Pleasing God Podcast

Modeling Discipleship: Passing the Torch of Faith Through Generations

April 27, 2024 Jonathan Sole
Modeling Discipleship: Passing the Torch of Faith Through Generations
Pleasing God Podcast
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Pleasing God Podcast
Modeling Discipleship: Passing the Torch of Faith Through Generations
Apr 27, 2024
Jonathan Sole

Have you ever contemplated the ripple effect of mentorship and its power to forge legacies? This episode is a heartfelt celebration of our Pleasing God podcast's unparalleled global reach, and an invitation to join us in the next chapter of our journey at pleasinggodpodcastorg. We're not only revisiting the remarkable bond between Paul and Timothy in Acts 16:1-5 but also offering key insights into how their mentorship model can profoundly shape our modern discipleship practices. From the nuances of intentional guidance to the art of collaborative ministry, we unwrap the layers of spiritual relationships that can build communities and strengthen the fabric of the church. 

Step into a transformative space where relationships are the cornerstone of faith. As we navigate the intricacies of Paul and Timothy's connection, we extend the dialogue to how these principles play out in our lives today. Whether you're seeking mentorship, discerning your vocational calling, or navigating the blessings and challenges of Christian parenthood, this episode illuminates the path to creating ministries that expand beyond mere addition and venture into multiplication of disciples. Amidst these discussions, we also express our deep gratitude for your companionship on this journey and invite your active participation as we strive towards sanctification together. Join us and experience how the act of passing on wisdom can echo through generations.

Support the Show.

Stock Music provided by wolfgangwoehrle, from Pond5

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever contemplated the ripple effect of mentorship and its power to forge legacies? This episode is a heartfelt celebration of our Pleasing God podcast's unparalleled global reach, and an invitation to join us in the next chapter of our journey at pleasinggodpodcastorg. We're not only revisiting the remarkable bond between Paul and Timothy in Acts 16:1-5 but also offering key insights into how their mentorship model can profoundly shape our modern discipleship practices. From the nuances of intentional guidance to the art of collaborative ministry, we unwrap the layers of spiritual relationships that can build communities and strengthen the fabric of the church. 

Step into a transformative space where relationships are the cornerstone of faith. As we navigate the intricacies of Paul and Timothy's connection, we extend the dialogue to how these principles play out in our lives today. Whether you're seeking mentorship, discerning your vocational calling, or navigating the blessings and challenges of Christian parenthood, this episode illuminates the path to creating ministries that expand beyond mere addition and venture into multiplication of disciples. Amidst these discussions, we also express our deep gratitude for your companionship on this journey and invite your active participation as we strive towards sanctification together. Join us and experience how the act of passing on wisdom can echo through generations.

Support the Show.

Stock Music provided by wolfgangwoehrle, from Pond5

Speaker 1:

Hi and welcome back to the Pleasing God podcast, a show focused on helping Christians to think biblically, engage practically and live faithfully for the glory of God. I'm your host, jonathan Soule. After about a year of recording the Pleasing God podcast, I just want to give you a couple updates on some things that are transpiring, some new things that we're doing and just kind of a look back on God's faithfulness. The idea behind starting this podcast was to really just help church members think about practical issues, how to live faithfully, as our saying goes. What we didn't expect was for this show to be listened to around the world, and over the last year or so, every continent that has inhabitants have been listening and we've just been overwhelmed by how far reaching this show's gone, and I want to give special thanks just to faithful listeners who send messages, write emails and give updates of how this show has been a blessing to you and I'm thankful for it. It encourages me and so, yes, thank you. A couple new things that are happening, the response that we've received we decided to go on and officially build a website, kind of a home site, for the Pleasing God podcast. You can find it at pleasinggodpodcastorg and that's got kind of recent episodes if you want to go there and listen as well, as we've added a weekly blog that kind of describes what each episode or the episode of that week is about. So if you don't have the time to sit and listen to an entire episode but you kind of want to get it in a snapshot, you can go on the website. You can just read the blog and that will kind of give you an overview of what's happening and what's being articulated in each episode. And beyond that, if you like the content and you want to stay up to date with some of the things that are happening, you can follow us on Facebook, pleasing God Podcast. You can find us on Twitter same address and Instagram, and sure we would ask that if you want to follow, just go on whatever platform you do and stay up to date with just latest things that are happening. We've got a few other things that we're thinking about doing, but I'll just save that till it actually takes place. But again, just want to say thank you for everyone that's listened, that's supported the show with your prayers and all other ways, and if you would and you enjoyed the show, leave us a review, either on Facebook, instagram, twitter and we might even post that on the website. So again, thank you so much and it's been a blessing and we're looking forward to many more episodes to come.

