“DEVELOPING DEVOTED DISCIPLES” 2 Tim. 2:2
INVITE YOUR ONE!
INTRO – 20 years ago, became a firefighter. When I got on the FD, I looked like all the other firefighters except for one thing – the orange vest. Identified me as a probie firefighter who couldn’t do anything other than watch – observe the other firefighters, & learn from them. Had to meet w/ my training officer every week. Take written tests. Do hands-on drills over & over again – how to catch a hydrant – how to roll up a hose – how to re-rack the hose on the fire engine – how to spray water – how to stop spraying water (no “water hammer”) – be able to know where everything was on the fire engine (get whatever chief or commander wanted from truck w/out having to go all around the truck opening every compartment) – how to put on turnout gear & an air pack – how to talk on the radio – even the correct way to write down address of the call on the map on the wall if I was the first one to the fire station.
But, at the end of the probationary period, I passed the written tests, passed the hands-on tests, & was then considered qualified to fight a fire. Turned in my orange vest, received my red light, & was welcomed into the department, ready to serve the community when the need arose.
Pretty good picture of the discipleship process that we see in 2 Tim. 2:2. In teaching Timothy, Paul told him to take the things that he had seen in Paul & heard from Paul & pass them on to other reliable leaders who would then teach others. You see, discipleship is not a program; it’s a process.
- Its foundation is the Gospel.
- Its framework is relationships.
- And its fruit is disciples reproducing disciples.
It’s not a cold, lifeless experience where a pupil learns some information from a teacher & regurgitates the information back in exam form & then does nothing else w/ that information. No, discipleship is a vibrant process that involves a Christ-follower teaching Biblical truths to another person, with the goal that that person will come to know Christ, grow in that relationship, & then invest in another person.
- It’s more than just praying a prayer for salvation – though that’s essential.
- It’s more than reading your Bible, praying, & having your quiet time – though that’s essential.
- It’s more than being a church member – though that’s essential.
To BE the Church that God wants us to be, & to BUILD the Church that God wants us to build, we must be developing devoted disciples wherever we can & whenever we can. That means
- KNOWING the Gospel
- LIVING out the Gospel
- SHARING the Gospel
- TEACHING others the Gospel
- REPEATING this process over & over again as long as we are alive.
Why is this process so important? Because PEOPLE are our greatest resource. Not buildings or budgets or programs, but people. We need to invest in PEOPLE – children, youth, & adults. E.M Bounds: “Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” Our main priority must be to invest in PEOPLE as we develop devoted disciples. One way that’s happening in our church is in our youth ministry.
- Student Journal
- Prayer Challenge for Parents
Oswald Sanders: “[Discipleship] training cannot be done on a mass scale. It requires patient, careful instruction and prayerful, personal guidance over a considerable time. Disciples are not manufactured wholesale. They are produced only one by one, because someone has taken the pains to disciple, to instruct and enlighten, to nurture and train one that is younger.” Let’s take a look at the components of investment in the discipleship process that we find in 2 Tim. 2:2.
HEARING – “And the things you have HEARD me say…” – Much of our Gospel learning & growth comes through hearing it.
- Romans 10:14 – “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
- I would say that this verse tells us that it’s pretty important that we HEAR the Gospel!
The “hearing” that Paul is teaching Timothy about here is more than just listening to someone preach, teach, or witness. It is hearing & comprehending & responding & conforming to the biblical truth that is being presented. It’s the kind of hearing that James was talking about when he said in James 1:22, “Be doers of the Word, & not hearers only…”
SAYING – “And the things you have heard me SAY…” – Every Christ-follower needs to be able to put into words what the Lord has done in their life. Part of our growth in maturity in our walk w/ Christ is being able to just talk about the Lord. Doesn’t mean that you have to be a preacher, or a LG teacher, or a biblical scholar who can translate Greek & Hebrew, or someone has all the answers to all the questions.
But it does mean that we all need to say something that’s worth listening to. And that something that’s worth listening to is Someone, & His name is Jesus. And no matter who you are, you’ve got something incredibly important to say IF Jesus has changed your life!
ENTRUSTING – “…entrust to reliable men…” – What does it mean to “entrust” something to someone?
- First, it means that the thing you’re entrusting has great value to you. You’re not too worried about entrusting someone w/ a $1 bill that you pull out of your wallet. But you’re very concerned about knowing that your retirement account is being managed by an expert. You’re not really worried about an airliner that you see taking off from the airport, unless your kids or grandkids are on that plane b/c you’ve entrusted something of great value to the care & abilities of that pilot.
- Secondly, if you entrust something of great value to someone, then it means that you trust that person. It means that, somehow, they have proven themselves to be trustworthy.
So, what’s the item of great value that we are entrusting to “reliable” men & women? Look at 1:14 – That “good deposit” is the truths of the Gospel, the life-changing, life-altering foundational truths of the Good News of Jesus Christ! We guard it, & when we pass it on to others, we are to make sure that they are “reliable” followers of Jesus. One commentator put it this way: “In his assignment to entrust the gospel to other people, Timothy needed to observe in these believers the quality of adherence to God’s truth. Reliability and trustworthiness in remaining true to the gospel were prerequisites.” It’s a picture of the relay runners that we just saw in the Olympics. The only way they can compete is if they trust the next person on the team, the one to whom they’re going to hand the baton as they race toward the finish line. Both runners have to do their part in order for them to be successful.
The Gospel is the most valuable treasure the world has ever known! Be serious about learning it. Be faithful in living it. Be careful in entrusting it to those who are reliable.
TEACHING – “…qualified to teach others.” – If you’re sick, you go to a doctor. If your car is broken down, you go to a mechanic. If you’ve got a legal problem, you go to a lawyer. Why? B/c they’re all qualified to work in those areas.
If someone has a question about Jesus or about the Gospel, they should go to a Christian. “Wait a minute, Jon. They should go to a preacher or a SS teacher.” That may be true if they have some complicated questions or concerns. But what if they have questions about basic biblical principles of living the Christian life. Would they think about coming to you, not b/c you’re a preacher or a great Bible scholar, but simply b/c they know that you’re a Christian? Would you be qualified to instruct them about Jesus? Are you qualified to instruct & teach someone in the basic principles of living the Christian life?
- How to be saved?
- Why we should be baptized?
- How to pray?
- How to read the Bible?
- Why it’s important to be a member of a church?
“Our goal is not to get comfortable with the pleasures of this world. Our goal is not to fix all the problems in America. Our goal is to understand that heaven is our home and as a pilgrim here on earth, our pursuit is to be a growing disciple that helps others become a disciple and then helps them be a growing disciple as well who are equipped to make more disciples.” (Randy Smith)
REPEATING – We keep going & going until we cross the finish line.
Matt. 28:19-20 – Greek – “as you go” or “as you are going”
“…we should be carrying out the Great Commission – making disciples, baptizing them into the family, and teaching them to obey the Word – wherever we are, and no matter what else we are doing.” (http://www.colsoncenter.org/the-center/columns/worldview/20051-as-you-go)
 Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, pp. 280–281). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.