Go and Make Disciples

The Great Commission

From Kay Meyer's column in the St. Louis Metro Voice newspaper from 1994 to 2013.

Sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is at the core of Family Shield Ministries’ work in the ripe and plentiful harvest. Each year we respond to more than 6,000 people who contact us after hearing our radio program, discovering our website, reading this column, or attending one of our educational programs. About 10-15% of those we assist do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Lord allows us many opportunities to minister to these people and here is just one of those examples:

Brian, an active Mormon, discovered Family Shield’s website at www.familyshieldministries.com. He e-mailed me for the first time last summer and asked if we would promote the Book of Mormon on our website. I responded by explaining that we could not promote this book because the Church of Latter Day Saints is a cult. Of course, Brian disagreed.

Brian and I continued to correspond through e-mail for months. I eventually sent him one of the articles I’d written in 1995 that addressed “Mormon Teachings and Beliefs” and encouraged him to check out www.concernedchristians.org and www.josephlied.org. Both are Christian apologetic organizations that specialize in witnessing to Mormons.

Soon after reviewing my articles and these websites, he wrote one last time. He said, “It’s true I contacted you, and asked you to help promote the Book of Mormon. I also asked you to stop saying the Mormon Church is a cult. You refuse to do this. I am warning you to stop fighting against the Lord’s church! Your heart is hard, just as others have been over the years. You are a Pharisee. They, too, rejected the Prophets.”

Although Brian is upset with me because I told him the Mormon Church is a cult, and doesn’t want to hear from me anymore, we continue to pray for him. Would you pray for Brian, too? Ask the Lord to reveal the truth about Christ to him and help him learn to discern truth from error.

We recognize this as an opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ to Brian. It’s part of Family Shield’s evangelism work.

What is evangelism? Is evangelism a one-time encounter of sharing the Gospel with someone who does not know Christ or is it more? The Body of Christ frequently refers to Matt. 28:18 as the ‘Great Commission.’ “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” You’ll note the Matt. 28:18 does not say, “Share the message once and you’re done.” Rather is says to “make the disciples,” “baptize them,” and “teach them all I have commanded.”

Here is a question to ponder. Is evangelism only about sharing the saving Gospel message with unbelievers or is it more? What about the Great Commission? Isn’t the Great Commission also about educating and equipping Christians through the Word so they can stand firm in the face of the evil one’s attacks and learn to discern truth from error?

I believe evangelism is a part of the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the entire process of helping an individual come to know Christ, grow up spiritually, become grounded in the Lord and His Word, and begin sharing with others that Jesus is the only means of salvation. What does God’s Word say? What does Jesus say about this topic?

Did you know the word ‘evangelism’ does not appear in the Bible? But, the word evangelist does. In Eph. 4:11 we read special gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists. And some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” So, according to God’s Word, an evangelist is a Christian who shares the Good News of Christ Jesus! Evangelists work with pastors and teachers to equip Christians for the work of service in the Kingdom of earth.

Timothy was called an evangelist by the apostle Paul in 2 Tim. 4:5. He says, “But you be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

In 2 Tim. 4:1-2, we find a list of some of the things an evangelist does. Paul writes. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead…to preach the word, be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

In 2 Tim. 3:15, we learn Timothy had known from childhood the sacred Scriptures which gave wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ. This great eternal gift was shared with him by his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice. How many of us have come to faith because of the loving care and spiritual growth of loved ones within our families? Would you agree with this statement? Evangelism is a family affair! Nurturing children as they grow into productive youth and youth into Christian adults is certainly not a one-time affair. It is a work of service that often takes years of love, concern, and care.

An evangelist uses Scripture. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, and equipped for every good work.

How is your congregation or organization accomplishing its evangelism work? How are they equipping Christians to serve and witness? How are they partnering with other in the process?

I’m a member of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). Here is what the LCMS is doing to encourage and equip its members to share Christ and help the Body of Christ accomplish The Great Commission.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has begun a program called Ablaze—to the Ends of the Earth! This movement is based on Acts 14 that says, “They gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s July 2004 convention delegates accepted the challenge from the LCMS World Mission and its North American and International church partners, to share the Good News of Jesus with 100 million people by 2017. These contacts must be one-on-one Gospel presentations and include an opportunity for the person to respond to the Gospel message. The person may respond by receiving the message with gladness, reject or ask for additional information.

Working together the Body of Christ can reach those that don’t know Christ! “But, now righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.” (Romans 3:21-25)

by Kay L. Meyer