Archive for August, 2012


1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

KJV “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy”

The Importance of the Charge

Paul has a charge (a set of commands) that he commits to his dear son Timothy. Picture the scene of a movie where the father is dying and his son is at his side, and the father looks into his eyes and says, son, this cross belonged to your grandfather, he wore it into battle at Normandy. He died there on the battlefield when I was a young man. When I received it, it made me so proud of my dad. I have carried it with me every day of my life. This cross has been my inspiration when things seemed impossible. I always remembered what this cross represents, and it has kept me going in difficult times. Now son, I give it to you. Wear it and remember those who have died that you might live.

Do you think that son will remember those words? Do you think he will wear that cross the rest of his life? Sure you do! He will wear it with honor and humility.

This is what Paul was saying to his son Timothy. or a command that he is to treat as the most valuable and precious thing in his life. It is to be always before him or at his side. It is never to be out of his sight. Son, I will be gone soon, but I want you to remember my words, and keep them ever before you, for they are more valuable than gold. Keep them beside you, in front of you, always in sight.

The word paratithemi is a word for a deposit you put in a bank, it’s a valued deposit. Paul gave to Timothy a valued deposit…a valuable deposit. [1]

This charge was a valuable deposit made in the life of Timothy.

It echoed a charge given to Joshua…

Nearly two thousand years earlier, a young man suddenly found himself leader of an unruly mob of people called Jews. His job was to lead them into a land called Cana, filled with the most vile and wicked people you can imagine. There were 31 separate Kingdoms, all armed, all hostile, all seemingly invincible. As he was contemplating how he was to lead them, God appeared and said

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

I can just imaging Joshua thinking, “that’s easy for you to say, because all you deal with are angels. But Lord, have you seen these people? How are they going to conquer anything?”

God knew what he was thinking, and he said to him:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

God made a deposit in the life of Joshua, a valuable deposit that Joshua was to keep ever before him, and that deposit would make his way prosperous.

What was this valuable charge that Paul gave to Timothy?

The Message of Reconciliation (Gospel):

  • 2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
It is a Deposit of Truth as opposed to ‘babble’ and false ‘knowledge’
  • 1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
It is so important it is guarded by God & the Holy Spirit
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
  • 2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
It is the Word which Paul taught and preached
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It is the means of fighting a good warfare (military campaign)
  • 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
  • (there are good wars and there are bad wars. The difference is how they are fought. A bad warfare is bitter, emotional, heated, personal and destructive. A good warfare is not of the flesh, but is spiritual, fought with the Gospel, and brings men closer to Christ.

The Primary reason for the Charge is to Overcome!

So we come to 2 Timothy, and we know that Paul is going to reinforce the importance of this Charge committed to him. The reason this charge is so important, is that it must be taught to others so they can be Overcomers in Christ! So, how does Paul want Timothy to carry out this charge?

A. Disciple Makers are Children of Promise

2 Timothy 1: 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

Timothy, realize we are all children of God through the Promise of life in Christ Jesus. He is our focus, He is our life!

B.Disciple Makers Foster Children of Promise

  • 2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Each one of us should have ‘foster’ children in the Lord, children we are praying for, caring for, just as if they are our children. You may be miles apart, but there is a bond in the promises of God. It is like that son, growing up and wearing that cross around his neck. He will be close to his Dad because of the reminder of the Cross.

How did Paul want Timothy to approach fostering children to growth in the Lord?

1.  Realize you are in Partnership with God

  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Peace

All from God and Christ our Lord.

2. Exercise Constant Care as if their Life depended upon it.

Disciple Making is not a time to just throw them into the lake and hope they learn to at least dog-paddle to safety. Disciple Making in focused and intentional. You are handling a precious deposit off to someone in your care. The success of their life depends upon the exchange.

a.  Be in constant prayer

3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

As you get to know them, you will groan and agonize in prayer over their struggles and heart aches. You will be the one coming along side in a visible role of the Holy Spirit. It is vital that He be with you!

b.   Be present in hurts

4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.

