This past weekend, we launched all of our discipleship ministries! It was great to have so much going on in the courtyard as we look forward to this upcoming season of ministry. Given that, we took the opportunity to preach from 2 Timothy 2 on discipleship. There we saw that we devote our lives to becoming and making disciples of Jesus.
1. A Biblical Purpose for Discipleship: v.1 -2
In verses 1 and 2, Paul addresses the foundational aspects of discipleship. He starts in a place that most of us probably wouldn’t think, but it’s crucial that we’re aware of this. Paul begins by reminding Timothy (and us) that we are strengthened by God’s grace. The verb there is passive, meaning God is doing this in us. It’s not something that we grit our teeth and try harder, it’s something that God does in and through us. Further, we see that we’re dependent upon God’s grace not only for salvation, but also for service. The implication of this is that discipleship is for ALL of us, and it’s God who is going to work that within us. Second, we see that we are entrusted with the gospel to share it with others. There’s a clear process that shows up in verse 2, that looks like this: 1. what we’ve heard should be 2. entrusted to faithful men who will 3. Be able to teach others also. The goal is to equip, empower and release discipleship within the church. Part of that is understanding that we are all responsible to share our part and do our role.
2. A Biblical Mindset for Discipleship: v.3-7
Paul then gives three illustrations that are meant to serve as aspects of the mindset that accompanies discipleship. The first illustration is that of a soldier. What we see in the solider is the single-minded devotion to discipleship. The second is the athlete, that teaches us about the mindset of discipline in the process. Finally, the farmer reveals the mindset of hard work, coupled with patience in God’s results. Collectively, we see the mindset that is to accompany discipleship as that of single-minded devotion, discipline in the process, working hard and remaining patient for God to work His result. God help us that this would be our mindset as we approach discipleship.
3. How Do we Do This in the Local Church:
We closed our time by addressing some practical ways that we can put handles on discipleship and help us to make progress in this next season. There were 4 specific items that we mentioned.
Participate: You can’t be affective in discipleship if you’re not invested in the process. So let’s participate, and not just show up, but do the work, be invested in people’s lives and be honest and real about where we’re at.
Look to Serve Others: Often we think of discipleship in the sense of “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of it?” We have a consumeristic approach. Instead, a far better question is to ask how can I serve others? Let’s be intentional to serve others in the same way that Jesus intentionally served us.
Make a Commitment to Discipleship: Discipleship is one of those things that you get out what you put in. If you’re not committed, you shouldn’t expect much in terms of results. So let’s make a commitment. Make it a priority on your calendar. Invest in the work and preparation. Invest into people relationally.
Let God Stretch and Grow You: Expect that God is going to do this! Look to make progress in this coming season, whatever progress may look like for you. For some, that might be that you’re going to pray out loud. For others, that you’re going to be diligent about doing the work. For others, it may mean that you’re going to be honest and transparent about where you’re at. Regardless, let’s allow God to stretch and grow us.
One final note. This coming Sunday, we will begin our sermon series in the gospel of John. I’m really looking forward to working through this book and all that ways that God wants to speak into our church in and through this gospel. My encouragement is that you would spend time each week reading, mediating and praying through the text that we will be preaching from on that Sunday. To that end, we will have a preaching schedule available for the next few months so you can always know what’s coming up on a given Sunday. Church, it truly is an immense privilege and pleasure that I get to help shepherd and lead this church. Thank you for the ways that you make this such a joy to me, and far more importantly, a means of honor and glory to our great Savior!