Make Disciples: Jesus’ Call to All Christians/Program 6
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Robby Gallaty; ©2010|
|What is at stake for those who choose to ignore Christ’s final words on Earth. In addition, we better understand the implications of the Great Commission and why it is not only an option, but a command, important for each of us to follow as believers in Christ. Our decisions on this issue will not only impact our own lives or even the lives of others for a time; our choices will impact eternity.|
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’re going to talk today about the devastating impact of Christians not carrying out Jesus’ command of the Great Commission. My guest today is one of the premier Bible teachers in our country, Robby Gallaty. And, Robby, I want you to review for the folks. What is the Great Commission, first of all? What did Jesus command every Christian to do? Why is it important? And then we’re going to talk about the devastating impact of not following His command. First of all, what is it?
- Gallaty: Yeah. Jesus said, “Go into the nations and make disciples of all people.” And we said that a disciple is someone who teaches another how to read the Bible, how to memorize Scripture, how to pray, how to share their faith with another person, how to understand the doctrines of faith, as they’re being enabled by the Holy Spirit, and then they do that as they replicate their life in someone else.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And I think that’s so important. Now, you’ve got a great illustration that starts us off about, talking about the devastating impact of not following Jesus’ command. Tell us that story.
- Gallaty: The Edmund Fitzgerald is a massive freighter. It’s a thousand feet long. And this freighter was going through the lakes into Grand Rapids. And it was coming down, it was carrying an ore on the back as it was transporting it. And a storm had come from Canada down into the lakes, with massive waves and 25-30 feet seas. Another freighter was behind it, and this is the only reason we have this story. The Edmund Fitzgerald began to report back to the base that everything was going fine. But the freighter behind was watching that it was taking on water. The waves were beating against the boat. It started to sail low into the water. And the Fitzgerald kept saying everything’s okay. And then all of a sudden, a wave capsized the boat. And before it went down, it emitted this last signal: “We’re doing okay. We’re holding our own.” Within ten seconds, the Fitzgerald went into the water and all 27 people aboard died. The captain behind said one minute the Fitzgerald was on the radar, the next minute it wasn’t. One minute it was there, the next minute it was gone.
- People of the world today who have not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ will face a similar fate. The stakes are high for the Great Commission, John, and that’s why it’s so important to talk about it today.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And actually, you’ve got the biblical condition of mankind here. You’ve got three points that the Bible makes that we need to know about the human race and about salvation. What are those three points the Bible brings out?
- Gallaty: Yeah. We’re going to study the condition of man; we’re going to study the commission of Christ; and in the middle, we’re going to study the chain of salvation.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Start with the condition of man.
- Gallaty: The condition of man is pretty interesting. It’s going to sound negative, but it gets positive, and I just want to state where mankind is today. First of all, everyone in the world has a knowledge of God. Now we get this from Scripture. In Romans 1:18, it says these words: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth with their wickedness. For what is made known about God is plain to them,” says Paul, “because God has made it plain to them. His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made [Why?] so that men are without excuse.” And so what Paul says is this. Every person has a knowledge of God. And when they stand before the Lord, they will not be able to give excuses as to why they didn’t know of God.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. Let me just back that up. I was in Africa. I was in Ethiopia. And the guide says, you are in one of the ten places in the world where they have no touch with civilization, okay? This is way out there. And I was supposed to speak to a group of people, and I wondered, well, you know, how do you start talking about God? And I took that verse, and I said, “From the creation, do you understand that there is a God up there?” And the people were nodding their heads, and I realized that these people that didn’t have contact with civilization, through the creation and looking at it, they understood there was somebody that made that; there was somebody that was over them. And so they do have the knowledge of God in their heart and they do have a conscience in terms of what’s right and what’s wrong.
- Gallaty: Yes. Well, everyone knows God. And secondly, there’s no one in the world who is righteous. Now don’t take my word for it, take Paul’s word for it. Romans 3:10: “There is no one righteous; no, not one. No one understands. No one seeks after God.” And so the idea is, no one in the world is righteous. But then he goes on to say no one is good. “There is no one who does good; no, not one.” And so we understand that. But Paul drives the point home in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That word “all” means everybody – everyone has sinned in the world.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, I usually, when I talk with people, I point the verse out and I say, you know when the Bible says “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” does “all” include you and me?
