Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. I'd say there's a lot of you in here that have never brought somebody to faith in Jesus Christ. Never. And to be honest with you, that doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me because I think this could be a brand new day for you where you say, Jesus, these promises are true and I want to see you do this through me. If you're here today and never brought somebody to Christ, this is an invitation for you to say, Jesus, this is your promise. This is what you said. You never command what you do not also supply.
Show me how to do it. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch, and we are so glad that you're back with us to start the week. You know, everyone wants to know their calling in life, right? You know, some task that they're specifically designed for, something that brings deep fulfillment and makes the world a better place. Well, today, Pastor J.D. explains that if you are a follower of Christ, you don't have to wonder what your ultimate calling is. God has revealed it in His Word, and it's both deeply fulfilling and will change the world. We're nearing the end of our teaching series called Start, so if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can hear them at jdgreer.com.
But for now, here's Pastor J.D. sharing more about our mission. The greatest asset of a military man is his ability to fight. Without that, all other assets, all other talents are ultimately useless. I share that because I want to talk about something that, as Christians and as a church, that we have to do well. Something which, without it, regardless of how much we succeed at everything else, whatever talent we have as a church, whatever talents you have as an individual, whatever spiritual assets we have, without this one thing, everything else we do is useless. That one thing is make disciples. No matter how good we are at everything else, I'm a church, if we don't do that as a church and you don't do that as an individual follower of Jesus, you and we fail. We can raise more money than anybody's ever raised in the name of the kingdom of God and build great buildings. We can write great songs. We can have the best worship bands.
We can have the biggest and best kids ministries and family ministries and college ministries. I can preach great sermons and write great books, but if we don't make disciples, we fail. If you have a Bible, I want you to open it to Matthew chapter 28. Matthew 28 is the end of the Gospel of Matthew.
We're going to be in verse 19 in a very familiar text. As you're turning there, I will explain to you that whenever I'm talking to somebody, when I'm discipling somebody and I talk to them about how they discovered their particular role in the mission of God, because we all have a different role and how God designed us, whenever you want to discover your particular role, it's a combination of three things that you got to put together. One is your vocational skill.
God made different ones of you differently. He didn't make you all to be vocational ministers, pastors like me. He gave you skills in dentistry and business and in writing and being a teacher and as a mother, any number of things. We have this idea that if you're really spiritual and you really know God, you should go into ministry, and this is not true. I've told you before, I am a professional Christian. That is my job. I'm a professional Christian. I get paid to be good.
That's how my job works. You guys are good for nothing, so you guys are awesome, but you're not all called to be pastors. You're given a vocation, and God uses that vocation to bless people. The second thing you factor in is your spiritual gifts.
God gives. He breathes into you through his spirit spiritual gifts that are manifestations of his spirit for the good of his church and for the propulsion of his mission in the world. You'll never really know your role in the mission of God until you know what that spiritual gift is. The third thing that you got to understand to grab a hold of the mission of God and your role in it is you got to understand the great commission that is given to every disciple of Jesus to make disciples. That's what we're going to focus on primarily today, the commission to make disciples, because regardless of your vocation, regardless of your spiritual gifts, the great commission is given to you to make disciples, and you're supposed to use your vocation and use your spiritual gifts ultimately to that end.
What we're going to do is we're going to spend a few minutes showing you. I'm going to try to show you that discipleship is the core of the great commission, try to prove that for you, both for us as a church and for you individually. And then secondly, I would like to show you how it is that you can begin to make disciples if you're not, and if you are, how you can maybe do it better. So number one, our first thing here, making disciples is the central element of the mission for every believer. Just want to try to prove that for a few minutes for every church and every believer.
If you're not doing it, you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. Matthew 28, 19, the great commission reads like this, go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you always to the end of the age. Now, you can't tell really easily in English, but the Greek word, there's three participles. The first one is go, then there's baptizing and teaching. In Greek, when something's a participle, it's always pointing back to one kind of dominant controlling verb. Make disciples is the dominant verb that all the other participles play into.
