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The Mission: Making Disciples, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2023 9:00 am

The Mission: Making Disciples, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 17, 2023 9:00 am

Everyone wants to find a career where they can use their gifts and talents. But Pastor J.D. reminds us that as believers, we all have one calling that outweighs any other!

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer.

Here's a gut check I have for you. Could you pull out your cell phone right now, right now, and go to your contact list and find three unbelieving people who are not in church that you could text right after the service and ask them to go have coffee? If you could not do that, is there any way possible that you are actually doing the one thing Jesus told us to do to make disciples? Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, J.D. Greer. I'm your host Molly Vidovitch, and we're excited to be jumping into God's word with you today.

I think it's safe to say that most everyone wants a career where they can use their gifts and talents and where they can feel like they're fulfilling their calling in life, right? But today pastor J.D. Reminds us that as believers, we all have one calling that outweighs any other.

And it's something that we can accomplish no matter what we're doing from nine to five on our J.O.B. So let's jump right into today's message. It's the conclusion of our teaching series called Start. And as always, you can catch up on any teaching you may have missed by visiting J.D. But right now let's rejoin pastor J.D. as he continues his sermon titled, The Mission Making Disciples. 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. So 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. Okay. So number one, our first thing here, making disciples is the central element of the mission for every believer. 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. Going, baptizing and teaching are only good in so far as they contribute to the making of 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, eight, by this is my father glorified that you bear much fruit. And so prove to be my disciples. How is God glorified in you? 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. So that's the question you need to ask about yourself. Are you bearing fruit?

Are you marrying much fruit? Are you making disciples? 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? You are God's method for how he makes disciples. 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. How to become a disciple maker? Number one, this one might be the most important. You got to own the assignment.

You 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. You 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 scriptures 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 says, 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 is what you said. Now show me how to do it.

He'll show you. Number two, you got to understand the method. Understand the method, which is life on life. Jesus method for discipling was not preaching a class, was not taking them through a class, was not getting them to read a book.

It was life on life. I 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 and they were, my mom and dad were very cultural Christians. They heard about this exciting new church that was growing. And so they went there and sure enough, the guy could really preach. And 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 a hundred 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. That's how somebody discipled my dad and my dad became a man of God who brought me up in the faith. That's how you'll disciple somebody else is just opening up your life with people.

Now there is of course a cost to living this way. Coleman says such close and constant association of course meant virtually that Jesus had no time to call his own. Your introverts, your extroverts, your different personalities.

And I know that for some of you, I mean if there's one thing I know about Americans is we love our free time. So we're cruising home and opening that garage door and we go in and press that little button and shut the door and now we're sealed off in the world and we got a nice little back deck with privacy trees and a little fire pit. We don't talk to anybody. Right, you ever live you ever have a neighbor like this? I had a neighbor of the house I previously lived at that I am not sure I ever saw that man walk.

I don't even know if he has legs. As far as I know you might just have a torso because I always saw him in his car. You know you go to his car and you kind of give me a nod open the garage door go in and there might have been a whole other world in there.

I have no idea. But I never saw you have a neighbor like that. How many of you are a neighbor like that? All right, what it means is that you begin to invite people over into your life. It means you have people over for dinner. I thought one of the things we don't talk about near enough is the evangelistic power of hospitality. By the way, hospitality in the New Testament is always evangelistic. When I have another Christian over for dinner that's fellowship. Hospitality is given to the people of Israel as a way of showing kindness to the stranger, people outside the covenant. Which means that part of your life ought to be just bringing families in. Eating with people and just opening your life to them.

That would just make a huge difference. Some of the best evangelism encounters our family has had have been around that. My wife invites other neighbors in and we just sometimes they're awesome conversations.

Sometimes they're awkward conversations. A few years ago my family invited over an Islamic family who came to eat dinner with us. Me and the guy, the Muslim dad, had been out to lunch several times and so we're all around the table. I just thought, I'm like, you know, I said, hey, you know, when you and I go out to lunch you do your thing over your food and I pray and then we eat. I was like, so is it okay we're all here around the table?

Is it okay if I just pray for everybody? He thought for a minute. He said, well, he says, I got a better idea. He said, that wouldn't bother me. He said, but I got a better idea. Why don't we have my daughter, who she was 11, pray for our family and then your daughter, my oldest daughter was seven, she can pray for your family.

That would have been awesome if I'd have had some prep time and, which I did not, and I said, but I'm gonna let him call my bluff. I'm like, oh sure, that sounds like a great idea. So his daughter, we all bow our heads, his daughter starts to pray, 11 year old, in Arabic for a minute.

