True discipleship is discipleship that is passed on and it grows and grows in a person's life. The relationship between Paul and Timothy is an excellent example of true discipleship as Paul took on the spiritual fatherly role of Timothy. Timothy was a young convert at a young age. God's call on Timothy was a truly strong call and Paul speaks to the call of God on Timothy's life in Philippians 2:20 where He writes 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. This kind of discipleship is what is missing from churches today and our lack of "following through" with new converts in the area of discipleship has caused great problems in "The Church."
The Pauline Purpose is a term I have coined to emphasize the point of what happened when Paul met someone and shared the gospel with them. Those new converts were challenged by Paul to develop their relationship with Jesus and take on the call to follow Him wherever he leads. Paul continued to grow these new disciples even when he was away from them by writing letters of instruction and encouragement to them. Paul realized that the Holy Spirit would change these disciples every day if they would immerse themselves in the truth of God's Word and thus follow the call of the Savior. Paul would stay in an area for many days at times to develop these new converts and help them realize God's call on their lives and how to follow that call. Timothy is a good example of the result of Paul's discipleship and growing someone's faith and setting their call into motion. Philippians 2:22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News.
Paul continued to stay in Philiipi for about three months and thus followed through with completing the "Macedonian Call", which is when the Lord came to Paul in a vision and he saw a man pleading with him to "come over and help us." So Paul went over to Philippi, which was just across the Aegean Sea from where they were staying and they began reaching people with the gospel, which was the beginning of Paul's ministry in Macedonia.
Paul met Lydia, Timothy's mother and she opened her heart to his teachings and believed, and all her household was baptized. She invited Paul to come and stay in her house and Paul had his initial friendship begin with Timothy and that friendship turned into a father/son relationship that was grounded in the ministry.
Whenever someone joined the ministry with Paul the priority was always "making disciples" and the gospel continued to spread and change lives because of that purpose. May our purpose be to "make disciples." As scripture says in Matthew 26:18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It takes time to teach someone to obey "all" the commands given by Jesus, but when it is done right a lasting disciple is made and the result is the gospel continuing to spread. A new, fresh church fellowship will be the result and The Pauline Purpose will be the reason they continue to flourish. Let's get to work to finish what Paul began.
The Pilgrimage Continues