What does that mean? It means that, listen, going, baptizing, and teaching are only good insofar as they contribute to the making of disciples. A guy named Robert Coleman wrote a book in 1962 called The Master Plan of Evangelism.
He says this, I'm going to quote from a lot from it today. The great commission, listen, is not merely to go to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel. The great commission is not to baptize a lot of converts into the name of the triune God, nor is it to teach them the precepts of Christ.
It is to make disciples, to build men and women like themselves who were so constrained by the commission of Christ that they not only follow Jesus themselves, but let others to follow him too. The criteria, the criteria upon which any church should measure its success is not how many new names are added to the role or how much the budget is increased, but rather how many Christians are actively winning souls and training them to win the multitudes. Most churches do not evaluate their success that way. You want to get a church who evaluated its success and they'll tell you how many people attend on the weekend.
They'll tell you how big the offerings are, how big the budget, how many facilities they have. Some will boast the number of baptisms they have, the number of conversions, the people that raised their hand and indicated they were trusting in Christ, but heaven does not celebrate any of those numbers. Not one of them. The only number that heaven celebrates is disciples. Did you know the word conversion only appears three times in the New Testament? A conversion only appears three times. That's celebrated.
Listen to this. The word disciple appears 281 times in the New Testament. So what does the New Testament focus on? It means that it is foolish for us to celebrate and brag about conversions when what heaven celebrates is disciples. What it means to become a Christian is that you trust in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. That's conversion.
But a true conversion leads to lifelong discipleship, which means you begin to pursue Jesus for the rest of your life and you do all that he has commanded you to do. I am not against counting numbers some at church. You know that. We talk about them all the time. Every number represents a soul.
We rejoice in them. I just want to make sure we're counting the right ones, because the ones that heaven celebrates are disciples. That priority that God gave to this church is disciple-making, not attendance swelling, not budget, not baptisms. It's disciples, and disciples are people who make other disciples. That priority is not something that's just given to us.
It's given to each of you for yourself, too, as a criteria. Every follower of Jesus has been given this responsibility to make disciples. You see, sometimes people read the Great Commission and they think, oh, well, of course, that's what the apostles do. That's what the church leaders do. That's their job. That's not true.
I'll explain to you why. If the apostles were to teach other people everything that Jesus had commanded, would that not have included the command to make disciples? He didn't say, go teach them everything I have commanded you, except for this last command to make disciples.
That's something just for you. No, the command to make disciples is the command to make other disciples. Everyone who follows Jesus is supposed to be a disciple-maker. There are a number of other places I could point you to in the Bible.
I'll give you just one more where Jesus says it in a different way. John 15, 8, by this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. How is God glorified in you? Is it because you sing the praise songs with your hands in the air and because you give a lot of money and because you know a lot of Bible verses?
Well, maybe, but that's not how He's glorified here. You're glorified by the fact that you bear much fruit and that you have a lot of people that you are bringing into God's kingdom. Not a little fruit, by the way, much fruit. And doing so proves that you are a disciple, which means that if you're not bearing fruit, you have reason to question whether you're actually a disciple at all.
Because see, things that are alive grow, potent things multiply. So that's the question you need to ask about yourself. Are you bearing fruit?
Are you marrying much fruit? Are you making disciples? Can you point to people in our church today who are here because of your direct influence in bringing them in? Can you point to people in this church that you are growing up into maturity in Jesus Christ?
Because if you cannot point to those people, are you bearing much fruit? Are you doing the one thing that Jesus told us was essential for following him? You see, God's plan for how he would grow his church was not giving one guy a great preaching gift.
It wasn't creating the best music that everybody had come to listen to. It wasn't having the church start a bunch of new creative programs that would attract families. Jesus' plan was each individual believer making disciples of those around them. Robert Coleman again, when will the church learn this lesson? Preaching to the masses, although necessary, will never suffice in the work of preparing leaders for evangelism, nor can occasional prayer meetings and training classes for Christian workers do the job.
