The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
(Summary by Bill Glad)
Association: He stayed with them.
Having called his men, Jesus made it a practice to be with them. This was the essence of his training program – just letting his disciples follow him. This was an incredibly simple method and stood in stark contrast to the formal procedures of the scribes. By the virtue of their fellowship with Jesus the disciples were permitted “to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God” (Luke 8:10). Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation. The call to the disciples was “follow me and to others “come and see”. Even in the choosing of the twelve we can see that they were set apart “that they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14). He had more time with the apostles than with everyone else in the world put together, and it could only have been deliberate. Taking this approach means that Jesus had little time to call his own. Jesus still ministered to the masses, but all the time ministered to his disciples by having them with him. He had to devote himself primarily to the task of developing some people who in turn could give this kind of personal attention to others. Again, the modern day church has failed miserably to care for the individuals in the body with the attention they need. Building men and women is not easy. But we need to be incorporating into our ministry personal care and close relationships for all new members to the body.
Consecration: He required obedience.
Jesus expected the people he was with to obey him. They were not required to be smart, but they had to be loyal. They were called his “disciples” meaning that they were “learners” or “pupils”. For the moment all they were asked to do was to follow Jesus. Following might have seemed easy at first, but it soon became apparent that it meant the surrender of one’s whole life to the Master in absolute submission to his sovereignty. There could be no compromise. Would-be disciples were made to count the cost, and many who followed turned away.
The disciples’ obedience did not correlate directly with their understanding of Jesus’ teachings. In fact, they were far from understanding Jesus as he talked about the cross and servant hood. But their capacity to receive revelation would grow provided they continued to practice what truth they did understand. Thus obedience to Christ was the very means by which those in his company learned more truth.
Supreme obedience was interpreted to be the expression of love. If the disciples were to love Jesus, it would be shown in their obedience to his words. Absolute obedience to the will of the Father, of course, was the controlling principle of the Master’s own life. The cross was but the crowning climax of Jesus’ commitment to do the will of God. From the viewpoint of strategy, obedience was the only way that Jesus could mould the disciples’ lives by his word. There could be no development of character or purpose in the disciples without it, and no one can ever be a leader until first he has learned to follow a leader. Without obedience to Christ the disciples would surely have been lost in their battle for human lives. Why are so many professed Christians today stunted in their growth and ineffectual in their witness? Is it not because of their indifference to the commands of God? Obedience has been replaced by a sort of respectable “do-as-you-please” philosophy of expediency.