A Transcript Of The Video Study
In our previous study, I commended the Framework of Sovereign Grace as an excellent teaching tool for evangelism and discipleship. First, it is a scripturally shaped framework, based on the teachings of Romans 9:21-23 and 2 Timothy 2:20; Second, it begins with the Unconditional Election of God the Father, rather than the Total Depravity of man; Third, it allows room to discuss other vital doctrines and related issues within the context of God’s masterplan for the ages; Fourth, it doesn’t require the use of unnecessary academic labels; Fifth, it presents the major teachings of the Bible in the form of a diagram, illustrating how they fit together as a whole; Sixth, it tends to nurture a warm and humble spirit, retaining one’s simplicity in Christ.
And now, for this study, I would like to explain how the Framework of Sovereign Grace may be used as a teaching tool for evangelism and discipleship.
It can be used in one of two ways—either as a verbal proclamation of the truth, or as a visual explanation of the truth. When used as a verbal proclamation, this usually falls under the category of evangelism, whereas when used as a visual explanation, it falls under the category of discipleship. Remember, evangelism is nothing other than heralding the gospel; it is a proclamation, a declaration, an announcement, a broadcasting of the good news of glad tidings. Discipleship, on the other hand, is the building up of God’s people in their most holy faith. This, of course, requires the good news of glad tidings to be explained to the Lord’s people. Generally speaking, evangelism answers the question—What is the gospel? Whereas discipleship answers the question—How does the gospel work? Now, there will no doubt be overlaps in evangelism and discipleship, insomuch that at times you may use visual aids in evangelism, and you may restrict yourself to verbal explanations in discipleship. But as a broad policy, this appears to be the general division between evangelism and discipleship, with reference to using the Framework of Sovereign Grace as a teaching tool.
Let’s look first, at how to use the Framework of Sovereign Grace as a teaching tool for evangelism, which means you will be mainly verbalizing the truth, rather than using a visual aid.
Well, the only way for you to verbalize the truth, as it is framed in this diagram, is if you know the diagram like the back of your hand. That is, you must understand the ins and outs of this framework, insomuch that everything you proclaim is based on this mental image which supports the message you are announcing. Your knowledge and understanding of this framework should be so sharp, that you can explain it without the aid of notes. You should be able to explain it from the top of the diagram to the bottom; and from the bottom to the top. You should be able to explain it from the left side to the right; and from the right side to the left. You should be able to explain it from the middle to the outer parts; and from the outer parts to the middle. You should be able to explain it from one corner to the other. Do you see, my dear friends, if you are to verbalize the truth based on the Framework of Sovereign Grace, then you must master the various parts of the framework, keeping it always in your mind’s eye. You must know where each truth fits within the context of God’s masterplan for the ages, which will enable you to give a bold and accurate announcement of those truths. Now, in my opinion, this is a highly efficient way for you to be equipped to give an answer to everyone who may ask of the hope that is in you. Whatever question they put to you, you will be able to give a clear and concise answer according to God’s masterplan for the ages. And may I also say, apart from those asking of the hope that is in you, there will be others who are scoffers and blasphemers, and by their questions and challenges, they will hope to ensnare you and cause you to stumble in your faith. Well, by having in your mind’s eye the Framework of Sovereign Grace, you will be able to answer the scoffers and blasphemers, affirming the truth as it stands connected with God’s eternal purpose and providential governance of the world.