You must get to know them so well that they will reveal their hurts, their struggles, and you will long to see them grow and mature that you may be filled with joy.

c.  Be encouraging

5-7 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • Remind them of their heritage – from man and from God
    • God gave us the Spirit of Power, Love & Self-Control

3. Live in Power

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    • So Fan into flame the Gift
    • Don’t allow fear to put the flame out
    • Do not take this gift for granted, or it dies from lack of use.
    • Fear of using this gift is no excuse.

4. Be honest about the Christian life

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

    • Expect suffering
    • Don’t sugar coat following Christ
    • We must learn to obey and walk in the Spirit.

5. Have Faith in the power of Grace

9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

6.  Always look to Jesus

10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

7.  Look for ways of ministry

11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,

8.  Know whom you have believed and know that the exchange of truth is important to Him.

12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

C. Disciple Makers Know the Value of Making Deposits

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

You are teaching, praying and working to see your disciple grow in the faith and love in Jesus Christ. You must be growing into Jesus as well, and imparting those sound words to those you disciple.

D. Disciple Makers Guard the Deposit

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

1.  We have received a valuable deposit

a.  Promise of Life in Jesus

      • 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

b.  The Word of God is a valuable deposit

      • 13: Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me

2.   Guard this treasure through the Holy Spirit

      • 14: By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Paul trusted further:

  • 2 Timothy 1:12 …for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

c. We need to guard the Word of God and deposit it in the lives of others.

When we see the power of the Gospel in our own lives, we will see the value of it in the lives of those around us. When we value it, they will see how valuable it is. If we treat it as only a Sunday thing, they will regard it as nothing. Our children always tend to excess.

Guard the Word of God in your lives. Believe in the power of the Word for your life, and then entrust it to others.

3.  Expect Casualties

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

4.  Celebrate Victories

16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

What makes you distinctive?

Anthony Davis has a distinctive unibrow that he’s proud of. In fact, he has a unibrow patent.

The dictionary defines distinctive as a “noun. 1. A distinguishing mark or quality; a characteristic.”[1]

In his book The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms, Walter B. Shurden identifies four freedoms that have characterized Baptists through the centuries:  Bible freedom soul freedom, church freedom, and religious freedom[2]

These are Baptist “distinctives”. You thought it was mainly ‘baptism by immersion’, but no, these are the distinguishing marks of Baptist churches.

1. Bible freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, must be central in the life of the individual and church and that Christians, with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry, are both free and obligated to study and obey the Scripture.

2. Soul freedom is defined as the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government.

Also known as the priesthood of all believers, soul freedom implies that all believers share as equals in Christ’s Body, the church, and have a priestly role toward God and each other.  Soul freedom affirms our core belief in individual choice.  We believe that each person was created in the image of God, and therefore, is able and responsible, under God, to make moral, spiritual, and religious decisions.[3]

3. Church freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry, male or female, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ.

4. Religious freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation of freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion, and freedom FROM religion, insisting that Caesar is not Christ and Christ is not Caesar.

Now, whether these distinctives characterized the New Testament church are a matter of discussion as we determine what kind of church we want to be. From the consensus that I am gathering, we want to be a Christ-centered, Word-centered church, one which follows the teaching and example of the New Testament. I believe that the number one distinctive we should have is that we are a disciple-making church.

What Distinctives make a Disciple Making Church?

Let’s look at our text and see what God’s Word says our “distinctives” should be:

What are the Distinctives of Ministry Paul imparted to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-16?

A.  Dependence on the Holy Spirit to protect against the flesh.

  • The Wisdom of Man exalts itself against the Wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is the Cross and the expression of the Cross throughout the Word.