And I know that doesn't sound like a long time, but when it's all in Arabic and you got four kids under the age of seven, that's a long time. So we're all like, you know, kind of looking around and she keeps going and I don't know what she's saying. She finally gets something that sounds like amen. And then there's like 10 to 15 awkward seconds of silence and my head's bowed and I'm like, I didn't have any prep time, I'm a seven year old, I need some prep time, that's fair. And so I, you know, I look up at her because I'm like, does she know what to do? And my oldest daughter is there with her head bowed and I look over at her, she doesn't look at me, she lifts her head straight up like this, opens up her hands and this is exactly what she said.

She said, dear Jesus, thank you for coming to earth to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be saved and go to heaven. And thank you for leaving the Holy Bible so that we could all know about it because you're the only way we can be saved. Amen. And I was like, you know, it's like I've never been prouder or more mortified as a dad at the same time.

So it doesn't always work out pretty for us, but it's awesome. It's just, it's opening your life and letting people see how you talk to your kids and how you treat your spouse and how you pray for your meals, right? That is what God wants you to begin to do, open your life. Hey, here's a gut check I have for you. Could you pull out your cell phone right now, right now, and go through your contact list and find three unbelieving people who are not in church that you could text right after the service and ask them to go have coffee?

If you could not do that, is there any way possible that you are actually doing the one thing Jesus told us to do to make disciples? You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer and a message titled The Mission.

Find more resources online free of charge by visiting We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about our current resource this month. You know, when we're shaken by the world and the issues and problems that we face, we want to overflow the Word of God. The Lord calls us to take a step of faith, then another and another, and the only way to walk in step with Him is to truly know Him. So to help us grow in this way, we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards.

The psalmist understood the Word's power in battling temptation. I have stored up your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Arm yourself with the wisdom found only in God's Word by committing it to memory this next year.

Give us a call today at 866-335-5220 or go online to to reserve your set of cards. But right now, let's get back to our teaching. Here's Pastor J.D. Jesus' method for reaching others was not me preaching to the masses or a program.

It was men and women like you sharing their lives. Number three, be ready with a plan. Be ready with a plan. You got to know where you're going.

That's one of the reasons we did this Start Series. This is not just a six-week sermon series. This is us identifying and writing Bible studies on the six most essential things.

I want you to take these and begin to use them. You invite people into it and you walk with them through it at a coffee shop throughout the week. One of the easiest ways to begin to disciple somebody is just invite them to read the Bible with you. Number four, make the invitation. Just make the invitation. You got to invite somebody into the process. At some point, you got to go beyond just the, hey, we know each other to let me talk to you about this. Now you say, well, how do I do that?

How do I do that? Well, first you got to learn to share your story about how you came to Christ in a very compelling way. And then you ask somebody, hey, would you like to learn more about receiving Jesus into your life? Would you like to read the Bible with me? Maybe you could invite them to church with you.

I mean, that's a huge one, right? Because the way we structure our services, we do it intentionally as a way of making it, because I don't use a bunch of theologically heady words usually, and I'm trying to make, I'm trying to raise questions, and I will say in the middle of a sermon, you've heard me say this, I will say, you know, the person that brought you today is smarter than I am, and they will go out with you to lunch or dinner after this, and they will answer all your questions, and they'll even pay for your meal. That's why you're here. I'm doing that because I know that you're bringing people, and my job is to raise the question, and your job is to life on life, share the answers. So invite them to our church.

Invite them to your small group. Here's the thing, you never know what God is doing until you make the invitation. People will say to me sometimes, they're like, man, pastor, you have all these like crazy stories that happen on airplanes. That never happens to me. Here's why you think I have crazy stories on airplanes, and you think that they never happen to you. For every one story I tell you about that has an awesome, you know, thing that's worth sharing, there's like five stories where I crash and burn, not like actually in the airplane, but like the conversation crashes and burns. I had one this week sitting next to a guy on an airplane. I turned to him to start a conversation. Within five seconds, he's got on his noise-canceling headphones, and I'm like, nope, that's not awkward at all.

I'll go back to my book, you know, so it doesn't end up well. And so, yeah, there are a lot of times that this guy, but I'm telling you, one out of five, one out of ten, all of a sudden be like, that person's, God's been working on that person. The Holy Spirit's been putting, see, I know the Holy Spirit's the most active evangelist in the world, and he's got putting questions and people all around him.

I don't know who he's doing that to. It's the only way that I can figure it out is I just run my magnet over the sand. Everywhere I go, it's like, I'm just saying, like this, and usually it's the sand, like dead, dead, and then, you know, all of a sudden there's one. I'm like, spiritual interest, and I'm like, God sent me to you, and I'll never know that unless I actually just stepped out and made an invitation. See, you have got to engage and make the invitation, and you got to pray a lot about it before you do it every day. You know, it's significant to me that before Jesus chose his 12 disciples, he spent the whole night in prayer.

