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About this series
Becoming an Effective Disciple Maker
A Study of 2nd Timothy
With all the hatred and misconceptions pointed at Christianity nowadays, it’s really difficult to be a genuine follower of Jesus. In this new 8-part series, Chip’s gonna encourage us that now more than ever, we can’t just settle for saying we’re a Christian… we have to live like one too. Chip’ll help us practice that as he highlights 4 compelling challenges from the Apostle Paul’s final letter to Timothy. Join us as we learn how to live more God-honoring lives… and better disciple others along the way.More from this series
You’ll notice on the very front of your notes it talks about the paralyzing power of a fear. And I think we have all experienced a lot of that and I want to begin a little bit differently than normally. If you have a Bible, if you’d open to 2 Timothy, and what I would like you to recognize is that as you open that, you are holding one of the most precious documents in the world in the last two thousand years.
This is the final letter of the most influential man that has ever walked on the earth. The first, of course, was Jesus. But the apostle Paul, it would be his final letter, a very personal one to his son in the faith, Timothy. And we will learn the theme of the book is: I’m going to die shortly. And God has deposited in me and in His Church the truth, the faith, and the practice of living it out. And I have spearheaded it for the Gentiles. And I’m now passing it on to you and you need to pass it on to others.
And we are here because Paul was faithful and Timothy was faithful. But this is the final thing he wanted to say knowing he didn’t have much time left. He wrote thirteen of the twenty-six books. Jesus was the most influential, but our understanding of what happened on the cross was given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. Without Paul we wouldn’t know redemption and propitiation and the sealing in the Spirit, who we are in Christ.
Without the apostle Paul, we wouldn’t understand the great doctrines of the Church, how all the Old Testament and the journey of what God was doing, how it climaxed in Christ.
The work of Jesus on the cross. The epistles, the letters. The man who was beaten, with rods, two or three times, in the sea a night and a day, left for dead once. And as you read this final letter, we’ll even get to the very last chapters. By the grace of God and the testimony of this man, he is still reaching forward, he is faithful, he loves God, he has a perspective. He’s not afraid.
And so, I think it’s a very, very precious document. And it gets more precious because I want to give you a historical background, because when you see when he wrote it, why he wrote it, and what was going on, just in the back of your mind be thinking of what you have been through, what is happening in the world, what is happening in our world. Think of disease and viruses and political division - and the kind of things that are happening in our world, the chaos. And I think what you’ll realize is that it’s in that environment that he is writing it.
Paul has had one Roman imprisonment. And then he went onto Spain. Claudius was the emperor and Claudius, this was not, when you did adoptions in the ancient world, you often adopted adults or late teenagers. And especially if you didn’t have children, you would adopt an heir, someone that you thought was bright and capable and in this case, Claudius adopted Nero at the age of thirteen to be his son.
By age seventeen, he had died and Nero is made the emperor. He had a tutor from the Senate; he did pretty well. But very quickly he was a very young, kind of wild guy, who actually in the conflict over power with his mother, had his mother murdered. He did things that no emperor had ever done. In 64 A.D., this is two years before Paul is coming back, at least from the ancient documents it’s believed that he was a part of setting Rome on fire because he wanted to clear out this area for, he had this big building plan that he wanted. And he, blamed, the scapegoat was the Christians.
So Paul comes back to a world where it’s now illegal to be a Christian, where Christians are the most wanted, where they are hated, where they are being blamed. And he’s got a young pastor in Ephesus named Timothy.
If you think it’s hard to be a Christian now, imagine being a pastor of a cosmopolitan city. Ephesus was known for two things: immorality and idolatry. It was the LA, the Shanghai, the London, the Paris of its day. Probably more like Las Vegas.
And so, you’ve got a young pastor who is really, really struggling, who has a, sort of, personality-wise, tends to be a little bit timid. You have an older man who has now come. And in this second imprisonment, he’s writing this letter, not chained to a guard where he rents a home, but he’s in a damp dungeon. And it’s dark.
And he’s already had one tribunal before the royal imperial court. And when he went, no one showed up but him. He’ll tell us, “I was all alone.” And you can understand why. I mean, to associate with him right now, they were fearful for their life. And he says, “All in Asia,” and when he says “Asia” here, it’s not the geography we think of. It’s the Church and the movement in Asia. It’s that area of the country.
And so, this is an older man who doesn’t have the perspective we have looking back at, “Hey, Paul, you know, don’t sweat it. In two thousand years, you’re going to be a hero.” All he knew was there was a calling from the living, resurrected Christ and he had been beaten up a lot, he had been left for dead a lot, and he’s in a damp place, and he has given his life for other people. And when he’s in his direst hour, nobody shows up for him.
