I am preparing to teach a review lessons to my 2nd grade Sunday School class. We have spent the last 5 walks walking with the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. We left him in Rome, serving the Lord until his death. As we review this week, I thought that this would be the best lesson to teach because in this lesson, we discover the secret to Paul’s success in the ministry. There are many methods and books out there today that deal with ministry, leadership, church planting, missions, etc. I want to take a look at the Book of books on ministry, leadership, church planting, missions, etc., the Bible.
I. You need spiritual leaders
The very first thing that we learn from the Book of books in the areas of ministry, leadership, church planting, missions, etc., is the fact that we all need spiritual mentors who pour the Word of God into our lives.
14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3)
Timothy had spiritual mentors who happened to live in the same house that he did while growing up. Who were they, you may ask? Well, Paul tells us in II Timothy 1:
5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
Timothy’s father was a Greek and he did not seem to have any kind of spiritual influence upon Timothy. On the other hand, Timothy’s mother and grandmother were Jewish believers in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Timothy grew up studying and learning the Scriptures from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. The Scriptures made Timothy wise in order to make good choices in life. Timothy had role models and the Holy Scriptures. He knew how to connect with God yet, he still had to make his own decision to follow Jesus Christ. This is vital in ministry, leadership, church planting, missions, etc. Unfortunately, many people in the modern evangelical churches of our world have never been mentored/discipled by another person. There is a huge need for this. It should take place in the home like with Timothy and his family but, unfortunately, many parents today have no idea even where to begin when it comes to making disciples so they outsource it to the church leaders to take care of, because, we are the paid professionals and that is what we are supposed to do. If you look in the Old Testament, God’s plan with the people of Israel was for Moses to teach the people how to walk with God and then the individual families were to teach the children how to walk with God. If and when we go back to the source, the Word of God, we discover that we do things a little differently in the modern church than what God has outlined as His clear plan in His Word. Timothy also had an outside influence in his life in spiritual matters. This is very important. Some families take the idea of discipleship in the home to the extreme that they feel that no other person should have a spiritual influence in the lives of their children. This is very dangerous. The Bible clearly teaches that other mature followers of Christ should come alongside of the family to help in the process of discipleship. Timothy had male role models in the church who poured into his life. The Apostle Paul also became a spiritual mentor to Timothy. If there are not other mature followers of Christ pouring into the spiritual lives of your children, you are making a mistake and the consequences will manifest sooner or later.
II. You need your own personal faith in Christ
Now, Timothy could have easily been like many kids and adults today, believing that they are followers of Jesus Christ simply because they grew up in a home that attended church regularly. Praise the Lord that because Timothy was taught the Scriptures and not simply told what to believe, he attained wisdom which led him to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith became real to Timothy. It was no longer just his grandmother’s faith or, his mother’s faith. It became his own. He chose to follow Christ as a disciple. As I disciple my own children and as you disciple your own children, we must teach them the Scriptures so that they can attain wisdom and put that wisdom into practice by choosing faith in Christ as the Messiah and receive the salvation that God has to offer for everyone. In doing this, our kids will see that faith has to be personal. All of God’s children are adopted into His family. There is no such thing as a natural born child in the family of God. We are all born outside of the family of God and only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are we able to be adopted into the family of God. The beautiful part of this is that we can help our children discover this for themselves as we teach them how to study the Word of God for themselves.
III. You need the Word of God
As the old saying goes, “you give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime”. Spiritual leaders need to teach others how to hear from God through the medium of the Word of God. This is not mystical as some would claim. There is a clear process laid out in II Timothy 3:16.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
The Bible is our user’s manual and It equips us for the job. We all want to be competent workers and God has made it possible. We (especially men) just need to follow the directions given to us by the manufacturer of the product. If we will use the Scriptures as our guide, instead of our own wisdom and experience then we will be taught how to do it, shown where we are wrong and need to be corrected, then we will be corrected and set on the right path, then we will be trained to stay on that path and of course, we will have good results. It seems like in our modern church age, we seem to try every method available, except the one the has been proven to work throughout the ages, the Word of God. Use the Word as your guide in being a good disciple and making good disciples.
The clear outline that we see in II Timothy 3:16 is, we discover that the Word of God is profitable to us when we open It up and begin to explore It. The first thing that the Word of God does is, It teaches us. Everything that we do in this life is something that we must learn. Walking with God is no different. We have to learn to walk with God. His wants to teach us how to walk with Him via His Word. As we learn from God, He begins to show us our mistakes. This is not a very pleasant experience but it is a very much needed experience. Many times, we are wrong in certain areas and do not even know it. God has to reveal that to us and He does, as He teaches us from His Word. God does not point out our mistakes because He wants to punish us. He does this so that He can then correct us. Once we bow our will to His correction, He trains us to stay on the right path so that He does not have to correct us again. At the same time, He does not mind showing us the same mistake again and correcting us, again. We have to have the right attitude about the Word of God.
As a result of having a mentor and being trained in the Scriptures, you are able to serve the Lord by seeking to disciple the people within your sphere of influence.
17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3)
Are you being prepared for every good work by allowing a spiritual leader to pour into your life by teaching you how to study the Word of God and invest It in the lives of others? This is God’s will for your life.
2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. ( II Timothy 2:2)
May the Lord help us grow spiritually according to His will and His plan for the ages!