Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’


2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

The Christian life centers around the Cross of Christ. The Cross is the wisdom and power of God. The Cross and what it provides for us is to be the center of our worship. The Cross accomplished the three delights of God, his Love, His Justice and His Righteousness. We have read in His Word and sang of the overwhelming Love that we have through the forgiveness granted at the Cross.

Now through the Word we apply the justice of God to our lives in the Truth of Jeus Christ. Through the Cross we have been given new natures, with soft hearts, receptive to the Word of God taking root and transforming us into the design and Justice that God desires.

This morning the Justice of the Cross takes us to 2 Timothy 3.

Chapter One-The Power of God in View

So far in our look at Biblical Discipleship, we have seen in chapter one that the Disciple must always have the power of God in view. This is a supernatural work, not a work of human design or wisdom. Only God’s Power is sufficient to transform a sinner into a saint!

Our salvation, our ministry, our service and our discipleship is all from a position of God’s Power at work in us!

In chapter two we saw that even though the power is of God, the responsibility lies with us. We are partners with God in the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. We are partners with Him and that partnership requires a Holy view of His Word. His Word is nothing profane or common, but it is the power of God to salvation!

Chapter Two-The Responsibilities of a Disciple are in view.

Six Pictures of a Disciple in 2 Timothy Two

(1) A Soldier (vv.3-4)

(2) An Athlete (v.5)

(3) A Farmer (v.6)

(4) A Workman (v.15)

(5) A Vessel (v.21)

(6) A Servant (v.24).

In 2nd Timothy Three, we see the Burden of Paul that drove him to make disciples, and to grow disciple makers.

I. The Problem that drove Paul

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-9

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (times of difficulty)

Chalepós was used in Matthew 8:28 to describe two demon-possessed men. They were so “fierce” or “difficult” that you could not pass them without an armed escort.

Matthew 8:28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.

These “Last Days” will be difficult times. You will need an armed escort to survive. That armed escort is the disciple who knows how to handle the Word of Truth!

Truly, we are experiencing difficult, stressful and grievous times. The world economy is perilous, crimes seem to be more and more horrible, nations fighting, families are threatened, our private lives are spied on, and there is an increase in stress that is unprecedented.

Despite all the material comforts, many have no true and lasting peace and joy in their hearts. They are filled with worry and uncertainty, not knowing what may happen to them and to their jobs tomorrow, not to mention the stress they suffer from work, the difficult and grievous times they encounter due to the broken relationship with their friends or their loved ones. Why?

Because the church has become man-centered. This is what Paul saw for the future…

People, pastors, church leaders would become “swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Lovers of a comfortable gospel will never be true disciples.

The key reason is due to the self-centered heart and lifestyle of human beings.

Paul refers to “silly women” “burdened by sin” with “diverse lusts.” This happened because…

1. The man of the house has neglected his responsibility to protect his family.

2. The truth of God’s Word has no power to cleanse sin, because the man denies its power in his life.

3. Because the man has neglected his responsibilities, his household is immature and subject to immature and wrong passions.

When you become self-centered to the point that God’s Word has no power to cleanse and grow you into Christ, your household will suffer. The church will suffer. There are people whose intent is to destroy the Kingdom of God. This is from the very heart of Satan.

What makes these destroyers so dangerous, is that they make sense. They sound rational, they present such convincing knowledge, that they must be speaking the truth. But if you know the power of the Word, and the power of the Cross is at work in your life, you will know that their message is opposed to the Truth of Christ, and they are corrupted in their thinking (not yielded and transformed) and as a result they are disqualified from the faith. The word is “ADOKIMOS”

They devalued the word of God to a position below their own wisdom. As a result, the Life of Christ is devalued, and future families are destroyed.

II.  The Promise that consumed Paul

2 Timothy 3:10-15 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

A. Paul was consumed with the Word of God.

  • His teaching, conduct, aim in life was all centered upon Jesus Christ.
  • Even his sufferings were because he was consumed with Christ

B. Paul tells us there are two promises the consume Him

(1) Everyone who desires to live a godly life will be persecuted.

(2) These scriptures will make you wise for salvation-vs 15

Evil imposters will go on from bad to worse. They will deceive and be deceived

This is why we must continue in this Word! The Word of God coupled with a Living relationship with Jesus Christ is our salvation from this evil world, from these perilous times and from evil men.

The wisdom  of the Scriptures contrasts with the folly of man’s wisdom as seen in verse nine!

This is the Promise that must consume our lives!

III. The Power that propelled Paul

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

Paul had a tremendous belief in the Word of God[1]. This was no mere book to be studied and admired. These words are God-breathed. They are the very breath of God for your life. When you pick this Bible up, open its pages and begin to read, the very breath of God is falling upon your neck, upon your heart, upon your life.

God breathed into a lifeless lump of clay and it became Adam. When you allow this Word to breath upon your heart and soul, it will impart the very Life of God to you. If it fails to bring Life to you, it is not God’s fault. He is Life! His Word will always be life! You simply fail to believe. You let your doubts possess you.

You need to let the Word of God possess you! Wake up and feel the breath of God upon your soul! Wake up and feel the Power of this Word for Life, for God’s presence!

This Word is profitable

This breath of God teaches (instructs) you how to live in this ungodly world. This breath of God teaches you how to have peace and strength in perilous times. This breath of God teaches you how to protect your family from evil men, from the philosophies of the world that destroy families. This breath of God is the Power to lve in triumph over circumstances!

This breath of God reproves. Not only does the breath of God convict our heart, but it shines His truth upon our spirit and soul, and paints a picture of the wrong path we are on. This is the image of Paul on the Damascus road, seeing Jesus, seeing how he was persecuting Him

This breath corrects. The picture is of setting us straight! It sets us on the right course, the course of His design! God breathes upon us when we are off course, when we are not following His design! This Word is powerful to establishing you firmly upon Christ, making you a rock that can never be moved! This is why I am convinced of the need of brokenness in our lives. When God has broken you because of your mistake, or your going along a wrong path, and you respond with repentance and humility to His correcting breath, from that time on, you will always be looking for His breath, submitting to His breath, yielding to the slightest whisper!