Men read that they're individuals. Individual men and women are God's method. God's plan for discipleship is not something. It's not a new book. It's not a new sermon series. It's someone.
You. You are God's method for how he makes disciples. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to quickly introduce you to our featured resource this month. You know, so many people have a desire to know God, but they have no clue where to begin. Well, the discipline of memorizing scripture can be a great place to start. No matter how well we know God or whether we know him at all, we could all use a fresh start and a solid foundation.
And that's what makes this time of year so special. We must keep putting the word of God into our hearts so that when life cuts us, we bleed the wisdom found in the word of God. So this month, we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards for you to help you carry God's promises every day along with you. Being able to share the scriptures in a moment of need can be such a blessing to you and to those that you're trying to encourage. So commit to memorizing more of his word in 2023 than ever before. We'll send the set as our thanks for your gift to the ministry right now.
So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgreer.com. I'll tell you why this has been on my mind a lot recently is we have an extraordinarily motivated church to go out and live on mission. We have numbers of you that have gone to different parts of the city to live strategically. Some of you have developed a burden for your workplace and you're praying for people that are on your campus.
We have people in this church that right now are living overseas somewhere and they did that because they thought it's a great way to live in a place where the gospel is not known. And the question that I've been asking and some of them have been asking me is I'm not sure exactly what to do now that I'm here. Like I'm doing this as I go live on mission, but I get here and I'm like, do I just play your sermons loud in my cubicle? Do I put the summit bumper sticker on the back of my car?
It doesn't seem to make much sense in Tokyo, but maybe that's the way to get the conversation. What do I do? Do you know what to do when you're around a group of people that are not believers, especially if maybe there's not a church nearby? Do you know how to make disciples? Because if I hadn't taught you to do that, then I fail as your leader. I want you to know what to do and I want you to know how to do it.
And I don't want all the different things that press in on us from life and church keep us from the one thing Jesus said we have to do. You ever have one of those days where you get up and the moment you get up in the morning, it's like the day slams you in the face. Your kids, if you've got kids or they've got some emergency need, you're taking care of that and then your boss calls because there's something that's behind that word. It wasn't really your fault, but now it's your responsibility. So you get in there trying to take care of that and then you get a bill from Tom Warner Cable where they overcharge you about $600 on your cable bill and you know that takes seven and a half days on the phone with somebody to work that out. And so you get to the end of the day and you just collapse and you feel so beat and you were so busy, but you can't name a single thing that you did that day.
You ever had this happen? Not one thing on your to-do list. You were so busy, but not one thing that you needed to do that was on your to-do list actually got done. Well, see, I don't want that to happen for you in eternity where basically you go your entire life doing things that you felt like had to be done and you stand before God and the one thing He told you was the thing that was supposed to define you. You don't have anything to show for it because the had to do in life kept you from the must do, the important thing to do. So I want you to know how to make disciples.
In fact, let me give you a pretty radical thought here. God gives you your vocation, at least in part, as a platform and as a network of relationships through which you can make disciples. That's why God gives you your vocation.
Now, in saying that, please hear me as you write that down. I am not saying that your work is not a good end in and of itself because it is. If you're a dentist, you are blessing people by helping them have healthy teeth. If you're an architect, you're building buildings to the glory of God and you're benefiting others.
Whatever your work is, is a good end in and of itself. You're blessing others. Of course, when I talk about using your vocation as a platform to which you make disciples, I'm not talking about you doing anything inappropriate, like if you're a public school teacher preaching to your kids all day or if you're a doctor sitting by a bedside and whispering, Turner Bird, or if you're a dentist with your hands in people's mouths and you're like, I see some cavities in your teeth, but the real cavities are in your soul caused by sin.
