By Joshua Lemayian
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 2 Tim 3:10
Someone once said that last words are lasting words. That is, if they have the opportunity to choose the words before leaving the world, people will carefully choose the words that they utter in order that they may have a lasting effect.
Last words are lasting words
The New Testament provides us with some of Jesus Christ’s last words before His ascension to heaven in Matt 28:18-20.These words are meant to have a lasting impression in our hearts and a clear impact on our way of life. At the Centre of these last words of our Lord is the command, “Make disciples”. Jesus spent His last few moments on earth with His disciples…urging them to make disciples. Disciple-making then is hereby set by Christ as a priority for every person that would come to believe in Him.
How then are we to do this?
In the text above, Paul shows us how he made a disciple out of Timothy. So let us examine his example.
- Read the Bible with someone
The first thing that he mentions is that Timothy followed his teaching. This was of course Paul’s teaching of Scripture. One of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life as a Christian is when someone asked me to join him in a study of a book of the Bible. As we spent about six months going through the book of Colossians, my life was greatly enriched. How was this possible? It is because Scripture is God breathed and therefore profitable that every Christian may be equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16).
I encourage you to pick a book of the Bible and commit to meet someone weekly or fortnightly to discuss what the Lord is teaching you as you read through this book.
2. Live out the gospel
Think of the gospel that you teach your disciple as the sun, your conduct should act as the sun rays. Paul speaks of the “conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love” that Timothy had seen him living out. Our way of life should always be an “upward invite” to those around us. Our practice should cause our disciples to see the sun, having been drawn by the beauty of the rays. This is a rebuke for the contrast between belief and practice that is witnessed in many of us as Christians. Practice is to be a direct consequence of doctrine.
3. Be willing to pay the price for the gospel
Paul goes on to mention the persecutions, and sufferings that he had gone through for the sake of the gospel. He had experienced persecution in Antioch and Lystra and was actually stoned and left for dead at Lystra. Paul knew that this would part of the Christian life was important for his disciple to know. He knew that Timothy would surely face persecution in his life for what he believed and would need to remember the words of his discipler, “I endured and out of them all the Lord rescued me!”
Paying the price for the gospel does not turn away disciples, it strengthens them and teaches them to put hope in Christ rather than the comforts of the world.
I pray that this may challenge you to prayerfully consider walking with someone, discipling them in obedience to Christ, for their joy and yours and for God’s glory.