This breath trains (chastens). This is the same Greek word in Hebrews 12:5-9. The picture is one of a Father who trains his young son through exercises, discipline and even punishment. The goal of all that happens growth into God’s Righteousness. The truth is that our righteousness is already in Christ, and available for our lives. However, this world pulls at us and gets us out of Christ. We are pulled into self-reliance, self-centeredness, away from resting in Christ. This Word is designed to breath upon our heart and life and chasten us to center our lives upon Christ and His righteousness!

Hebrews 12:5-9 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

The Man of the Word is the Man of God

1. Competent – artios

Complete, sufficient, completely qualified. Pictures a man who is complete because all his being (body soul and spirit) are whole, in balance and are what they are supposed to be, so that man can serve God’s destined purpose[2]

2. Fully Equipped – exartizo

An intensive form of competent. The picture being that not only is the Man of the Word all together and complete and fully qualified to achieve God’s purpose for his life, but He complete to the extent he is thoroughly outfitted to do the job[3]!

to put in appropriate condition. To complete entirely, spoken of time (Acts 21:5); to furnish or fit completely (2 Tim. 3:17). In this last text, the use of exartízō and its root, ártios, appears redundant but actually conveys a subtle nuance. Paul states that inspired Scripture can make the man of God ártios, competent, proficient, adept or capable. This is followed by a subordinate clause containing the perf. pass. part. of exartízō which is not simply an intens. form of ártios, as though Paul were saying, “that the man of God may be competent having been made very competent” (a.t.). Rather, exartízō means to equip, outfit, furnish

The Word of God transforms you internally into the Justice (Design) of God and works that outwardly in the Righteousness of God, making you a mighty man of God (from the inside out)

Are you a man or woman of the Word? Are you competent and complete in your Christian walk? Are you fully equipped for victory in your Christian walk?

Perhaps you should make a decision before the Cross this morning, dedicating your life to God’s Justice, asking Him to freely work His justice in your life.

We come once again before our King, declaring our devotion to Him and to His Word. We believe the power of His Word to change our lives, to renew our spirit, to direct our soul and free our body from the law of sin!

Now let us see His proclamation for us to follow this week

IV.  The Proclamation for Each of us as we LIVE

2 Timothy 4:1-8 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

1. Proclaim the Word as a man of the Word.

As it breathes on you, breath it on others. Realize you don’t do it all the time, but like it says, be ready!

2. Make it fully known to all that you serve Jesus Christ.

If Christ is your life, He will be visible to everyone around you.

3. Be willing to be poured out.

Remember Mary, who poured out her inheritance, her hopes, her dreams, her future to anoint the head and feet of Jesus. Never fear the waste of sacrifice for Him. It may be a waste to the world, but to Him it will be remembered for all eternity

4. Live your life in full view of the Righteous Judge.

You will receive a reward. You will discover that it is worth it to diligently seek God. It is worth it to have your life consumed for the Word of God. Never become so involved with this life that you do not want Him to come! Be so in love with Christ that you are anticipating His return!


[1] “All Scripture is God-inspired,” not only the Old Testament, in which alone Timothy was taught when a child (2Ti 3:15), but the New Testament books according as they were recognized in the churches which had men gifted with “discerning of spirits,” and so able to distinguish really inspired utterances, persons, and so their writings from spurious. Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 TIMOTHY”.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ἄρτιος”

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ἐξαρτίζω

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2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

In 2 Timothy One we see the Power of God in view.

(1) Verse 1: The promise of God

(2) Verse 6: The gift of God

(3) Verse 7: God has given us the spirit of power

(4)  Verse 8: Be a partaker of the Gospel according to the power of God.

(5)  Verse 9: We have a holy calling according to His purpose and grace

(6)  Verse 10: He has abolished death

(7)   Verse 11: He appoints us

(8)  Verse 12: He is able to keep

Our salvation, our ministry, our service and our discipleship is all from a position of God’s Power at work in us!

In 2 Timothy Two we have our responsibilities as disciples in view.

Here Paul is placing demands upon Timothy as if it was left up to him to minister the Gospel. The two chapters seem to be against each other, for if God is the Doer, how could Timothy, or you or I for that matter, be the Doer?

When we are assembled in Heaven, not one of us will sing a song containing the words, “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit and to me!”

I think our eyes will be opened up to see all that the Grace of our Lord has accomplished. But, we must accept the words of Paul as to our commitment and accountability.

When you are given a priceless deposit as a trust, you have a tremendous and serious responsibility to take care of that deposit.

We have each been entrusted with the Word of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we must accept that one day we will be held accountable for how we have handled that trust.

The truth is that while Christ has provided the gospel –(vs 8) “Remember Jesus Christ …” (2:8) — He has also committed to us a responsibility for the gospel, a ministry that involves more than a casual commitment. (v. 10) “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus …”

The eternal plans of God are brought to pass through the sacrificial labors of His servants. It is the work of God to bring the elect to eternal salvation and glory (1:9) but Paul claimed that he was working and travailing in order that the elect might obtain salvation.

Six Pictures of a Disciple

(1)  A Soldier (vv.3-4)

(2)  An Athlete (v.5)

(3)  A Farmer (v.6)

(4)  A Workman (v.15)

(5)  A Vessel (v.21)

(6)  A Servant (v.24).

We already looked at the first three, but I want to point out something which will relate to what we talk about today.

1.   The Good Soldier (vv.3-4)

a. The soldier is looks upward.

b. His whole desire is “to please him who has enrolled him“.

We need the upward look. We need always to be seeking to please Him who has called us to be His soldiers.

Pleasing our Savior in all we do is the picture of the soldier.