Speaker 1:

And on this episode I want to pick up where we left off last week. Last week we were thinking about discipleship, embracing discipleship, thinking about Jesus's final command and commission to his disciples to go, therefore, and make disciples this being the discipleship mandate and from there seeing like the command and what we're supposed to do, and trying to explore what actually discipleship is teaching, evangelizing, teaching, obedience, baptizing, a lifelong process of helping others to follow Jesus. Disciples making disciples. This is kind of what we see in the discipleship mandate. But I want to think about some practical sightings of discipleship in the Bible. Now, when we think about the scriptures, it's loaded with many examples. When we think about the discipleship mandate in Matthew 28, it focuses on what and kind of how of discipleship. We think about a model that we might see in the scriptures. We could pick out a few, but one that comes to my mind that kind of gives us a living example of discipleship is Paul and Timothy. This happens in Acts, chapter 16, verses one through five. We would read.

Speaker 1:

Paul also came to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them, for observance, the decision that had been reached by the apostles and the elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and they increased in numbers daily. Now what I want us to do is think a bit about this text and the relationship between Paul and Timothy, between Paul and Timothy, and so when we think about this as a model of discipleship maybe not the model, but a model even from these verses we see even the relationship between Paul and Timothy, that their understanding of discipleship. It's modeled through, first, them understanding their roles, second, how they're being intentional and third, how they're doing ministry together. Discipleship does not need to be go sit in a coffee shop and just talk with your accountability partner. While that is a fine way of doing it. There's many variations in how we can make disciples and discipling others, and so Paul and Timothy understand, first and foremost, their roles.

Speaker 1:

Who is the apostle Paul? Well, he's been called to be an apostle, one who's been sent on mission from the risen Christ. He saw him back in Acts, chapter 9. He's been set apart for the service of the ministry. This is Acts chapter 13. By the time we get up to chapter 16, he's already completed one of his missionary journeys where he was kind of on the apprenticeship with Barnabas and now Paul. When he meets Timothy, he's the established, mature believer and he's beginning to set off on his second missionary journey and he comes across a man named Timothy, or what is referred to him as a disciple.

Speaker 1:

So what we already know about Timothy is that he is a follower of Jesus. His mom's a believer, his father says he was a Greek. Maybe some conclude that his father might have already passed. But what we see in Timothy is that he's a follower of Christ, and not just that, but he's well-spoken of by the brother. So he's got a reputation. He kind of comes to Paul, paul to him, and they meet, and Timothy's got some credentials here. It's as though others in his town have observed him and say this man's gifted, this is a true follower of Christ. He's young in the faith. He's probably young in life in the faith. He's probably young in life, maybe 16, 17 years old at this time. And yet Paul recognizes who he is and they both understand their roles, it's clear to each other.

Speaker 1:

Paul saw the potential that was in Timothy and Timothy saw the value in learning from Paul, and this is why Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, so that they would be able to do this kind of life of discipleship together, timothy learning a kind of on-the-job experience, paul being the master, timothy being the apprentice and learning as they go. Therefore, his discipleship was never theoretical and it was always practical. I think that's an important point to make is it's one thing to deal with ideas and concepts in theory, it's another to have that worked out in front of you. And so they understood their roles one to be the apprentice, the other to be kind of the master who's teaching and seeking to raise up that apprentice, and so this being a part of the model, they know the division of roles here. But also you see that they're being intentional with what they're doing. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him. His discipleship model with Timothy is not passive, it's not without strategy, it's not just figure this out as we go, but it's as we are going. We are doing this, so come alongside me, accompany me. Paul sets clear objectives at the very beginning of the discipleship relationship. Because he's well-spoken by the brothers, paul wants them to come with him so that he might learn and grow and be more effective in the work of the ministry.

Speaker 1:

I think it's important to note in a previous passage, just a couple chapters ago, paul was in the similar area of Derbe and Lystra and Paul was stoned. Literally. The people took rocks and threw them at Paul and dragged him out of the city and left him for dead, presuming he was dead After Paul got up. He wasn't dead. He got up and he walked back into the city, and this was done so because this was persecution that he was facing for being a follower of Jesus, for proclaiming the gospel. And at the end of that passage that describes what he went through, he returned back to the cities, strengthened them and he told all the people there, after he's been stoned, that it's through many trials and tribulations we will inherit the kingdom of God. Trials and tribulations, we will inherit the kingdom of God.

