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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
Is it possible that we, as pastors, in many churches have figured out how to grow a church service but not make disciples?
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, it didn’t cause anything, it just revealed a lot. We became consumers instead of disciples.
And by the way, you know what? I don’t know about you, but if I have a problem, I would much rather someone take an x-ray or an MRI and say, “By the way, we do have a problem. You have cancer.” That’s a lot better than, “I don’t know I have a problem. There’s no x-ray, there’s no MRI, and I have cancer.” I can do something about the cancer that I know I have; I can’t do anything about what I don’t know.
You have the greatest opportunity in your lifetime to make an impact for Jesus Christ because things are raw. It has been revealed. People’s behavior – your behavior always reveals your true beliefs. Our mouths are just what we say. And, by the way, what we sincerely think we believe. I mean, I was just reading the gospels.
“All of you will forsake Me,” Jesus said, right? And then He quotes the Old Testament passage, “They will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be,” Peter goes, “Not me!” And all, one by one, “Not me! Not me! Not me! Not me!” They were sincere! You don’t know what is in you. I don’t know what’s in me until the test. And when the test comes, you find out what you really believe.
And so, Paul is going to, he’s going to talk to Timothy about, first of all, he is modeling: This is how I have loved you. Deep discipleship, real discipleship always flows from the heart. And I want you to imagine, like, coming up and there’s a box and the box says “truth.” And then I want you to imagine a bridge and here’s another box and it says “truth.” And your children and your grandchildren and people that you want to help are on this side of the bridge.
And inside this is the truth of your life, the gospel, the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit. And what you want is you want to get this truth, not only in their mind, their heart, and their will, but you want to get it in their hearts over there.
Do you know what the bridge is that connects it? It’s not information. It’s relationship. People can only receive as much truth as they trust you, as they think you believe in them, as they actually experience, “I have prayed for you night and day. With longing, I’d love to be with you. With tears I am remembering you. I think about your family.”
What’s he really saying? He’s saying, “Timothy, this isn’t coming as, ‘This is what you ought to do and get with the program.’” You see, the stronger the bridge, this is great for you parents and even grandparents, the stronger the bridge, the greater the weight of the truth you can get from over there to over here.
And what I learned a long time ago with four kids that are all spread out; they are all going to have problems and they are all going to have struggles and they are all going to come to a time where they don’t know if they buy into you or God or anything else. And you have modeled as best you can, but what I can tell you is, and sometimes they will make some really big mistakes, right?
But if the bridge is strong, then they will feel safe to come and talk about it and get some help. And so, that’s what Paul does.
Now, he shifts gears and he is going to give Timothy three specific challenges. Let’s walk through them together. Challenge number one is to be bold and fulfill your calling from verses 6 and 7, he says, notice, “For this reason,” – what reason? The reason of how much I love you, the reason for where I’m at, the reason for why we are here and God’s calling, “for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Why? “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline.”
So, he’s talking about Timothy’s responsibility, right? Remember, “the laying”? He’s talking about his ordination. He received the Spirit when he trusted Christ. This was a time when, “Timothy, God has got His hand on your life. Remember? This gift, this deposit to be entrusted with the gospel, you need to get, hey, there’s a lot of junk going on now. It’s illegal right now. Nero is a nutcase.”
Here’s what I want you to get, everything you’re seeing in this world that makes you uptight and, “This is crazy and it has never been like this”. It was way worse! And this is what he said to a young man who hung in there and he passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on, who passed it on so that you’re sitting in this seat.
And so, his responsibility is fan it to flame. And then God’s provision is: You have a Spirit living within you called the Holy Spirit. And the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is – what? It’s not timidity, it’s not fear, it’s dunamis. We get our word dynamite. It’s power, it’s love, and it’s discipline.
And what you know and I know is that what we need in order for the Spirit to have more of us, is we need time in God’s Word, because the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and makes it the living Word in our life. We need the community of God’s people so the Spirit living in you and the Spirit living in me - as we share and pray and then Jesus shows up -renews me. And that Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, creates the kind of love and discipline for people that are different, that helps us endure when it’s hard, and helps us discipline ourselves to do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.