And he cares about this young man and he realizes that the promises of God are true, regardless of your emotions; the promises of God are true regardless of your circumstances. And I have a calling from God, He appeared to me, and I have been faithful to that calling. And now I’m going to take that mantle, that Old Testament thought, that mantle, and I’m going to put it on Timothy. And our idea would be more like, “I’m going to pass the baton.” That’s the background. It’s heavy. It’s weighty. These are really, really precious words.
And so, that’s why we are studying this book. And so, let me give you the framework of the entire book, because that’s what this book is about. There are four essentials in this book to becoming an effective disciple-maker.
Chapter 1 is to be bold; don’t be ashamed. In each chapter, he’s going to say something very clear, very strong, he’ll be a challenge, he’ll even talk about it as a sacred deposit. Now, think of something that you would put in a deposit box or something that is so precious. He goes, “This is this deposit, that God gave it to me; I’m giving it to you.” Chapter 1, “Be bold. Don’t you dare be ashamed.”
Chapter 2, “Be strong; don’t be distracted.” There are so many things that will take you off course. Chapter 3 is, “Be prepared; don’t be surprised.” The world is going to get difficult and worse and more evil than you imagined. Don’t act like, “Oh, where’s God? What has happened?” And then chapter 4 is, “Be faithful; don’t shrink back.”
And I guess what I want to say is I’m just passionate, I may even, I have some questions in your notes. I don’t want this to be an academic exercise. I don’t want you to walk out of here and get in your car and go, “Wow, I know a lot more about Paul! I know a lot more about Timothy! I can think my way through that book.
No, no. I want you to leave here thinking, With whatever years I have left, I need to be proactively making disciples. And I’m going to start first and foremost in my relational network called my family. And I’m going to ask, “Do I have a plan? Am I intentional? Where am I at?” By the way, if more is caught than taught, am I the kind of man, am I the kind of woman, am I the kind of dad, am I the kind of grandmother or grandfather that my kids and grandkids want to be like? Because we always have to be what we want those we disciple to become.
So, we are going to have a challenge and this book will address those fears. And here’s the exciting part. And it will provide the truth that will empower you and me to be set free, to be bold, to do it winsomely and kindly, non-judgmentally. To shoot it straight with family and friends and neighbors in a way and with a heart and with a kindness that has both grace and truth.
And so, I’d like to ask you a question. On a scale of one to ten right now, how would you rank your boldness for Christ? Okay? Just personally, you don’t have to… “I’m going to write this very small on my notes.” Please keep your eyes on your own paper. A one is, “I have been a wimp. I have just, I have been passive, there would be no evidence to convict me as being a believer. I just kind of shut my mouth, keep my head down, I don’t like conflict, I don’t like arguments. When the conversation comes up, because it always leads to other things, I just be quiet.”
And a ten is, “Man! I have been bold! I have shared it!” Right, okay? And I’m going to assume, whether you’re a one or a ten that you have done it winsomely and lovingly and kindly and here’s, no one can be a five.
It’s human nature, “Oh, I’m about a five.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. In denial. But, I mean, I just want to ask you, how, just honestly, how bold? You read through the book of Acts, the greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit is boldness. It’s boldness. Paul was bold! People were bold. They were grateful they got to suffer.
And so, I’m going to ask this final question and we are going to jump right into the text and get to the answer. What are your greatest fears currently with regard to your faith? Try to be as honest as you can. Is it being rejected? Is your fear that you’ll be misunderstood? You’re afraid that if you’re bold you’ll create more division in your family or your church?
You’re afraid, I mean, honestly. I fly a lot, I meet a lot of people. I mean, it’s weird. Why would I care what someone thinks who is sitting next to me? And I find myself in conversations and it’s really clear that I’m coming from here and the other person is radically coming from here. And I have to really muster up, Lord, how can I winsomely, lovingly be bold? Here’s some guy I don’t even know and I don’t want him to not like me.
Okay! I’m a wimp! I admit it! You know? I think owning those feelings helps me say, “Okay, but You love him, Lord. So, would You give me some wisdom about how I can turn this conversation?” Because, man, he is hammering some stuff that we are as far apart as we could be. What I realize is probably what he needs more than anything else is to meet a Christian that doesn’t fire back and play ping pong with him and this and this and that. Maybe I’m going to keep listening and then I’m going to ask him about his family.
And I’m going to ask him about his fears and I’m going to ask him about his work. And it may take an hour and this guy is going to open his life and heart because I have done this a bunch, a bunch, a bunch of times. And after that, there’s some trust built, and he’ll ask me a couple questions. And he will just look at me with this cockeyed look like, “Hey, so you really think Jesus could change these things?”