Speaker 1:

No doubt Timothy whether he observed this. He had word of this and he knew what he was signing up for when he desired to follow Paul. So, in being intentional, it wasn't this romantic view that he was going to have this awesome life traveling around seeing big revivals, telling people about Jesus. He knew that through many trials and tribulations, he was going to inherit the kingdom of God. And so Timothy had a very sober mind, he was intentional, he knew what he was getting himself into.

Speaker 1:

I think it's important with discipleship that we are honest with people on the front end of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and how much it will cost you. We also see another foundational component to the relationship between Paul and Timothy is Timothy's commitment, not just for what he heard and what he was signing up for, but we read that Paul took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places. A practice of circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. Timothy kind of being half Jewish, half Greek, he needed to receive the sign of the covenant, but he didn't, obviously when his father was a Greek, and so Timothy was willing in this later stage of his life, in his adolescent, teen, later teen years, to undergo circumcision. It must have been painful, but for him to do that it happens now to the babies because they don't remember. But for him to do that demonstrated how committed he was, how intentional he was with discipleship. He was willing to pay the cost, even up front, to be a follower of Jesus and to accompany Paul.

Speaker 1:

I think it's important to note Timothy's humble obedience. He understood his role. He was being intentional and he was willing to submit in humility to Paul and his wisdom. He didn't argue with him. He said, paul, you know best here I'm willing to listen, because disciples are listeners. Disciples are humble. That doesn't mean they don't ever push back. Sometimes they need to, but disciples certainly come with a spirit of humility, an open heart to learn and to grow. I think a final component we see here about their intentional being intentional in their discipleship is that they had a clear direction, about their intentional being intentional in their discipleship is that they had a clear direction.

Speaker 1:

Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him in this model here, going alongside together. And what were they going to do? They were delivering a message that had been received, that was decided on in Jerusalem and they were delivering them over to these churches for observance. This is what the elders and the apostles and the prophets and those that were all gathered there in Jerusalem this is a unified decision that was reached and so they were going around spreading the message that they had received. So clearly, this is what's happening in their discipleship and ultimately, they're doing ministry together.

Speaker 1:

Discipleship is not a class, it is not simply an accountability group. It's more than that. It's actually doing ministry together. Again, paul's practical. It's not a concept, it's actually doing ministry together. Again, paul's practical. It's not a concept that he's teaching Timothy, he's showing him. This is what you read in verse 5 of chapter 16. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and they increased in numbers. Daily, these brothers, in their model of disciples discipleship, went out and did ministry. They traveled together, they spent time together, they served together, they slept under the stars in the same place. Together, they committed their lives to one another and in doing so, to one another, and in doing so, churches were strengthened and the numbers increased.

Speaker 1:

I don't think we should look past this. When we take discipleship seriously, when we follow a model that's given to us, the outcome is our good and the glory of God, and we see that happening through churches being strengthened in the faith and the increase in numbers. These are positive signs that the author of Acts, Luke, wants us to see here, that their ministry was successful because it provided depth and breadth, and so as many more were coming to Christ as disciples, many more were being discipled and strengthened in the faith. So as we think about a model of discipleship here, one with Paul and Timothy, let's be mindful, jesus did it slightly different. Jesus had a group, paul at times had a group, paul at times had one-on-one. Paul was willing to just be a disciple and a disciple maker, anywhere and everywhere he went.

Speaker 1:

So seeing this kind of pupil and teacher model is something that we should think about, and I think maybe some practical questions that we can ask is who's our Paul? Who's our Timothy? Who's discipling us? Do we have relationships like this, where we're intentional, where we're purposeful, where we're coming alongside a fellow brother or sister and we're doing ministry together and in doing so, our bonds, our relationships, our lives are being strengthened by one another? What's your ministry? Who are you helping in your ministry? Who are you training to be the one to take over your ministry? Who's training you right now in ministry? Those are great questions to ask and to answer and to really think through. How can I be intentional in the model of discipleship this isn't just limited to Paul and Timothy, this is for all of us Remember where to go and make disciples. So, thinking practically on this, there are many ways in which this plays out.