2.   The Athlete Contending in the Games (v.5)

a. The athlete looks inward

      • To have himself in the peak of fitness,
      • In full control of his powers,
      • In complete readiness for the race

b. Self-discipline governed by obedience

Paul goes on to say that he must contend lawfully if he is to be crowned so, while the athlete looks inward, he must also be governed by obedience to the rules.

Self-discipline expressed in obedience is the picture of the athlete.

3.   The Farmer (v.6)

a. His look is outward (upon the fields)

      • The field is the world, which needs the seed of the Word of God.
      • Requires work, mud on your boots, back ache, rough hands, dirt under your nails.
      • First to enjoy the crop

That which costs nothing earns nothing: where there are no pains there will be no gains. So this picture of the farmer represents the outward look.

b. Effort leading to Reward is the picture of the farmer.

4.   The Unashamed Workman (vv.14-17)

a. The upward look

      •  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved” (v.15)
      •  Looking at his boss to gauge his performance

b. Self-care (not to be ashamed)

c. Fulfilling his responsibility (charge them in the sight of the Lord 14)

d. What does God think of this?

e. Your service is always before the sight of God.

2 Timothy 2:15 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Your regard for the Word of God is the standard of your “worth” before God.

Now we can’t all be scholars, but we should all know how to rightly handle the Word of Truth. We can all be grounded in the basics of the Bible, grounded to the point of being a “DISCIPLE” Discipleship is simply that, a commitment to a basic grounding in the Word of God, whereby you are built up into Jesus Christ. In Christ we are approved, but if you do not know the basics of Jesus, who He is to you, what He does for you, what He promises you, how can you even consider calling yourself a workman.

With God, you are either “approved” or “not approved”.

The standard for either is not whether you clean up on Sunday and go to church, not whether you listen to rock n roll or KLUV, not whether you hoard your money or give it generously. God looks at the way you regard His Word, and whether His Word has impacted your life in an “everyday” kind of way.

God will test your mettle

met·tle  (mtl)n.

1. Courage and fortitude; spirit: troops who showed their mettle in combat.

2. Inherent quality of character and temperament.

He uses the Word of God to build your mettle-Joshua 1:8-every word. Why is the Word the test of the “mettle”?

We see this in:

Romans 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

The word for depraved or reprobate is “Adokimos”. It is the antonym of “Dokimos”. One who does not acknowledge God in their life is ADOKIMOS, or rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • „ a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • „ a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • „ a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • „ a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • „ a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • „ the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

The end result is: ”they refused to have God in their knowledge (ASV) so God gave them up to a reprobate, or depraved mind. They did not acknowledge the Word of God for their lives, so God rejected them and gave them up to an unfit mind, or a mind devoid of God’s presence or influence.

„ Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.

„ The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

f.    An unapproved Workman ministers catastrophe to the hearers

If we do not maintain a mind engaged upon the Word of God, then we will deal in words that are a catastrophe to the hearers: (v 14)remind them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers and (v 17) will spread like gangrene.

katastrophé; gen. katastropés, fem. noun from katastréphō <G2690>, to overthrow, overturn, ruin. A catastrophe, overthrow, destruction, as of cities (2 Pet. 2:6). [1]

What a tremendous responsibility we have! When we stray from this precious deposit of the  Word of God, these three forces will go into operation:

      • Words to no profit
      • Words that are a catastrophe to those who hear
      • Words that eat like a cancer.

The only safeguard from this is rightly handling “the word of truth “

      • „ Must have diligence.
      • „ Will be unashamed, regardless of what happens

The Dokimos Workman “handles aright” the word of truth.

The word means ‘holding a straight course’ or ‘making a straight road’ and suggests a sort of Roman road that went like an arrow to its goal. That is the picture given of how God’s workman handles His Word, he takes that Word in its plain straightforward meaning, driving, as it were, a straight highway from one end of it to the other, so that the simple Word of God is plainly and directly driven into the hearer’s heart.

From ὀρθός straight and τέμνειν to cut. Hence, to cut straight, as paths; to hold a straight course; generally, to make straight; to handle rightly. Vulg. recte tractare. The thought is that the minister of the gospel is to present the truth rightly, not abridging it, not handling it as a charlatan (see on 2 Corinthians 2:17), not making it a matter of wordy strife (verse 14), but treating it honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner. Various homiletic fancies have been founded on the word, as, to divide the word of truth, giving to each hearer what he needs: or, to separate it into its proper parts: or, to separate it from error: or, to cut straight through it, so that its inmost contents may be laid bare. Others, again, have found in it the figure of dividing the bread, which is the office of the household steward; or of dividing the sacrificial victims; or of cutting a straight furrow with the plow.[2]

Do not sugar coat it, do not bend it to be easy in the ears, do not selectively handle just the good verses…

5.   The Vessel unto Honour (vv.20-21)

As the athlete was disciplined and purged of unhealthy things, so is the vessel of honor. Once again we are:

a.    The Vessel looks inward

    • What must be purged
    • Then the vessel can be used by the Master for His honor
    • Know your Name-Name of the Lord

19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

b.     Know where you are-the Great House of God

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.

  • Remember the Example of Abraham and his men

When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.” Genesis 14:14

“His trained men, born in his house.” The reference is really to a household, and it is in this connection that the word is used in the New Testament with regard to God’s house. We have been born into a household (Hebrews 3:6), and this household is meant, above all other things, to be a place of spiritual training and education.

Whatever else Abram’s men were trained in, they were certainly trained for war. We also have to learn that the House of God is the place of training for spiritual conflict. The household of God is the relationship and fellowship of believers: it is not a place, but the relationship in the Holy Spirit into which we are born again. It is the sphere of our training, so that we do not live our lives in the realm of mere theories, but are subject to the disciplining work of the Holy Spirit.

According to Paul, one of the great purposes of the Scriptures is that we may know “how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15)

c. Do House Cleaning

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

We are “in a great house” (2 Timothy 2:20-21). Let us so respond to the Spirit’s training and sanctifying work that we may be vessels unto honour, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.