You can’t live off your emotions. You can’t live out of fear. You either live out of faith, or you live out of fear. If you live out of fear, your life is like an emotional roller coaster. And God says, “You don’t have that spirit.” He’s telling him, basically, “Timothy, you have got what you need to make it. Your part? Fan it to flame.”
Can I ask you something? Can you, in your mind’s eye go back and tell me, when were you most passionate about following Jesus Christ? When, just when was it that, man, you know, I’ve got to get up and I’ve got to read! I’ve got to share my faith, I’ve got to care. We’ve got new neighbors coming and this matters. It matters more than I could miss an SCC game, I could miss an NFL game, I could miss a sale! This is what, this is who and what really matters. When was that?
And if it’s not right now, then here’s the call: Fan it into flame. Just fan it into flame. God is not mad at you. He wants to help you. He is saying, “Of course you have fear. That’s why I gave you My Spirit. It overcomes that.”
The principle, we must constantly remind one another of powerful experiences in our past and the power given to us by His Spirit.
Sit around the table. When family comes over, just say, “Hey, what are the biggest miracles our family has ever, ever experienced? What are your biggest moments with God?”
See, you need to remember the God that answered those prayers, He’s the same, right? Today! Yesterday! Forever! He’s willing, He’s open. But we need to come with expectation. We need to come with a sense of He is real and vital and wants to work and wants to bless and wants to use us.
And I think the first place to do that, the aside to parents, is let’s make our kids and grandkids our number one group that we disciple. And there’s, please, I mean, I, you know, we live in the psychological world, so what I mean by that is that what used to be biblical language has turned into therapeutic language. People don’t sin, they are sick. Right? You know. Or they have a syndrome or an -ism.
And, hey, you know, I majored in psychology – undergraduate and graduate work – so, I understand it. But here’s what I’m saying is sometimes we ought to use words like, “sin” and “guilt”. False guilt is bad; true guilt means the Holy Spirit has put His finger, something specific about my life, my mouth, my behavior, my attitude that is wrong.
And the agenda is not to make me feel, you know, we are in a world where, “Oh, I don’t want to make you feel bad.” There are times, guess what, God wants you to feel bad. Feeling really bad about doing something bad or thinking something bad or saying something bad is called remorse. And remorse leads to, “Wow, I’m sorry.” And I’m sorry
leads to repentance, a metanoia. Change of mind where you say, “Oh, Lord.”
Do you understand? All sin, it’s not about the rules, it’s about the relationship. Sin isn’t fundamentally you just crossed this line. Sin is you hurt your Savior. You hurt your wife. You let your heavenly Father down.
We spend our energy trying to get rid of our guilt. If it’s false guilt and family of origin and go to a good therapist, a good Christian psychologist, hey, been there, done that. We all need some of that.
But a lot of life is like, “Why did you say that? That’s a hateful thought. That was bigoted. That was biased. That was insensitive. That was selfish.” Those aren’t psychological terms. By the way, everything I just said, I’m sure I’ve done all those in the last forty-eight hours. And I’m pretty convinced most of you have. But as long as we don’t kill someone we think, “Oh, I haven’t sinned a whole lot.”
It'd be interesting to go home and read your own Facebook and all the things you have posted and ask yourself, “How happy is God with that?” Because we are going to learn the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome but be kind to all.
Challenge number two is: Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Look at verses 8 through 12. “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel,” how? In your own strength? No. “According to the power of God.” Why? “Who saved us and called us with a holy calling.” Based on what? “Not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.”
And then notice what He accomplished, “…who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light.” How? Through this sacred deposit called the gospel, the good news, the work of Jesus.
And so, Paul says, “Don’t be ashamed of your Lord.” Why? Because of – He has called us. Because of what He has done. How can you, how can…? It’s like someone, you know, you were in ten billion dollars of debt, and you decided to kill yourself. And so, you’re on the edge of the ledge. And Jesus runs over and says, “I just paid your bill, and I rescued you.” And then you go to a business meeting and, well, “I kind of want to introduce my friend Jesus, but, you know, I’m a little ashamed of Him.” No! “He saved my life! He paid my ten-billion-dollar bill! I’m going tell everybody about Him!”
