First, we will ask you to carry your cross and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

On Matthew 16:24 AMPC says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and. if need be, in dying, also].

Our Lord Jesus Christ invites every person to follow Him; they must have a willingness to put aside selfish ambition, to shoulder their cross, and to follow.

To “put aside selfish ambition” means to surrender immediate material gratification in order to discover and secure one’s true self and God’s interests. It is a willingness to let go of selfish desires and earthly security. This attitude turns self-centeredness to God-centeredness. “Self” is no longer in charge; God is.

To “shoulder the cross” was a vivid illustration of the humility and submission that our Lord Jesus Christ was asking of His followers. Death on a cross was a form of execution used by Rome for what they considered dangerous criminals. A prisoner carried his own cross to the place of execution, signifying submission to Rome’s power. Following Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, meant identifying with Lord Jesus and His followers, facing social and political oppression and ostracism, and no turning back. For some, taking up the cross might indeed mean death. To “follow” Lord Jesus Christ is also a moment-by moment decision, requiring compassion and service. Following Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t mean walking behind Him, but taking the same road of sacrifice and service that He took.

Second, you need to transmit and entrust to reliable and faithful men and women who will be competent and qualified to teach and disciple others also.

On 2 Timothy 2:2 AMPC says, “And the [instructions] which you have heardnfrom me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also.

Timothy heard Paul preach to many diverse groups of people. The message Paul wanted Timothy to “guard” (2 Timothy 1:14) was not a privately shared secret, but the accumulation of public teaching. Here Paul reminded Timothy that his essential role as guardian meant ensuring that these great truths were taught to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. Timothy was to keep the process of teaching going. This is a pattern for discipleship. It requires leaders to have a program for developing new leaders who can carry on the ministry. Since Paul, there has been a link from disciple to disciple, from generation to generation. We must keep that link intact. Paul was telling Timothy to pass on what had proven to be true and confirmed by many reliable witnesses.

Paul told Timothy to entrust that truth to reliable people who were both loyal to the faith and able to teach. The stress was on reliability more than position (see 2 timothy 1: verse 21). Like ripples from a stone thrown into a pool of water, the Gospel would spread across the world. When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he realized that the transmission of the Gospel truth to the next generation was passing into the hands of second-generation believers. Up to this point, the Good News was being spread solely by word of mouth and the lives of believers. The Gospels and various letters written by Paul and others may have just begun to be circulated, but they were not gathered into a book called the New Testament until years later. For a while, Timothy had the only copy of 2 Timothy in existence. Part of entrusting the Gospel to others was accomplished when painstaking, handwritten copies of the precious letters were made.

If today’s church consistently followed Paul’s advice, there would be an incredible spread of the Gospel as well-taught believers would teach others and commission them, in turn, to teach still others. Disciples need to be equipped to pass on their faith; new believers must be taught to make disciples of others (see Ephesians 4:12-13).

Third, we will encourage you to have the desires to be our Lord Jesus Christ disciple.

On Luke 14:27 AMPC says, “Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.”

Besides being willing to love our Lord Jesus Christ more than any others and more than life itself, the true disciple must be ready to carry his own cross and follow Lord Jesus Christ (see also Luke 9:23). Our Lord Jesus Christ gave this teaching to get the crowds to think through their enthusiasm for Him. He encouraged those who were superficial either to go deeper or to turn back. Following our Lord Jesus Christ means total submission to Him – perhaps even to the point of death.

Fourth, we will equip and build your leadership skills.

On Ephesians 6:10-11 AMPC says, “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. Put on God’s whole armor [the armoe of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and deceits of the devil.”

Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power refers to strength derived from God, not strength we humans have to somehow obtain. The words “be strong” describe continual empowering of the Christian community. God’s strength and power are part of the Kingdom blessings available to God’s people. The power (Holy Spirit) that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead empowers God’s people [we as Born-Again Christians] as we prepare for the spiritual battle we must face on this earth.

God empowers His people, but He does not send them into battle unarmed. God’s people must put on all of God’s armor (see also Romans 13:12). The panoplia, or full armor, means complete equipment, head-to-toe protection, both defensively and offensively. This gear was for hand-to-hand combat. This “armor of God” was mentioned in the Old Testament. Isaiah 59:17 describes God as wearing the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation. Paul wrote this letter while chained to a Roman soldier. Certainly the soldier’s armor must have brought this metaphor to mind.

Paul described a divine and complete “outfit” that God gives believers in order to provide all we need to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. The Devil rules the world of darkness, the kingdom opposed to God. “Stand against” was a military term meaning to resist the enemy, hold the position, and offer no surrender. The Devil will not fight fair; he uses subtle tricks and schemes. Our ability to stand firm depends on our use of the armor.

The Master’s Program

Next Dimension Univesity (Online Bible College)

Propagating the Gospel and stopping out Biblical Illiteracy.