Make Disciples: Jesus’ Call to All Christians/Program 4
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Robby Gallaty; ©2010|
|Three progressions of making disciples in Scripture: the first one looking at Paul the teacher; second, Timothy the student; and then third, the training of us. What does God call us to do and how do we observe all that He has commanded us to do?|
Announcer: What do you think is the main thing, the number one thing, Jesus wants every Christian in America, Canada, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Philippines, and Australia to do? Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” What is a disciple? How do you make a disciple?
My guest today who will tell us is Robby Gallaty, a man who pastors a church of 3,200 members and has four morning services, yet personally disciples seven or eight people each year. They in turn have gone on to disciple others. Now if you have never discipled anyone, is it really possible you could do this? What are the practical things you need to know? Today you will find out on this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We are talking about the astounding facts of the world population and the folks that know Christ. Statistics say there are over seven billion people in our world today, and four and a half billion of those folks do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, in Scripture, has given us, as Christians today, a plan for reaching all of those folks. It’s called the Great Commission. We’re to go and make disciples of all the nations. What does that mean? How do you carry it out? How do you do this in everyday life? We’re talking about the practical aspects as well as the promises that are attached to this Great Commission. And I’ve invited one of the premier Bible teachers in our country, Robby Gallaty, and I’ve asked him to explain these things from Scripture.
- And Robby, today we want to talk about this thing. Jesus said, “Go and teach them to observe all the other things I have commanded you.” Sounds like a tall order. How do you do that?
- Gallaty: Yeah. It’s a great question. In the world, people obtain knowledge by filling their minds with intellectual information. But from Scripture we see something very different. In Scripture, we not only learn, to know, but we learn to do. In the Scripture Jesus is always saying “You need to know and do; you need to hear and heed; you need to learn and to live.” Now, the question is, what does Jesus want us to learn? Well, He says it in the Great Commission: know it all. I mean, think of the task here: “Know all that I have commanded you to do.”
- What I’d like to do in this program is segment it into three progressions: the first one looking at Paul the teacher; secondly, Timothy the student; and then thirdly, the training of us. What does God call us to do and how do we observe all that He has commanded us to do?
- Ankerberg: Sounds good.
- Gallaty: First of all, the apostle Paul is the greatest example of a teacher. And Paul was radically converted, if you know Paul’s testimony, Acts 9. He’s persecuting Christians; he’s even at the death of Stephen, it says. And then in Acts 9 he’s on the road to Damascus. He sees a light, he hears a voice. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “Paul, Paul, you’re persecuting me.” And then Paul goes blind. Ananias meets him later in Acts 9, prays over him. The scales fall off his eyes. Paul can see now. And then it says he goes into Tarsus and begins to speak a little bit about the Lord.
- But the question is, what does Paul do after he’s radically saved? You would think he’d go evangelizing or go preaching. But listen to what he says in Galatians 1. In the book of Galatians we see early on Paul giving a testimony of his own life. Listen to verse 16: “I did not immediately consult with anyone,” he says, “nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me. But I went away into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him for 15 days.”
- And so the natural question is, what did Paul do for three years? He went away into Arabia, and I believe – and many commentators believe – he was discipled by the Lord Jesus Christ; that he spent time with the Lord; that Jesus would mentor him, teaching him the doctrines of the faith, teaching him all the things that He’s commanded him. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, I think, gets it right. Listen to the words of the commentator: “It is doubtful that he went there to evangelize, but rather to be away from men and alone with the Lord for personal study, meditation, and to receive further revelation. This zealous student of the law now pondered the meaning of his conversion and looked for the things concerning Christ in the Old Testament. The product of these days in Arabia [this is interesting] is the Christian theology that Paul explained in his epistle to the Romans.” Now, think of the similarities, John. The Lord Jesus Christ called 12 men to follow Him and Jesus spent three years discipling them. The apostle Paul, even by his own admission, says, “I was one untimely born.” But yet God, after calling him, sent him to Arabia, and there it was that Jesus mentored him for three years just like He mentored the disciples.
- Ankerberg: And that brings up the question, what did Jesus tell Paul that he passed on to us, as well as lived out himself?
- Gallaty: I think He told Paul to go live what you know. You know, it’s one thing to know things, but it’s important for us as believers to put those into our life. The word in the Great Commission I want to focus in on is “observe.” Jesus said, “Teach them to observe all that I have commanded.” That word, “observe” is an interesting word. It means to preserve; it means to watch over. But it also means to guard; to protect. Now, in the Bible, it’s different than in the world. If I’m protecting something, normally you would think I’m standing guard and keeping people out. But the Bible is different. When a person preserves something or protects it, you protect that information by giving it away to someone.
