Paul Disciples Timothy
Topic: Discipling Generations Passage: Acts 16:1–16:10
This text shows the Apostle Paul discipling a younger man named Timothy, who then accompanies Paul on his mission. The text also shows the Holy Spirit discipling them both. The call to discipleship requires divine guidance, which is a difficult topic for many Christians. Acts 16 shows such guidance through three specific means: restrictions, a dream, and Christian consensus.
God guides us as we attempt to make disciples.
There are tons of examples in Scripture and the church where God guides his people. At the same time, there is widescale ignorance of how it works in practice. Jesus tells us that his sheep hear his voice and follow him (John 10:27). He says we must abide in him or we can do nothing (John 15:5). He also promises to always be with us as we make disciples (Matthew 28:20).
Despite these examples and affirmations, Christians often embrace errors in their understanding. Some think that God no longer speaks to us today. Others assume God wants to guide us in every decision throughout our day. Still others insist that God only uses the Bible to guide us.
As in today’s text, we should expect that God will use a number of ways to lead us. Still, in all of these ways, a Christian must learn to hear God’s voice affirming the guidance. How can you recognize it?
- Quality – there is a self-authenticating weight.
- Feel – it will have a peaceful confidence, joy and goodness
- Content – it will always be consistent with the Scriptures.
Developing a conversational relationship with God takes practice. Assume he’ll speak to you like he does in the Bible. Ask yourself if you really want to hear. Expect to get it wrong sometimes.
Taking it home: With your small group or another person, have each person spend 30 minutes alone with God in listening prayer. Come back together and discuss what you heard.