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

  1. Religious people will depart from true faith.
  2. Devote themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons: i.e. Satan in the garden – it is ok to do this. (Not demon possessed, but influenced because they exalt their own wisdom above God’s Word.)
  3. People whose conscience has become seared (they have resisted the Holy Spirit and failed the grace of God – bitterness, moral impurity, temporal values)
  4. Determine certain “rules” that you must follow to be ‘sanctified’.
  5. Create barriers to God’s creation, for everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if received with thanksgiving – no barriers to people or things.
  6. Results in an inward focused, fleshly ministry, opposed to the Work of the Holy Spirit.
  7. Man’s philosophy and traditions guides ministry. (Why do we do it this way? Because we have always done it this way)

B.  Honesty with the Word

vs 2: through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared

We don’t close our minds to what the Scriptures really says. We don’t twist it to mean something that is more pleasing to our ideas. We submit our lives to the authority of the Word, not having our consciences seared by resistance or wrong values.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Scripture is exalted and obeyed, taught, used for reproof and correction and training in righteousness, so that we might be competent and equipped for good works.

We do not sear our consciences to permit laziness and apathy in following Christ. You can usually tell that is what is going on in a typical church because the people are not in the Word.

C. Priority of Grace

vs 4: For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

Grace is for the weak, the sinful, the unlovely. If we are honest with each other about our needs and sins, we will avoid false piety and false holiness. We will welcome all into our fellowship, and count on God’s Grace to move us towards Him.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

D. Devotion to the Word and Prayer

vs 5: for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer

We will develop a community centered around the Word and prayer together. Each one of us will know he Word. Each one of us will be praying. This is not limited to the Pastor or Elders or Deacons. Every Member is a priest. No saying “I can’t”, and living with a seared conscience. We are made holy by the Word and prayer!

E. Servants trained in the Word and Doctrine

vs 6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

Our church will be about training every member to be ‘good servants’ of Jesus, trained in the power of God’s word!

F. Trained for Godliness

vs 7: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Amplified Version puts it this way:

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse and avoid irreverent legends (profane and impure and godless fictions, mere grandmothers’ tales) and silly myths, and express your disapproval of them. Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit].

Avoid anything that sidetracks you from training in Godliness. Avoid doing things just because someone says you should to be a good Christian. Do not follow myths or “old wive’s tales.”

My Granny watched over her granddaughters with great care. She taught us what ladies did and did not do. She had a network of neighbors and cousins watching our every move. Finally, she guarded our future fertility-or at least she thought she did. Granny taught us that if we lifted heavy things, we would “rupture ourselves” and be unable to have children.

Any time we were moving, she insisted that many hands make light work. No girl was to show off how strong she was by picking up a really heavy box. The men were supposed to move the heavy items. (Men were apparently not as prone to rupture?) When a friend’s teenage daughter picked up a television set and loaded it on a moving truck by herself, Granny shook her head while we cheered our friend for being so strong.

How do you train for godliness? Does it mean you wear a suit to church, stop going to movies, stop hanging around certain people, do this or that…No those are just outward cleansings, sometimes motivated by some tradition or old wives tale. Godliness is the presence of God in your life. Training for Godliness is exercising faith to see God daily, working on diligently seeking Him (because God rewards those who diligently seek Him-Hebrews 11:6).

Now, if changes in your habits and lifestyle occur because God brings it about, great! But don’t follow what amounts to “old wives tales” about how you should dress and act.

Godliness has value in every way – for today and for eternity.

  • 1 Timothy 4:9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.

G.  Hope set on the Living God

  • 1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Our goal is to be Godly, because our hope is set on the living God. Your hope is usually what drives you. You work hard and save so that one day you hope you can retire. You watch what you eat and exercise because you hope to stay healthy. A wives tale is that you go to church because you hope it gives you a better chance of heaven.

No, if we set our hope on God who lives, who rewards, who loves, who works in our lives, then we will train for godliness. We will be disciples. We will grow in Jesus Christ.

H. We command and teach these things.

  • vs 11: Command and teach these things.

The word for teach implies word of mouth instruction from one person to another. This is relational teaching and commanding. This is discipleship. This is one follower instructing another follower. We are to instruct our people these things.

I. Examples in speech, conduct, love, faith purity

  • vs 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

This is the heart of disciple-making. You don’t just instruct and command, but you demonstrate with your life. Your speech, your conduct, the way you love others, your faith, and your purity of heart and life. When you are making disciples, you spend time together. Your speech will reveal the state of your heart. What you talk about, what you don’t talk about.

