Last week, we started to examine 1 Thessalonians 2. Today we will continue to walk through this passage and look at some more key principles that we can apply to making disciples.
- Entrust the Gospel in Love.
Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. (1 Thess. 2:7–8)
Paul and his coworkers loved these people! In his book Reaching the Next Level, Pete Charpentier wrote, “As a mother who compassionately cares for her children, Paul made every effort to be gentle with these new believers.”
They didn’t only share the gospel but also their very lives. Because these new believers had become very dear to them, it was Paul’s joy to share every piece of himself. Making disciples is what we do; love is why we do it.
The motivation for gospel work must be the love of Christ! As Paul says in 2 Corinthians, “For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died” (2 Cor. 5:14).The motivation for gospel work must be the love of Christ! Click To Tweet
Frank Horton was a trusted counselor, mentor, confidant, and close personal friend to students on the campus of Louisiana State University. He influenced and impacted many students for Christ, including me.
Mr. Horton (as I called him) was not a gifted preacher or teacher; in fact, there was nothing outstanding or out of the ordinary that would attract you to him. What stood out about him was how he loved his students. He was patient and long-suffering, and he loved students in spite of their flaws. Frank Horton affected my life in a profound way and became the model that I have patterned my life and ministry after.
Mr. Horton lived out Jesus’s words in John 13:34–35, where Jesus said, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The motive for every gospel-centered relationship must be love. It is love for God, but we express it outwardly and soak every Christ-centered relationship in it. Paul explained it to Timothy like this: “Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).
- Entrust the Gospel Firmly.
As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2:11–12)
There are times when we must nurture new believers gently, but there are other times when we must exhort and encourage them with firmness. Notice the contrast between the gentleness of a nursing mother and the firmness of a father. Paul and his coworkers used both. They ministered with strength and gentleness. The seasoned disciplemaker knows when to be strong and when to be gentle.
Brandon was my ministry intern and a student pastor for a local church from 2002 to 2003. From the beginning, Brandon was a great student of the Bible and showed signs of being a gifted teacher, but he needed to grow as a servant leader.
After an event that his church sponsored, I noticed that Brandon had gone home early, leaving the cleanup to his pastor and me. So I pulled him aside, and we discussed servanthood and servant leadership. Brandon thanked me for the fatherly talking-to and over time made the adjustments needed to become a true servant leader. Brandon and his wife, Mindy, are now missionaries in Eastern Europe.
As you share your life with others, don’t be afraid to be direct with those you disciple and mentor. Sometimes tough love is required.
The above is an excerpt from the book, “The Heart Of A Disciplemaker” Ch. 1 – Cultivating A Shepherd’s Heart by Tim LaFleur
The Heart of a Disciplemaker
The church has done a good job teaching people how to share their faith but it hasn’t done well at teaching them to share their lives.
There is no question Jesus commanded those who follow Him to make disciples. But what does that look like in everyday life? While most believers are clear that the Great Commission found in Matthew 28 calls us to make disciples, many simply don’t know how. Investing in the lives of others who will in turn invest themselves in others is not difficult, but it does require intentionality. Building authentic relationships that leave a legacy of Christ long past our lives should be the goal of every believer. To accomplish this we must answer the following questions:
• What do gospel-centered relationships look like?
• What character qualities must we develop to deepen our walk with Christ and with others?
• How can we develop a heart for making disciples?
In, The Heart of a Disciplemaker, Tim LaFleur provides practical answers to these questions and more. Drawing from the Scripture, and his own life as a disciplemaker, Tim clarifies what a life lived for the glory of God looks like. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, every disciple of Jesus can develop character qualities that will encourage others to follow Christ through meaningful, dynamic, gospel-centered relationships. Relationships that leave a legacy, not for our name, but for the One whose name is above all names: Jesus Christ.