[forthright] The Church Multiplies

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 15:57:57 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Final Phase

The Church Multiplies
by J. Randal Matheny

How does the church multiply as it evangelizes and
brings people to a knowledge of the truth?

Paul offers a model in 2 Timothy 2:1-15. Here are
ten points from the passage.

1. Take care of yourself (vv. 1,15). You can't
pass on what you don't have. And when push comes
to shove, as it inevitably will, if you don't have
a handle on the grace of God, you'll quit.

2. Entrust the gospel to capable men (v. 2). If it
all revolves around you, when you are removed from
the picture, the work will stop. Multiply efforts
by passing on the truth and the responsibility to
teach.

3. Share in the suffering (vv. 3,9,10). God works
when bad things happen to us. The tough life
rewards him who sticks it out.

4. Keep the focus (v. 4). A soldier serves to
please his superior officers. Don't get
sidetracked into useless discussions (v. 14). Do
all, endure all, "for the sake of the elect" (vv.
10-13).

5. Play by the rules (v. 5). Olympic athletes got
stripped of medals because they were doped up.
Christians lose their reward for stepping out of
bounds. We must work "according to the rules."

6. Work hard, really hard (v. 6). The work of the
farmer wears him out. Such is the effort necessary
to a multiplying church. (See Luke 5:5; Acts
20:35; Romans 16:6,12; Colossians 1:28,29.)

7. Think things through (v. 7). To understand how
the Lord wants us to work and produce fruit, we
need to ponder over the inspired instructions.
Otherwise, we'll use human principles and get
human results. God will show us the way when we
consider what the Word says.

8. Concentrate on Jesus (v. 8). Everything must
revolve around him, both message and methods. It's
all based on facts about him, who was real. The
New Testament brings us those facts faithfully.
Otherwise, we're just blowing in the wind.

9. Free the word (v. 9). It just doesn't matter
what our circumstances or limitations are. "The
word of God is not chained." No limits to what the
Word can do. That's where the power is to convert
the hearers.

10. So handle the Word of truth properly (v. 15).
Don't shortcut its power by your ineptness. Use it
wisely, explain it properly (NRSV), proclaim it
clearly and boldly.

No big secrets bar the church of God from
multiplying. It's a question of using basic
principles, of getting out of a recreation-crazed
mode and getting down to work.

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