Author's bias | Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational
Seminary: Western (Portland)

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Three Types of People
Impact Players for Christ
(K. Payne)

Welcome to disciple making:

This series on disciple making is Booklet 1 – Essentials, which is part of the program Transferable Cross Training (TCT) developed by Dr. Karl Payne. The purpose of TCT is to help equip men and women to be effective disciple makers. The materials are field tested with various proof verses that can be memorized, and each lesson is focused on transferability. It is our desire is for those who accept the challenge of discipleship that, with or without a Bible and notes in hand, each individual who has taken the time to master the concepts and principles in this series will have confidence to comfortably and biblically respond to common questions and comments from friends or enemies of Christ. By God’s grace we can make a difference in eternity by being actively involved in the most important job assignment entrusted to mankind. For more information about TCT or obtaining the booklet series, see

Please remember that the uniqueness of this discipleship series is its simple transferability. It is the expressed desire of the author that students actually use these materials after completing each booklet, by sharing them with others in a manner consistent with 2 Timothy 2:2.

The primary purpose of this lesson is two-fold:

1. We must learn how to identify the three types of people we will be in contact with on a daily basis.

2. We must have relevant, contextual, biblical messages ready for each of these people if we hope to be used by God through divine appointments and opportunities.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 - 3:3, Paul states that there are ultimately three types of individuals in the world.

The first person is the natural man without Christ (1 Cor 2:14).

Life is controlled by daily circumstances.

Christ is outside of their life.

Self or the big "I" runs their life.

The second person is the growing Christian (1 Cor 2:15-16).

Life and daily circumstances are under the powerful caring hands of Christ.

Christ is in their life and willfully given complete control.

Self purposefully subjugated to Christ and His will.

The third person is the carnal or worldly Christian (1 Cor 3:1-3).

Life is controlled by daily circumstances.

Christ is in their life, but not give willful control.

Self has been allowed to usurp Christ’s rightful position in controlling their life through disobedience (sin).

Notice 1 Corinthians 3:1-3:

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

Paul's frustration is with the carnal Christian who has made the conscious decision to remain a spiritual baby. The Greek word "sarkinois" in verse 1 ("flesh") refers to the new Christian who, as a spiritual child, requires milk. In contrast, the Greek word "sarkikoi" in verse 3 ("fleshly") refers to the adult Christian who chooses to live like a child.

The natural person and the carnal or worldly Christian have very similar life experiences. The key difference between the growing Christian and the carnal or worldly Christian is that the former is willing to confess sin daily, keeping life’s circumstances under God’s control. The latter is not willing to do so. We have to decide daily where we are and where we want our life to be. If we desire change, God has made provision for this to be accomplished.

The Natural man needs the gospel. Can you clearly share the gospel?

The Growing Christian needs systematic discipleship training. Have you been systematically trained as a disciple of Christ? You cannot clearly share what you have not clearly learned. Are you able to train someone else who wants to serve Christ? You cannot give what you do not have.

The Carnal Christian needs to get up off the ground and begin to grow again. He needs to confront the issue(s) that have been allowed to marginalize his relationship with God and daily testimony. He does not need to hear the gospel again, and he is not ready to be systematically trained for service.

Be bold for Christ; fear is not an acceptable reason for failing to take advantage of divine appointments. Study, learn and prepare; sloth is not an acceptable reason for failing to live as a one hundred percent committed Christian, in a world of fifty percent chameleons. We have been called by God to be active soldiers standing for Christ, not idle spectators intimidated by man.


1. Which person do you think represents your life at this time?

2. Which person do you want your life to represent?


  • God prepares the heart, you prepare a message. If they are not ready to receive the message, build a bridge.
  • Non-Christians are going to hell. They need your involvement.
  • Growing Christians need encouragement to press on and not grow weary in doing good. They are friend, not foe.
  • Carnal Christians are stuck in the middle of the road. They no longer have lasting pleasure in their sin, but they do not enjoy their walk with God. They are family, not enemies.
  • Lifelines represent life styles. The life style of the non-Christian and the carnal Christian are very similar.
  • It is possible to fool men about the condition of our heart and soul. It is not possible to fool God!

Karl Payne's personal note: I grew up in a home that would have been considered moral and ethical, but not religious. Both of my parents were teachers. Dad was a Mathematics / Science specialist for the Sacramento City School District and my mom taught grade school. My Dad would occasionally pray for our food, but we did not read the Bible or discuss religious topics. I decided my first Sunday of seventh grade that I had no real interest in church or Sunday school and informed my parents that I would no longer attend either. I assumed I was a Christian because I had been baptized as a child at my mom's request, but my primary interests were baseball, football and music.