If you don’t keep remembering what Jesus has done for you, you’ll be ashamed of Him and you’ll care more about, in my case, what the person in the next seat on the airplane thinks. And I’m thinking, This is ridiculous. And so, I talk my way out of that and then, by God’s grace, I think, you know, I have a spirit that is going to be bold. Okay. I’m going to open my lips, Spirit, You need to get rolling.
And He does. And, by the way, can I say too? Just to help you guys out? I chicken out sometimes just like you. I get intimidated by people just like you. But what I find is when I am aware of what I have been called to, what I have been saved from, what God has done, the purpose, and that He has brought life and immortality and then He has actually entrusted me, I’m sitting next to this person. Or He’s actually entrusted me with the only answer to this man’s spiritual cancer. It’s the gospel of Christ.
And you know, the one thing I would say too, for some of you that are thinking, Oh, I probably need to really get a lot bolder. All your fears about how people will react, I’m just telling you, I think a lot of it is simply the enemy, because I’m shocked at how open people are.
We’ve got a neighbor that when we moved in, they said, “He’s the bad neighbor.” Boy, that’s, I thought, Boy, that’s not nice. No, no, he’s the bad neighbor. And they told me all these stories.
Well, you know, that was, like, setting my wife on fire. “We are going to love the bad neighbor.” And the first couple years, he was the bad neighbor. You know? I mean, you know, picky and this and that. I mean, and he had alienated everyone. And, of course, he’s married to the sweetest gal ever, you know, that we got to know.
And he recently, he got from the bad neighbor to the talking neighbor to the we have some, you know, he’s pretty reserved. You can’t get into his world much. To he has a disease, they don’t know what’s wrong neighbor, who asks us for prayer neighbor. Who thanks us for being around neighbor. Who I have shared the gospel multiple times with him and it’s just, “No, I got it.”
He tells about his denominational background and it was fire and brimstone according to him. “And if I walked into church, you know, it would cave in. And there’s no hope for me.” And I just keep giving him the gospel.
And for the first ten years, can I tell you something? If I only had ten years, I’d tell you the gospel doesn’t work. Of course, it works. But his need got him to where he was starting to think differently about life. And can I tell you some of your relatives? Some of your neighbors? Some of your friends? Some of your adult kids? Some of your grandkids who have told you that they have left the faith and on and on? If they, if someone would sit down and listen and have a cup of coffee and ask them questions for an hour or more, and not try and preach at them, that really listen and care about them, they are hurting and they are afraid and their world is messed up.
Don’t be ashamed of your Lord. Join me in suffering. It’s literally, the idea of this word is, “Enter in with me. Let’s lock arms and suffer together.” It’s like an invitation. The reason is to obey. To obey in light of what God has done for us. It’s a beautiful, beautiful passage.
Notice, he says, “For which I was appointed a preacher,” the word is, it would be in some older translations, it’s called a herald. And it would be like if there was a king or a queen, someone who officially would, you know, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, bap, ba, da, baaa! And make an announcement on the behalf of royalty.
And Paul says, “All these things, don’t be ashamed of our Lord. God assigned me to blow the trumpet and announce that the King of kings and the Lord of lords has come to this earth to save us and to forgive us and to take us with Him, to be with Him forever. And not only was I a preacher, but I was an apostle, one who is sent, and a teacher. And for this reason, I suffer these things.”
But he says, “I’m not ashamed.” Well, why, Paul? I mean, how come? You’re in a lot worse situation and you’re not ashamed. He says, “For I know,” the word here is an experiential know. “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to protect what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
My life and my suffering and my hurt and my doubt and my uncertainty, and just like He has asked me to be faithful what He has entrusted to me, I can suffer because I know, I am convinced, that I have given to Him and He is able to protect that until that final day.”
Challenge number three to Timothy is: Don’t be ashamed of His Word. Verses 13 through 18. Hold on to the example of sound words,” or literally it’s the sound teaching, “which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Protect, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, this treasure,” this deposit, “which has been entrusted to you. You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia,” “turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and he found me. The Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day – and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.”
And so, the command is: Retain and guard the truth.