Previously (Part 1 and Part 2), we have painted five portraits of what a disciple maker should look like, according to the Bible. We have seen the characteristics and traits of a vast array of examples: 1. The Steward 2. The Soldier 3. The Athlete 4. The Farmer 5. The Worker With only two more examples in 2 Timothy, Paul makes sure that both Timothy and future believers are given an extensive model for being an effective disciple maker. 6. The Vessel But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:19-22 ESV) The disciple maker is pictured here as a vessel. The faithful disciple maker is a “vessel of honor” fit for the master’s use. The disciple maker not only has a ministry that requires him to “handle the word,” but he should strive to have a ministry consistent with the word he handles! In order for that to happen, we must be clean. Notice what Paul says in v. 21: Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. The point here is that we must be cleansed so that God can work in and through our lives. The disciple maker knows that because he is redeemed, every sin has been cleansed by the blood! In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (Ephesians 1:7 ESV) Every sin is under the blood – past, present, and future! All because of God’s grace! However, a disciple maker also knows that he must confess and forsake sin so that his fellowship with the Lord Jesus is not broken. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 ESV) 7. The Servant Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 ESV) Finally, the disciple maker is a servant. That word in the language of the New Testament is doulas. Literally it means slave. The disciple maker is a bondservant or slave. We were slaves to sin but we have been set free by the power of the gospel! As an Old Testament slave has said: “I love my master…I will not go free.” (Exodus 21:5) With the mindset of a slave, the disciple maker will:
- Identify with the person of his master.
- Obey the purpose of the master.
- Serve in the power of his master.