“I really do. I really do. We could argue about all these different things, but you’re a dad that is struggling with a couple kids, you’re flying too much, you drink too much, you get depressed a lot, you don’t think your marriage is probably going to be together here in another three or four years at the current rate. And we can, oh, I guess we could argue about blue states and red states or masks or no masks or, you know, are you pro-Biden, pro-Trump, anti-Biden, anti-Trump? You know, I guess we could talk about all that stuff. Trivial. Divisive. Hey, you know what? I think we all ought to have, do our own research, have our own opinions, just realize none of that stuff gets anybody into heaven or out of hell.”
And they need to meet some people that maybe disagree with them on a lot of things or even inside the Church or inside the family, but really listen and really love, but you’ve got to face your fears.
And so, what I would say is what the apostle Paul is going to do is he is, here’s what I like and here’s what I like and here’s the big transition. He’s going to talk to a young man who, by nature of personality and history, just tends to be afraid when nothing is wrong. And he’s going to pass the baton and right now, things almost couldn’t be worse.
And so, as you dig into your notes, let’s see what the apostle Paul, in this prison, from his heart, is going to say to his son in the faith. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to,” notice his focus, “the promise of life in Christ Jesus.”
I’m in this dungeon, but the first words are about hope. And it’s a promise. And He always keeps His promises. “To Timothy,” think about when you want to align with someone and when you want to encourage them, how important it is to affirm. “…my beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus,” not the Lord, “our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, with a clear conscience, the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.”
I am here, you’re there, but I’m thinking about you all the time. I’m praying for you all the time. I love you, I miss you. “Longing to see you, even as I recall tears, so that I might be filled with joy.” He’s playing the videos in his mind about times with Timothy, the meal we had here, what happened in Lystra, the thing that happened over here, the early times in Ephesus, you know, the miracles we got to see God do. You know, watching you grow, watching you take some of these assignments like Titus.
“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and, I am sure that it is in you as well.”
These first five verses, you’ll notice in your notes, the historical background. You now know from whom it is, Paul, and why. About A.D. 67 in a Roman prison. And you know it’s to Timothy in Ephesus, to pass the baton.
And I just want you to listen for the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship and the context. It’s both the content and the context. But it’s deep, real, vulnerable, affirming relationship.
I came to Christ right after high school, before college. And I was discipled by a discipleship parachurch group and it wasn’t an on-staff person. He was a bricklayer. And I would say I was not a very, you know, people went to Bible studies and things like that. And I sort of hit and miss. And I had a hard time getting up to go to church. But Dave would come and meet down at my little kitchenette.
You know, I look back and I can’t tell you how many meals I ate at Dave’s house. I can’t tell you how many times he knocked on the door and I pretended I was asleep. I can’t tell you how many times other leaders in the ministry said, “Dave, that Ingram will never amount to anything. He is a flake.” And they were right! But he just wouldn’t give up on me.
See, I think somehow discipleship turned into, “Would you like to be in our group? What did you get for question number four? It has been great.”
You know, then, “Oh, did you hear Macy’s has a sale?” And, “Hey, what do you think about,” then you name your NFL team or your SCC team and the men go over here and the ladies go over here and, “I went to Bible study.”
And, by the way, that’s a really great beginning. But genuine discipleship flows out of heart relationships where you affirm and love and have experiences where you cry together. It’s not about their spiritual performance, it’s not about how much of the Bible they know, it’s not about whether they showed up or not, it’s not about whether you can, you know, after they leave you talk about, “You know, they are still doing this. And he still drinks too much. And I can tell he still has that porn issue. I could tell he’s kind of lying to us.” Or all that junk. It’s about loving them and getting them into God’s Word and introducing them to Jesus and putting your arm around them and walking with them to Jesus so they begin to get to know Jesus so He changes their life from the inside out, and that transformation begins to spill into every area of their life over time with all their ups and downs like we all had. That’s the context of discipleship and we have lost that.
I learned that where I went to church, if I showed up and I sat down and I listened, and if I donated at least once a month in a children’s ministry out of pure guilt, give a little money - I’m a follower of Jesus.
So, when the pandemic comes, guess what, I can now, I can do that at home! Except I don’t have to get dressed! And I’m in my jammies! And not only that is I like our pastor, but you know what? Have you ever heard of that guy in Texas or that guy in New York, right?
We became consumers instead of disciples. Is it possible that we, as pastors, in many churches have figured out how to grow a church service but not make disciples? Because we have a lot of non, un-Christlike people sitting in our churches when the pandemic – it didn’t cause anything, it just revealed a lot.