II Timothy 2:1-2 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Paul was imprisoned in Rome around 63 AD. A year later fires destroyed much of Rome and Nero blamed the Christians. Later Paul was back in Rome and executed about 67 or 68 AD.
This letter was written awaiting martyrdom.
Paul had invested much of his life into Timothy, a young man he met while preaching the Gospel. Timothy decided to come with Paul to be trained and used of God in the ministry. Everything Timothy learned about the gospel was in the context of this “discipleship” relationship with Paul.
Now Paul is awaiting to die and is writing to Timothy for the last time. We can expect to hear what is considered the most important things on Paul’s heart as one might expect to hear from someone preparing to die.
2. What Can we Observe about God?
God wants the discipleship relationship to transform lives.
Paul and Timothy were not biological father and son, however this was pattern the New Testament left for Christians to follow. This was relationship in which Timothy learned the Bible, theology, and Gospel work. Paul was like a father willing to share his life as well as his knowledge.
“1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”Verse 1
As traveling companions, they would have spent night and day together. Meals, lodging, and idle time were in each other’s company. Timothy would have watch Paul live out his faith in public and private.
Timothy made a radical decision to leave his home, work, and comfort zone to be with Paul (see Acts 16:1-3). This kind of radical decision was met with Paul’s full attention and care for his spiritual son.
The purpose of discipleship is to transform people into loyal servants for Christ and to be the primary method of Christian reproduction.
“2 And the things that thou hast heard of meamong many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”Verses 2-3
Paul directs Timothy to do for others what he has done for Timothy. The end result is disciples of Jesus who are able to reproduce more disciples.
Paul tells Timothy to make a choice of whom he should commit to, and that his choice should be based on one primary attribute, faithfulness.
Jesus also was choosy whom He would commit himself to:
He knew that mere professions of faith was not worthy of His time, but He would choose those whom were faithful. Now, Paul is instructing Timothy to choose wisely who to invest his time in.
This discipleship lifestyle would transform believers as they pursued Christ and His vision together. The goal of the mentor and the disciple was to carry out the Gospel mandate.
At the time 2 Timothy was written, Christians were being crucified and lit on fire in Rome. To be baptized publicly during this time meant to have a death sentence as people confessed Jesus as Lord instead of Caesar. So Paul encourage Timothy to prepare himself for the hardness ahead:
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.Verse 3
Like soldiers, disciples need to be trained and equipped to endure hardness. Their faith needs to grow and their live needs to be changed. This discipleship relationship was the means God chose to work in people’s lives.
This is not the same things as only attending church. People attend church but their lives don’t change. People have a pastor, but they don’t have a mentor. Sometimes the Pastor is failing his duty by not making disciples. Much of the time people do not display the kind of basic faithfulness to begin the discipleship relationship.
Discipleship is what all Christians are commanded to do, but very few will ever obey. It is a radical decision to not be entangled with the affairs of this world in order devote oneself to Christ and His misison. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
The sacrifices of the Christian soldier are not begrudging choices but willing sacrifices to please the Master. While this kind of life looks fanatical to the world, it is only reasonable in the kingdom of God.
Every Christian is called to be discipled and disciple others. There is no education requirement to begin studying and emulating Jesus. Making a disciple or training a person doesn’t mean that they will be preachers, pastors, or missionaries. It doesn’t mean that they have to be trained by a pastor or missionary.
Though our passage refers to a father and son like relationship, discipleship is for women also. The mature women were to teach the younger women
3. How does our passage point to Jesus and the the Gospel?
The gospel is the transforming power of God brought to the world through discipleship.
Paul was instructing his spiritual son, Timothy, to do for others what Christ did for His own disciples. Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
People are saved when they believe the Gospel message. The Gospel message continues to nurture a person’s transformation after they are saved. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
But discipleship is what facilitates maturity. Imagine tomato plants growing and in the early stages, the producer may add a trellis to encourage its growth. The trellis does not add nutrients to the plant. Only the Gospel and the Holy Spirit can do that. But God gave us mentors help us grow and produce fruit more efficiently. Good discipleship will always point the student to Christ and search the cross for answers and growth. II Timothy 2:1-2 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Take action in your own discipleship. If Jesus is important to you, make time to be discipled. Get with your pastor or mentor every week. Go with him or her to do daily tasks. Ask questions, learn, and join the vision of the church to get the Gospel to people.
There are seven serving groups our churches use, do you know what they are? Do you officially have a role in your church? If you are serving in our church, then you are almost certainly being trained and discipled.
If something must be sacrificed to make time for discipleship, start with hobbies or work. God promises to meet the needs of those who put Him first. (Matthew 6:33)