On June 17th, 1970 I became a Christian while attending a youth retreat sponsored by Young Life, a Christian ministry focused upon reaching high school students. The two biggest hurdles I faced in that decision both related to honest assumptions. My first assumption related to what I had understood it meant to be a Christian. I assumed that I was a Christian because I had been baptized. Christians get baptized, I had been baptized, therefore, I was a Christian. I also thought that heaven, if it was real, was attained by being a nice person. I reasoned that since on a moral and ethical scale which had the Pope on one end and Hitler on the other, that my live style was closer to the Pope's than Hitler's, thus making me a shoe in for heaven if God was fair.

The second assumption I had made related to education. In eighth grade my science teacher told our class that "religious people were mental cripples who needed a crutch to get through life." I was very impressed by this teacher and took to heart what he said. In the eleventh grade, my physiology teacher told our class that "educated people believed in evolution." As I grew older my education had become more important to me. As a result of several teacher's comments I assumed that it was not possible to think deeply and still be a Christian. Religion in my mind was therefore something for nice people who were not too concerned about an academic education. My first assumption was to confuse churchianity with Christianity. Churchianity represents men and women making their best efforts to reach up to God and receive His approval, based upon their individual efforts to be found worthy in His eyes. Biblical Christianity is a message explaining how God has chosen to reach down to mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, providing salvation by His grace as a free gift to all who believe, in spite of our unworthiness. Religion is essentially a message of man reaching up to God. Christianity is a message detailing how God has reached down to man. Religion exalts man. Christianity exalts God. I had received just enough religious training to confuse religion with Christianity and had rejected an honest consideration of Christianity in the process. My second assumption was to confuse naturalism, dialectical materialism and the suppositional baggage assumed to be true by both philosophical world views, with actual empirical data and good science, which provides conclusions based upon testing, observation and repetition rather than wishful thinking and naturalist / atheistic suppositional indoctrination.

On the 17th of June, 1970 at 8:00 P.M., I listened to a gentleman clearly explain that God's plan is that I have eternal life (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 5:1), but that my problem with sin (to miss the mark in word, thought or deed) had separated me from Him (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). This sounded more like bad news to me than good news. He went on to say that God had provided a remedy for my sin by sending His only son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a payment for my penalty (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:4-10, 1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 5:8, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9), but that it was absolutely necessary for me to respond to His remedy for the remedy to be effective (John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10, Revelation 3:20). I bowed my head in that room and quietly asked Jesus Christ to become my Savior and Lord. Jesus came into my life and has made me a new person, from the inside out (2 Corinthians 5:17). That was nearly thirty-one years ago. Knowing Jesus is more than religious activism or academic curiosity. It is a real relationship. Spiritual maturity is a process (1 John 2:12-14) that should continue to develop and grow as long as we are alive.

God used a Campus Crusade for Christ high school ministry to teach me that aggressive, reproductive Christianity (2 Timothy 2:2) should be considered normal Christianity. Sincerity is necessary for Christian living, but it is not sufficient for impacting our world for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15). He has used several godly men, seminary and nearly twenty-five years of serving in church ministry to teach me that making disciples means far more than leading people to Christ and asking them to pray and read their Bibles. It is impossible to give what you do not have or share what you do not know. When people tell me that their Christian faith is boring, what they are really telling me is that they do not pray, they do not study and they do not give away what they have been given. The Christian life is an adventure that is exciting to live and share. To judge Christianity by people who sit on their hands, criticize others and turn a living faith into dead religion is to misrepresent Biblical Christianity. Christianity was never meant to be lived as a passive spectator sport.

Dr. Karl Payne, at heart, is an apologist who loves to train and equip Christians for spiritual service and warfare (Eph.4:11-16). He enjoys preaching, writing and retreat / conference / seminar speaking. He derives his greatest pleasure tackling the challenge of teaching Christian workers, interns and budding preachers / teachers at both the Bible College and Seminary levels. In addition, he has co-authored two books: A just Defense and Cross Training through Multnomah Press.

Series: Skill Builder
Salvation: Steps to Peace with God

Series: Skill Builder
Disciplemakers: Impact players for Christ

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Author Index: Payne, K

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