Though Paul was not present when Jesus issued the command in Matthew 28:19, it was passed down to him; “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” This title “disciple” is used throughout the Book of Acts to refer to those who believed in Jesus and were “devoted to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (Acts 2:42). Even after Paul’s conversion, believers in new church plants were referred to as “disciples”. As we saw yesterday, Paul’s ministry was designed to “strengthen all the disciples” (18:23).
More specifically, Paul found a disciple named Timothy at Lystra who “was well spoken of…and wanted Timothy to accompany him” (Acts 16:1-3). This was Paul’s way of training him in the ministry as opposed to sending him to some ‘Bible School’ which did not even exist. This method was so effective that later Paul calls Timothy his “true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). This mentoring relationship was also developed with Titus such that Paul used him in the church at Corinth (2 Cor. 8:16, 23; Galatians 2:1, 3; Titus 1:4).
It is evident from the language Luke uses in writing Acts that he was with Paul through most of his travels and ministry. At the close of Paul’s life, he says “Luke alone is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11). A true disciple is one who is faithful to the teaching as well as the relationship to the end.
Do you have a “Paul” in your life who is discipling you to be faithful? Are you discipling a “Timothy” who continues in the faith no matter what the cost? We must be thinking about perpetuating God’s work in the next generations by multiplication, not addition.
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