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A Crash Course on Evangelism & Discipleship | Success Principles

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 3:00 am

A Crash Course on Evangelism & Discipleship | Success Principles

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 4, 2024 3:00 am

Pastor Greg Laurie has the opportunity to share the Gospel with countless people each year. He does so through films, crusade events, through social media and right here on A NEW BEGINNING. We’ve seen more than a million professions of faith in the 50 years of Harvest Ministries. So there must be a secret formula for successful evangelism, right? Pastor Greg would be the first to say there is no secret formula. But there are some practical pointers, and he explains them today.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at greg.harvest.org. Again, it's greg.harvest.org.

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to harvest.org. We know we've all been given the Great Commission, but some are apprehensive. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to share the hope we have in Christ, but with a twist. Instead of me saying you need to evangelize, let me say to you, you need to make a recommendation. Now we do this all the time. You'll tell people, oh, watch this on Netflix. Oh, go check this movie out.

We recommend all day long. Take that idea and apply it to sharing the Gospel. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

Again you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. Pastor Greg Laurie has the opportunity to share the Gospel with countless people each year. He does so through films, crusade events, through social media, and right here on A New Beginning. We've seen more than a million professions of faith in the 50 years of Harvest Ministries, so there must be a secret formula for successful evangelism, right?

Well, Pastor Greg would be the first to say there's no secret formula, but there are some practical pointers, and he explains them today. This is the day, the day when life begins. Let's go back in time a little bit. I was a young man, 17 years old, a brand new Christian, and I heard my pastor say I should go out and share my faith. Well, I had a thimbleful of biblical knowledge, but I knew that I should tell others about what Christ had done for me.

So I went out on the beach of Newport armed with a copy of The Four Spiritual Laws, credited by Campus Crusade. I was looking for someone to talk to, and I found a middle-aged lady that looked like she might not give me too hard of a time, and I walked up to her. I had hair back then, so try to use your imagination.

I had sort of blonde surfer hair. So my voice was shaking because I was nervous, and I said, hi there. Could I talk to you a little bit about God? And she looks up at me and says, sure. So I sit down, and I was so new to all of this, I hadn't even memorized the contents of this booklet, so I just started reading it to her.

The Four Spiritual Laws, copyright 1968, Campus Crusade for Christ, law one. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. I'm just reading through it, and as I'm reading through it, I couldn't wait to be done because I knew this was a failure. I knew I shouldn't have done it.

I knew it wasn't going to work, and I just was kind of rushing through it. I'd look up at her periodically. She was just looking at me, and I got toward the end of the little booklet, and a question was asked, is there any good reason why you should not accept Jesus Christ right now?

I looked up at her. Oh, that's a question. Is there any good reason why you should not accept Jesus Christ right now? She said no. I looked back and I'm like, no. No means yes.

In other words, are you saying you want to accept Jesus Christ right now? She said yes. I said, oh, great. Well, hey, let's pray. And she closed her eyes, and I'm frantically searching this booklet for what do you do now?

I plan for failure, not success. I found a little prayer. I let her in that prayer. She prayed it after me. She opened her eyes, and she said, something just happened to me.

And you know what? Something happened to me too. I realized that God could use someone who knew very little to share the gospel. Well, I really started to enjoy talking to others about Jesus one on one.

I was never a public speaker kind of a person. I was more of a behind the scenes guy, and I always had this secret fear that one day God was going to make me preach. I thought it was going to be a really random place like the supermarket when I'm checking out, and the Lord will speak my heart and say, preach the gospel, and I'll make a fool out of myself. And I never aspired to be a preacher.

Trust me when I tell you that. Well, as it turns out, He did call me to preach. Not far from that beach where I led that first lady to the Lord, I went down for a baptism being held by Calvary Chapel down in the days of the Jesus movement. You know those big giant baptisms that would be attended by thousands of people.

And as it turns out, I got the schedule wrong, and I missed it. And so I found a group of Christians sitting there in the sand singing some songs. Remember, I'm not a pastor.

I'm just a believer going to church. And I sat down with these other believers, and there was no real leader. And when the song was done, I had read something in the Bible. I thought maybe I should share it. I said, hey, I wanted to share something with you. And I shared my little thought from Scripture. And as I was talking, a couple of girls joined us, and one of the girls said, Pastor, can you baptize us? I said, oh, no, I'm not a pastor. No, but could you baptize us? And then I just thought, well, why not? I mean, I'm a believer. They're a believer.

They miss the baptism. So I said, sure, come on. Now I'm walking down the beach with about 30 people behind me, and I'm thinking, how did this happen?

This is way above my pay grade, which was zero, actually. And so I took these girls down to the beach there at what is called Pirate's Cove Beach, and I baptized them. And I was so thankful to the Lord.