You should pray every day about God putting these kinds of relationships in your life. Number five, stop making excuses. Stop it. I heard them all. They're all lame. Oh, I don't know what to say. I just gave you a bunch of stuff. I witnessed with my life.

I'm like, how do you do that? The gospel is not a presentation of what an awesome person you are. The gospel is the news that you were so messed up, Jesus had to die for your sorry self. So you demonstrating how kind and awesome you are, it didn't help anybody find Jesus. It might give them a false picture of who you are, but it's certainly not helping them finding salvation. The gospel is the news that Jesus did for you what you couldn't do for yourself, and that requires words. Talking to other people about Jesus makes me feel weird. That's one that people say or they think.

I'm always like, of course it does. I've heard evangelism defined as two people talking to each other both feeling incredibly awkward. But here's the thing, the message I believe is important enough to be worth a little awkwardness. You know, like you guys, I'm watching this whole thing in Texas with the Ebola, and you're watching this litany of errors that's made, and you know when you get down to it that what you got are you got nurses and doctors, well-meaning people that it's awkward to look at somebody like, hey you got a slightly elevated temperature, but we're gonna have to put you in quarantine for 21 days.

And I know that there's a real kind of you know like I don't want to have to have that conversation, and I don't want to go to that rate, and so it's easier just to avoid it. But you and I are watching that for North Carolina, and we're saying that's your job. Your job is to make people feel awkward if that's what keeps our country from a disease outbreak. Do your job.

Now I look at that and I say, as a Christian, I got a job even more important than that. That's my job. And yes, if I create a couple of awkward situations, and if I every once in a while get accused of coming off too strong, that's okay because I think the message is worth it. Now I'm not talking about you being a pushy, ridiculous person. That just hurts the thing. But I'm just saying that if you understand the stakes, you got a job that is so important.

And yeah, it's gonna make you feel weird sometimes. I don't have time. That's another one people give. I got empathy for this one because I'm busy like you are. Here's one of my favorite definitions of evangelism. Evangelism is doing normal life with gospel intentionality. It's doing normal life with gospel intentionality. Not adding something to life, just doing life with gospel intentionality. Think about this. You eat 21 meals a week.

Right? 21 meals a week are part of your life. Why not eat some of them with people you want to disciple? Some of you eat twice that many. You got like twice the discipleship opportunities right there.

Get this. This will change your life. Every single instance of Jesus making disciples in the gospel of Luke, everyone, involves him at, going to, or coming from a meal. That's a savior I can follow. I love Jesus. My fear is that you're going to be so busy with just the small things in life you don't do the one thing he's told you to do.

Normal life with gospel intentionality. I'm not capable. That's one I hear a lot.

I'm not capable. Y'all after giving the great commission, did you see that last line Jesus used? I'll go with you to the ends of the age.

You're never going to be anywhere talking about me that I'm not right there beside you. You ever watch C-SPAN and you'll, when they're in, when congress is in session and a guy is like doing the, there's, you know, Robert's rules you got to obey. And there's always some dude over here on the side that is telling the guy that's in charge of the meeting what the rules are. You ever, anybody else watch C-SPAN?

Am I the only legitimate nerd in here? All right, so watch it. The guy will be, and he's saying that question's out of order. You gotta do this and you gotta recognize this. He's got three minutes. I think of that and I think of that's being Jesus in my life as I'm out sharing Christ. He's kind of sitting there saying, no, no, don't say that.

Say this over here. You see, his problem is not that if I told you when you left that Jesus would go with you and he would whisper to you what to say, you'd feel pretty confident. Jesus said, Luke 11 21 in the Holy Spirit, that is exactly what he will do.

He will go inside of you and he will give you the words to say at the moment that you need them. So don't tell me you don't have what it takes because you have the Spirit of God inside of you. So stop making excuses. And number six, you gotta start somewhere.

Guys, don't be McClellan. Don't have all the gifts and just never pick a fight. Try one of these ideas that I've given to you. Invite somebody to church, to small group, to read the Bible.

Do it this week. There's a girl at our Chapel Hill campus that when we started this thing, she was like, man, I've never done anything like this and this freaks me out. But her small group leader said, hey, why don't you share your story with two people and invite them into this? She said, I had a conversation with two people.

She said, both of them were intrigued enough. Now I'm meeting with two different girls throughout the week to go through these six things. You'll never know until you try. Invite somebody over to dinner this week. Take a co-worker out to lunch.

