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A Crash Course on Evangelism & Discipleship | Practical Tips

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2024 3:00 am

A Crash Course on Evangelism & Discipleship | Practical Tips

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 5, 2024 3:00 am

About 30 million real Christmas trees decorated homes this past Christmas. And about 30 million Christmas trees became kindling not long after the holiday. There’s a spiritual parallel. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to keep our faith from drying out. We’ll learn to keep it re-kindled by sharing the hope we have with others. Glad you’re along for A NEW BEGINNING as Pastor Greg brings us some practical pointers on effective evangelism. It’s a good opportunity to take notes.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos. Learn more and sign up at Pastor Greg Laurie points out sharing our faith keeps our own faith alive.

About 30 million real Christmas trees decorated homes this past Christmas, and about 30 million Christmas trees became kindling not long after the holiday. Well, there's a spiritual parallel. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how to keep our faith from drying out. We'll learn how to keep it rekindled by sharing the hope we have with others. Glad you're along for A New Beginning as Pastor Greg brings some practical pointers on effective evangelism.

It's a good opportunity to take notes. When we talk about sharing our faith or preaching, a lot of us get very uptight. There's one thing that believers and nonbelievers have in common. They're both uptight about evangelism.

Nonbelievers are uptight about being evangelized, and believers are uptight about evangelizing them. OK. So we're in a new series. We're 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. To be a growing Christian, you must go into all the world and preach the gospel. We call it the Great Commission. There's 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's 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's 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.

Point number two. These words are directed to every follower of Jesus Christ. 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. So here is my question for you. Are you doing your part to fulfill the Great Commission? Point number three.

This one might surprise you. To not share the gospel can be a sin. You might say, Greg, you have gone too far. Well understand that sin has many definitions. There is 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 and acted as though it didn't happen. Is that wrong? Yes it is. That is even a criminal act. Or let's say you are 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 are uncomfortable telling people bad news. It is kind of awkward for you. So you don't tell them anything and you say you are good to go. Go on your two month vacation. Enjoy yourself.

You are an irresponsible doctor. Ok 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 is how not sharing the gospel could potentially be a sin. Why is this important?

Point number four. The primary way people come to Jesus is through hearing the gospel. 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 have never heard about them? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?

Go to everyone you can and share the gospel. Now what is the gospel? We throw that word around a lot as Christians. What does it actually mean?

Well I am going to define it in a moment. But we want to get this one right. Because if we don't get the gospel right everything else is wrong.

Point number five. We are not only to preach the gospel. We are to make disciples.

Let me say that again. We are not only to preach the gospel. We are to make disciples. Remember He says in Matthew that we are to make disciples of all nations. I mean to only preach the gospel and not make a disciple would be like a doctor delivering a baby.

And then giving the baby a little box of Pampers with a little handle. Ok kid. It is a tough world out there. I have got to go but I hope it works out for you. Bye.

No. You need to help the little baby. The baby needs to be nurtured and protected and cared for. And when someone accepts Jesus they are like a little baby. But they are a baby Christian. And they need to be discipled. What does that mean to disciple someone? It means help them to get up on their feet spiritually. And come to a place of maturity. And then encourage them to repeat the process. You know we have a great tool here at Harvest that we make available to people.

And I mention it pretty much every time you see us. It is called the New Believers Bible. Let me explain what this is. This is the New Testament. It is filled with hundreds and hundreds of notes that I wrote geared to a new believer.

I wrote them in a very easy to understand way. Almost as though we are sitting down over a cup of coffee. And I am just going through the basics of the Christian life with them. So this is a resource we offer to people.

You want to get a bunch of these and have them on hand. And then hopefully get a new believer or a young believer in your life and do what you can for them. But somewhere along the line we have separated evangelism and discipleship.

And we should not do it because it is all part of the Great Commission. Think of Saul of Tarsus. He came to faith in Christ. Saul of Tarsus was a notorious Christian killer. He was hunting down followers of Jesus. Torturing them.

Putting them in prison. And Saul of Tarsus was responsible for the death of the first martyr of the Christian church Stephen. But while he was on his way to arrest more Christians who does he meet on the Damascus road? He meets Jesus who says, Why are you fighting with me Saul? And Saul believes in Jesus. When it comes out that Saul is now a Christian no one believes it. It would be like announcing oh Howard Stern just became a Christian and he is going to a Bible study now. Or oh Bill Maher. He is a strong follower of Jesus Christ. Or hey Lady Gaga is leading worship over here at this church service.

