ROMANS:THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Fruit of a Discipleship Ministry
Jerry A Collins
What is the essence of discipleship?
What is the outcome of discipleship?
What is the relationship between discipleship and false teaching?
Discipleship is one of those words we throw around assuming that we all know what it means. Discipleship is an individual thing—a life on a life, leading toward greater Christlikeness. It is the missing word in the ministry of the church. Biblical discipleship is intentionally impacting the life of someone in the direction of Christlikeness. The bottom line is this—you will produce what you disciple. So discipleship considers four things: (1) Intentional: Not accidental. Not someone simply learning about Christ. Someone must intend to do it. (2) Impacting: It brings about a change in virtues, values, beliefs, life-style. (3) Personal: Not just covering material or being part of a group or class. It is one person dealing with another person personally. (EX. Of Charles friends testimony). (4) Christlike: It is modeling that moves people in direction of Christlikenes. Romans ends with the evidence of the fruit of a discipleship ministry. The kind of ministry and fruit we should be striving for in our own lives.
1. DISCIPLESHIP IS BASED ON RELATIONSHIP 1-16
This list of greetings is the longest in any of his writings. There are 26 people mentioned by name and many others referred to (5, 10-11, 13-15). Notice how the xians he knows are described.
(1) 2 Phoebe a helper of many. To give assistance in time of want, difficulty or distress.
(2) 3 Prisca
& Aquilla my fellow workers. They accompanied
(3) 4 They risked their own lives.
(4) 5 Church in their own house. They also had house church when in Corinth 1 Cor 16:19.
(5) 6 Mary worked hard much for you. Toiled much.
(6) 7 My fellow prisoners. These had suffered with Paul.
(7) 7 Outstanding among the apostles. They had a mark on them as notable among those sent out.
(8) 8 Ampliatus my beloved in the Lord. Here is common status they share.
(9) 9 Urbanus our fellow worker in Christ.
(10) 9 Stachys my beloved. My dear friend—the one loved by me. Special status here.
(11) 10 Apelles the approved in Christ. Once tested he stands approved. No falsehood.
(12) 10-11 Aristobulus household & Narcissus household in the Lord. Family, servants.
(13) 11 Herodian my kinsman. Either relative or fellow-countryman
(14) 12 Workers in the Lord. Women who worked hard in Lord.
(15) 12 Persis the beloved. My dear friend & another woman who worked hard in the Lord.
(16) 13 Rufus a choice man in the Lord. Special relationship with distinction of some kind.
1. Ministry comes at a cost. Assistance in time of distress. Risking. Working hard. Sacrifice. Prisoners. Workers. Tested and approved. Ministry by it’s very nature is sacrificial and costly. When you determine to minister to someone acknowledge that it will cost you something and be willing to pay whatever price is necessary. All of these people knew of or at least heard of the cost of ministry in the life of Paul. He modeled that for them and so they were determined to serve Christ in costly ministry as well.
2. A ministry is characterized by reproduction. 26 different individuals are mentioned in this greeting. In one way or another, Paul’s ministry was being reproduced through the lives of other committed individuals. In some cases he was physically with them. This led to reproducing himself through them. They in turn were willing to count the cost themselves in their service for Christ.
3. Ministry is for both men and women. It is interesting to note that at least four women were said to have ‘worked hard’. One risked her own neck. Another may have been a fellow prisoner. Men and women both are responsible to serve Christ with their own God given giftedness and should be encouraged to do so without violating the specific leadership roles scripture identifies.
4. Ministry is best done one on one or in smaller groups. There may
be up to five different house churches mentioned here in
2. DISCIPLESHIP WARNS AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS 17ff
1. Identify and avoid those who don’t follow biblical teaching 17. The issue for avoiding people is not personality or the kind of music they like or their race or wealth or dress but their teaching. What is it they are teaching? Don’t hang around them. Turn off the Tv. Change the radio station. Don’t purchase their books. Stay away from them. Their teaching will only place obstacles and snares in your path.
2. Watch out for and avoid deception 18. You can become easily impressed by speakers and teachers who flatter you with their speaking abilities or magnetic personalities and yet ignore or forget the biblical or spiritual content of their message. The only way to avoid this kind of deception is to increase your knowledge of the word of God. It may sound good to say that God is a God of love and ignore the fact that He is also a just God. That there are consequences for every sin we commit. It may tickle your ears to hear that every God worshipped to day in every religion is simply another way to ultimately be saved and ignore fact that Bible declares there is only one way of salvation through only one person, Jesus Christ.
3. Become wise about good and innocent about evil 19. Develop the skill to discern what is good biblically. The world can never teach you that. Don’t become worldly-wise. It is never better to have sinned so stay innocent or pure from that which is evil. Don’t think that it is better to sin and then repent.
4. While being alert God’s power will destroy false teachers 20. If they heed Paul’s warning to identify and avoid them, then God will crush Satan’s action speedily. False teachers are under Satans influence but God destroys and then brings peace to replace the dissension and division their false teaching produced. By God’s grace we are on the winning side.
(1) Don’t compromise God’s Word to accommodate anothers teaching.
(2) Don’t look for new revelation from God—learn and live the revelation we already have.
(3) Develop discernment by increasing your knowledge of the Word of God by study.