- And that’s what Paul is learning from the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, we see that all throughout Scripture. Paul shows us in Scripture the connection between learning and doing, or learning and living. Listen to what he says in Philippians 3:15-18: “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that to you also. Only let us hold true [there it is] to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many of whom I’ve often told you and now with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.” And what he says is something interesting. He says, “Hold true.” That means we need to abide and listen, not only to learn and know, but we need to live out what we know of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg: And he also said to “walk.” What does that word “walk” mean?
- Gallaty: Yeah. “Walk” is an amazing word. It’s used all throughout the Scriptures. In fact, when Jesus says, “Come, follow me,” what He’s saying is, “Come walk after me.” To walk after the rabbi, not only meant that you knew what the rabbi knew, but you wanted to do what the rabbi did. Now, this kind of walking is faith in action. You know, there’s a lot of people who say, “I know about God,” or “I know of God,” “I have faith of God,” or “faith of Jesus.” But even the devil would say that, and we know that from Scripture. Did you know that the devil actually knows the doctrines of the faith better than most of our church members? In fact, he knows all the things about God. He was in heaven at one point. But the problem is, he doesn’t have saving faith.
- James tells us that in James 2:18: “But someone will say ‘you have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works and I’ll show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God? You do well. Even the demons believe and they shudder.” See, the difference between saving faith and the faith of demons, saving faith always goes into action. John, we don’t work to be saved. We’re saved by grace through faith. It is not of our selves, according to Ephesians 2, it is a gift of God, so that no one can boast. So we can’t work to be saved, but once we are saved, we will work from our salvation.
- Ankerberg: As a result. Yep.
- Gallaty: It’s one thing to know grace; it’s another thing to extend it. You know, it’s one thing to know mercy; it’s another thing to show mercy. It’s one thing to understand love; it’s another thing to love the unlovable. And that’s what Paul shows us all throughout the gospels in the Bible.
- Ankerberg: Also, Jesus must have told him, “Listen, Paul, you’ve got to share this with somebody else,” because he started giving this knowledge to Timothy. And he modeled what it is to be a discipler of somebody else. And tell us about Timothy.
- Gallaty: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. Paul finds this young man named Timothy, probably at the age of 16. Timothy has a mother that’s influential in his life, he has a grandmother, but his father is a Greek. And so we can deduce that Timothy was not influenced by his own father. Now we get that from 2 Timothy 1:5: “I’m reminded of your sincere faith [this is Paul talking], a faith that first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure of this, that dwells within you as well.” So Paul says, “Listen, I know that the reason you are the person you are is not from your father, it’s from the investment of your mother and your grandmother.”
- Just an encouragement to moms at this point. You know, there a lot of single parents raising people in this world. They’re raising kids in this world. And just an encouragement: If you are a single parent right now, it may be, because of your faith and your desire to bring your kids to church, you may produce one day a Timothy.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. I think that’s fantastic. Paul also says to Timothy, “Guard what has been entrusted to your care.” What does that mean?
- Gallaty: Yeah. He says “Guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” Is it any wonder that Jesus Christ, at the end of His life, uses this same terminology? Jesus tells His followers, “Remember these things and observe all that I have commanded you.” Same word, “observe.” It’s the same – different word, same concept. Paul tells Timothy: “Guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” Now, remember what I said earlier: guarding it is to give it away. And Timothy understood this concept well. Paul says, “In case you missed it let me tell it to you again.” “You, therefore, my child [chapter 2, verse 1] “You, therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who are able to teach others also.” Timothy knew, from Paul, that he not only needed to learn these things, but he needed to live this out in the lives of others.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And quickly, the thing is, one of the ways that Paul also taught Timothy was he took him with him on missionary trips.
- Gallaty: Yeah. You know, John, I mentor, I said earlier, nine guys. And I try to teach them different things. We learn doctrine and theology. And a couple months ago we were studying providential prayer, the connection between God knowing all things and God controlling all things, but yet He commands us to pray as believers. And they began to ask me the question, well, if God knows all things, then why do we pray? If God controls all things, why do we pray? And I began to share with them that, yes, God knows everything, but He’s commanded us to pray. And I showed them ways to pray and prayed with them in the office.