We must place our stake in the holiness that God wants for our life

The Holy Spirit can’t do for us what we are unwilling to do ourselves

      • If  you constantly surround yourselves with pigs, or eat pig slop, or play in pig filth, don’t count on the Holy Spirit to magically transform you into Cinderella or Cinderfella Christian
      • The prodigal at least had to step out of the pig sty and make his way for home
      • There is no box of instant holiness
      • There is only the daily call to mortify the deeds of the flesh
      • Then we can grow in holiness by daily depending upon the righteousness of Christ.

d.  Holiness fits us for service.

      • „ We must be willing to be set apart for His use.
      • 2 Timothy 2:21 set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Here is Paul’s exercise plan for Godliness

Paul now gives us four items in a program of practical holiness:

1. There is something to set behind us.
“flee youthful passions”

The word for passion or lust (KJV) simply means “desires”. It can be wrong desires, or good desires. With youthful attached we think of teenagers and their fleshly desires. But the verse actually means “childish desires.” We must constantly put those things behind us that belong to immaturity. As a mature believer, you leave behind childish indulgences or immature ways. Godliness requires us to grow up and seek maturity.

2. There is something to set before us.
“pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace”

Paul lists these virtues as a “holy string of pearls”, strung together without conjunctions between them. They present a beautiful cluster.

1) Righteousness means all that is right in the sight of God.

2) We must pursue that righteousness in a spirit of absolute belief (faith) in the promises of God.

If God has given us a command, then it is right to obey it; if He has given us a promise it is right to believe it. These first two speak directly to us about ourselves.

3) The next two, love and peace, indicate our behavior towards others;

We must pursue the aim of loving one another. It must not be a case of sometimes loving and sometimes hating; not half-loving nor barely tolerating or being satisfied provided we do not actually fall out or speak harshly.

In addition to love, we must live in peace with others, even those who would be our enemy.

  • Love and peace should be ever before us.
3. There is something to set alongside us.
“along with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (v.22).

Godliness is never achieved in isolation. Nor is it achieved without others praying for you. We are called to pursue Godliness with a praying fellowship.

4. There is something to avoid entirely
V 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

6.  The Servant of the Lord (vv.24-26)

a. The servant looks outward and moves toward people around him.

      • He must not strive but be gentle to all.
      • He must be “apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves”.
      • He is after a crop.

Because, “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” He is going out to those who have not yet repented in order that they may be rescued from the snare of Satan and be brought home to God.

This title “The Servant of the Lord” is precious because it was the one which Isaiah chose as he looked forward to the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 42:1 1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

Here, then, we are called to model ourselves upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are six things said here about the Lord’s servant:

1.    How he Acts & Reacts to others

                    1) (24) He does not strive, or He is not quarrelsome (RSV). The Greek is very dramatic — “He does not go to war”.

The Lord’s servant must not be a person spoiling for a fight, anxious to pick a quarrel; he is not a controversial person, he does not go to war.

4) He is “patient or forbearing”.

If the first tells us how he acts this word describes how he reacts: he is tolerant and takes everything that is thrown at him. The word seems to have a basic meaning of acceptance of hostility. He accepts it. He obviously does not run from it; he does not give ground; but neither does he hit back.

2.     His Attitude to others and himself

2) He is gentle, and this matches up with

5) which speaks of his meekness.

Both of these concern our attitude. The first is towards others, to whom he maintains an attitude of gentleness and kindness, ever seeking the other’s welfare.

The second speaks of his attitude about himself. It is an attitude of meekness. He will always put the other person first and himself second. I can only express this idea of meekness by inventing a word, which is ‘unselfassertive’. That is what meekness really means. So the servant of the Lord will assert the rights of others in kindness and gentleness but maintain a non-assertive attitude towards himself.

3.    His Methods with others

3) He is apt to teach ( a concerned teacher) and he

6) correcting his opponents

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

He also corrects hose whom he serves. He is devoted to the task of communicating the truth. His sole and over-riding preoccupation is to share the truth with others. He is apt to teach. The word “correcting” relates to the bringing up of a child and suggests the sharing of the truth appropriately to the condition of the person to whom the testimony is being made.

7.   Conclusion

So is it the work of the Lord or is discipleship up to the servants of the Lord?

Here in Chapter 2 we find the answer, for the chapter which has begun with grace, now ends also with grace.

a. There is grace received (v.1)

2 Timothy 2:1 1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

b. There is grace bestowed (v.26).

While there is considerable doubt as to what in fact is the correct detailed translation of verse 26, there can be no doubt about the main meaning, which is that as the servant of the Lord reaches out with the truth to the unconverted, these receive the grace of repentance and so are recovered out of the snare of the devil.

If  we empower ourselves with the grace that is in Christ Jesus and so become fashioned in His likeness, we then become the people through whom that grace may be bestowed on the needy and unconverted.


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 845.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2 Timothy 2:15”.


2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

The Aptitude of a Disciple Maker

„ What is an “aptitude”? n. 1. An inherent ability, as for learning; a talent: an aptitude for mathematics.

  • Being a Disciple Maker is not based upon your ability, but the ability of the Word of God!
  • Based on One Premise – The Word of God cannot be bound. The Word of God is powerful!

Last week we focused on our attitude toward Disciple-Making. Your attitude determines how you value this Word of God. Do you believe it is life-giving? Do you believe it is a sacred deposit? Do you believe it is of greater value than anything in this world? Sadly, many ‘Christians’ have the attitude of the Jews that Malachi was writing to, 400 years before Christ’s coming.

Malachi 3:14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?

For the Word of God to be profitable to us, or beneficial, it must be mixed with faith.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

This is why the Jews were overcome in the wilderness. Even though they saw evidence of God, even though they had a messenger who talked directly to God, the word of God did not profit them, and they did not have faith to belief in the power of God, nor in His promises. Because they failed to believe they were overcome and perished in the wilderness, never receiving the promise of God’s blessing as symbolized by the Promised Land.

