In a personal letter to Timothy, an up-and-coming young leader of the early church, the apostle Paul gave one of the keys to the new movement’s success and rapid growth: “The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”1
This was, in fact, the principle that Jesus had applied in training His own disciples: Jesus didn’t promote the establishment of impersonal and unwieldy organizations or large congregations all dependent on one person for their spiritual feeding and leadership. He practiced and taught personal witnessing and personal care and training—and for good reason: If enough of those who hear the gospel and receive salvation would gain a basic knowledge of His Word and take up the challenge to tell others, and if those they win would also take up the challenge, it wouldn’t take long for everyone in the world to have the opportunity to find God’s love and salvation in Jesus.
The first step is to pray specifically for the Lord to lead you to people—perhaps even just one to begin with—who will not only get saved, but also catch and keep the vision of spreading the gospel and winning others to Jesus. “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” Jesus told His disciples. “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”2
Then once you have won more laborers and they have prayed to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, you need to teach them to witness and help them mature spiritually so that eventually they can also care for and train those they win to the Lord. If you win people but fail to help them grow up spiritually, you’ll end up with a nursery full of spiritual babes to care for and still no more laborers to help bring in the harvest.
You don’t have to wait until you think you know everything. Start now with what you do know and the Lord will teach you more as you go. This book and other titles in this Get Activated series—particularly God’s Gifts, Understanding God’s Word, Prayer Power, and Hearing from Heaven—will help you and those you win and teach to build a strong foundation for your faith and service. You and fellow believers can also learn from each other by sharing the things that you discover in your personal times of study and hearing from the Lord in prayer.
As with winning people to Jesus, helping others to grow spiritually isn’t something you can do; it’s something the Lord does through you. It’s His Word and His Spirit that do the work of changing lives. Your part is to pray for them, to constantly point them to the Lord and the Word, and to strive to be the kind of Christian they will look up to and want to be like.
Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. … You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”3 “And then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”4
We must teach others to teach others to teach others
As active Christians and witnesses for the Lord, our object is to preach the gospel to everyone, everywhere. But if we’re going to accomplish that task, we can’t try do it all ourselves. We must teach others to teach others.5 That’s the way to multiply our efforts and results.
To be productive and self-propagating, we must not only witness and win souls, but we must make disciples of those souls, who can teach others to teach others to teach others in an endless chain reaction of preaching the gospel. That’s how Jesus meant for it to spread.
Jesus didn’t reach millions Himself. He spent most of His time teaching and training His disciples to carry on. He preached most of His sermons to them and a few others, until by the time He was ready to leave them behind, they were well able to carry on with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit— and they did a terrific job!
So each one teach one—the name of the game being multiplication of citizens for the kingdom of God to glorify and love the Lord. That’s the reason for it all—love!—D.B.B.
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last!
Every Christian was intended to bury his life in the soil of God’s service, to lay down his life and take up his cross and follow Jesus in order to bear fruit, many more Christians like himself.6 Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”7 If we will go out and “die daily” for the Lord in His service by giving our lives to help others,8 we will bring forth much fruit, more Christians like ourselves to preach the gospel to more of the lost and win them to the Lord that He may have much fruit.
What a small price to pay for all He has promised in return—blessings, happiness, and eternal rewards in heaven! If you give your all, God will reward you a hundred times over.9 You can’t beat that kind of investment. There’s no other investment in this world that guarantees that kind of returns.
What are you doing, and for whom? Will it last forever for Jesus and others? Don’t waste another day! Spend its precious time for Him and His, for eternity!—D.B.B.
Where are the shepherds?
One of God’s greatest needs is good shepherds who are concerned for their flocks—patient pastors and teachers who have the faith, vision, and burden to trudge along day after day, feeding the sheep as they gradually grow to be productive and fruitful. A lot of Christians seem to like to scatter seed, but not many people seem to want to take care of the results. Anybody can go out and scatter seed: It takes a true farmer to patiently weed and water and fertilize and prune the little plant to fruitful maturity. Anybody can go out and witness and invite folks to receive Jesus, but very few want to patiently, painstakingly care for and train the spiritual babes they bear till they are able to bear and care for children of their own.—D.B.B.
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.—The apostle Peter10
Although God can do anything, He has committed Himself to work through our prayers. He wants us to show concern and pray. We have to visualize the people we’re praying for and ask the Lord specifically for what we want Him to do, then the Holy Spirit goes to work right away on their behalf.—D.B.B.
1. 2 Timothy 2:2
2. Matthew 9:37-38
3. John 15:8,16
4. Matthew 28:20 TLB
5. 2 Timothy 2:2
6. Luke 9:23-24; John 15:8
7. John 12:24
8. 1 Corinthians 15:31
9. Matthew 19:29
10. 1 Peter 5:2-3