Discipleship Training-Lesson #14 Rescued from the Gates of Hell!
Discipleship training Lesson # 14-Rescued from the Gates of Hell!
This is an ongoing work in progress. While I am writing these articles on discipleship, I am actually doing these same things with other men on a regular basis. Spiritual reproduction is my goal with them. I want them to be able to teach these things to another man that God gives to them. That is the principle of disciplemaking in 2 Timothy 2:2. "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
Visualize if you would that you are sitting across from me in a restaurant, and we are having an exciting conversation about making disciples.
I would suggest getting a three ring binder notebook for your new disciple, print all these pages as you work with your disciple, so that they may reproduce this in the life of another.
I thought it would only be fitting for me to share this very personal story with you today!
Several weeks into my venture in discipling my "Timothy" I had this real life experience during late summer 2002.
You will probably find that in spending time discipling your "Timothy" or "Timothyette" (for the ladies), that there will be several milestones where your relationship breaks through to a new level.
Earlier that summer of 2002, I attended a Promisekeepers rally in Raleigh N.C. with my Timothy. We spent several hours in the car going to and from the PK rally. During that time in the car, we shared many things in our lives. We talked about mutual struggles with juggling family time, work time, and ministry time, and talked about many different areas of our lives.
I shared with him about my struggle with the television set, and asked him to hold me accountable for the next several weeks ago, and told him to give me a call several times next week and check up on my viewing habits.
I am sure that he never heard anyone ever ask him to do anything like this before. So I was not disappointed when he failed to do this. After all he is a young believer in the Lord, and I am the "old saint" who knows fifty-million Bible verses, so how in the world could he ask me that question?
But he did call me August 6th with that question! It took a couple of weeks, but he had noticed at the Sunday morning service that I seemed "a bit down", and he had emailed me earlier in the week and asked me if everything was O.K. Well, he had read me well, because I had several things on my mind on Sunday, and I shared these with him when he called.
Sometimes in my life I get tempted like most men. That particular evening, I was on my way home and my wife had asked me to stop and pick up a McDonald's hamburger for her. As I was headed up a main highway in our town, ready to turn into McDonald's, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a lady hitchhiker about a short block up the road. Sometimes when we are vulnerable to the devil, he tempts us to do things that we know we should not do.
Thoughts jumped into my mind about picking up that hitchhiker. Yet, I quickly put that aside and got in line at the McDonald's drive-through. The line was extremely long, so the devil had some time to keep working on my mind. I kept saying "no, I will not even think about picking up that lady".
About that time my friend phoned me. I almost laughed to myself as I rejoiced how Biblical verses that I had memorized many years before were coming true. Verses like "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" and "He will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able to resist". God had honored his word as I resisted temptation and right at that moment had prompted my friend to call me.
I shared this little story with him, and thanked him for checking up on me. What a joy it is to surround yourself with folks who care enough about you to check up on you. Many times we get discouraged and downhearted, so one of your greatest ministries in this life is asking God to make you aware of others in your fellowship who might need a word of encouragement. Then pick up the phone and call them. Perhaps make a luncheon appointment or drop by their home and spend some time with them.
God does not want us to handle this journey alone. Fellowship always reminds me of "two or three fellows in a ship", keeping the ship afloat and spending time with each other. Perhaps you might want to read an article I wrote some time ago about encouragement.
Barnabas, Where Are You When I Need You?
Well, as I left McDonald's talking with my friend, about ten minutes after the first temptation, I told him that I know how men pick up lady hitchhikers, and that she must surely be gone by now. As I turned up the main highway, and traveled about a half mile, there she was still walking along the road hitchhiking. It was really a neat rescue from God that I was not even tempted to stop, but the ministry of my friend talking to me surely "rescued me from the Gates of Hell".
I have no way of knowing what would have happened if my friend would not have called. I would think the result would have been the same, and I would have passed on by the lady. (Satan has tempted me several times in the past few months, since I wrote this article, and I believe he is seeing if I really meant what I wrote about in this article. So far I have passed on by.) And yet I know that the Bible says that "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". I know of many men and women who have fallen from their ministries and their faith by succumbing to sexual sin. We read of these sad stories in our media on a regular basis. So how thankful I am that I have chosen to surround myself with men who will encourage me and pray for me.
Perhaps this particular sin would not even tempt you. But the lady or man at the office, and the playful flirtations that you engage in from time to time can lead to disaster. Or the neighbor down the street that you are helping with some task might be the catalyst that sets the wheels in motion for a sinful end. Satan has many tricks, and you alone know what is your nemesis. Ask God to reveal sin to you and give you the courage to resist the devil. Share your problem with a close friend and ask them to pray for you and check up on you often. Do not become one of Satan's statistics!
So my friend, seek out someone to encourage today. Perhaps a family member. Perhaps a widow or widower in your church. Perhaps your pastor and his family. Ask God to lay someone on your heart, and then act up that thought.