October 30

Today's Bible Reading
         II Kings 11-12
         II Timothy 2
         Hosea 3-4
         Psalms  119:121-144
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)
            Our memory verse for today is the key to our ministry and to Christian missions today. Do you desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? You cannot be a disciple unless you become a disciplemaker. That is the truth set forth in II Timothy 2:2. It is also the essence of church building and worldwide evangelism. The entire concept of world missions and effective evangelism is based on II Timothy 2:2.  In this one verse, we see fourgenerationsof believers.
        1.  Paul was discipled by the church and faithful believers following his conversion
        2.  Paul instructed Timothy in the truth of the Gospel.
        3.  Timothy was to commit these teachings to faithful men.
        4.  These faithful men were to teach others also.
            So here we have four generations of disciples. If today's church followed that same strategy and system, we would effectively touch our world for Jesus Christ. It is probably important here to consider what a disciple is. In this chapter a disciple is likened to a strongson(v.1), a soldier(v.3), a successfulathlete(v.5), a sower(v.6), a shepherd(v 15), a sanctifiedvessel(v.21), and a servant(v.24).
            For our purpose here, Paul gives us three examples of a disciple, and uses three different vocations to do it. He tells us in verse 3 that a disciple is a goodsoldierof Jesus Christ.  A good soldier is one who is well trained, thoroughly prepared, and willing to endure hardship.  He is brave and willing to lead the way in facing the enemy.  He refuses to entangle himself in the affairs of this life, so he may please his commander in chief.  A disciple is a soldier who is totally committed to the task God has given him, and desires only to please his Commander-in-Chief, the Lord Jesus.
            The athleteis an illustration that Paul often used. It seems like he really enjoyed sports, and enjoyed using the analogy of the athlete. On one occasion, Paul talked about the boxer who refused to just beat the air, but kept his body under discipline and subjection. He spoke often of the runner, running faithfully toward the finish line. This time, Paul reminds us that the athlete must compete according to the rules. The baseball player is out when he swings and misses for a third strike; the football player cannot count the touchdown if he steps out of bounds; the basketball player must dribble the ball as he moves down the court. These players have to compete by the rules. A Child of God cannot live a haphazard life based on the rules of this culture. If we are going to compete for God, we must do so according to the rules. The Bible is a rule book, and that is where we receive our instruction.
            Most church members today are fans, only cheering for those on the field who are sweating, serving, and sacrificingto win.  It is time for every believer to be a followerand not a fan. 
            Then Paul tells us about the hard-working farmer. The Christian life and the challenges we face, do not call for a Sunday afternoon nap. They call for hard work.  Sometimes you spell love WORK. If we desire a harvest, then we must work. A harvest requires planting, tilling the soil, often irrigating the soil, and then harvesting the fruit. The effective farmer is hard­ working person, and the effective disciple is a hard-working believer.
            Decide today to be a goodsoldier, an obedientathlete, and a hard-workingfarmer. Dare to be a disciple. It will cost you something, but the rewardsare phenomenal.
As you continue to pray for tentmaker Christians, realize that they are becoming more and more prominent in the overall missionary strategy of the Christian church today.  Pray that God would give them holy boldness tempered by tact, the appropriate use of time, the granting of long-term  visas for the country in which they are serving, and pray that God will use them to bring about the conversion of prominent citizens in these nations.