Monday, May 13, 2013

True Discipleship (2 Timothy 2:1,2)

For years and generations believers have been turning Christianity into a form of Gnosticism. In part that has been because the teaching that has predominated the church has been that it is WHAT you know that saves you. Faith has been reduced to an intellectual assertion, and growth in faith has really been just accumulation of knowledge. Maybe it all came out of the good intentions of Sunday School, or an academic understanding of discipleship. In any case it was never intended.

When Jesus commissioned His followers is was to practice discipleship the way He had modeled it. His was never teaching for knowledge, but to change lives. He taught not just information, but a new way of living—obedience to the Lordship of God in our lives. His Great Commission was not just to “make” disciples as in some membership drive, but rather to teach followers how to obey what Jesus taught. We pass on a way of living… not a list of does and don’ts but a faith that influences action.

Here Paul elaborates on another aspect of discipleship. It is generational. He modeled and taught Timothy who, as a part of what he had modeled, will pass it on to others. And, if he does it right, they will pass it on down the line. True discipleship is reproductive. We don’t assemble a bunch of followers or a flock unto ourselves. We inspire others the way we were inspired—in a way that will be contagious and will carry on.

Jesus commanded us to make disciples. Based on this passage, we have not accomplished that task until the people we have introduced to Christ and His way of life have introduced Him and it to others as well. Evangelism won’t cut it. Bible Study won’t cut it. Church the way we practice it today won’t cut it.

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