“After they had evangelized the town and made many disciples…” is how Luke summarizes the ministry of Paul and his companions in Acts 14:21. They shared the Gospel and then discipled the new believers. Paul told them “about Jesus” and then helped them to “abide in Jesus”.
Evangelizing is easy to define because you see the results of a changed life. Defining a disciple is harder as there are so many definitions as we seem to have different criteria. The purpose of a believer is to share the Gospel. A disciple is ready to do that.
- Are you telling others about the forgiveness of sin that Jesus offers? A disciple who is abiding in Christ would be led by the Spirit to share.
- Does the Lord speak to you through His Word daily? Are you talking to God each day and sense His presence living in and through you? A disciple is committed daily.
- Are you serving the Lord by serving others in some capacity? Being missional is both evangelistic as well as an expression of living for Jesus.
- Do you have people speaking truth into your life…and are you investing in the lives of others? We are always growing and should be helping others in their faith journey.
Discipleship and Evangelism go hand in hand. It’s hard to be a witness if you are not walking with Christ. And it’s hard to walk with Christ and not want to tell others about Him.
We Evangelize to Disciple. We Disciple to Evangelize.
We send flowers hoping that will brighten things up when a loved one or friend passes away. There is usually a remembrance service within a matter of days and for many a burial. Such is the cycle of life and death.
Jesus changed the cycle. Jesus destroyed decay and death. In Acts 13, Paul recounts the death and resurrection of Jesus. He uses the phrase “decay” several times to describe that the death of Jesus was different. He did not decay in the grave but defeated death and transformed into a new physical/spiritual body. Over 500 people encountered Him for weeks after that event. This event changed the world and gives us hope that we too will live on and not decay when we go through death’s door.
- We are all gradually decaying. You and I both realize that our bodies are changing. Or we see others around us experiencing limitations of mind and body. Decay is inevitable.
- The Holy One will not decay. Paul cites the Old Testament (Psalm 16:10) as well as first hand experience in declaring that Jesus defeats death and decay.
- We have hope. That hope rests in the fact that death/decay has been conquered and indeed this is Good News for everyone who accepts the forgiveness and salvation that Jesus offers.
Notice all the things that are decaying around you. Some items are spoiling, some are dying, and others are experiencing atrophy. In essence everything is changing. One day you will have a new existence in God as one of His followers. The world will be changed into a new Heaven and Earth where we will exist forever with the Savior who defeated the ugliness of decay.
Jesus is the Messiah and has defeated death and decay!