Regardless of your age or knowledge or wisdom. When you train for godliness, you will demonstrate the example that God desires.

J. Disciple making requires devotion

  • vs 13:  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

K. Stir up your spiritual gift

  • vs 14:  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

2 Timothy 1:6 6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

L. Immersed in Discipleship

  • vs 15: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

M. Keep a close watch on each other and our teaching

  • vs 16: Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them:

N. We will be overcomers.

  • vs 16b: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

So Should our Church be committed to being a Disciple-Making Church?

  • DO we owe it to Christ?
  • DO we want to reach Sinners with the Power of Christ for their lives?
  • DO we want Grace to overflow in our lives?
  • DO we want to be Overcomers?
  • Do we want to be spiritually FIT?
  • Do we want to know the power of Christ for our every-day lives?

[1] Oxford English Dictionary

[2] Walter B. Shurden,  The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishers, 1993)5.  Shurden arrived at these distinctives by studying historic documents such as denominational documents from the Northern, Southern, American and National Baptist Conventions, the Alliance of Baptists, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and a diversity of European Baptist groups as well as sermons and addresses given at meetings of the Baptist World Alliance from 1905 to 1980.

[3] Ibid, 24.


Who can be a Disciple-Maker? Why should we be a Disciple Making Church?

I want to ask you two questions, because these questions will be before us the next few weeks.

1.  “What is the difference between being a Christian and being a disciple?”

Is there a difference between a convert and a follower?

Is there a difference between a fan and a player?

  • One has seen, and another continually sees.
  • One has encountered, the other continually encounters.
  • The result is transformation. A follower becomes like the one he follows. A player becomes like his teammates (transformed by the coaches)

“We are not so much Christ followers as we are Christ admirers who happily listen to amazing stories about His life and His teachings, then go about our business without the principles imparted making an impact on who we are.”

2.  Why is Disciple-Making so Important?

  • Jesus told us to make disciples.
  • World Philosophy is overpowering.
  • People can be overcome in the wilderness.

Last week Ray looked at 1 Thess. 1. Pastor Ray told us about worldly philosophy that is so prevalent, and how the only way to rescue men from the world is not just to get them saved, but to intentionally make disciples.

Paul, Silas and Timothy were committed to making disciples. A simple belief was not enough to overcome the worldly philosophies that were bombarding the Thessalonians. Paul and his fellow workers realized they must invest time in the new converts to see them grow in Jesus Christ and be overcomers.

1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also with full conviction. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

The Thessalonians became friends with Paul, Silas and Timothy. Not just “sure is hot” “weather friends” but I am struggling with my faith because I’ve been out of work for a year kind of friends. Friends who are with each other in the trenches. Friends who pray together, who seek the Lord together. Friends who talk about problems with family together. Together, together, together. Discipleship is togethership.

George Barna states in his book, Growing True Disciples, “Almost every church in our country has some type of discipleship program or set of activities. Stunningly few churches have a church of disciples”, (Barna 2001, 21).

  • 88% of children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.
  • Approximately  2/3 of the members of Southern Baptist churches attend church only sporadically.
  • The average “evangelical” church in America wins 1.67 persons (less than 2) to Christ and their church each year for every 100 persons who attend that church.
  • 1/3  of church members state their greatest individual needs are not being met by their church.
  • Less than 50% of church members pray for 5 minutes at least twice a week.
  • Only 11% of church members have shared the gospel even once in the last year and 33% have never shared the gospel with anyone.
  • Most church leaders, when asked, cannot even define “Disciple”, and hardly any have been trained to “Make disciples”.[1]

“In a comprehensive study we conducted, we compared the beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors of believers and non-believers…. We concluded that it is difficult for non-Christians to understand Christianity since few born again individuals model a biblical faith (Barna, 63).

The Church in America is failing to live up to its promise; we’re not even coming close to fulfilling it…. Believers are largely indistinguishable from non-believers in how they think and live … If we hope to make a significant difference in the lives of individuals and in the nation’s culture, then we must increase our intentionality, our intensity and improve our strategies” (Barna, 13).

