Seven Portraits of a Disciple Maker, Part One

Have you ever wondered what a disciple maker looks like? So often, we write about what a Disciple Maker does, says, believes, etc.; but sometimes it is good to have a mental image of what a Disciple Makers is supposed to be. When you hear “Doctor,” an image comes to mind; the same goes for “chef,” “pilot,” and “preacher.” In our desire to be more like Christ and become a disciple maker, we must know what that looks like. In this three-part series, you will see biblical examples of what a Disciple Maker is supposed to be, from the apostle Paul himself. In 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul admonishes Timothy to be faithful to guard the gospel entrusted to him.  Notice what he says in 1 Timothy 6: O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” (1 Tim. 6:20, ESV).  Paul continually warns Timothy that many will pervert the message of the gospel and stray from the truth. How could Timothy “guard” the gospel? How could he preserve its integrity? What could he do to somehow maintain the purity of the gospel message? The answer – He would do it by “entrusting” it to faithful men who would in turn entrust it to others! He would make disciples who make disciples. In 2 Timothy 2, Paul paints seven portraits of a disciple maker. In these pictures we see the characteristics and qualities necessary to make disciples. Today we will be looking at the first two portraits. 1.    The Steward According to Paul, a disciple maker is like a “steward.” A steward is one who manages the resources of another. The disciple maker is entrusted not with material possessions, but with spiritual treasures. Notice 2 Timothy 2:1 & 2: You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (ESV) Paul encourages Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ! He admonishes him to entrust the gospel to faithful men. Like a steward, the disciple maker invests in men he deems faithful. He will seek to equip them with the gospel message and empower them to equip others with that same message. 2.    The Soldier A disciple maker is like a soldier.
  • He endures suffering
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:3 ESV) Following Jesus is not an easy undertaking; it will be hard, lonely, and costly! It will require courageously enduring and persevering for the sake of the gospel. And it is also true that making disciples is not an easy thing; it will take every spiritual resource that grace can afford.
  • He avoids entanglements
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please one who enlisted him. (2 Timothy 2:4) The soldier is totally committed to the one who enlisted him. His allegiance to his commander is unwavering and undeniable. He does not allow anything or anyone to distract him from being “all in.” In the same way, the disciple maker is to have an unwavering commitment and loyalty to Christ.
  • His focus is on Christ
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, (2 Timothy 2:8 ESV) This is our “battle cry.” We are to “remember Jesus Christ.” The disciple maker fixes his focus on Jesus – he sets his mind on “things above.”
  • He looks out for fellow soldiers
The disciple maker fixes his gaze upon Jesus, but he also looks out for those who are engaged in the battle. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10 ESV) As disciple makers, we not only suffer for the Lord Jesus, we also suffer for His church. With these portraits laid out for us so far, we can begin to better understand what it takes to become more like Christ, and in the process become a disciple who makes disciples.