I am here to proclaim to you that this Word of God is indeed Powerful and worth giving your whole life for! It is profitable, it has the power to save, the power to heal, the power to make whole! It is the power to save us from this sin sick world. It is the power to make us sons of God. It is the power for Life, Abundant Life and it is the power for Eternal Life!

Whether you believe it and value it is up to you. If you allow your heart to get hard, no amount of preaching or begging or pleading will get you to believe!

If you do not value this Word, you will not see the value of intentional discipleship. You will not see the value of Gospel Track Discipleship. I am praying that our hearts will be softened and our eyes open to the power of God’s Word, and that He would renew within your heart a longing for Jesus Christ, a longing that will develop a desire for discipleship in your life, and a willingness to learn how to disciple others.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The Word of God created the universe. The Word of God holds this world together. By the Word of God we exist. Without the Word of God this universe would fall apart.

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Paul says in our text that the Word of God is NEVER bound. It is always powerful!

This World was designed according to God’s Word. God wants His Word to bring His design into your life. It is a precious deposit, one which is profitable for your life. Justice in your life is through God’s Word! For God’s Word to bring justice into your life, for God’s Word to have profit in your life, there are three-

APTITUDES which we must have or develop.

1.   Soldier

2.   Athlete

3.   Farmer

If you can lay hold of the qualities involved in being a soldier, an athlete and a farmer, this Word will enrich your life, and you will want to share its value with other believers so their life can be enriched.

It will not because you are a super talented Christian.  It will because the Word produces the desire within you! This is what Paul meant in 2 Thessalonians 3:1:

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you

Is the Word of God having “free course” in your life?

Jesus encountered a strange thing when He returned to Nazareth and preached. Here was the town he had grown up in, worked in. Everyone knew who he was, who his family was. They were amazed at what Jesus preached, but it was marked with unbelief. They could not believe that Jesus was capable of being something more than just the guy who fixed broken chairs, or made furniture. So most of the town did not belief in what he was saying. Here is how Mark describes what happened.

Mark 6:5-6 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

Because they did not believe the Word of the Lord, it severely hindered the “free course” of the power of the Word. Jesus could do a few small miracles, but their unbelief prevented Him from doing so much more.

If we want the Word of God to have ‘free course” in our lives, to profit our lives, to allow God to accomplish all that He wants for our lives, we need to work on this “belief” factor. We need to ramp up our treatment of God’s Word.

Let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:1-13 and discover why the aptitude of a Soldier, an Athlete and a Farmer are so important to seeing the power of the Word in our lives.

1. Paul tells young Timothy to build up through grace:

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

    • Grace strengthens us as we follow Christ.

2. Be a banker with the Word of God

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.

3. Be like a Good Soldier

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

    •  Willingness to share in suffering

„ A Soldier realizes he has a job to do, a job that requires sacrifice of personal freedom and luxuries. „ The task at hand is the priority, and requires 110% of our attention.

„ You can lose your life by not training or not being attentive.

A. Keep from being entangled

    • „ Entangled by wants
    • „ Entangled by failures
    • „ Entangled by inadequacies
    • „ Entangled by worries

B. Keep your heart trained upon the one who enlisted you.

    • „ Long battle, we need His strength
    • „ He enlisted us, He will train us
    • „ We must listen and believe.

C. It is Jesus you seek to please.

    • „ We please Him when we believe what He says
    • „ We please Him when we pay attention to what He says

4. Be like an Athlete

5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

    • Seek the crown
    • Follow dedicated regimen

„ Victory is only a tenth of a second difference. Phelps qualified for 8th place in the 400 Individual medley at 4:13:33. „ Laszlo Cseh was 9th at 4:13:40=„ 7/100 of a second.

„ Only 3½ seconds separated 1st from 8th place.

  1. Have the heart of a competitor
  2. Follow the rules
    • „ A great long jumper must make his mark.
    • „ A great sprinter cannot leave too early.
    • „ Rules are important for the integrity of the games.
    • „ God has a design that must be followed for our lives.
    • „ There is mercy, but you can never presume upon it.

„ God’s Word and Justice will always prevail, and belief in His Word is rule number one. You cannot be lackadaisical and expect God to always bless you.

„ Last time an athlete presumed he would win if he simply showed up; he was beaten by a tortoise.

5. Be like a Farmer

6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

  1. Committed
  2. No time off when the work is to be done
  3. Timing is critical
  4. Soil must be prepared and taken care of
  5. Patience as the crop grows.
  6. Faith that God will make it grow, that rain will be provided.
  7. Trust that God will reward your belief and hard work.
  8. You get to share in the fruit!

„ Heb 11:6- must belief that He is and that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

6. Understand What the Lord Wants for You.

7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

  • Here is the commonality He wants us to see:
  1. They all must be diligent
  2.  They all must be faithful
  3.  There is an element of faith
  4.  There must be a dependency on the Lord to make each successful.

7.   Always remember it is about Jesus

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,

8.   Believe in the Power of the Word

9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

„ God’s Word is never bound.  We simply refuse to let it be that valuable deposit in our lives. „ So we have nothing to give to those around us.

  • Don’t allow your limitations to hinder the Work of the Gospel

9.   Release the Power of Jesus Christ

10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

10.     Realize the Power you Have in Christ

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

  • Do you believe your Regeneration?
  • Do you believe the Life of Jesus Christ is your life?
  • Do you believe you reign with Him
  • Do you believe He is faithful even when we are faithless?
  • He is always faithful, even when we are faithless.

„ Never be at Ease in your Unbelief

Mark 16:14 The disciples were reclining. They were at ease in their unbelief. They were more concerned about their bellies than they were their hard hearts. Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. They had refused to believe the report that Jesus was risen and alive!

The disciples were allowing a fleshly thing to cloud a spiritual realityTheir focus on what was in the past hardened their heart to what was true in the now! This is true of Christians today.