I'm not suggesting you do that, okay? What I am saying is that your profession naturally puts you into contact with people in your profession, other people that are more likely to listen to you than to me. Everywhere in the book of Acts, we see the gospel spreading faster through the hands of ordinary people than it does through the apostles. In the book of Acts, the apostles rarely get anywhere with the gospel first. It's normal Christians who are carried on the wings of business that are the first people to take the gospel into new places. When we think about the worldwide spread of the gospel and the spread of the gospel into new places in the United States, it's not going to be me or a group of people that are full-time missionaries that are going to get that first.
It's going to be you. That's why I told you that those of you who do not feel called to be full-time Christian workers, those of you who are not called to be professional Christians, you play a more strategic role in the worldwide spread of the gospel than those of us who are in vocational ministry. You are, according to the book of Acts, you are the tip of the spear. You are God's plan A, which is backwards to how most of us think about it, isn't it? You think, I'm God's plan A. You come in here and you give some money and support me as I lead the charge.
It's actually the opposite way. That's why sometimes I've told you over the years. According to Ephesians 4-11, God gives pastors for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. Who does the work of the ministry?
The saints. My role is an equipper. That means when I became a pastor, this is what I tell you, I left the ministry. And that was frustrating for me.
I got on the back line. Here, frustrating. I go to work every day with a bunch of pastors. Most of the pastors are Christians. 85% of them. But I don't live among unbelieving people in my workplace anymore.
It wasn't like that in college. I lived around unbelieving people all the time. So I'm just not on the front line of ministry anymore like I used to be, but you are. I've explained to you that, remember, there are 40 miracles in the book of Acts, 40. Thirty-nine of them happen outside of the church. That means I've got access to one-fortieth of the power of God because I work inside the church. And that's probably not a great interpretation technique, but you get the point. You've got access to thirty-nine-fortieths of what God wants to do. You're the tip of the spear, so here's my question for you. Have you ever seriously considered that maybe God gave you your skill?
Medicine, athletics, teaching, business. Maybe He gave you that not just as a tool for making money. Maybe He gave it to you primarily as a platform for spreading the gospel.
Have you ever thought about that? And are you doing that? All right, so let me shift here. Give you six things that need to be true of you if you're going to become a disciple maker. It's your responsibility.
Six things have got to be true of you. How to become a disciple maker. Number one, this one might be the most important. You've got to own the assignment.
You've just got to own it. This is probably the biggest obstacle is that you always feel like it's what God has told somebody else to do, and you're not really good at it, and you've got a bunch of excuses why you're not doing it. You. You.
In fact, write this down. My job is making disciples. This is your job. Jesus gave it to you. And I know that for many of you that makes you feel overwhelmed.
But that's the good news. If you accept the assignments and you look to God, He promises that He'll actually do it through you. One of my favorite promises in scripture is where Jesus said, Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men. He didn't say become a fisher of men and then come to me. He said, you just follow me and I'll do the making, which means the moment I say, Jesus, I want to do this.
I don't know how to do it. You make me a fisher of men. And then all of a sudden, he puts me where he put Peter.
When he had Peter throw his nets in the other side. Remember he kept fish all night, caught nothing and pulled up nothing but water. And now Jesus said, now do this.
And he puts it in and he pulls up enough that it makes his boat begin to sink. That's Jesus's promise for you. And if you'll come to a point where you own the assignment and say, Jesus, this is what you said.
Now show me how to do it. He'll show you. I'd say there's a lot of you in here that have never brought somebody to faith in Jesus Christ. Never. And to be honest with you, that doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me because I think this could be a brand new day for you where you say, Jesus, these promises are true and I want to see you do this through me. The only ones that bother me are those of you who, it doesn't bother you that you've never brought somebody to Christ. If you're here today and never brought somebody to Christ, this is an invitation for you to say, Jesus, this is your promise. This is what you said. You never command what you do not also supply.