We would say what are you talking about? Unexpected people. And don't think that God cannot reach any of those people. He could reach them and anybody else.

But people weren't believing it. So the Lord directs a man named Ananias to go to the newly converted Saul. It is recorded in Acts 9. And God says to Ananias, Go visit Saul.

He is a brother and he is in prayer. So Ananias went and helped Saul and introduced him to people. Later on a guy named Barnabas came along and encouraged Saul later to become Paul as well. Now we don't know that much about Ananias and Barnabas. But we know a lot about the Apostle Paul.

And so here is my point. God wants to use you to be an Ananias to a Saul. He wants to use you to be a Barnabas to a Paul. He wants to use you to be an Andrew to a Peter. He wants to use you maybe behind the scenes to help someone that needs to grow in their faith.

Don't be overwhelmed by this. Discipling someone just means to show them what a Christian looks like. Maybe this is one of the reasons we don't want a new believer in our life.

Because we don't want them to examine us. Oh this is how a Christian drives. Oh this is what a Christian watches on TV. Oh this is what a Christian does in their free time. I don't want them judging me.

No you need to be an example for them. Let me tell you something. After I accepted Christ at the age of 17 on my high school campus I was really oblivious to what I had done. The school bell rang. Lunch was over. I did not realize what had just happened to me. Nobody was there saying, Oh Greg here is a new believer's Bible. Why don't you read this? No one was there to say, Greg why don't you come to church on Sunday with us?

No one was there to do anything. I just walked away not really sure of what I had done. But thank God there was a guy named Mark who came up to me a day or so later. He said, Hi is your name Greg? I said, Yeah.

He said, My name is Mark. Okay. He said, Hey I saw that you went forward and prayed to ask Christ into your life the other day at our lunchtime Bible study.

I was sort of defensive and I said, Yeah what of it? He goes, Well I think that's great. Okay. Well I want you to come to church with me.

Mark said. I said, I don't want to do that. No Greg I want you to come to church. I don't want to go to church with you Mark.

I really don't. And he goes, Okay where do you live? I'm going to come pick you up. No I don't want you to come to my house and pick me up.

I don't want to go to church with you. Well Mark wouldn't take no for an answer. Next thing I know he's at my house picking me up and he takes me to church. Mark introduced me to the church. He introduced me to his Christian family. He took the time to explain the basics to me. In short he began to disciple me. And I could have fallen through the cracks. And there's a lot of people that do fall through the cracks.

Will you be a mark to one of those people? Will you fulfill the great commission? Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app. It's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play among others. You can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free. You're going to find live events, our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film Fain. Plus our TV programs, our podcast Harvest at Home, and a lot more.

Stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well we're talking today about our role in fulfilling the great commission. Pastor Greg is presenting a message today titled A Crash Course on Evangelism and Discipleship. There's another reason we should seek to fulfill the great commission.

Do it for your own good. See God has given us these blessings that we experience as Christians to share. Not to be hoarded.

You are blessed to be a blessing. You ever see those shows on TV of people who hoard stuff? And they have like floor to ceiling newspapers from days gone by and they usually have a lot of cats.

I don't know why the cats and the newspapers go together but they often do. But this is crazy. Now I'm sort of a micro hoarder.

I don't have my home filled with all those things but I do save a lot of stuff. And we can be this way with our faith. Oh I just want to hear another Bible study and I just want to grow more and learn more. That's good.

Do that. But it's not designed for you to keep to yourself. The gospel is designed for you to share.

And one of the great things about sharing is it helps in your own spiritual growth. Say I don't get it. Well what would it be like if you only ate and you never exercised? You literally sat in a giant chair and you never moved.

I have a friend who has this weird thing. It's like a pod. And it's sort of like a massage chair meets a pod.

And you lay in it and it closes up on your arms and on your legs and all these rollers are going back and forth. Oh yeah. I mean it's great.

I have to admit I was in it for one week. No not really. But you know we want to just get into our little Christian pod. Bring me a meal now and I'll eat my meal.

You need to get out of your pod and you need to get to work. And you need to take what God has given you to other people. And if you don't listen to me you will stagnate spiritually.