We feed our hearts on what God has not done or failed to do. Whenever we dwell on what has not happened, we foster the atmosphere for the spirit of offense and bitterness to arise and then thrive. When we dwell on what has not happened, we legitimize unbelief. We even excuse unbelief as normal. So we promote a sense of justification for not believing God.

Jesus rebuked that attitude in His disciples. He rebukes that attitude now! That attitude and thinking has to die! Christians are at ease in their unbelief. They are reclining at the table of fleshly attitudes and thinking. While we feed our bellies, the world is crying out for spiritual truth that will change their lives. While we are content in our unbelief our neighbors are crying out for something worth believing in.

Discipleship is all about taking people into their Destiny with the Power of the Risen Christ

Too often the Church focuses on keeping people from “sin “instead of taking people into their destiny with the power of the risen Christ. Churches that provide excuses for falling short of and not believing the power of Christ are merely promoters of “religion,” for God’s Word says religion is “form without power!” (2 Tim 3:5)

The area of our greatest unbelief is in our prayers.

So much of the content of our praying is for things we already possess in Christ, but fail to believe. So we labor to ask God for things we already have. We expose our unbelief through our boring prayers. We fail to ask God for things we do not possess because we fail to believe what God has given us. No wonder prayer is laborious and cursory to most Christians. No wonder there is a prevailing attitude that their prayers never reach the ceiling! Our prayers are often exercises in unbelief!

Churches are to be houses of prayer. The God purpose of prayer is to produce JOY in the experience of the believer.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Prayer is not to twist God’s arm, or to make us seem more spiritual. Prayer is to encourage our belief in the reality of Jesus. Jesus wants prayer to take us into fullness of JOY! JOY is the currency of Heaven! God reserves JOY as the reward for the suffering. Christ endured the cross for the JOY that was set before Him. The reality of Christ will deposit the currency of heaven in our lives. JOY is the currency of Heaven! JOY is the result of prayer! Jesus says to all faithful servants who live with His power in their lives, “Well done…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

God wants us to feast on belief in the power of the Name of Jesus. Prayer is designed to be a breakthrough into His heavenly JOY! Prayer is the expenditure of belief in return for the heavenly currency. If we pray only for that which we already possess, we will never experience the breakthrough of JOY. We will never discover the riches of God’s heavenly currency!

Never allow our prayers to contradict what God has already promised. Our unbelief closes heaven’s resources to us. Closed heavens are between our ears. Failure to know JOY is between our ears! We limit our God because our unbelief does not want to take hold of His power and JOY, even when He is standing in front of us with outstretched arms!

This is why Paul prayed so fervently for us:

Ephesians 1:18-19 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…

Paul saw Jesus, saw His power, and saw that power in His life. Paul experienced JOY even in prison, even in the stockades, even holding flotsam in the middle of the ocean. Paul’s eyes were opened and his heart was on fire for the realities of Jesus Christ! He could see the greatness of the power within Him, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Paul never reclined in unbelief after that vision.

Our Vision should FIRE our Heart!

Christians have no excuse for not seeing the same vision. The vision is there for all to see. If we fail to believe, the hardness of our heart is exposed.

When Jesus was baptized, Matthew writes, “immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (Matthew 3:16). The picture is of the heavens being divided, rolled back, suddenly exposing the power of the heavenlies, and allowing the Holy Spirit to descend upon Jesus. Stephen saw the heavens rolled back and gazed upon the Glory of God and His Son. The truth is that the heavens have been opened to all Christians! The Holy Spirit has been given to all Christians. The Glory of God is for all Christians. We have the Holy Spirit living within us, a gift from our Savior!

Our Father is jealous for us to know the power of the Holy Spirit within us. He earnestly desires us to believe and experience His JOY!

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

We Live under an Open Heaven

We live under an open heaven. The heavens are rolled back revealing the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives in every believer, but his POWER is not upon every believer. Luke 4:1 says that Jesus left the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit. But he did not have the POWER of the Holy Spirit until He believed the Word of God in His confrontation with Satan in the wilderness.

Are You Aware of the Power within You?

The Holy Spirit is in us eternally, but His POWER is not opened to us unless we believe. When we allow the wilderness of this world to influence our believing, we fail to see the power of the Spirit. We fail to influence the wilderness around us. We fail to alter the environment around us. Men who believed in the POWER of Christ influenced the environment into which they were placed. Stephen had a profound effect upon those angry men. Paul had an astounding effect upon prisoners, towns people, and even hardened Roman Soldiers.

Christians must learn how to “host” the presence of God such that He is always before us, influencing the environment of every place we step into. What we are conscious of, we are positioned to manifest. What we are aware of, we are able to release. If we are not conscious and aware of the POWER of God within us, we will never be able to influence those around us. The Gospel is not a ministry of words. The Gospel is the ministry of Power because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Gospel is the ministry of releasing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole earth.

We will never release that which we are unaware of.

A woman who had struggled for years with an issue of blood made a “demand” upon Christ. In desperation she reached out among the throng to touch the “hem of His garment.” She made a demand for her life. In spite of all the people pressing around Him, Christ was so aware of the Spirit’s presence that He instantly knew when a demand was made to which the Spirit responded. If we are not intensely aware of the Holy Spirit within our lives, we will have nothing to offer those around us who are desperately seeking power for their lives. They are overwhelmed, they are needy, and we have no life-giving power to offer them.

A demand was made upon Peter. Peter confessed he had no silver or gold, but Peter was intensely aware of what he did possess. Peter had life in Christ, and He was willing to share that POWER with the beggar at the gate. Peter said “what I do have I will give you.”

Write a HUGE Check with Heavenly Currency!

Peter knew a heavenly currency that the world knows nothing about. Peter wrote a HUGE check because he knew what he possessed (Acts 3:6). Most Christians can only write tiny checks because our unbelief has obscured what we possess.