“Discipleship does not happen simply because a church exists. It occurs when there is an intentional and strategic thrust to facilitate spiritual maturity” (Barna, 29).

“My most recent research, described in Maximum Faith, shows how the vast majority of American Christians have denied God His rightful place on the throne of their lives. Our default response, driven by cultural expectations and personal preferences, is to withhold control of our lives so that we, not God, can reign supreme – all under the cover of being “good and responsible Christians.” More often than not, we treat God as our religion consultant and turn to the Bible as an emergency reference book.

Most Americans point to their typical faith practices – e.g., church attendance, Christianeducation involvement, personal Bible study, daily prayer, freely donating money to ministries, participation in a small group, etc. – as evidence of personal piety.

In essence, the born-again community has invited God to reside in our hearts, accepting the special gift of love and forgiveness that He offered, along with His promise of eternal salvation. Sadly, once we felt certain that we had His gift securely in hand, we abandoned Him and have continued to operate by the standards and values of the world, searching for earthly treasures and pleasures. That is why the research has consistently shown over the past two decades that the lives of born-again Christians are essentially indistinguishable from those of people who do not claim Jesus Christ as their savior. We may be “religious” but we are not truly transformed by our faith in and relationship with God. Only a tiny proportion of born again adults get beyond their profession of faith to experience the more robust and significant life that is available through Christ to His followers.

A major reason why few Americans experience the richness of the Christian life is that we do not know what to do beyond reading and memorizing more Bible verses, attending church services more consistently, donating money to worthy causes, volunteering a few hours at church, and discussing our faith in Jesus with family and friends.

And unfortunately, my research reveals that a majority of believers who figure out where the journey goes, and what it takes to maximize the opportunity God grants us by completing the journey to wholeness, instead choose to settle for a less complete and fulfilling life.

Jesus’ Altar Call

Jesus’ altar calls were different. His view of what it meant to be saved was different from the modern church’s feeble definition. Jesus qualified the true heart of repentance by the test of discipleship.

The rich, young ruler ran and stopped Jesus in the street. He inquired, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Lord responded by sharing one of His favorite sermons written by Moses.

The young man replied, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus then raised the bar of discipleship: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor” (Mark 10:17–22). Scripture is clear, this young man walked away sad.

The rich, young ruler was willing to be a convert, but he was not willing to pay the cost of discipleship. He wanted a religion that was convenient for his lifestyle apart from the lordship of Christ. His desire for convenient religion left him where it leaves every insincere person — sad and despondent.

Christianity without discipleship is Christianity without Christ. This kind of discipleship becomes nothing more than an abstract idea, a myth that has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as a living Lord and Master. Without real discipleship there is trust in God, but there is not a genuine following of Christ. Cheap grace is a deadly enemy of the church.

As we go forward with forming “GraceLife Community Church” I hope you will see the need to form a church whose culture and core is intentionally built upon relationships which are growing together in Jesus Christ. After all, that is discipleship.

1 Timothy 1:12-20 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

A. Christ Values Faithfulness

  • 1 Tim 1:12-I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful

Christ doesn’t look for your leadership skills, or knowledge or athletic ability. God looks for one quality in disciple-makers-faithfulness.

  • What does faithfulness entail?
  1. Stick-to-itiveness
  2. Single eye
  3. Deep appreciation
  4. Common goal
  5. Not double-minded

B. Christ Appoints Sinners To Service

  • vs 12b-13 – appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief
1.  God’s mercy and grace transforms us with faith and love in Christ.

Why does God use sinners? He values broken vessels, so that the power is of Him. 

2.  God wants His grace to overflow from us to others.
  • vs 14 – and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus
3.  Grace always flows when we are emptied of self at the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:27-30 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

C. Christ Desires to Save Sinners

  • vs 15, 16 – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem and wept as he saw thousands enslaved by sin, overcome by the world. He desired to gather her children up into his arms as a Mother Hen gathers her brood, but they would not come. So Christ saw that He could take fellow sinners, broken vessels, and use them to reach out to fellow sinners.