You have a choice. You can evangelize or you can fossilize. And if you only take in and you never share your faith it's detrimental to you spiritually. Listen to this. A new believer needs an older believer in their life to stabilize them.

An older believer needs a younger believer in their life to energize them. Take cartoons as an example. I like to watch cartoons with my grandkids. Generally when they're not around I don't watch cartoons. But when they come over they say Papa can we watch a cartoon? I'll enter into their world and I'll laugh at the cartoons and enjoy them. But I'm enjoying them because they're enjoying them. I'm seeing them through the eyes of a child. And what happens when you have a new believer in your life is you begin to rediscover truths you've forgotten about.

As they're discovering them for the first time you're saying wow that is amazing isn't it? I don't know if I'm as appreciative to God as much as I should be for what He has done for me. So you need it as much as they need it.

Because we often forget things that really matter. Now I keep saying preach the gospel. What is the gospel?

We way over complicate this people. The gospel literally defined is good news. The gospel teaches that we're all separated from God by our sin. The gospel teaches that there's nothing we can do to satisfy the righteous demands of God on our own. The gospel teaches not that I'm good but that I'm bad. And I'm separated from God.

But the gospel also teaches that 2,000 years ago God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. And He rose again from the dead. And if I will turn from my sin and ask Christ to come into my life He will forgive me. He'll fill that hole in my heart. He'll give me the purpose and direction in life I've been seeking.

And best of all He'll give me the absolute assurance of heaven for the afterlife. That's the gospel. We need to share that with people.

Point number six. We need to seek to lead others to Christ. We need to seek to lead others to Christ. Now the Bible does teach that this is a work of the Holy Spirit. No man comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws him.

That's true. But God reaches people through people. And I think one of the reasons we've never led another person to Christ is we have not asked them the question. We can call it popping the question. Let's apply it to marriage.

I've heard of a lot of imaginative proposals that have taken place. One that I'm reminded of is a friend of mine who went out snorkeling with his fiance. Well not his fiance.

Just his girlfriend at that point. And they were underwater. And he had one of those little underwater tablets and he wrote out, Will you marry me?

So that's very imaginative. Now my wife says I never properly proposed. She says that we were sitting in a restaurant and I looked at her and I said, Well I guess we're going to get married.

Huh? I thought really I said that? She said yeah. I said wow. Well at least I said something. I didn't do a very good job of it. But thankfully she said yes.

And we've been married 46 years now so hey maybe there's something to that. I don't know. But my point is simply this.

You've got to ask the question that's awkward for you to ask but do it anyway. And here's the question. Ready for it?

Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now? I was in a restaurant a while ago with some friends. And we had a waitress come and take our order. And she said, You guys are all pastors aren't you? Yes.

Yeah we are. And so she said, What are your church services? And I said, Well they're at this time and this time. She goes, Okay. Okay. And so she's taken our order. And I don't normally do this.

Trust me. But I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit. I said, You know I'm glad you want to know when our church services are. And I'm glad you want to come to our church. But you don't have to wait until Sunday to get right with God.

Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now? And she said, Yes I would. She's standing there you know like with her little order book. And the good news is the owner of the restaurant is a Christian who attends our church.

So I knew she wouldn't get in trouble. I said, Why don't we pray right now? She said, Pray here?

Yeah. Let's pray. You want to pray and ask Christ to come into your life?

She said, Yeah. So we prayed. And right there the Lord came into our life.

And this is my point. You never know when the Lord will prompt you to ask that question. And I trust that a lot of us are going to be asking this question. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now? And I'm telling you if they say yes get ready for one of the greatest blessings you've ever experienced in life. There's great joy in sharing your faith.

Jesus said, There's joy in heaven over one sinner that comes to repentance. Let me close now with a question for some of you. Now I've been talking to Christians about sharing the gospel. Let me talk to someone that's watching that is hearing this all for the first time.

And let me ask you this. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ right now? Say, Well yeah.

What do I need to do? You need to admit you're a sinner and acknowledge the fact that you're separated from God. And then you need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sin and rose again from the dead. And you need to ask Him into your life. You see only you can do that.

I can't do that for you. But I can lead you in a prayer where you ask Him into your life to be your Savior and Lord. And in a moment I'm going to pray. And I'm going to ask you that want Christ to come into your life to pray this prayer with me. So again if you want your sin forgiven. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven. If you want that big hole in your heart filled.