He had opened this great door up for me. And as I was done baptizing them, I walked up on the beach there, and I saw some people had gathered up on the rocks. And clear as a bell, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and He said, preach the gospel.

And guess what? I wasn't afraid. And I proclaimed the gospel to these people. And as I was doing it, it's almost like I stepped outside of myself, and I'm looking at myself saying, Greg, are you crazy? You're not Billy Graham.

What are you doing? Well, I just kept going. And before I knew it, I was saying to these people up on the rocks, and if you would like to ask Jesus to come into your life, come down here now and I will baptize you. And people came. And I baptized a couple more people.

What a day that was. Well, I bring all of this up because when we talk about sharing our faith or preaching, a lot of us get very uptight. There is one thing that believers and nonbelievers have in common. They are both uptight about evangelism. Nonbelievers are uptight about being evangelized.

And believers are uptight about evangelizing them. Ok. So we are in a new series. We are calling it Faith 101. And the title of this message is A Crash Course on Evangelism and Discipleship. Let's remember a point from our message last time.

It was simply this. If you want to be a successful Christian, you must read, study, and love the Word of God. Because failure or success in the Christian life depends on how much of the Word of God you get into your life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it.

Now point number two. To be a growing Christian you must go into all the world and preach the gospel. We call it the Great Commission. There is two variations of it. One is in the gospel of Mark. The other is in the gospel of Matthew. Mark's gospel simply states it this way. Mark 16 15 Jesus says, go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone. Matthew's version states it this way in Matthew 28.

And that is our text for this message by the way. We read in Matthew 28 verse 16, then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

And lo I am with you always even to the end of the age. Amen. That is the Great Commission. To go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations. Preach the gospel and make disciples. Where is Jesus calling us?

Into the world. Who is supposed to do this? All of us. What are we supposed to do? We are supposed to preach the gospel. So here is point number one. We are commanded by Jesus to share our faith.

Let me say that again. We are commanded by Jesus to share our faith. Now we call this the Great Commission.

But honestly for some it has become the great omission. The commission of the church is not to wait for the world to show up. The commission of the church is to go to the world. Jesus did not say the whole world should go to church but He did say the church should go to the whole world.

Point number two. These words are directed to every follower of Jesus Christ. Listen to me Christian. I am talking to you right now. I am talking to men and women. I am talking to boys and girls. I am talking to students and businessmen and homemakers and construction workers and surfers and guitarists and skateboarders and nerds that hang around playing with computers all the time. I am talking to everyone.

Put down your junk food nerd and listen to me. God wants you to preach the gospel. Put down that thing that distracts you and take up this word that God has given you and proclaim it to other people. Actually in Matthew's version when he says where to go the implication is everyone is supposed to do it. Not just the so-called professionals, the pastors, the evangelists, the missionaries. Everybody is supposed to do it. We are all called to go to all people everywhere.

Let me say that again. We are all called to go to all people everywhere. So here is my question for you. Are you doing your part to fulfill the great commission? Understand that these words of our Lord were given before His ascension.

What does that mean? Christ died on the cross. He rose again from the dead.

He had a period of ministry following His resurrection and then He ascended. He went into heaven. These are in effect His final words. Last words matter. When someone gives you their final words on their deathbed so to speak you should listen. These are the final words of our Lord to all of us.

So it's a big deal to Him and they should be a big deal to us. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg, I'm so thankful for your preaching. You're a light in a dark world and you were born to preach.

I listen to your messages all the time and love your down to earth style. You also explain the Bible in an easy to understand way. Thank you so much for your diligence and love for God. I appreciate how you speak the truth, never sugar coating the word.

Yet you have such a humble and sweet heart. Thanks for being an example of a real man of God. If you have a story to share, why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the number 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. Well, Pastor Greg is highlighting some important points today about evangelism as he continues his series on the basics of walking with God called Faith 101. Let's continue. Point number three.

This one might surprise you. To not share the gospel can be a sin. You might say, Greg, you've gone too far. Well, understand that sin has many definitions. There's a sin of commission and sin of omission. A sin of commission is when you break a commandment, when you cross a line, when you do a wrong thing. A sin of omission is when you don't do a right thing. The Bible says, to him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. So how could failing to share my faith possibly ever be a sin?

Let me illustrate. Let's say that you were in a house that caught fire and you rushed out to save your own life, but you knew there were other people in there. Innocent people who could not get out and you didn't lift a finger to help them. You didn't even call the fire department. You just walked off. You didn't call the fire department. You just walked off and acted as though it didn't happen. Is that wrong?

Yes it is. That's even a criminal act. Or let's say you're a doctor and you run tests on a person and found out they have a certain problem.

And you know a course of antibiotics could correct it or a simple surgery would make it right. But you're uncomfortable telling people bad news. It's kind of awkward for you. So you don't tell them anything and you say, you're good to go. Go on your two-month vacation. Enjoy yourself.