We live with such ignorance of what we possess. We possess the very “Kingdom of God.” The one who freed us from our sins, at the same time made us a Kingdom, Priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:6). Jesus said “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)

Jesus Spoke Life through His Words

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Jesus, being the very logos (word), spoke the Spirit and Life where ever He journeyed. When Christ spoke, His words became the Spirit and brought LIFE to those who believed. When we believe in the Words of Christ, and speak them into the world, we impart the Spirit to our environment, and we impart LIFE to those who believe.

We are Kingdom builders through the POWER that is in us. This Kingdom is not in food or drink, but is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

When we are aware of the power that lies within us, and we exercise that power in faith, we are building the Kingdom by bringing people to the LIFE in Christ. We are dispensing the heavenly currency of JOY to those around us.

When you are handing out money, people stop and demand some. When you are handing out JOY, joy that this world is so hungry for, people will stop and demand it. The communities around the disciples took note of what they were handing out. They took note of where they went. They even brought the sick and lame into the streets to catch the shadow of Peter and be healed (Acts 5:15). Note: Your Shadow will always release what overshadows you! Peter was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit!

An unbelieving, defeated group of Christians will never see life brought to the dead in sin. They will never see miracles of God. Unbelief and defeat produces inward focused Christians, prone to depression and discouragement. When we turn inward we become a dead sea. An inward focused Christian is a dead Christian. An inward Christian is self-absorbed and self-centered. We need to be pre-occupied with who Christ is! With what Christ can do! We need to constantly release Him into every circumstance we encounter. We release His POWER by faith!

Don’t allow disappointments to obscure Revelation

So much of “Christianity” is based upon disappointment rather than revelation. We fail to see the Glory of God or the Power of His Son. Stephen saw the revelation in the midst of a downpour of stones. Paul saw the revelation in the midst of a hateful heart. John saw the revelation in the midst of loneliness and exile. The Revelation of Christ changes our environment. It changes our heart! Rather than being disappointed in what God fails to do for us, we need to focus on all that God has done for us!

Jesus said that if you see Him, you have seen the Father. So Jesus is the revelation of the nature and power of God. Jesus said that “all power” had been given to him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His power is the basis of us going into the world. If we do not know His power by revelation, then we will be powerless if we go into the world. We will be overcome by the world!

Christ is in us as a River Let Him Flow!

Powerlessness is inexcusable and unacceptable. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you and he wants out. He is not in us as a lake, or a ‘dead sea’, but rather as a river. Rivers flow from. The nature and power of God becomes ours as a believer. We have to believe in our own conversion! We have to believe in the POWER that was given to Jesus and was given to us!

As Paul prayed, the Lord is releasing a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can actually rise to who He says we are! We cannot afford to rest in unbelief, nor can we afford to think thought that God never thinks about us. We must learn to meditate on the things the Holy Spirit can say “AMEN!” to.

Paul wrote that in order to serve God acceptably, our minds (that thing between our ears) must be renewed so that our lives are transformed. Our minds must come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We must learn divine perspective in order to live the divine life.

This renewing of our mind can only come from a divine encounter with the POWER of God. We must see the revelation of Christ as the POWER in our life. Any creed or teaching that does not take us to the person of Jesus in a divine encounter will only make us more “religious.” It will only equip us to argue, not bring life into our environment.

When our beliefs line up with the POWER of Christ in us, we can take the Gospel into our communities without limits, without baggage that weighs it down and renders it powerless. We must have the experience of the Gospel that changes our lives, changes our thinking and makes us intensely aware of the divine POWER within us. Only then can we dispense the currency of heaven to those joyless souls around us.


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)


The Biblical Process of Discipleship

Peter was no stranger to failure and success in his discipleship journey.  As a result of the lessons he learned, he is able to describe for us the discipleship journey we will encounter.  Disciples become partakers of the divine nature of Christ through the Word (precious promises). Through the power of the Word we escape the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (the desire for things apart from God). To enjoy this “divine nature” (Paul calls it the ‘fullness of Christ’) we must diligently pursue the seven stages of discipleship that Peter lists. We must diligently seek to “ADD” these things to our life.  He concludes in verse 8, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The end result of being a disciple is abounding in Jesus Christ and abounding in the fruit that knowing and abiding in Him brings!

Seven Stages of Discipleship – II Peter 1: 4-8

Step One: Repentance & Faith
John 1; Luke 3
New Life in Christ becomes reality through conversion wrought by Holy Spirit through faith – FAITH
Step Two: Enlightenment & Guidance
John 2-5
Once that change becomes reality, the disciple begins learning how to “put on Jesus Christ” – VIRTUE
Step Three: Growth in Christ
Luke 4-6
 
The disciple grows more and more into the fullness that God has for him in Jesus Christ.  – KNOWLEDGE
Step Four: Ministry Development
Luke 6-9
 
The inward transformation of Christ’s Word begins to become an outward reality of righteousness that results in ministry to others. – SELF-CONTROL
Step Five: Testing
John 6-8 (Understand how God uses ‘death of a vision)
Ministry will always involve “fiery trials” (I Peter 4:12) These build endurance and work to reveal the power and glory of Christ in your life. (Rom 5:2-3) – STEADFASTNESS
Step Six: Ministry in the Power of Christ
Luke 10-19, John 9-12
The disciple ministers with a greater awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit, whether as a leader or a worker. The ministry is of and through Christ, not the disciple’s natural abilities. – GODLINESS
Step Seven: Fruit through the Fullness of Christ
Luke 20-22, Acts 2,10, John 15
 
The Word continues to manifest the fullness of Christ, resulting in greater love for those around him, and a heart for the needs of the world. Other disciple’s are birthed and the Word continues to profit as God pleases. – LOVE

Seven Stages Explained 

A.  Stage One – Repentance and Faith in Christ

Brings new (changed) life through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit

1)   Grief over our sins against God brings repentance unto salvation. 2 Corinthians 7:10

2)   Repentance produces a change which results in turning toward God Acts 26:20

3)    Repentance has two facets.

  • „ From God. The work of ‘regeneration’ which results in our inner man becoming alive to God and our ‘old man’ or nature being put to death. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Titus 3:5, Eph 2:4-5
  • „ From Man. Our response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit which produces inner change and keeps us growing in Christ.

