faith. Now the question is, how do we do that? How do we share this message? And I want to just break it down into two sections. First of all, we need to go sharing, or proclaiming. Now, right away, when you hear in the Bible you need to go preach the gospel, people will say, “Well, pastor, I’m not a preacher, and so I don’t – that doesn’t apply to me.” But we all are called to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be a preacher or have a seminary degree to share with people the love of Christ and how they need to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ.
- But I’ll tell you something that’s pretty interesting, and I’ve learned this in my own life. A testimony is powerful. You know, when I came to the Lord from a life of addiction and drugs and alcohol, one of the things I shared in the beginning, John, was my testimony. How the Lord had changed me. And I learned you can’t argue with a changed life, when someone hears about what God has done in your life, and I just encourage people to do that. We saw that in the New Testament. In John 4, Jesus went to the well and He met this woman. And her testimony, after going back into town, is what caused all the people to come out to meet her.
- Another way to do it is to engage people. We mentioned this a little bit, but it’s going to the same place to see the same people at the same time every day. We have a facility at our own complex called the BX, which is a workout facility, a multi-purpose facility.
- Ankerberg: Gymnasium and workout facility – all the machines you’ve got there. It’s fantastic.
- Gallaty: Yeah, and we have over 3,000 people that come to this facility: 2800 do not attend our church. So think about this incredible outreach opportunity. Now, I work there out in the mornings. I try to work out in the morning, try to do it three days a week. When I’m there, I’m always aware of the people around me. So I’m always thinking and meeting new people and wondering, how can I engage people? The first question I rarely, if ever, ask is this: “Hey brother, do you know if you died you’re going straight to hell?” I probably don’t start with that statement or that question. I normally start like this: “Hey, what’s your name? Tell me about what you do. Tell me, do you live in the area?” And over time I begin to foster relationships with people. Would you know that over the past two years, I have had multiple people come to church or come to a small group discipleship, not because I gave them a one-liner or a gospel tract or a gospel presentation; it was because they saw that this guy genuinely loves me; that he’s going to love me beyond the tract; he’s going to love me beyond the presentation.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and I think we’ve got to share with people that have never done this, that are really curious about this, maybe they’ve sat in church all their life and nobody told them they should do this, okay? It’s easier than you think.
- Gallaty: Yes.
- Ankerberg: You start talking and sharing your testimony, you would be surprised how people will respond. Just try it out.
- Gallaty: Yeah. I know many people have heard of the comedian-magician-acting group called Penn and Teller, these guys who do illusions. Penn Jillette is part of Penn and Teller, and he’s a professing atheist. He’s not ashamed to say this, and he’s said this before and he’s gone on record as saying this. One time after one of his illusion shows, a man came up to him who was a Gideon. He had a small Gideon’s Bible with the New Testament and the book of Psalms. And he handed it to him after the show and he said, “I know you probably don’t want this.” He said, “I’m a believer. I’m not a preacher, just a businessman in my church.” And on the back of the Bible, he wrote a few numbers of how to get in touch with the man. And he said, “If you need anything, you can call me.” Well, Penn Jillette gets on the internet and records this video. I’d like to read to you the words of his own admission as to how he felt about this man.
- Here’s the quote. “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize.” That is to convert from one view to another. “I don’t respect that at all,” he said. “If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell and people could be going to hell and not getting eternal life or whatever, and you don’t think it’s not really worth telling people this because it would be socially awkward? And then there are atheists who think that people shouldn’t proselytize. ‘Just leave them alone, keep your own religion to yourself.’ How much,” here it is, John, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize them? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible but you’re not going to tell them about it? I mean, if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming down the road at you and you didn’t believe it – that this truck was bearing down on you – there comes a certain point where I’d tackle you. And this is more important than that.”
- By his own admission, he says if you love somebody enough, you should tell them about this wonderful message of the gospel.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Robby, why should the Christians that are listening right now go to other people and share the gospel? What’s the bottom line?
- Gallaty: I think the motivating factor is Christ. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a short-term mission trip. He wrapped Himself in human flesh; He left the ivory palaces of heaven; He came to a crude cattle shed for us, as an example of true submission and servanthood to the Father. We live in a world, John, where there are 16,000 people-groups. 16,000! Out of the 16,000, 6,000 people-groups right now have never heard the name Jesus Christ. They have no access to the gospel. Let me make this statement: The life people have always wanted may be in the mission they have always dreaded. The life they have always wanted may be in the mission they have always dreaded. The apostle Peter said, “I’d never go to the Gentiles.” Jesus sends him to the Gentiles. He finds Cornelius; realizes that’s his destiny. Paul said, “I’d never hang around with Christians.” He meets Jesus on the road to Damascus; he goes there and he finds their life.
- We have to be willing, as believers, to say “yes” to everything. You know, I’ve heard people say, “I’m not going to go into the inner city;” “I won’t go overseas;” “I’ll never go to Africa;” “I’ll never go to the Ukraine;” “I’ll never go to the battered women’s shelter.” We have to be willing, as believers, to say “yes” to everything. “God, where do you want me to go? How do you want me to get there? Send me. I’ll be available to go.”
- Ankerberg: Terrific advice and terrific instruction. And next week, folks, we’re going to turn the corner and we’re going to pick up another part of the Great Commission, of what Jesus said, which is just kind of mind-blowing. He says, “Go and teach others to observe all that I have commanded you.” Doesn’t that sound like kind of a tall order if you haven’t gone to seminary? We’re going to talk about how you as a common lay-person, every Christian, can go and do this. You won’t want to miss it. I hope you’ll join us then.