You're an irresponsible doctor. Okay so those are illustrations that say how much worse is it for me to know the way to heaven. The way for a person to be forgiven of their sin and find the meaning and purpose of their life and not tell them. You see that's how not sharing the gospel could potentially be a sin. Let's remove the word preach. And let's remove the word evangelism for a moment.

And let's put a different word on the table. Instead of me saying you need to evangelize let me say to you you need to make a recommendation. Now we do this all the time. Like maybe you're in a town you've never been to before and you see a restaurant and you wonder is this a good restaurant. So you go to Yelp and you read what a bunch of strangers have to say about that restaurant and what you should even order.

They might even post photos. Oh well let's go in here. There's a lot of great recommendations. So obviously the recommendation of a person carries weight.

I am opinionated about everything. I mean I'll have an opinion about what you should order in this restaurant. If you're in this place where you should go.

For instance like if you're out late at night you want to get something that's maybe around nine or ten o'clock. Hey if you live in California you need to go to In-N-Out Burger. Okay I'm sorry for the rest of you that don't have In-N-Out Burger but it's the best takeout burger on earth. And I have found this with In-N-Out Burger is I only like it late at night.

It's sort of like a guilty pleasure. I went there for lunch the other day and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. Same burger.

But there's something about oh it's ten o'clock and I shouldn't be eating. But let's go to In-N-Out Burger and let's get it animal style. I don't want to explain what that means but that's the way to order it. Animal style. There are no animals involved except Patty for the cow.

But they do a different thing. It's kind of spicy. And then I'll get chopped peppers. So that's what I'll order. Or I might go to Taco Bell and I say oh make sure you order this at Taco Bell. Or if you're going to Disneyland and you ask me Greg where's a good place to eat at Disneyland. Two word answer.

You ready for it? Corn dog. That's right. Corn dog. Forget all the restaurants there and all the money you'll spend. Disneyland is one of the best. Corn dogs anywhere.

You can get one on Main Street and over at California Adventure. But this is not a commercial for food. But the point is we perk up when we hear things like that. Oh I'm going to go try that. Wait.

I just gave you recommendations. Now take that idea and apply it to sharing the gospel. How about if I say to somebody like this. Here is the best thing that you can do for life and eternity. Believe in Jesus Christ. Wait. We're willing to talk about hamburgers but we're not willing to talk about Jesus.

You get what I'm saying. You'll tell people oh watch this on Netflix. Oh go check this movie out.

We recommend all day long. You won't recommend for Jesus. So go into all the world and make a recommendation. Call it what you like.

You need to tell other people. Now notice that in Mark's version of the Great Commission the words of our Lord are go into all the world and preach the gospel. He did not say go into all the world and be a good example.

I'm not suggesting we should be a bad example. Because the fact is by being a good example it earns me the right to share my faith and nothing works more against us than being a bad example. But to the point He did not say go into all the world and be a nice person.

He said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Why is this important? Point number four. That's three.

Let's add one more. Point number four. The primary way people come to Jesus is through hearing the gospel. The primary way people come to Jesus is through hearing the gospel. 1 Corinthians 1 21 says, since in the wisdom of God the world through wisdom did not know God it pleased God, listen, through the foolishness of the message preached to save those that believe. Understand the word preaching doesn't mean you have to project. We think of preaching in a negative way. If someone is saying something to someone else they don't like they'll say, hey man don't preach at me. Like that's a bad thing.

Actually the Bible says it's a good thing. But you don't necessarily have to do it loudly. You can do it quietly. You can whisper the gospel. You can share the gospel conversationally. You can tweet the gospel. You can do it so many ways. The idea here is just communicate it.

Just do it. Romans 10 14 says, how can they call on Him to save them unless they have believed in Him? How can they believe in Him if they've never heard about them?

And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? Go into all of your world and preach the gospel. Go into your family. Go into your workplace. Go into your neighborhood.

Go into all of your world. I think of it this way. I call it frangelism. You might be saying, Greg you mispronounced it. It's evangelism. Now I'm calling it frangelism. F-R-A-N. These are the people we are to preach to. Fran. You're telling me only share the gospel with people named Fran.

No. It's an acronym. F for friends. R for relatives. A for associates.

And N for neighbors. Who do I preach the gospel to? My friends. My relatives. My associates. My neighbors.

In other words everyone. Even take the gospel to your enemies. Jonah was called to bring the gospel to a city called Nineveh filled with the enemies of the nation of Israel. And he did not go at first as you know. He was reluctant.

But when he did go a great spiritual awakening broke out. Do you have a neighbor that really irritates you? Go to them with the gospel and tell them how much Jesus loves them. President Abraham Lincoln once said quote, the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend. End quote.