- Gallaty: Yes.
- Ankerberg: And the answer is, yeah, it does. We are all sinners. And that is hard for people to understand. They just say, yeah, everybody has sinned, so we’re okay. No, we’re all sinners and we’re in trouble.
- Gallaty: Yes. And this comes through the sin of Adam. Paul continues the train of thought in Romans 5:12. Listen to what Paul says: “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all have sinned.” And so because of the sin of Adam in the garden, God said to Adam, “You can eat of any tree in the garden, but do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” And so you know the story: Adam and Eve go to the tree, Eve takes the fruit, she gives it to Adam. Because of the disobedience of Adam, now sin has spread through mankind. So because we come from Adam, we are infected with this “sin virus.”
- Give you the illustration. If a mother has a child and the mother has AIDS, the child comes into the world and is infected with the virus. The child doesn’t have a choice in the matter. Now, the child has an option. The child can get mad because she or he is infected with the virus. She can complain about it. She can even deny it, or he can deny he is infected with AIDS. But the point is, the child is infected with AIDS. We are infected with something way worse than AIDS. In fact, AIDS will end at the end of our physical life. Sin goes on for eternity. Just like in Adam, he didn’t die physically from sin, he died spiritually from sin.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, we’re talking about original sin here, Robby, that the fact is, because of Adam and Eve, they’ve passed down to us an inclination to sin, that we’re all born with. And we have followed up on it. We have actually chosen to sin, alright. We’re sinners. Now, you’ve seen this. You’ve got a good illustration in your own son who is two years old. Tell us about that.
- Gallaty: Yeah. My son, Rig, is two, and they don’t call it the “terrible twos” for nothing. You don’t have to teach a child to sin. In fact, I don’t have to teach my son how to sin, he has the inclination to sin. His new favorite word, John, now, is “no.” And so we ask him all the time, “Rig, do you want to eat chicken for dinner?” “No.” “Rig, get off the kitchen table.” “No.” “Rig, get off the chair.” “No.” “Rig, do you love your mom?” “No.” Now, I don’t go ask him does he love his dad – that would be foolish. But the point is, his answer is always “No.” You don’t have to teach a child to disobey. Now, David knew this. In Psalm 51:5 he said, “My mother brought me forth in sin. My mother conceived me in sin.” And so he understood the concept that he was brought into the world with original sin.
- Ankerberg: Now, besides your son, the fact is all we have to do is look at the newspapers or listen to the television newscasts, the news at night, and you can see our society is filled with people that have broken God’s laws. And it’s hurting our society; it’s hurting ourselves. The other sad consequence is that the Bible says there’s a penalty for our rebellion, okay. And what is it?
- Gallaty: Yeah. Paul talks about this in Romans and then he switches over and says the same thing in Ephesians 2. And I’d like to read this text to you, John. Listen to what Paul says in verse 1: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sin.” He goes on to talk about how we are following the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air. But then he says something pretty amazing in verse 3: “among whom we once lived in the passions of our own flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,” – here it is – “and were by nature children of wrath.”
- Now pastor, why are you talking about wrath? We don’t talk about wrath in this world as it pertains to God.” We think of God as being loving, and God’s kindness and God’s longsuffering. And praise God for those things. But there also is the wrath of God in the Bible. Many people don’t talk about this. And one of the reasons we don’t talk about wrath, or sinners don’t want to hear wrath, is because we don’t take our own sin seriously. In the Old Testament, there are 20 different words to express God’s wrath. In over 600 passages, God’s wrath is talked about, and it shows us that there are consequences to our inclination to sin.
- Ankerberg: Robby, people don’t understand this concept of the wrath of God. But think about it for a moment. If God is the standard of right and wrong in the universe, when something wrong happens, He does not change His standard, He does not change Himself. He’s against sin. It’s rebellion against His standard. And He can’t be anything but who He is. And the fact is, but what He’s done is, with that standard, He’s made a way for our sins to be laid on somebody else.
