Summary: Beyond becoming like Christ, what should be the disciple’s objective?
In the Great Commission, Jesus made it clear that every one of His disciples is called to reproduce himself.
"Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world." ~ Matthew 28:19-20 (CEV)
Every disciple is to be involved in the work of living for Christ, leading others to Christ, and mentoring believers so they might also be productive for Christ. A disciple must reproduce himself. Through reproducing ourselves, a multiplication effect results, which leads to the growth of the kingdom of God.
The growth of the kingdom of God in this world has always hinged on the principle that true disciples of Christ reproduce themselves.
In our passage, we find Paul speaking about the disciple’s heritage-that of multiplying himself or herself. Investing our lives in others so that they too, might be true disciples of our Lord and Savior. Timothy is challenged to become intimately involved in the life-changing march of passing on God’s truth from one generation to another. And so are we.
"One of the first verses of Scripture that Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, encouraged me to memorize was 2 Timothy 2:2. This is like a mathematical formula for spreading the gospel and enlarging the church. Paul taught Timothy; Timothy shared what he knew with faithful men; these faithful men would then teach others also. And so the process goes on and on. If every believer followed this pattern, the church could reach the entire world in one generation! Mass crusades, in which I believe and to which I have committed my life will never finish the Great Commission; but a one-to-one ministry will." ~ Billy Graham
This is what Paul wrote to challenge Timothy to involve himself in. A focused ministry of leading others to become true disciples of Jesus Christ-which means that they, too, are able to others to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.
"The work of evangelism is never complete until the one evangelized becomes an evangelizer."
~ Dr. Herschel Hobbs
So what can we learn from Paul’s words here about living out our heritage as a disciple? What principles can we apply in our relationships with others that will result in growing the kingdom through multiplication? There are at least four that we find in these verses.
1. The principle of example-v. 1
If I am going to be effective in developing others as a true disciple of Christ, I must set the proper example. It was because of his example that Paul was able to say:
"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1
Specifically, there are two things about the example we must set before others that we want to encourage toward true discipleship.
A. The example of submission- "My son"
Timothy had been mentored by Paul. He was now the pastor of the church in Ephesus. But despite the fact that he occupied such a position, that didn’t mean he had nothing else to learn. He still needed someone to mentor him. You see, a true disciple is a life-long learner. He will never get to the place where he thinks he "knows all he needs to know." When we stop where we are, we are no longer moving forward; and if we are no longer moving forward, then we cannot be walking with God!
"Every disciple needs three types of relationships in his life. He needs a ‘Paul’ who can mentor him and challenge him. He needs a ‘Barnabas’ who can come along side and encourage him. And he needs a ‘Timothy,’ someone that he can pour his life into." ~ Dr. Howard Hendricks
B. The example of surrender-
"be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus"
"be strong (strengthened inwardly) in the grace (spiritual blessing) that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus." ~ 2 Timothy 2:1 (Amplified)
Timothy was to look to Christ alone as the source of his strength. This is a picture of surrender. A true disciple must be surrendered to Christ if he is to be strengthened by His grace.
Self is in control Christ is in control
I define the terms Christ defines the terms
I set the agenda Christ sets the agenda
I find my strength in myself I find my strength in Christ
It is only as a result of surrender that I can say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
The principle of example cannot be underemphasized. If I am going to be effective in encouraging others toward true discipleship, I must be a true disciple myself.