Speaker 1:

Maybe you're involved in some sort of outreach ministry and you you visit a homeless shelter. Are you doing that by yourself? Do you think maybe something could be accomplished by finding a brother that might want to go along with you? And while you're doing the ministry, you're also training someone for the ministry. Or maybe you're someone who's kind of maybe wrestling with an internal call or a sense of God might be leading me into a vocational ministry. Well, that would be wonderful if that's true. Well, are you connected with a pastor or somebody else that's serving in full-time ministry that can kind of help you walk through some of these things? Maybe you're a mom and you're just trying to be faithful and raising your children and homeschooling or balancing the load of home and life and everything. Do you have a seasoned saint that you can lean on that has done this ministry too that can help you and disciple you through their own experiences, that can come alongside you. Maybe you feel like you're tied to your house all the time. Do you have another sister that can come over and fold laundry with you and encourage you, and you can share your life together, and that can be a ministry that then can be repeated, especially once you've kind of moved out of some of those difficult or those trying years where everything just seems to be overwhelming Again.

Speaker 1:

All of this can take on various forms and fashions, but it's about relationships. You can't disciple without a relationship. That's what we see in Paul and Timothy as the model. They both loved Jesus, they both loved each other and they both wanted to see the same things occur the strengthening of the faith of churches, the increase of numbers daily. And in doing so they were unified in their mission, their purpose, their passion, their direction, because it was all about the glory of God in Jesus Christ. And so this model is an excellent model that there's an age gap between them. Discipleship doesn't always have to be that way. Sometimes there's a younger brother who's discipling an older one in the faith, vice versa. But with Paul and Timothy the teacher, the pupil. It was done well, it was fruitful, it yielded results and ultimately, towards the end, as Paul is going on to knows that he's going on to glory, he writes his final letter.

Speaker 1:

And in his final letter that he writes in the Holy Scriptures it's a letter to Timothy. And he begins and he says I thank God, whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience. As I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day, as I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, the faith that dwelt first in your grandmother, lois, and in your mother, eunice, and now, I am sure, dwells in you. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. And these are Paul's final words to his beloved disciple.

Speaker 1:

Paul's in prison and he's about to face execution. And so he's writing to really pass the baton over to Timothy and say your time has come. The time for you to take the lead is now. I'm reminded of how he nearly ends his letter to Timothy and he says for I am already being poured out as a drink offering and the time of my departure has come, I have fought the good fight. And, he says, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but to all who have loved his appearing. And so, as Paul's finishing, well, as the disciple maker, he knows his task is not done until he passes the baton. And so he's passing it to Timothy and he tells Timothy that you're going to need to pass this on too, and you need to continue this chain of discipleship.

Speaker 1:

So what can we learn as we think about this model between these two? We've looked at it biblically. We've talked about some practical examples. How do we do this faithfully? Well, we need to be intentional, we need to be thoughtful. I think it'd be good to pause and examine our lives and how we orient them, the things that we do, the things that we don't do. Also ask what motivates why I do these things. What motivates me to serve the ministries that I'm involved in in my local church? Are they disciple-making ministries? If the answer is no, I think there's two options that ministry should just end, or we should think about how can this reproduce followers of Jesus? How can this grow men and women in the faith? How can I bring someone alongside me to share the load?

Speaker 1:

See, paul's model for discipleship is one of multiplication because he invested more than just Timothy, but he knew that if he invested in Timothy, paul's model for discipleship is one of multiplication Because he invested more than just Timothy, but he knew that if he invested in Timothy and that Timothy was to do the same, they would begin to multiply disciples. It wasn't by addition. The church in the first century radically exploded because the model of discipleship was to multiply. Discipleship for the individual is for transformation, discipleship for the church is for multiplication. Paul knew that and Paul knew investing in Timothy meant that while Paul was still preaching, so could Timothy. While Paul was still leading and helping and planting churches, he could send Timothy off to go and investigate or go and do these things at other places, which he did. And so Paul was very much about multiplying disciples and I think, to be faithful, that should be our goal.

Speaker 1:

We do not want ministries of addition, we want ministries of multiplication. And if that means, invest in the few who will be able to teach others, also invest in the few who will be able to teach others also, so that at the end of it all, at the end of our lives, we labor, we strive and we toil in ministry, but we don't do so to say, hey, look what we've accomplished. No, we are all just unprofitable servants. We are all beggars just seeking to point people to Jesus. But at the end of our lives we labor to hear these words well done, good and faithful servant. So we long for that day, servant. So we long for that day, and we want to be good and faithful in the tasks and the responsibilities that are given to us in the days ahead, as we long for and press on towards the mark of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Speaker 1:

Discipleship is relationships and it's a life of relationships. It involves our relationship with Christ and our relationship with others, and so let's be intentional, let's do ministry together, let's understand our roles, ultimately that we might hear well done, good and faithful servant. I want to thank you for listening to the Pleasing God podcast. If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. You can reach out at questions at pleasinggodpodcastorg. And remember 1 Thessalonians 4.3 this is the will of God, your sanctification.

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