Strong in Grace

Making disciples is hard work, and we're all called to make disciples. 2 Timothy 2.1-7

The Pastoral Epistles: 2 Timothy 2 (1)

Pray Psalm 126.6.

He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Read and meditate on 2 Timothy 2.1-7.

Preparation.

1. How does Paul describe what it means to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”?

2. What should Timothy not do? What should he do?

Meditate. 
In 2 Timothy, Paul is counseling the young pastor on the conduct of his life and ministry. In this passage, he outlines what Timothy should work toward as he grows in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

First, he must learn to think and live generationally (v. 2). Paul instructs Timothy to think two generations of believers beyond himself – “faithful men” and “others also.” The calling to make disciples requires that we focus our efforts not merely on teaching, but on helping others become grounded in the good words of sound doctrine, so that they, too, will teach the truth that is in Jesus. True disciples are disciple-makers. We have been called to make true disciples, just as Paul and Timothy were.

Yes, this is hard work, and it demands sacrifices on the part of those who engage in it (vv. 3-5). It’s not always convenient to make disciples. Spiritual forces of wickedness in high places will seek to frustrate our labors. The distractions of the world can drain away our best energy and attention. But if we recognize these threats, we can discipline ourselves, like athletes (v. 5), to overcome them and persevere in our race. The crown we seek is not the plaudits or pleasures of this life, but that which comes from the King of glory, as we hear Him say to us, “Well done.”

So we must work hard (v. 6). But if we will, we may expect to see the seeds we sow bear fruit for the Kingdom and glory of the Lord. We will rejoice to see the fruit of Christ in the lives of those we are called to teach. We share in their growth and ministries by continuing to sow the good seed of the Kingdom in and through them.

Paul punctuates these words of exhortation by instructing Timothy to think about them and to make sure he understands all that is required of him as a shepherd of the Lord’s flock (v. 7). Since all believers are called to the work of making disciples (Matt. 28.18-20), we should take Paul’s words to heart. Are we teaching and nurturing others in the Lord? Are we thinking generationally? Working sacrificially? Becoming strong in the Lord and in the disciplines that can keep us from being distracted from our calling?

These are questions we must consider as well, making sure – each day – that we understand what is required of us as those entrusted with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We will know that we are growing strong in the grace of the Lord when this agenda and these objectives characterize our lives, just as Paul intended them to characterize Timothy’s.

Reflect.
1. How does one grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? What evidence suggests that we are actually growing this way?

2. We are called to be athletes for Christ. What are the most important disciplines we need to practice to help us run our race for Him?

3. What “good seed” do we have to sow? Where do we sow it? How will you sow that good seed today?

You are a spiritual soldier. This kind of soldier does not sleep on an ivory bed but on the ground. He is not anointed with perfumed oils. These are the concern of those corrupt men who dally with courtesans, of those who act on the stage, of those who live carelessly. You must not smell of perfumes but of virtue. John Chrysostom (344-407), On Lazarus and the Rich Man

Father, help me to grow strong in the grace of Jesus! Today, as I go forth to make disciples, let me…

Pray Psalm 126.6.

Let this verse lead you to weep for your sins, and to go forth into your Personal Mission Field, sowing the grace and truth of the Lord by your words and deeds.

Sing Psalm 126.6
Psalm 126.6 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
They who in tears of sorrow sow and cast their seed on every hand, 
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home, and bring the harvest of their land.

T. M. Moore

Men, we encourage you to follow Paul’s exhortation and to join our Men’s Prayer Movement. Watch this brief video (click here), then download the brochure that accompanies it. Get started praying more consistently, and enlisting other men to pray, by ordering two copies of If Men Will Pray, a fuller exposition of 1 Timothy 2. 1-8, by clicking here. Another excellent way is to register for the course, “Parameters of Prayer,” at The Ailbe Seminary. It’s free, and it will definitely change your life.

If you value 
Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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