4)    Those unwilling to change or submit to the Holy Spirit cannot be discipled.

5)    Baptism is a revealer of one’s willingness to repent before the Lord. Acts 2:37-38

B.    Stage Two – Enlightenment & Guidance

Learning of the One who gave me new life. Matthew 11:28-30

1)    The Christian Life is meant to be an “exchanged life.”[1]

What Do We Exchange?

What we give up

What we get in return

Our sin

2 Cor. 5:21

Christ’s Righteousness

Wrath of God

Rom. 5:1

Peace with God

Condemnation (Hell)

Eph. 2:6,19

Father’s House (Heaven)

Death

Gal. 2:20

Life

The Old Man

2 Cor. 5:17

The New Man

Law

Rom. 7:4-6

Grace

Our weakness

1 Cor. 12:9-10

His Strength

Our Impurity

Heb. 10:21-22

His purity

External morality

Eph. 1:4

Holiness of God

Self strength

Is. 40:31

God’s Power

Tribulation

Eph. 2:14

Peace

Defeat

1 Cor. 15:57

Victory

Sorrow

John 15:11

Joy[2]

2)    We are to put on Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27

3)    We are seated with Christ, which is to say we rest upon Christ. Ephesians 2:6

4)    Disciples learn to live every aspect of their lives in the faith of Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:20

5)    Disciples can derail growth in Christ by acting or trying in the flesh. Romans 8:4-8

C.    Step Three: Growth in Christ

Participating with Christ to build His Body

1)    The whole body is built up as we grow in Christ.

Ephesians 4:14-16 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

2)    As you grow in Christ, so will your desire to participate in the ministry to His body-the church.

3)    Jesus was always giving His disciples an opportunity to get involved in ministry to others. (The feeding of the 5,000 & 4,000, the sending forth into the towns to preach the Kingdom of God, his very call in Matthew 4:19)

4)    The Life of Christ in us is not to be a Lake (because it becomes the Dead Sea). It is to be a River, flowing from Christ through us to the thirsty.

John 7:37-38 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

5)    Growth in Christ involves Character building, being conformed to Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

D.   Step Four: Ministry Development

The Righteousness of Christ manifests itself outwardly in ministry to those around you.

Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The need for the “Exchanged Life” will be apparent as you minister, for regardless of the capacity in which you serve, the work must be of God!

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

1)    Who makes a good partner in the ministry of the Gospel?

  • One who follows Christ – Matthew 4:19
  • One who learns of Christ – Matthew 11:28
  • One who knows the power of the Cross in their life – 1 Cor 1:17-18
  • One who in weakness depends totally upon Christ – 1 Cor 1:26-29
  • One who knows intimately Jesus Christ and Him crucified – 1 Cor 2:1-2
  • One who glories in his weakness so that he can know the grace and power of Christ – 2 Cor 12:9
2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2)    Who makes a bad partner in the ministry of the Gospel?

  • One who puts his confidence in his flesh (talents, abilities) – Phil 3:3
  • One who sets his mind on fleshly things – Romans 8:7,8
  • One who cannot control his tongue – James 3:5-6
  • One who does not submit to authority – 1 Peter 2:13
  • One who holds a high opinion of himself (pride) – Romans 12:3
  • One who has bitterness – Hebrews 12:15
  • One who has temporal values – 1 John 2:15, 1 Cor 10:7
  • One who has moral impurity – Hebrews 12:16, 1 Cor 10:8
  • One who has broken relationships due to lack of love for others – 1 John 4:19-21

E.    Step Five: Testing

Learning to depend upon Christ

Jesus said “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). The chosen picture those followers who have the favor of God because they have responded to His discipline. Between the calling and chosen status (being favored as a son), there is always discipline. That discipline takes the form of testing and trials. You must expect it, you must endure it if you are to be “chosen.” Even Paul remarked on many who had turned back from the Lord, because their love for this world weakened their resolve to endure.

Hebrews 12:5-7 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.

1)    Expect your resolve to follow Christ to be tested and tried.

1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

2)    Understand trials and tests prove the genuineness of your faith and result in Christ being glorified.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

3)    Learn to welcome trials as close friends. (Count it all joy)

James 1:2 When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. (Phillips translation)

4)    Understand that when God is working supernaturally, He works “death of a vision” in our life.

Death of a Vision

This means he will give us a “vision” of what He wants us to do, but due to events, that vision seems to die. This is how God works:

  • „  Abraham – Promised to be a great nation, then spent 25 years waiting for a son, then asked to sacrifice his son.
  • „  Joseph – Dreamed of being great, then 13 years in Egypt as a slave, much of it in jail.
  • „  Moses – Wanted to free his people, then 40 years in hiding
  • „  David – Anointed the future king of Israel, then 10 years on the run from Saul
  • „  Paul – Called to be a messenger to the Gentiles, then spent years in obscurity in Arabia
  • „  The Apostles – believed Jesus was establishing a Kingdom, but that dies with Him on the Cross.

F.    Step Six: Ministry in the Power of Christ

Learning that all ministry is of Him, through Him and for Him

1)    Jesus did not minister in power until He endured testing

Luke 4:1-2 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil… Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee

2)    Ministry must be done in the Power of Christ, and not in the power of the flesh.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

3)    Faith is never to be in man, but in the Power of God

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

4)    Anyone who ministers is only a conduit for the power of God

2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

G.   Step Seven: Fruit through the Fullness of Christ

Learning that bearing Fruit is His responsibility, not mine

1)    Bearing Fruit is a natural process of abiding on the Vine

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

2)    Discipleship is all about Fruit from the Fullness of Christ

Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

3)    The Purpose of the Gospel within us is FRUIT and GROWTH

Colossians 1:5-6 Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,


[1] the exchanged life is Christ living His life through us, rather than us trying to make life work through our own efforts and resources. It is made possible by the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6-8)