Summary: Discover why and how to reproduce your faith and skills.
If we could choose the way that we would die, how many of us would choose to die in burning building? How many of us would choose a sinking ship? Anyone want to go through the pains of ravaging cancer before death? How about the numbness and loss of Alzheimer leading to death?
While many of us are not able to choose how we will die, churches on the other hand have a choice in the way they decline in health and die. Some go up in smoke because of arguments and fights. Others drown because of false, and ultimately harmful, teachings. Stills others are ravaged by uncontrolled sin in the lives of those in the church. Finally, churches die because they no longer function as a church, an organism that reproduces disciples of Christ who worship God.
This morning, we will address the problem of non-reproduction in the church, and so hope to avoid extinction of our church. The jump-off text for this message is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, chapter 2 verse 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." Paul is calling his protégé, Timothy, to reproduce what Paul has taught to others into new people who will in turn reproduce the same things in others who will in turn reproduce the same things in others.
But what are the things Timothy heard from Paul that Paul wanted Timothy to entrust or deposit into others? Do we know the content to be deposited? Yes, at least everything that Paul wrote in the letters titled 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Philemon. Timothy was present when Paul wrote these letters. The contents of these letters include biblical instructions for faith and for living a right and healthy relationship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ.
We will look at why and how we are to reproduce in others these biblical instructions for faith and for living. The call is not new with Paul. Jesus Christ, before he ascended into heaven, spoke these final words, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples (or students) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
This call to reproduce in others biblical instructions for faith and living was not new with Jesus Christ, either. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 reads, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
FIRST, Why are we to reproduce in others the biblical instructions for faith and for living? After all, our society tells us, "What may be true for you may not be true for me. It matters not what you believe, as long as you are sincere."