Summary: Part 5 of 5 part series on the life of a disciple. This message is evangelistic & teaches evangelism.
LIVING ABOVE THE FRAY
Part 5: Sharing What We’ve Learned
This past Sunday afternoon, after Katrina had already made a mess of South Florida, Gladys and I watched the news as the killer storm made it’s way across the Gulf, with its eye focused on the gulf coast. We, along with many of you and countless millions of others across the country, watched with the sadness and concern of storm- taught experience as pictures of traffic-clogged interstates played across the screen.
Even after the mayor had ordered the people to evacuate, as the storm continued to bear down on the city, we watched as reporters made their way down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and stopped in bar after bar that was still open. I still remember Gladys calling to me and saying, “Gene, come listen to this.” The reporter had just interviewed a man and asked him why he remained behind, why he wasn’t evacuating?” The man sitting at the bar answered, “They have warned us and tried to scare us many times before, and it has always been a false alarm. I’m not leaving.”
Gladys said, “Gene, that’s just like what the Bible says.” In 2 Peter 3 we read “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’”
Many in the city would not believe the storm was coming and so did not flee. Some were too wrapped up in their drink to flee. Since the storm, we have been shocked by news of the looting, raping, and shooting that has taken place.
Now, when American Baptists first split into Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists, the Southern Baptists’ first missionaries were appointed to serve in 3 locations. We appointed missionaries to serve in Africa, among former slaves that had returned to that continent, we appointed missionaries to serve among the American Indians, and our other missionaries were appointed to serve in New Orleans. In the early 1900’s, Southern Baptists built a seminary in New Orleans, later renamed New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In the 2002-2003 school year, they trained nearly 1,900 preachers, missionaries, and music leaders at that school.
Imagine that! We have had missionaries in that city for over 100 years. At last count, we had nearly 1900 people in the city studying to be preachers, teachers, and missionaries; and yet to a certain extent, New Orleans continues to be a moral cesspool. Why? Why has the city continued that way?
I believe there are a number of reasons. First, there will always be people who choose not to accept the Gospel. Jesus Himself was cursed as He died. Second, I believe darkness attracts darkness. For some lost in sin, an immoral city like New Orleans, or San Francisco, or Los Vegas, serves as a magnet to their lusts and passions. So, there is a constant influx of lost people attracted to such places. But, I believe there is another reason, a reason many of us ignore. I believe many of us have forgotten the assignment Jesus gave us.
In this passage, Jesus commands His followers, and that includes you and me, to make disciples. Not only are we to be disciples, but we are commissioned by God, to make other disciples. Once we have found the light, the path, the Way; once we know Jesus Christ, we are commissioned to be ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, introducing other people to our Savior.
Now, I believe there are several characteristics you can see in those who make disciples.
1) Those who make disciples live the life -
In order for us to make disciples, in order for people to be attracted to what we proclaim, we must first live it ourselves and then give the testimonies of satisfied customers.
Let me ask you my friend, are you living the life of a disciple? Are others attracted to what they see in your life?
A number of years ago a church member knocked on his preacher’s door and asked if he could talk to him. The preacher invited him in. The man took a seat and began his story. “Preacher, do you remember hearing about the death at the steel plant this past week?” “Yes, I heard about that,” the preacher said. “It was a terrible tragedy.” “Well,” the man continued, “I was there.” “Bob was working when suddenly there was an accident and the molten metal spilt on him. He began to holler. After a minute or so he began to cry and ask, ‘Someone, please tell me how to be saved. Someone, tell me how to be a Christian. I am going to die soon. I know that. But please, won’t someone tell me how to be saved. Won’t somebody, please tell me how to go to heaven?’ The man continued, I stood there with the rest of the men at the plant and watched him die, without saying a word.”