- And this is what we’re going to talk about after the break. The good news is that even in our condition God loved us as sinners, enemies, rebellious. Whatever people have done – if people are there, and they’ve committed rape, or murder, or they’re on drugs, or they’ve had a divorce, or whatever the things are that are in their life that have hurt them, and they are devastated – God says He loves them. And He proved it by sending His Son, which we’re going to talk about next. And He made a way of salvation, for our punishment to be placed on Jesus and for us to have our relationship with God restored. This is the good news and the Great Commission is Christians who know this good news are to pass it on. We’re going to talk about this more when we come right back. Stick with us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Robby Gallaty, and we’re talking about the Great Commission. There are seven billion people in the world today, and 4.5 billion of them do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. And Jesus has a plan for reaching all of those folks. It’s called the Great Commission. That’s what we’re talking about. And today we’re talking about the devastating effects of not following the Great Commission, not obeying the Great Commission. But we are to the point, we’ve been talking about the condition of mankind. And summarize how the condition of mankind goes into the good news of the gospel of, say John 3:16.
- Gallaty: The Great Commission is carried on the great verse in the Bible, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world” – the entire world – “that He gave His only-begotten Son” – unique, one-of-a-kind Son, the Lord Jesus Christ – “that whoever so believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” We talked about how repentance and faith are important for us to have a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the apostle Paul knew that we would have questions as to how to carry out the Great Commission. So what he said is, I’m going to give you the “chain of salvation.”
- It’s found in Romans 10:13-17, and I’d like to read that so you can see this chain. I want you to look for the chain. Listen to verse 13: “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how are they to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him in whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach without someone being sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news of God.” This is the unbreakable chain of salvation. There is one weak link in the chain, but let me walk you through the system.
- The first is this: The promise is, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now this is different than just hearing sermons, John. This is more than just understanding doctrine. There is a calling that is supposed to take place, and there are two parts to this. One, we have to get to the place when we realize Jesus is the only way to heaven. Acts 4:12, “There is salvation found in no other name, for there is only one person we find salvation in, the Lord Jesus Christ.” John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” So you have to know Jesus is the only way. And secondly, you have to call upon the Lord. Paul said this a couple verses up, in verse 9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” He goes on to say you’ll be justified in the faith. So we understand the calling.
- The second thing is: you have to believe. Before you can call, you have to believe. And this is putting your faith in Christ. We talked about this a few episodes ago. In order to believe, you have to hear. There has to be someone proclaiming something. And here’s the promise: when you hear, you believe, and when you believe, you call upon the name of the Lord.
- Back it up even further. In order to hear, someone has to preach. Now don’t miss this. People may say, at this point, “I’m not a pastor, or I’m not a preacher, so I can’t do this.” He’s not talking about preachers here. He’s talking about believers taking the message to the world, proclaiming the good news of God. Now there’s an interesting point here. Paul says in order for someone to be saved – they’ll never be saved by cameras, or lights, or Power Point, or music, or drama, or production, or plays, or television, as good as that is. The salvation comes when people call upon the name of the Lord, when someone preaches the gospel. We talked about the authorized message of Jesus Christ – repentance and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Let’s back it up one more. People preach when they are sent. Now, this is the command of us to go into the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we go with the gospel, as we’re sent out by God. So the question is, how is someone sent? Well, Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers.” Just a side note – we don’t call anybody to go into the ministry and mission. It’s God who does the calling.
- So here’s the chain: people are sent; as they are sent, they go into the world to preach; as they preach, people hear; when people hear, they believe; when people believe, they call; and the promise is, everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
- What part of the chain is the breakable link? Where is the weak link of the chain? And the answer is, it’s in us. Our participation in the chain of salvation is the weakest link. The weakest link is when we don’t share. The weakest link is when we don’t go. The weakest link is when we don’t obey the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ in our life.
- It’s kind of like a pipe. As the pipe flows, as Jesus shared with the apostles, the apostles continue the flow as they share with their followers, and the chain continues on to us today, as the pipe flows. And the question is, what are we going to do with the message that we have received? Are going to continue that on and share that with other people?
- Ankerberg: Yeah. It’s like, if Jesus is the spring of water coming through the pipe, and it comes through the apostles and then Christians, somehow it got down to me, it got down to you. Okay. And it got down to the people that are listening that are believers, okay. The question is, will it stop with us? Will that water flow through us because we share it with somebody else, or will it stop right here? That’s the weakest link.
