Virtual Reality | Day 26
Christian leaders lay themselves down in service of others in accordance with God’s plans to spread the good news (2 Tim. 2:2).
What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
We must multiply as Christians because addition won't keep up with the population growth. According to Paul in this verse, discipleship is us multiplying ourselves in the lives of others. Paul follows the example of His Savior who lived with His disciples and invested His life in them.
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
In both Jesus’ and Paul’s time there were two models of discipleship: the Greek model and the Hebrew model. The Greek model was teaching—we think of Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. It was an enlightenment, information that pleased the mind. But Jesus discipled according to the Hebrew model: on-the-job training. Jesus took His twelve disciples with Him and they experienced things together.
Disciple-making involves a developmental relationship where a mature Christian invests and mentors a willing apprentice so that he or she not only matures as well, but also becomes a multiplying Christian. The Christian leader is called to REPRODUCE their charge and comfort in others (4:1â€8).
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Verse 1 sets the tone, “I charge you.” Paul knows what every good leader knows: there is no success without a successor. There are two great charges in the Bible, made by great men who left wellâ€qualified successors in their stead. The first was issued by King David on his deathbed as he gave his throne and the nation of Israel to his son, Solomon, in 1 Kings 2:
“Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 ‘I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, “If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,” He said, “you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel’” (bold ours, NKJV)
Note the structure of the charge. In this passage we find:
An exhortation-- “Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man” (v2)
An appeal--“Walk in His ways, keep His statutes ….” (v3)
A promise from God--“That you may prosper in all that you do” v4)
Here in 2 Timothy 4: 1â€8, we find a similar batonâ€passing. Like David, Paul gave his (spiritual) son, Timothy:
An exhortation--”I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living
the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom” (v1)
An appeal--“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching” (v2)
A promise from God-- “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (v8).
The Greek word translated here as “I charge you,” has a legal connotation that means, “I testify under oath,” as in a court of law. Although it is used here for Paul’s delegated authority to Timothy, it is applicable in a secondary sense to every Christian leader. We are also being charged by the Lord when we read this.
A dictionary definition of reproduction reveals five aspects to it, all of which are visible in the opening 8 verses of this chapter.
ASPECT #1: To reproduce is to PRODUCE AGAIN
French cultural sociologist Jean Baudrillard said, “The very definition of the real becomes: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction.”
Timothy must reproduce the gospel in good days and bad. Look at verse 2: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Producing again is something that we are familiar with at Central. We have multiple services at multiple times, but the message stays the same. We have to reproduce the content again and again.
I read a citation from John Vaughan in his book, Megachurches and America's Cities [(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 58.] that captures our heart:
“The wise pastor of a rapid-growth church follows the instituting of additional worship services with an expanded small-group ministry. Churches that generate their worship attendance growth through the continued creation of new multiple worship services, without also creating additional small groups (i.e., Sunday school classes and/or home cell groups), are in danger of building the empty cathedrals of the next generation. The major issue in continued growth is not merely one of small churches versus large churches. The issue is the ability of a congregation, any size congregation, to be able to reproduce itself through new groups, additional worship services, and new mission churches. The issue also leads church leaders beyond merely having small groups to developing small groups designed for, and capable of, multiplication.”
So, the first aspect of reproduction is to produce again. It’s a concept that we see happening at Central every week, and it’s a concept that we have to witness happening if the mission of Christ is going to grow in fruitfulness.
We’ll continue this tomorrow.
Food for Thought:
What do you possess, spiritually, that you can pass on?
Do you know of any people who could benefit from your spiritual maturity?
Although you are not perfect, what stops you from committing to multiplying at least one spiritual discipline or quality in someone else?