Discipleship Done Right
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. – 2 John 4-6
Check out last week’s sermon here.
Discipleship – when a Christian intentionally teaches another Christian what it means to follow Jesus Christ. -Pastor Mike
John provides a helpful discipleship formula for a discipler in 2 John 4-6.
Time & Observation + The Word of God = Diagnosis & Instruction
Time & Observation
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth… – 2 John 4a
A discipler places himself in a position to be able to see the fruit being produced in the life of the one he is discipling (2 Timothy 1:5). Does this seem invasive? If so, remember that if my goal is to be formed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18), the image is brought into focus by the transforming Spirit in the body of Christ (God’s people) (Hebrews 10:24). It is God’s grace to put in my life another follower of Christ who can see things I am not seeing with the desire to help me follow Jesus. My desire to run from this Christian brotherhood/sisterhood or the feeling that I am OK with my Bible and my own thoughts is not from the Father but from self-confidence.
So, John, the discipler, observes something (Christians walking in the truth), and he is overjoyed. How does John know what is worthy of joy?
The Word of God
…just as we were commanded by the Father. – 2 John 4b
The true, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8) of the timeless Word of God give John (and us) confidence to make observations about what is of value. John has been transformed by the power of Christ’s Gospel. He now loves what is true. He labors hard over God’s truth and lets it settle into every crack and crevice forming a smooth, mature Christ follower. He’s seen the frauds that pass as, “real love,” but he sees there truthlessness as empty shells, human forms love that claim to be from God. John knows the frauds because fraudulent kinds of love never include the truth of God.
So, John, when he sees, “children walking in the truth,” as God commanded, he wants to throw a celebration. He doesn’t waste a truly joyous moment like this, as one who lives surrounded by a world that is in the evil one’s power (1 John 5:19). John knows that what he is seeing is otherworldly, supernatural. The dead came to life in order for John to witness such walking in the truth.
What more can John do with what he has seen in these lives?
Diagnosis & Instruction
And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. – 2 John 5-6
Further up into the old old story (the one from the beginning). Further into faithful fear of God and His ways (keep His commands). Further out to love for one another.
So, John says what must always be said, whether in joy (as in this passage) or in painful warning (to a rebellious heart). John calls the disciple Heavenward to surrender to the Father, letting God’s truth settle into every crack and crevice of that disciples heart until a mature Christ follower is formed. There is no mountain of holiness or valley of despair any Christian will reach in this life where the call to the old truth of love and obedience will be insufficient.