The Key to Church Expansion

Sharper Iron posted a full-length feature article today called Every Christian Is a Teacher. I encourage you to read the full article there. I’ve shared some of this Bible study material here previously.

At the heart of this focus is the important principle that pastors need to motivate, equip and delegate to church members the responsibility of teaching the Word of God to other people, saved and lost alike.

Matthew 28:19-20 famously records Christ’s threefold command to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to embrace all the things that Christ commanded. We call this the Great Commission, and it raises an important question. Who is responsible to obey it?

If you believe that Christ directed this command exclusively to the original band of eleven apostles, then you must also believe that it conveys no obligation to anyone apart from them. Evangelicals generally reject this diminutive view.

Throughout Acts and subsequent church history, believers the world over have embraced this command as their own, preaching the gospel to lost acquaintances, baptizing them and mentoring them into more complete obedience to Jesus.

When I read Acts 6:7, 12:24, 19:10 and 19:20, I find clear, early evidence that this happened. Consider Acts 19:10 for example. Paul, an apostle, spent nearly three years in the Ephesian metropolis, making disciples and teaching them clear, thorough Bible doctrine. What was the result? “All they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus.”

To avoid overstating the case, we must recognize that the region Luke calls “Asia” refers to Asia Minor, which we call Turkey today; it does not refer to the modern continent of Asia.

Also, we should accept that Luke uses “all” as a general description of broad exposure, not a statistical claim that every person in the region heard the gospel, with no exceptions.

Nonetheless, the sweeping infiltration of Bible teaching throughout the entire region was a mammoth accomplishment. In less than three years, multiplied thousands of people heard the Word of God. What’s more, this happened without the aid of radio, television, the internet or even printed Bibles and gospel tracts—not to mention the absence of modern transit methods. So how did this occur? Click here to learn more.

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