I love that. So go to your enemies. Go to your frenemies. Go to your friends. Go to your neighbors. Go to your parents. Go to your children.

Go to your weird cousins that you only see occasionally at family reunions. Go to everyone you can and share the gospel. Great encouragement today from Pastor Greg Laurie about the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Today's study here on A New Beginning is titled A Crash Course on Evangelism and Discipleship. Now Pastor Greg maybe somebody's listening today and they're realizing they themselves have never come to the Lord to accept his offer of salvation. They can actually do that today right now can't they?

They can and it's so simple and I think because it's so simple people think oh it can't be that easy. Well look Jesus did all the heavy lifting. He carried the cross for you. He died on that cross that he carried.

This isn't about what you do. It's about what he's done but here's what the Bible says. Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

You say well okay how do I do that? You do it through prayer and if you pray this prayer after me I believe God will hear it and answer it and Christ will come to live inside of you. So if you want Jesus to come into your life and forgive you of your sin.

If you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die. If you want to fill that big hole in your heart pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin. I am sorry for my sin and I turn from it now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Be my savior and my Lord.

Be my God and my friend. Thanks for hearing this prayer and answering this prayer. In Jesus name I pray.

Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer I want you to know that God has heard you and has answered it. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

That you may know. It's yours now. God has given it to you because it's the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Congratulations and welcome to the family of God.

Amen. Listen we want to help you get started in this new relationship with the Lord. Would you let us send you something? It's free of charge. It's Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. Millions have read this edition of God's Word. New believers love the study helps written just for them and they appreciate that it's in an easy to understand translation. We'll send it to you today. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300.

You can call us anytime again at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. And if you weren't able to hear today's entire presentation you can listen again online free of charge at harvest.org. Just look for the title A Crash Course on Evangelism and Discipleship or subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any of the other podcast apps. Well our friend best-selling author Lee Strobel is with us today. We're so pleased to make available his latest book. It's so full of insight all centering on the question is God real?

That's the title of the book. You know the many believers who have been walking with the Lord for a long time haven't thought about the kind of question that you pose. Is God real?

They haven't thought about it for ages. Help us understand where the person's coming from who sincerely asks if God is real. Maybe they're a relative, maybe they're a friend, maybe they're just they're sitting next to them in the seat on the airline. Yeah I mean how sad would it be if your friend who is far from God is sitting at midnight on a computer asking the computer is God real?

Oh yeah. When we're right there and we can share with them and we can you know and it doesn't mean it doesn't mean we have to have the answer to every possible question that they might ask. You don't have to be the bible answer man or the bible answer lady. Sometimes the very best thing we can say in a friend asks a tough question and we don't have the answer instead of making something up don't ever do that is to say that's a great question. Honestly I'm not sure how to answer it but let's find an answer together and then that opens the door to be able to say let's read a book together. Let's maybe read is God real together and there's discussion questions built into the book that you could then have a discussion with them but don't ever fake it if someone asks a question that you don't have the answer to just use that as an opportunity.

This is an open door to a future conversation. They're expressing curiosity and interest and here's the other thing I've often found that the first question that a non-believer asks is not the big one. They send up a trial balloon and they say okay I'm having a conversation with this Christian friend and let me ask you this question and they ask a question and they're looking at how do you respond?

Do you shame them? Do you embarrass them by saying you don't know the answer to that? How do you respond or do you respond with sincerity as the Bible says with gentleness and respect because it's a trial balloon and then if you give them a sincere answer and really help them understand that question now they're going to ask you the real question. Now they're going to say you know what let me ask you this and that's going to be the one that's what I call the biggest spiritual sticking point that's holding them up in their journey toward God. So how we respond is important with sincerity, with clarity, armed with scripture and so how we interact with the non-believers is really really important. How we say what we say is almost as important as what we say. So we're to love people.

We're to love them. If we truly love them then we're gonna with all sincerity and with a heart full of hope we can engage with them and the questions that are holding them up in their journey toward God. Great insights Lee. You know the objective is not to win the argument it's to win the soul.

It's to build a bridge not burn the bridge and if you want to win some you need to be winsome. Loving and I think that's so important great insights there and so if you want a tool to help you do that we have one for you it's called Is God Real? A brand new book a best-selling book already I might add by my friend Lee Strobel that will enable you to have those conversations with people and help them come into a relationship with Jesus Christ and we'll send you this book for your gift of any size to help us to continue to teach God's word and proclaim the gospel through this broadcast that we call A New Beginning. So order your copy of Is God Real?

by Lee Strobel. You're gonna love it and you can request it by phone just call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime night or day and we'll be happy to send this new book your way to thank you for partnering with us.

Again dial 1-800-821-3300 or just go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insights on reaching out with the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Pastor Greg continues his series on the basics called Faith 101. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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