Summary: We are called to make disciples... we are born to reproduce... Someone took time to develop you become who you are now, you are expected to do the same with other believers.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
The growth of the kingdom of God in this world has always hinged on the principle that true Disciples of Christ reproduce themselves.
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
So what can we learn from Paul’s words here about believers multiplication? 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.
I. EXAMPLE – “you then my son”
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
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"
Paul had mentored Timothy. 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.
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)
II. ENLISTMENT - "reliable men"
Two important things about enlisting someone to mentor/disciple:
A. Personal relationship.
This is important, because it is through relationship that the mentoring process takes place.
"The classic phrase, ‘More things are caught than will ever be taught’ defines one important aspect of effective (mentoring). Although many aspects of spiritual growth can be transmitted through a body of Christian literature; personality, enthusiasm, laughter, and the twinkle in one’s eye cannot. While the cognitive aspects of discipleship are numerous, there is an intangible quality of spiritual life which only flows through the friendship itself." ~ Billie Hanks
B. Proven reliability.
The word used here for "reliable" is the Greek word, "pistos" which literally means "faithful."
The requirement is FAITHFULNESS and it is the dividing line between mediocrity and excellence in Christian living. It is important to note that the requirement is not eloquence, charisma, intellect, or natural giftedness. These are the things that tend to capture our eye in Christian circles. But the thing that captures God’s eye is simply faithfulness, for there is no limit to the things God can do with and through a truly, faithful believer.
John Wesley, the great English evangelist once said, "If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men except Jesus Christ and Him crucified; I would set the world on fire." The world is still reverberating from the effects of John Wesley’s faithful ministry so many years ago. ~ Dwight Edwards
III. EQUIPPING - "who will also be qualified"
Timothy was charged to make sure these men were qualified to teach others. In order for them to be qualified for the task, they would need to be equipped for the task. God intends for this to be done by means of relational learning-one on one mentoring.
When it comes to equipping others, I believe there are three areas that should be addressed: