2 Timothy 2:2 says "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." The Apostle Paul uses this verse to call attention to the crucial principle of discipleship. Beginning with Paul, then Timothy, "the reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" and counting the "others", there are a total of four generations of "the disciples of Jesus Christ" mentioned here. From this passage, we read of the expectation that Paul has of Timothy - his true son (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2), to - in a sense - have children, grand children and great grand children.

Because of my ailing health, a friend recommended a particular vitamin supplement to me. However, in order for me to purchase this supplement, I first needed to obtain a special membership. Nowadays, this has become a common marketing practice and business approach. Membership has the exclusive privilege of dealing with a particular product offered by a particular retailer. Additionally, members who refer and get hold of more members are further rewarded. This marketing strategy has become quite successful and popular.

Similar to this marketing concept is the idea of discipleship. Paul asked Timothy to find "reliable men who [would] also be qualified to teach others" and to teach them everything that he knew. In other words, the teachings of Jesus are to be passed "one by one." Those who teach and those who learn then both benefit spiritually in the process.

In a perfect world, this method of preaching the gospel and discipleship would cover the planet in no time - ideally, in an instant the entire world would be full of believers. However, in reality, not all men are "reliable to teach others" and the world is not perfect but flawed with wickedness and sin. Rather than adopting these concepts to make disciples, people implement them to aggressively pursue financial wealth and prosperity.

The Bible never mentions the Heavenly Father ever having grand children. Instead, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a child of the Heavenly Father - all who have faith in Jesus are also related to every other believer in the household of God. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul's ministry of discipleship emphasizes the importance of making disciples of all generations - discipleship that carries from one generation to another. Nowhere is it implied that there are different generations or levels within the household of God - again, all followers of Christ are children of the Heavenly Father.

Jesus commanded His disciples "to go and make disciples of all nations," implicit within this Great Commission is the principle of making disciples "one by one" and also from generation to generation. It is my hope and prayer that we would take heart to what the Holy Spirit entrusts to each one who believes in Jesus as Paul also entrusted to Timothy the command of Jesus "to go and make disciples of all nations."

 

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The Cactus

Rev. Kelvin Li
June 19, 2008