1.  Sinners are to be examples
2.  Patience and Endurance are on display in Discipleship

Not our patience or our endurance, but Christ’s. Christ endured to the bitter end for our sakes, and He runs alongside us in a marathon, not a sprint. His perfect patience is displayed when we come alongside other believers. His patience with us leads others to believe.

3.  Discipleship is based on transparent relationships rich in mercy.

D. Christ Desires Soldiers who Overcome

  • Vs 17,18 – To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.

When one is overwhelmed by their sins, they realize they need a Savior.
When two admit they struggle with sin, they realize they need an Overcoming, Conquering King!

1.  Discipleship takes believers and leads them along three prioritized paths:
    1. The first priority is a growing commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ.
    2. The second priority is a growing commitment to the Body of Christ, your face-to-face group of disciples.
    3. The third priority is a growing commitment to the work of Christ in your world. 

These do grow on each other, but they also must be engaged at the same time. You need growth in all three to stay healthy in your Christian walk. You need growth in all three to overcome the world.

The disciple-making church operates with a specific definition of discipleship to Jesus.

Jesus defined disciples as those who forsook all to gain all of Him! We can dumb down discipleship, but we will get what we ask for. If we ask for small commitment, we will get small disciples. If we ask for sometimes commitment, we will get sometimes disciples. A true disciple maintains his or her relationship with Jesus Christ 24/7, 365 days a year. A true disciple follows the King of Kings!

2.  Discipleship Grows Overcomers
  • vs 18b that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience

Luke 11:21-22 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Is your life a contradiction to discipleship?

  • A disciple who does not grow, who does not have the purpose of growing, in their discipleship to Jesus is a contradiction in terms.
  • A stagnant or comfortable disciple is a contradiction.
  • A disciple who does not change and grow is a contradiction.
3.  Discipleship Does Not takes the Path of Least Resistance.

2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

4.  Disciples will have authority when Christ reigns

Revelation 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

Revelation 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

E. Christ Desires to be our Helmsman

  • vs 19, 20 – By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Our life can be seen as a majestic ship sailing the oceans with its tall mast and sails filled with wind, gliding across the waves with the grace of its maker. Disciples sail the seas of life guided by the direction of our helmsman Jesus Christ. It is the trust and faith we have in him that allows our lives to be directed by His will.

Hymenaeus and Alexander followed Christ for awhile. For some reason, their faith faltered and they found themselves overcome by the waves of the world, and finally their lives were shipwrecked upon the rocks of the shore.

They rejected Jesus Christ as their guide and began to take control of their own lives. They cast the Lord “overboard” and took control of their own lives, steering as they willed. Sadly, their ship wrecked upon the shoals of this world.

Shipwrecks are caused by carelessness and indifference.  (Like the captain of the Cruise Ship that recently sunk) The seas of life are very treacherous, filled with hidden obstacles that can tear a hole in our hull. Only Christ can guide us safely through. Jesus knows every obstacle that will be in our path. The Lord knows what we need and He knows where we need to go. We worry about what is over the next horizon and how to survive the coming storms. Our hearts are filled with fear as the storms of life pound upon us and we cry out to the helmsman for relief. One who is a disciple has been trained in how to stay close to the Savior and interpret the signals He provides.

Hymenaeus and Alexander lost their faith. Their hearts were corrupted and they rejected God’s will and turned to their own desires. Paul declares in II Timothy 2:18 that Hymenaeus (and Philetus) “have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some” (II Tim 2:18 ). Their actions not only caused them to lose their souls but also impacted others whose faith was “upset.”

Should we be disciples? Most definitely. Can you be a Christian and refuse to be a disciple? I don’t see how.

Who can be a Disciple and a Disciple maker (they are one and the same)?

Any sinner who decides to be faithful to Christ and allow Him to lead his life, because you want to be an overcomer.

So Why Should a Church be committed to being a Disciple-Making Church?

  • Because we owe it to Christ.
  • Because it allows Sinners to reach other sinners
  • Because it allows Grace to overflow in our lives
  • Because it produces Overcomers
  • Because it keeps us ship-shape.
  • Because we will be drawn into the power of Christ for our every-day lives.

[1] (Barna 2001)