Show me how to do it. And don't hide, by the way, if you've never brought somebody to Christ, do not hide behind that, oh, I'm just being faithful and God brings the... No. Spurgeon said it best. He said, you know, I can understand a fisherman maybe going through a season where he doesn't catch fish, but no fisherman's ever going to be okay with that. And that fisherman, he says, if I'm that fisherman, I'm looking up to God and I'm saying, God, what's wrong with me? You promised this.
Why isn't it coming true in my life? That's what you should do if you aren't bringing people to Christ. Number two, you've got to understand the method. Understand the method, which is life on life. Jesus' method for disciplining was not preaching, was not taking him through a class, was not getting him to read a book.
It was life on life. Robert Coleman made this observation about Jesus in this book I've been quoting from. Listen, whether Jesus was addressing the multitudes that pressed upon him, arguing with the Pharisees who sought to ensnare him, or speaking to some lonely beggar along the road, the disciples were always close at hand to observe and to listen. Through this manner of personal demonstration, every aspect of Jesus' personal discipline of life was bequeathed to his disciples.
Because see, look, one living sermon is worth a hundred explanations. I'll tell you where I learned this from, my dad. My dad really came to Christ when I was two years old. We moved to a city in North Carolina.
It was our first time in North Carolina. My mom and dad were very cultural Christians. We had some church in the background.
We weren't serious about it. They heard about this exciting new church that was growing. So they went there, and sure enough, the guy could really preach. God used his preaching to grip my mom and dad's heart. But my dad says it was not a single one of his sermons that really transformed my life.
They caught my attention. So what transformed my life is he began to invite me to be a part of his life. He used to take me with him when he would go places whether to preach or to share Christ with somebody. So probably the biggest impact was he invited me and three other guys to get together with him an hour before the service started on Sunday just to pray together. And he says, I can tell you 40 years later, I do not remember a single sermon he ever preached. What I remember was hearing him pray and how impacting the sermons were that he preached through prayer. Because one living sermon was worth 100 explanations on prayer. It was hearing him talk to other people about Jesus. It was hearing him talk to Jesus about other people. It was his life that transformed me, not his sermons. Our college ministry, who is exceptionally good at this, they say it this way, 75% of discipleship is informal.
It's informal. That's how somebody discipled my dad, and my dad became a man of God who brought me up in the faith. A disciple of somebody else is just opening up your life with people. Jesus' method for reaching others was not just preaching to the masses or running to a special program.
It was men and women personally sharing their lives, something we can all do. If you happen to join us late today, you can listen again or catch up on previous messages in this study when you go online to jdgrier.com. Pastor JD, we're always looking for new ways to help others integrate the truth of the Bible into their everyday lives.
Can you tell us a little bit more about our latest resource? Yeah, one of our goals is to equip everybody who listens to Summit Life to be a disciple-making disciple, not just a receiver of the Word, a hearer of the Word, but a doer and a multiplier. And so to do that, you've got to go out of the classroom seat, listening here to Summit Life to being someone who can speak the Word of God to others. And one of the ways that you do that is by memorizing Scripture so that it comes to mind when you're praying, it comes to mind when you're speaking with someone. And so we have compiled 52 different Scripture promises that we want you to memorize with us throughout the course of this year. I don't know of anything I could commend to our listeners any more than memorizing Scripture.
Even more important, I think, than hearing the Word of God taught is getting it into your heart so that it saturates your mind and it fills you with faith. I want you to take a look at these. They've been specifically designed for you, our Summit Life listening audience, to go along with a lot of the things that we're teaching. And so go to jdgrier.com where you can reserve your set. We'd love to get you a set of these cards today, and they come with our thanks when you donate to support this program.
Summit Life is kept on the radio and online by listeners like you. So when you tune in, you've got another listener to thank for that message, and you can extend that gift to someone else by doing your part to keep this program going. Give today and remember to ask for your set of the Scripture memory cards. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or you can donate and request the set online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vitevich. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining us. And be sure to tune in tomorrow as we're coming to the end of our study called Start. We'll see you Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
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