- Gallaty: People ask me the question, John, what happens to the innocent guy in Africa who has never heard the gospel? Does he go to heaven? And the answer is, “Yes, he does go to heaven.” But the problem is, that man doesn’t exist. There are no innocent men in Africa. There are no blameless men in Africa. See, “good people” don’t go to heaven. Forgiven people go to heaven. See, it’s not that you go to hell because you haven’t chosen Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life. You go to hell because you are a sinner who’s desperately in need of a Savior.
- There are some staggering statistics that I’ve found, that just show us the state that we’re in today and the opportunity we have, and the challenge we have to reach the nations. Let me read them to you. According to a recent study by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, they say that there are seven billion people in the world. One-third of those people call themselves Christians. Two-thirds would say they are unbelievers. One-third of the two-thirds would say they’ve never even heard the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Of the first group, which includes most of the western nations, they account for 62% of the world’s wealth. It spends 97% of that wealth on itself. Of the remaining 3%, it’s divided between secular charities, which gets one percent, Christian causes of other kinds, which gets two percent. Of the remaining two percent, it’s allocated to Christian causes: 99.9% of those Christian causes are spent on themselves in their own countries. Of the remaining .1% spent on Christian work abroad, .09% is spent on those who have already heard the gospel but are unconverted. And only – here it is – .01% is spent on the 1.3 billion people who have never heard the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Craig Blomberg says this quote: In the early 1990s, Americans spent annually, twice as much on cut flowers than overseas missions; twice as much on women’s sheer hosiery than overseas missions; one-and-a-half times as much on video games; one-and-a-half times as much on pinball machines – who still plays pinball? – about five times as much on pets; almost one-and-a-half times as much on chewing gum. Listen to this: almost three times as much on swimming pools and accessories; almost 27 times as much on candy; 17 times as much on diets and diet-related food and products; 20 times as much on sporting events and activities; 20 times as much on soft drinks; and a staggering 140 times as much on legalized gambling and activities.
- John, the point of all these statistics is this: to show us that we really don’t care about the Great Commission. Our treasure is not to win the lost. I’m reminded of what Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, your heart is also.” We need to ask ourselves, every day, this question: What am I doing personally to make disciples of all nations?
- You remember the movie, Schindler’s List. It’s about a businessman who has a big factory. And in the middle of World War II, he begins to buy Jewish people to work in his factory. But unbeknownst to him, he’s saving them from the holocaust in the concentration camps. As he begins to have all these people work in his factory, he had purchased thousands and thousands of them. He used his wealth to purchase people. At the end of the movie, the story kind of culminates with someone coming and saying, “The war is over; you can let all these people go.” And at that point, he had saved 1,100 people. And a man went up to him and said, “You did a great job, Mr. Schindler. You saved 1,100 people.” And the weight of it hit him. He could have done more. He looked at the car he had and he said, “I could have sold this car and bought more people.” He said, “I could have taken this pen and sold this pen and bought more people. I could have sold the gold I had and bought more people.” And his perspective had changed. It wasn’t what he owned, it’s what owned him at that point. And he realized he could do more.
- I believe when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re going to want to do more. See, the point of this is not to prove to people that they’ll go to a Christ-less eternity if they don’t choose the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s not the goal. The goal of this time is to ask the question, what are we going to do about it?
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and, folks, I think that you’ve got to realize the water has been coming down from Jesus through the apostles, through Christians down through church history, and somehow you were told. Is it going to stop with you, or are you going to obey the Lord and you are going to continue the flow of water to friends, neighbors, to the folks that the Lord opens the door for you to reach?
- That’s been the point of this whole series. And I hope as you listen to this material, you study this material, God will use it and you will risk trying this with friends that are around you, your co-workers at work, a friend at school, somebody that you know. Start with one. Statistics show that if every Christian would just take one person – actually you just start with one person – and they would duplicate themselves every six months, in 18½ years we would win the entire world for the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians need to get serious about Jesus’ plan, the Great Commission. And I hope that you will do so.
- Robby, thank you for being with us and sharing all of this great information. We really appreciate it.