Now, what I have said thus far on this subject is something that is applicable to all Christians. Every believer in Christ should be equipped to give an answer to those who are seeking the truth, as well as to those who are mocking and blaspheming God. However, I would like to take a couple of minutes and speak specifically to those of you who are gifted and called to preach the gospel of God. As a preacher of the gospel, you must be ready in season and out season to preach the Word—you must always be ready to herald the truth. You must be on standby, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the month and every month of the year. You should be expectantly waiting, every minute of the day, for the occasion which will allow you to broadcast the Word of the Lord. Well, how can you be equipped to speak for the Lord at any given time and within every possible circumstance? You can do it by always keeping in your mind’s eye the Framework of Sovereign Grace. It doesn’t matter what the occasion might be, and it doesn’t matter which scripture you select, so long as you set forth the teachings of that Bible text according to the context of the Framework of Sovereign Grace, you will always have a sure guide to its correct interpretation and will be able to make the appropriate application within the context of the circumstance under which you proclaim the truth. This applies also for those occasions when you may not even reference a passage from the Bible. Perhaps, for instance, you are sitting in your living room, entertaining some guests. Suddenly the conversation turns to politics and world events, and your friend makes the comment on how unsettling things now are in the world. He talks about world leaders threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction, and then refers to the devastating living crisis at home. Well, here is your opportunity, my preacher friend. You can respond by highlighting the distinction between eternity and time; you can highlight the sovereignty of God and His determinate counsel from eternity over all things that come to pass in time; you can assure your friend that while all things may seem chaotic in the world around us, and very unsettling to us, yet nothing takes God by surprise, and in fact all things are unfolding precisely as God has decreed it. You can then emphasize the importance of understanding God’s masterplan for the ages, namely, the salvation of His elect people and the destruction of the ungodly. Do you see? Without even quoting a scripture text, you are able to set forth the teachings of the Bible based purely on your mental image of the Framework of Sovereign Grace.
And so I say, my dear friends, whether you are a preacher of the gospel or a believer never gifted or called to preach the gospel, so long as you understand the Framework of Sovereign Grace, keeping it in your mind’s eye, then you will be able to evangelize in season and out of season. You will always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. That is how we may use the Framework of Sovereign Grace as a teaching tool for evangelism.
Let’s turn now to the subject of discipleship. How may we use the Framework of Sovereign Grace as a teaching tool for discipleship?
Well, in my view, the best way to use this diagram for discipleship is to visualize the truth. That is, by using a piece of paper, or a whiteboard, or a tablet with a digital pencil, you will explain the truth by drawing out this diagram, step by step. Of course, you will construct the diagram according to the teachings of Romans 9:21-23 and 2 Timothy 2:20. Turning first to Romans 9:21-23, you will show how each statement of that text appears on the diagram. Then, turning to 2 Timothy 2:20, you will show how each statement of that text appears on the diagram. Once you have established the scriptural framework of God’s masterplan for the ages, you can then explain the central purpose of His plan, which is the administration of grace to His creatures. You can distinguish between the common grace of God unto creation, which extends to all creatures, including the non-elect, and the special grace of God unto salvation, which is designed for and extended only to the elect. In a nutshell, this is how you go about visualizing, or illustrating, the Framework of Sovereign Grace.
Now, we are speaking about discipleship here, so remember, it’s all about building the Lord’s people up in their most holy faith. However, we mustn’t think, therefore, that the only subject that has a part in “the faith” is that which is directly connected with religion, or the major doctrines of salvation. Certainly, that is the leading subject of “the faith”, but it isn’t the only subject. I would like you to notice, according to the Framework of Sovereign Grace, that all subjects belong to this framework. God is the Creator of the heaven and the earth, and all things therefore are under Him. Henceforth, if we are to be thorough in discipleship, then we must be able to explain how each and every subject fits into God’s masterplan for the ages. To show you what I mean, allow me to highlight some of the more salient topics.
First, theology. From a scriptural standpoint, every doctrine of the Bible fits into the context of this framework. You often hear about systematic theology, and I will be speaking more about that in the weeks to come, but what I am describing here is what we could call diagramic theology. It serves a similar function as systematic theology, in that it shows how one truth is related to another truth, but it takes it a step further, illustrating how all truth fits together in time and for eternity.
Second, current affairs. From a current affairs’ standpoint, every issue dealing with politics, culture and mainstream ideology fits into the context of this framework. You often hear about the importance for Christians to nurture a biblical worldview. Well, my dear friends, this Framework of Sovereign Grace is your biblical worldview, and it allows you to understand from a scriptural perspective what is going on in the world of politics, culture and mainstream ideology.