If you want your guilt taken away. If you want this relationship with God I've been talking about. I want you to pray a simple prayer with me right here right now. And as I pray this prayer you can pray it out loud if you like.

You can pray it in your heart quietly but you pray this prayer. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. The Bible says for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son. And whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

That's what you're doing right now. You're believing in Jesus. So if you want Jesus to come into your life. If you want Him to forgive you of your sin. Pray this prayer with me right now. In fact pray this prayer after me.

Pray these words if you would. God I know that I'm a sinner. But I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sin. And rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin now.

And I choose to follow You Jesus. From this moment forward. Be my Savior and my Lord. Be my God and my friend. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. Today here on A New Beginning we've been talking about the good news.

And some have just accepted that offer of forgiveness. If you've just prayed with Pastor Greg to accept Jesus as your Savior. First of all let us welcome you into the family of God.

And second let us send you something free of charge to help you get started. It's Pastor Greg's New Believers Bible. It will answer some of the questions you might have. And help you build a strong foundation for your faith.

And it's in an easy to understand translation as well. So ask for your free New Believers Bible as you call 1-800-821-3300. 1-800-821-3300.

Or write A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514. Or go online to and click Know God. Hey everybody Pastor Greg here with my good friend Lee Strobel. In studio talking about his new book Is God Real? Lee told me recently 200 times a second people Google in this question. Is God real? Can you imagine that?

People from all around the world asking this very important question. So Lee decided to tackle the subject and write a book about it. I can't think of anyone that's more qualified to answer this question. Because Lee was formerly an atheist and also was the award winning legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But it was actually when his wife Leslie came to faith that Lee wanted to disprove her new found faith.

And in the process ended up coming to believe in Jesus Christ himself. So now he's written this brand new book Is God Real? So Lee we generally know you for your other books you've written like The Case for Christ, The Case for Your Creator. And a recent one you wrote Get Off My Case.

No not really. I actually did one by that title. It was a children's book.

Get Off My Case? I love that. I haven't read that yet. So now this new book is a little different than your normal template.

But maybe it's not that different. Tell us why you wrote this book and why people ought to read it. Yeah I mean my format and my books all are the same in the sense that I don't present myself as the ultimate expert. I am a journalist and so I see myself as a bridge between the academic community, the scholarly community, and the everyday community. My role I believe in the kingdom of God is to tap into the brilliance of some of these academics and scholars who studied this stuff in minutiae their whole life.

And yet may lack the ability to communicate it on an everyday level. And so I use my journalism skill to go I seek out the smartest people I can who have the best background who have studied each of these topics that I deal with in the book. And then I ask them the tough questions I had when I was a skeptic and the tough questions people ask me even today. And to see and let the reader decide whether or not they answer the question in a way that satisfies their heart and soul. So you know we have a lot of brilliant people out there. Unfortunately they write sometimes on a level that so few of us can understand. I don't understand a lot of it. But God has given me this gift as a journalist to ask questions and to there's an old saying to put the cookies on the bottom shelf. That's right.

You know so that make it available to everyday people. Yeah and I think you do a great job of that Lee. You make these things very understandable. So for our listeners right now maybe you're afraid of the idea of apologetics. The defense of the faith.

You feel like oh man I don't have the answers to these hard questions. I think when you get your hands on this new book by Lee Strobel, Is God Real? You're going to have a lot of answers for yourself and for others that may ask you that very important question is God real? So we want to send you this book for your gift of any size to support our radio ministry A New Beginning. And whatever you send will be used to touch lives with the teaching of the word of God and the proclamation of the gospel. So order your copy of this already best-selling book by author Lee Strobel titled Is God Real?

Dave tell them how to get their own copy. Yeah just get in touch with us and let us know you want the book called Is God Real? We'll send it to you to thank you for partnering with us so we can keep bringing the gospel and teaching the word of God to the people of God. Take advantage of this eye-opening insight.

Ask for Is God Real? when you call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or just go online to You know reasons for worry and anxiety are all around us. But the Lord has an antidote. Pastor Greg discusses that next time as his series Faith 101 continues. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.

In the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others. Or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner. Just go to
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-05 05:13:58 / 2024-03-05 05:25:20 / 11

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