- And then I got an opportunity to go speak at a prison. And I brought my three disciples with me. On-the-job-training, if you will. We took a field trip together. And as we went out I began to preach, and at the end of the message I gave an invitation for the inmates to respond to the gospel. And sure enough, by God’s grace, men and women came to the front of a yellow line in the middle of this prison. And the chaplain – I wasn’t planning on going in there – the chaplain grabs me and says, “We have to go pray with these men.” And so, naturally, guess what I did? I turned to my guys and I said, “We’re going in.” They said, “Me?” I said, “You better believe it. We’re going in.” And these men had been talking about prayer for weeks. And in the middle of praying with men to receive Christ, I looked up about five minutes into it, and I heard one of the guys I was mentoring weeping before the Lord, praying for a man. I looked to the left and I saw another guy, who was bashful to pray, praying with inmates to receive Christ, weeping before the Lord. We got in the car, and they began to high-five me and say, “Pastor, that was unbelievable.” They said, “We learned more about prayer today on-the-job-training, than we ever did in the office.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. We’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk about three great truths that every Christian needs to know and also pass along. Stick with us. We’ll be right back.
- Ankerberg: We’re back. We’re talking with Robby Gallaty, who is a great Bible teacher. And we’re talking about the Great Commission. How do you carry it out? And there’s things that we need to learn, alright. And what are they, Robby?
- Gallaty: Well, up to this point, John, we’ve seen in the life of Paul as a teacher, that he learned from the Lord Jesus Christ, and then he lived it out. He began to learn and to live out what he knew. Then we saw Paul investing in the life of Timothy. Timothy learned and now he lived out. And the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What does God expect of me to learn?” Charles Spurgeon said this quote: “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who is not.” And so we need to get into the Word of God until the Word gets into us. And I’ve summarized this into three different doctrines. Within these three doctrines flows out all the other doctrines. But these are the three, I think, important doctrines that every believer must know.
- And here they are: the first one is justification. Justification is the legal declaration that God pronounces on the life of a believer at this point. And we see that in Romans 3:28. Let me read it for you: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” This is a legal term. It’s the idea of walking into a courtroom and the judge slams the gavel down and there’s only one or two decisions: guilty or innocent. When we come to the Lord Jesus Christ, apart from works of the law, what that means is we can’t do anything to be saved. We are desperate; we’re in need of a Savior; we’re dead in our trespasses and sin. We did not choose God, He chose us first. Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you. You didn’t love me first, I loved you.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” So when we repent of our sin and we put our faith in Christ, God sees us as His own and we are justified in His eyes.
- Now, secondly, not only justification, but sanctification. Sanctification begins at the moment of salvation. And what this means is this: the believer begins to be conformed into the image of Christ. We begin to listen to the Word of God and to live out the Word of God in our lives. Now there are two sections to sanctification. First of all, there is the progressive sanctification. This is the process in the life of a believer where he is continually conformed into the image of Christ. We see this from Hebrews 10. Listen to the verse: “For by one sacrifice He has perfected for all time those who are being made holy.” And so the idea is, we are constantly being conformed into the image of Christ.
- But there is also positional sanctification. You know, John, we always talk about the process of being like Christ. But we forget that before the foundation of the world, God had chosen to make us holy. We get this from Hebrews 10:10: “We have been sanctified [or have been made holy] through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
- So we have justification; we have sanctification – which is the process that we look more like Christ. And don’t forget this, there is glorification. And this is understanding the end times, or future things: understanding heaven, understanding hell. Understanding that one day we’ll have a glorified body. We’re going to leave this corruptible body and we will receive an incorruptible body.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. In our sanctification, we’re growing more and more like Christ. But while we’re here on earth, we’re never going to arrive, okay. The fact is, there are some people that are holier than the other guy, okay, because we’re all growing at different paces in our lives, and as the Lord opens up information to us. But when we get to heaven, the fact is, there’ll be no more growing. We’ll be given glorified bodies. And the fact is, we won’t be able to sin. There’ll be no more temptation. Our tears will be wiped away. We’ll be given these bodies that do not disease and decay and break down and hurt. So, all of that will be gone; that’s glorification.
- So you’ve got justification, where we’re declared righteous; progressive sanctification, or you know, that one verse that you said, “by one sacrifice He’s made perfect forever those who are being made perfect,” or those who are being made holy, okay. So you’ve got them both in the same verse. And then the fact is, the end result, we’ll be glorified someday, because Christ does that, gives us a new body.
- Gallaty: Yeah, and we’re going to talk in the next episode of the “Christ-life.” See, it begins by faith, faith keeps us through the process as God works in us to work through us, and God will finish the process, as Jesus said, and as Paul said, “This work I began in you, I will bring to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” Now, here’s the question: How do we live that out? I think that’s what people are asking. How do we live that out in our life? And it’s doing what you know. See, knowledge in the Bible is not power. In the Bible, knowledge is power when it’s put into action. You know, believers, we know what to do, but the question is, are we living what we know?