Third, academics. From an academic standpoint, every field of knowledge fits into the context of this framework. You name it—history, sociology, language, psychology, geography, geology, astronomy, philosophy, logic, mathematics, economics, technology, physics, science, biology, chemistry, medicine, agriculture, zoology, etc. Now actually, in previous centuries, these subjects were interpreted through the lense of a biblical worldview, however, over the last hundred years, academic institutions have been secularized, dominated by an atheistic worldview. Subsequently, most people today, including Christians, tend to separate these subjects from religion. This, of course, is an affront to God, for as the Creator of the heaven and the earth, the TriUne Jehovah is the Author of academics; He is the Maker of every field of knowledge. Each and every branch of academics fits within God’s world, and if we are to nurture proper views of any field of knowledge, then it must be understood within the context of God’s masterplan for the ages.
Fourth, world religions. From a religious standpoint, every world religion fits into the context of this framework. The Christian faith, of course, is embodied in the gracious covenant of the TriUne Jehovah, brought to pass experientially in the lives of those chosen by the Father and redeemed by the Son. However, there are innumerable false religions in the world, all of which share the common denominator of a manmade system of salvation. Now, the Apostle Paul, in Romans chapter one, distinguishes between two types of false religions. The first type is called Atheism, which is a suppression of one’s knowledge of God. The second type is called Religionism, which is a perversion of one’s knowledge of God. Now, you might not agree that Atheism is a religion. After all, an Atheist is one who denies the existence of God. I say it is a religion, however, because while an Atheist denies the existence of the eternal God, yet he substitutes that knowledge with a belief in and worship of some type of lesser god. The Atheist, for instance, may deify nature, or even himself, ascribing to the creature divine attributes which belong only to the eternal God. Well, whether it be the Atheist or the World Religionist, they have both transgressed the law inscribed upon their hearts, by either suppressing or perverting their knowledge of the one true and living God. I hope you see, therefore, how this whole subject of world religions fits within the context of the Framework of Sovereign Grace.
Fifth, personal issues. From a personal standpoint, everything that has to do with you as an individual fits into the context of this framework. Where you were born; to whom you were born; the date of your birth; all of your individualistic characteristics from the color of your hair to the length of your nose; your idiosyncrasies and temperament; your economic upbringing and social status; all of the circumstances into which you have been brought, each of which has been a factor on bringing you to the place you are today; your siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts; your husband or wife; your sons and daughters; your friends and work colleagues; the strangers you meet on the bus and enemies you make along the path of life; all of your mistakes, transgressions, failures, regrets; all of the things you’ve done well, your successes and achievements; all of the rich blessings the Lord has bestowed upon you physically, materially, socially, domestically, spiritually; all of the troubles, trials and tribulations you have encountered; all of your joys and triumphs, all of your losses and griefs; all of it my dear friends, all of it, fits within this Framework of Sovereign Grace. Ah, please listen, if you never use this framework as a teaching tool for evangelism and discipleship, then at the very least, you can use it as the framework around which you understand how your life is structured, giving to you the comfort and assurance that all things are working together for good according to God’s masterplan for your life. Do you see yourself in it, my dear friend? Do you see where you, an individual, fits into the context of this framework?
Alright, well, I must draw this study to a close. What I have tried to show you, with reference to using this framework as a teaching tool for discipleship, is that it is a comprehensive overview including all things with which we have to do in this world. No subject falls outside the parameters of God’s masterplan for the ages. Whether it be scriptural teachings, or current affairs, academic subjects, world religions or personal experiences, so long as you use this framework as the basis for explaining those things, then you will always be able to speak on matters with knowledge and understanding, and your words will be adorned with wisdom, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding, and that is what the Framework of Sovereign Grace sets forth—it sets forth the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of the holy!
And that truly is my prayer, my dear brethren—I pray that the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit; that you will be skillful in the Word of righteousness, mature in the faith, feeding upon the meat of sovereign grace, enabled to exercise spiritual discernment, speaking words of wisdom, because He has imparted to your heart and mind a knowledge of Himself mixed with love and reverence for His holy name. May the Lord be pleased to bless us all with these gospel benefits!
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.