Discipleship Matters – Part 2
DISCIPLESHIP MATTERS – PART 2
In last week’s article, we opened a discussion about the concept of discipleship and understanding the Great Commission according to God’s Word. “Going” as a disciple must carry the same weight of the command to disciple because it is necessary for the fulfillment of discipleship. The fulfillment of discipleship will not take place apart from the participles listed in the Great Commission. As we discovered in last week’s article(view here), the Great Commission gives three participles πορευθέντες (“go”), βαπτίζοντες (“baptizing”), and διδάσκοντες (“teaching”) which serves as the formula and expectation that Jesus gave for the discipleship process. This understanding allows the emphasis to still be placed on the imperative verb which should also be the center of the church’s commitment to be and make disciples. In today’s article, we are going to address primarily the second participle.
Baptism, Evangelism, and the Model of Christ: The first directive of the discipleship process is to baptize. Jesus taught His disciples in Luke 19:10, that the reason He came to earth was to seek and save the lost. The lost are those who do not understand the truth of Jesus and who lack a saving relationship with Him. Therefore, discipleship must include the act of evangelism. Jeffrey Arnold and Stephanie Black say, “The message of evangelism, called the ‘Good News’ in the New Testament, is that salvation has come through Jesus Christ.” The efforts of evangelism are the strategic actions taken to help people understand the Gospel and then know how they should respond. Dave Earley and David Wheeler talk about the importance of evangelism by saying, “To the follower of Jesus, lost people are of utmost importance. Jesus had a heart for lost people. If we are to be His followers, we too need to have a heart for lost people. The eighteenth-century pastor Charles Spurgeon once stated, ‘Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.’ Jesus had a heart for lost people, and so will His followers.” It is this reason Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”
 Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 26.
 Jeffrey Arnold and Stephanie Black, The Big Book on Small Groups (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
 Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic Publishing Group, 2010), 39.
Going (the first participle) is a transcendent understanding of the process of discipleship. Paul makes it clear that evangelism cannot happen unless there is a willingness to go. This is not an aloof going, but rather a very intentional going that you and I are called to commit to as a part of our lives. Evangelism is an intentional act of clearly sharing the Good News of Jesus that is undergirded by the love and grace of Jesus.
CONVERSION: People must first convert to following Christ before baptism should occur. This substantiates that as part of biblical discipleship, evangelistic efforts are vital. The process must include proclaiming the Gospel, helping others come to know Christ, and leading them through a public profession of faith through baptism. In preparation for Jesus’ arrival, John the Baptist preached repentance to all who would listen. Jesus continued this theme, modeling baptism in the first step of his discipleship process. In John chapter three, Jesus confronts Nicodemus, teaching what it means to repent and be born again. Jesus was evangelizing and teaching Nicodemus about the new life received through the gift of the Holy Spirit. A similar instance took place in John chapter four with the woman at the well. In this encounter, Jesus explained what it truly meant to be a disciple. He told her to repent of her sins and current lifestyle. Jesus modeled for his disciples the example of connecting with others at all cost for the purpose of evangelism. Nothing deterred Jesus from associating with this woman for the purpose of revealing the Gospel to her.
God desires for all men to repent and be reconciled unto Himself (2 Peter 3:9). John 3:16 proclaims, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV). There is further support of this understanding throughout the book of Acts. In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are living out the Great Commission on their first missionary journey. As Paul preached the Gospel, he helped people understand the truth, giving them an opportunity to respond by faith. Mark 16:17 expresses the same expectation for evangelism by calling the believer to go in all the world and preach the Gospel. The beginning of the Great Commission in the second participle is a declaration to go and evangelize. After the new believer is baptized, they are then a part of the Body of Christ. Evangelism is, therefore, for every follower of Jesus not just those with a particular gift to evangelize. This is also not a program of the church but an expected lifestyle for every believer as you are going throughout your life. J. Mack Stiles says, “We need to replace evangelistic programs with a culture of evangelism. Programs are to evangelism what sugar is to nutrition: a strict diet of evangelistic programs produces malnourished evangelism. So, we should feel a healthy unease with regard to evangelistic programs. We must use them strategically and in moderation, if at all.” The point is to determine within yourself that you will be committed to Biblical evangelism.
 Allan Coppedge, The Biblical Principles of Discipleship, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1989), 115.
 Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook of the Gospel of John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 82.
 M. S. Mills, The Life of Christ: A Study Guide to the Gospel Record (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1999).
 Allen Hadidian, Discipleship: Helping Other Christians Grow (Chicago: Moody Press, 1987), 21-22.
CONSIDER THIS: What is your part in evangelism? Your particular part is to take seriously the command of Christ – to make Him known to all nations. This begins with your smallest circle of influence, into your greatest. In every area of your life, are you truly leveraging it so that others may know Christ? Here at Green Acres, we have attempted to give you different tools to assist your efforts in evangelism. In the lobby of the church, you will find free evangelism tracts that you can take and continue, or begin, your efforts in evangelism. Find someone today to share the greatest news for all humanity to know.
THIS SUNDAY: This week we are celebrating as a church family all that God has done, and we are anticipating together all that He will do. We are going to be studying, particularly in Scripture, what it looks like to be ALL IN for Christ in every area of our life and how this impacts our church. Come join us this Sunday at 8:30 or 11:00 am at the Tyler campus or 11:00 am at the Flint campus.
SUMMIT: Have you considered being a part of what God is doing at Green Acres? If so, but you have been hesitant about jumping in or knowing your place, then you should join us at SUMMIT. Our Green Acres Leadership Summit is designed for everyone who is currently serving or those who are considering how to serve. Make plans to join us on August 14th, at 4:30 pm. You can sign up HERE
SIGN UP TODAY! I am so excited to announce the inaugural Green Acres Classic golf tournament that will be hosted by the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation. The tournament will be on Monday, September 26, 2022, at Willow Brook Country Club. All proceeds will benefit the next generation of ministry leaders by supporting the Residency Program. This is just another thing I LOVE about our church family. We believe in raising up leaders so that the Mission of God will continue to advance.
The newly developed Residency Program is designed specifically for those called to full-time vocational ministry. Residents serve on our ministry staff for one year while being developed and discipled by our staff team. Residents also have an opportunity to further their ministry education through a partnership with East Texas Baptist University.
Even if you decide not to enter the Green Acres Classic, you can still support this incredible new ministry of our church. Your support of the Green Acres Classic is an eternal investment that goes beyond the boundaries of this world! Please click the link to support this ministry: https://www.gabc.org/classic/ To learn more about the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation, visit GABC.org/foundation.
STARTING POINT: Come learn all about Green Acres! If you have just recently joined our church or are considering church membership, this class on September 18 is for you! It is designed to give you a better picture of who we are as a church family. Together, we want you to have a clear understanding of our mission, vision, and values here at Green Acres. Register Here: (Link Here) For families with children ages birth to elementary, you are welcome to check your children in with Kids’ Ministry.
SENIOR ADULTS: On Thursday, August 25, I will be speaking at our Senior Adult Luncheon. I’ve invited Hixon Frank and Todd Haymans to join me in a panel discussion. I hope to see you there! Here’s the link to register: https://connect.gabc.org/Registration/Senioradultlunch
I cannot wait to worship with you this Sunday!
You are loved and prayed for!