- There’s a story I was told recently about someone parenting their child. And they were teaching me about parenting. John, you know that I have an almost 2-year-old son, and he’s teaching us a lot about parenting and patience as well.
- Ankerberg: He’s cute as all get-out!
- Gallaty: Oh, and he’s a handful, but he’s incredible. And he teaches us patience. And I was talking to somebody about parenting. And they said, “Robby, this is the difference between disciplining someone based on rebellion and teaching based on ignorance.” Think about parenting, if the child acts up, or acts out, you go to the child and you say, “You didn’t know what to do.” Now, if the child responds and says, “Yes, I did know what to do, Dad,” you say, “No, you didn’t know what to do, because if you knew what to do, you would have done it. And because you didn’t do it, it shows me you didn’t know it.” “But Dad, I did know.” Now at that point you have a choice as a parent: do I discipline because it was rebellion, or do I teach out of ignorance?
- And so the question for church folks is this: Are you not following the Lord out of rebellion or out of ignorance? Because if it’s ignorance, it’s one thing; but if it’s rebellion, it’s a whole different thing.
- Ankerberg: And then the Lord disciplines those that are in rebellion.
- Gallaty: Yes. And the Bible says the Lord disciplines those He loves.
- Ankerberg: Okay, Robby, there are people today that have to make a decision whether they’re going to rebel and ignore God’s Word or if they’re going to start following it. And you’ve got some great illustrations here of two men that made a decision and it really changed their life as well as the people around them. Who were they?
- Gallaty: Yeah. I want to tell you about two men, Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. Sigmund Freud actually was raised in a family with a devout Jewish father. He was born in 1856, and he even had a Catholic nanny as a child, that would take him to church. He even had a love for the Lord, they said, at a young age. But something happened in the life of Sigmund Freud. His father had to file bankruptcy. So, instead of going to church and learning about God, he was forced to go into the world and make money for the family. Well, he would go on to college and in the 1870s he heard about Darwinism and started to read the writings of Darwin, and turned from a casual following of the Lord to a full-blown atheist. And that’s where he found himself. One quote from him that I found shows where he was at the time of the writing. He said, “Religion may altogether be disregarded. Its doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they were originated, the ignorant childhood days of this human race.”
- You see, what Freud did is, he believed that humans could create their own future, their own structure, and they shouldn’t rely on religion to do that. Well, he would do that. In the 1930s, he took his life in his own hands. He injected himself with a lethal dose of morphine and he committed suicide.
- On the other hand, a man named C.S. Lewis had sort of a love for the Lord as a young boy. At the age of ten, he even prayed for his mother’s healing. His mother was in the hospital, sick. But he turned his back on God when God didn’t answer that prayer. What’s coincidental is that 42 years later, Freud began to influence C. S. Lewis. He began to read some of his writings and even went to study psychology in school, in college. But something happened to C. S. Lewis. Someone gave him a copy of a New Testament of the Bible in Greek. And he began to read it in Greek, and he began to be influenced by men like J. R. R. Tolkien and Barfield. And he began to turn to the Lord.
- He made a profession of faith to God. God radically changed his life, and then he would go on (Lewis) to do a fifteen-minute broadcast around the country. People fell in love with this broadcast. And what he would do is, he would take issues of faith and religion and he would explain them to people. Well, this began to be so exciting and so popular, they put it into a book that we have today, called Mere Christianity. Now, many people know Lewis because he’s written a lot of books. He wrote The Four Loves; he wrote A Grief Observed; or a popular one is The Chronicles of Narnia.
- What’s interesting about these two stories is this, John. One man actually started with the Lord and with the Word and turned away. And then another man had a casual belief in God, turned his back on the Lord, but at the end of his life came back to Christ. Two men, two paths, two destinies, two outcomes. And so the question is, where are we going to wind up?
- You know, I just want to say a word of encouragement to the one who’s watching, who maybe followed the Lord one time and has strayed away from God now. Maybe they had a relationship with God and had grown calloused to the church or maybe grown numb to the commands of Christ. And I would just encourage them by saying, you can start today. “How do I do that, Robby?” You start with what you know. You start with the commands of God. You start with the Word of God. You know, a lot of people say, “I wish I knew what God was telling me to do.” Well, you already know. He’s already given it to us in His Word. And so we can be encouraged today to know that we can start with what we already know and we can do what we know.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Next week, we’re going to continue this. And we’re going to continue with the promise in the Great Commission, that Jesus says when you obey Him, and you start to live out the Great Commission and you go and you teach and you make disciples of folks, the fact is He gives this promise: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the earth.” Alright? And we’re going to talk about all the great promises that are in that one promise, alright? And we’ll talk about it next week. So stick with us.