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The cost of dicipleship

June 17, 2010

What am i willing to do to for the sake of anothers faith? Is my Christianity all about me and what i can get from Jesus…or, has there been a realization of already having been given EVERYTHING FREELY, so now my life is about giving to others? The difference is night and day. It’s the difference between consumers and servants…spectators and ministers. It was the difference between Timothy and others in his day.

Here in Acts 16 we are introduced to this “certain disciple” Timothy. He was well spoken of by the other believers in Lystra, and Paul wanted him for ministry! But, there was a problem…his daddy was Greek (a Gentile)! Paul was a full-blooded Jew, and did a lot of ministry among Jews (believer and unbeliever alike). This matter of Tim being a gentile would be stumbling block to the faith of Jews in that region. So, for the sake of ministry (and, others faith), Paul decided that Tim needed to get circumcised! Now, as a baby this is one thing…but, as a full grown man…this is unimaginable! The pain, the time off, the pain, the cost, the pain, the pain, the…you get the picture. But, think about it…if you were him, would you do it for the sake of another persons faith?

Now, we don’t know how Tim first responded to Paul’s idea…but, we don’t read of any hesitation. The way it reads it seems that it just happened. Tim seemed to understand that if he were going to have the privilege of serving in ministry with the Apostle Paul, that this was part of the cost. Do we realize this? If we want to serve the Lord through ministry to others…there will be a cost. It’s part of the cost of being a disciple…part of the Cross. There will be things that we will need to sacrifice and “give up” for the sake of others faith or betterment.

And, not only do we see this quality of selfless love in Timothy, but we also see it in the churches. V.4 says that Paul and Timothy’s message to the Body was the decrees that were decided upon at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Remember that? Those were the three decrees given to the Gentile believers in order to not be a stumbling block to the Jewish Christians in their churches. Don’t eat meat offered to idols, don’t consume blood or eat meat of strangled animals, and keep from sexual immorality! How do they respond? It seems that they received these commands towards selfless love with joy! They decided that another persons faith was more important than their freedom to do these certain things. And, what was the result? Growth!

V.5 says that the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew in number daily! Sweet! So, it appears that an element of personal and numerical growth is related to Christ-likeness…who knew?! As we are willing to do whatever it takes for the purpose of others faith (which is love), we grow personally and people see and desire Jesus!

So, what would it look like if we all were willing to do something costly for the sake of anothers faith? It would look like personal growth and increased number of believers! Be on the look out for ways in which we could do something for the sake of another person’s faith today…and, watch God honor it!

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