You're like, well, I don't know any unbelievers. Do what I do. Go eat at the same restaurant every time you go out. Go with me to a restaurant sometime. If it's one on ones I choose, everybody in there will know who I am and they will all know that I tip big. And if you ever give out a Summit Inviter card with less than a 15% tip, I will find you, okay? Guys, we've got to get really serious about this.

I hope in all the things I say, I hope you can hear the seriousness. Robert Coleman, a barren Christian is a contradiction. A tree is known by its fruit. Fruitlessness was the thing that was lacking in the lives of the Sadducees and Pharisees, which made them so wretched in his sight. They knew a lot about theology, but they never reproduced. In fact, Jesus said you go all the way around the world to make a convert.

You can't even make one here. I always think of, and I'm a seminary student twice, I always think of seminary students who have to go on a mission trip to win somebody to Christ when they're not doing it here. And I'm like, you know, there's no, like when you get on an airplane, it's not like God sprinkles you with magic, you know, fairy evangelistic effectiveness dust.

There's no transformation by aviation. If you're not doing it here, you're not going to do it there. You want to know why our church has been so successful at the churches we planted?

We've yet to have one fail, internationally or nationally. Here's why. We will not label somebody a church planter until they are effectively multiplying their small group here. Because why would we send somebody to do there what they can't do here?

And if they can do it here, they can do it anywhere. Are you effective at making disciples? You've got to get serious about this because a barren Christian is a contradiction.

And if I could just go off a pet peeve real quick. I'm so tired of Christians being like, oh pastor, I just want to go deeper. I just want to go deeper. I'm always like, deeper in what? Because they never, invariably when somebody says that to me, um, they're not making disciples.

Now I guess there's an exception or two out there, but usually when somebody says that to me, they're not making disciples. So I'm like, you don't want to go deeper, you want to go wider. You want to go wider in your knowledge, which is fine, but first you should probably go deeper in your obedience. Because deeper is a term of intimacy with God and it's a term of obedience. Why am I going to teach you a bunch of other stuff when you're not obeying the things you already know? So you want to go deeper, you go deeper in making disciples and don't come and talk to me about that until you've got people that you're bringing up in the faith of Jesus Christ.

I love what Charles Spurgeon said to that. He's like, you know, I would rather bring one center to Jesus Christ than unpack all the divine mysteries in the Bible because salvation and the great commission is the thing that Jesus told me to live for. Are you winning people to Christ?

Am I teaching you to do that? That's how I'm going to be evaluated as a leader. I believe that probably 40 years from now when I look back, when I look back on my ministry, 40 years from now from heaven or, you know, 100 years from now in heaven, I'm going to realize the biggest impact I made was probably not going to be in the sermons I preached, but in the people that I discipled and influenced. So who are you praying for and sharing your faith with? There's no greater calling than to give the gospel away to those in need. Thanks for joining us for the final message of our teaching series called Start here on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. To hear this entire series again or to download the free sermon transcripts, visit J.D., in this foundational study, you've helped us figure out where to begin to get to know God. So how does the discipline of memorizing scripture or any other spiritual discipline, for that matter, fit in?

Yeah, Molly, this is the perfect time of year for us to have this conversation. I love, I love the beginning of the year and being able to think in terms of a fresh start to put some disciplines into our lives that will really shape who we are as people because, you know, at the end of the day, it's not what we want to be. It's what we choose by our actions to be. That's what determines who we are. And the greatest, as we've often said here on Summit Life, the greatest of the spiritual disciplines is probably scripture memory because it's one thing to read God's Word. As important as that is, it's putting it into your soul so that in the words of Charles Spurgeon, when life cuts you, you bleed God's Word. And when life shakes you, what comes out of you is God's Word. So a recurring thing we do here at Summit Life is we provide scripture memory cards that will help you take some of the most important concepts of the Bible, put them deep in your heart.

This is a discipline I have exercised since I was a kid. It's a great tool. I'm excited for you to get them and I'm excited to see what will happen in your life. You can't claim the promises of God if you don't know them.

So take a look and see what we're talking about. Go reserve yours at We're so grateful for your support and this set of 52 scripture memory cards is our way of making our appreciation tangible. This will be a resource that will take you through the entire year and beyond. And we'd love to get it to you today.

It's perfect to carry with you as a daily encouragement that you can share with a friend. The scripture memory cards come with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Give and request your set when you call 866-335-5220. One more time, that's 866-335-5220.

Or you can request the set when you donate online at I'm Molly Vidovitch. Be sure to join us tomorrow when Pastor J.D. begins a new teaching series called God and the Rest of the Week. That's Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-17 10:30:01 / 2023-01-17 10:42:25 / 12

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