I can hear him now on a Sabbath morning. He or she is an Elder, Pastor or Personal Ministries Director. With a mixture of excitement and dread, they step forward to the pulpit and proceed to make an announcement to the entire congregation that in the next 3 months they are going to “do evangelism.” With passion and great zeal they call for the members to volunteer. A sermon series is preached on evangelism. Seminars and workshops are conducted to teach the members how to witness. What this means to the spiritually constipated, pew warming members is that for the next couple of months they are obligated to go knocking on doors, pass out tracks and hand bills and pray that somebody will come to the evangelistic meeting. Finally the meetings start. For the first week a pretty descent crowd shows up. Then for the next 2 to 3 weeks, the evangelist preaches his or her heart out to the faithful few with the occasional guest. Then when the meetings are concluded, 3 children, one former member and one brand new Christian get baptized. Everyone sighs a sigh of relief, wipes the sweat from their brow and says one of 2 things. “I’m never doing that again.” Or “Well, it was nice “doing evangelism.” Lets do it again in another 2 to 3 years.” This is not the experience of Jesus and His disciples in Luke chapter 10.
Jesus was a Master Evangelist & Disciple Maker. Luke records in the previous chapter that the 12 disciples were already sent out to “preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick.” Luke 9:2. However, by the next Chapter Luke records 70 disciples being sent out by Jesus. In the experience of these 70 disciples is modeled for us what the result of true evangelism & discipleship does in the life of a believer. In Luke 10, we will discover two principles for joy filled disciple making that made even Jesus jump! Let's start in Luke 10:17...
17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Disciple making brings joy to your own heart.
I remember in 2008 I got involved in the evangelistic efforts of my local church. I came in so excited about making disciples that I almost couldn’t contain my joy. Yet some of the people I was ministering with looked like they had been asked to go work in a garbage dump! If I was a non-Christian and they approached me, I wouldn’t have believed that they knew Jesus by the looks on their faces. That same year I had the privilege of studying with a non-Adventist young lady in my small group. I would get so excited in our small group as we studied the Bible. No matter what the topic, we sought to see how it related to Jesus. When I asked her if she wanted to be baptized she said yes. On the day of her baptism her whole family was there to celebrate her new birth. She continued to grow as we continued in our small group and she used her gift of music to minister at our church. I can’t explain to you the joy I felt. I sometimes feel like her conversion did more for me than it did for her. It sparked in me a passion for the lost. I wanted every Christian to experience what I was feeling. Around this same time my wife and I launched a ministry called Living For Him. Our slogan was “Experience the Joy of Life in Christ.” We did this because we experienced what these 70 disciples experienced; that disciple making brings joy to your own heart!
The Bible says in Luke 10:1, that Jesus sent them out, “before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” Then He proceeds to give them instructions for the journey. But things start to get even more exciting when they come back from their missionary journey. Verse 17 says that they returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And yes that may be true, because at the name of Jesus, demons tremble! They can’t handle it when you stand up like a lion and share the Gospel in the name of Jesus!
I can already see the smile starting to emerge on the face of Jesus. As if to take their excitement up a few notices to a fever pitch, Jesus declares, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” He is taking their minds back to when He, the preincarnate Christ, kicked out Satan and his rebel angels from heaven with such dynamite power that it was like lightening falling from Heaven. Oh, the disciples can barely contain themselves now! Friends, you’ve got to put yourself in the text as Jesus then turns to you and says, “Behold I give you authority…”
“Behold I give you authority…when you walk into the workplace!”
“Behold I give you authority…when you go and lay hands on that sick person in the name of Jesus!”
“Behold I give you authority…when you go out into the community to make disciples!”
“Behold I give you authority…over all the power of the enemy!”
By now the disciples are all worked up about the power and authority that Christ has given them. But lest they let the power that He has given them get to their heads, He now seeks to clarify what they should really be rejoicing about. Jesus says, “rejoice because your names are written in Heaven.” Yes you’re a leader of a ministry; yes you have given a bible study before, yes you may have brought people to Jesus or baptized many people. Yet Jesus says, if you really want to get excited, get excited about the fact that you are saved! Get excited about those who will be saved through your ministry. Jesus says, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven!”