7 Marks of a Disciple: Evangelism

"Zakæus" by Gunnar Bach Pedersen

Pastor_Jeremy_WallochThe second mark of a disciple I would like to address is Evangelism. Why Evangelism? Shouldn’t there be a whole lot of Bible study and prayer and service and other things before ever sharing your faith?

Read Matthew 10:1-5

Jesus invited people to be disciples, they responded, he got their name, they heard one sermon, and he then sent them out. Before they could answer any potential questions, before they knew their stances on all the issues, before they could recite book, chapter, and verse. He called them to him and then he sent them to others.

You could imagine their responses. But I’m not outgoing. But I’m not like that. But I don’t know what to say. But I, I, I… If you’d respond like that, it sounds like you have an “I” problem. Sharing the faith is not about you, it’s about God.

God wants us to be faithful with others. In the New Testament alone, the phrase “one another” is repeated 59 times! Love one another, serve one another, forgive one another. We are not created to be faithful alone, but to work together to fulfill the Great Commission – Go therefore and make disciples.

And yet how do we live? If I looked at American Christians and American churches and I didn’t know what Jesus’ Great Commission was, but had to infer it, I would have deduced it was this, “Go therefore and make yourselves comfortable.” Jesus called his disciples and said, “Go therefore and make yourselves comfortable,” and then said, “Sweet.”

Yet that’s not it. It is “Go make disciples.”

Yet it feels terrifying. Not street preacher. You know it’s important, but you imagine what it would be like to go invite people. You imagine their funny looks. You never imagine calling yourself an evangelist.

But imagine how easy it would be to do if Jesus were with you. I mean, you thought about telling a co-worker or family member or friend why you go to church because you don’t want them to go to hell, but you’re hesitant, right? Imagine how easy it would be to do if you could bring Jesus along with you. “See, this guy here with me with holes in his hands and his feet, he is the Son of God, he can do anything.” With him by your side, everything would change. And yet what is the great commission? Go make disciples, that’s how it starts, but how does it end, and remember I am with you always, even to the end of the age. He is with you. He is.

Exodus 3:11-12

Moses, “Who am I?”

God, “I will be with you.”

God changes the subject. It’s not about you. It’s about the fact that He sends you and so He will be with you.

Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” [John 20:21]

Jesus says, “I send you.” He doesn’t give options; he doesn’t ask favors. He doesn’t say, “Golly, if you’d be willing to, I mean, if you can make a little room in your life, if you could carve out a few minutes in your busy schedule, it’d be really nice if you could share your faith.” There are no options. Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” That’s the scary news, isn’t it?

If you’re not overwhelmed by your assignment, you don’t understand your assignment. That’s the scary news.

But there’s good news too: God enables what He commands. (2X)

He does not send his followers out to do what cannot be done.

He often sends them out feeling like what they are going to do cannot be done.

But He does not send his disciples out to do what cannot be done.

Remember the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus? [Matthew 3:13-14] He’s a baptizer. He’s baptizing. People are coming from all over to be baptized by him. He’s experienced at doing baptisms. He get’s called John the Baptist. If anyone can do a baptism, it is John. And then Jesus gets to the front of the line, and what does John say? “No! I can’t do this. I can’t even tie your shoes. It’s you who needs to baptize me!”

Every other priest in the nation would have said, “Yes, I can baptize you. I know how. I’ve went to seminary. I can probably work your baptism into my schedule. I am a very important person, you know, but yes, I can baptize you, Jesus.”

John knew he was unqualified to baptize Jesus, and that’s what qualified him.

John was qualified because he knew he was unqualified.

When you’re willing to do what you alone are unqualified to do, that’s what qualifies you.

Hear 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “[Jesus says,] “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

And Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

This whole piece of inviting others into the faith is a matter of how you look at others.

When we look at others, it’s easy to focus on their shortcomings.

But when God looks at people, He sees their potential.

God looked at a killer named Moses, and said, “This guy has leadership potential.”

God looked at an elderly couple half in the grave named Abraham and Sarah and said, “I think it’s time they go crib shopping.”

God looked at a twerpy farm kid out with the sheep and said, “King!”

God looked at a young virgin and said, “Pregnant!”

God looked at this gross preacher who says he can’t do a baptism and said, “This is the kinda guy I want to baptize my Son.”

And that perspective continues on with Jesus.

He looks at a prostitute named Mary Magdalene and said, “There’s a real worshipper here.”

He looks at run-of-the-mill fisherman named Simon and said, “I’m thinking preacher.”

He looks at a sketchy, greedy businessman named Zaccheus and says, “Philanthropist.”

He looks at you and says, “Evangelist.”