Today we conclude our walk through 1 Thessalonians 2 as we examine the remaining verses and see how we can apply these key principles. (Catch up with Part 1)
- Entrust the Gospel with Thanksgiving.
This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the message about God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the message of God, which also works effectively in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews. (1 Thess. 2:13–14)
As Paul and his coworkers invested in the believers of Thessalonica, it was obvious that God was doing something special. These believers were making spiritual progress, and for that Paul and his team were grateful to God.
You and I must be faithful to share the gospel. We must also be thankful for the privilege God gives us to do ministry, especially as He works through us to meet the needs of others for His glory.We must also be thankful for the privilege God gives us to do ministry, especially as He works through us to meet the needs of others for His glory. Click To Tweet
I met Pete on a Sunday night at the church where I was pastoring. His parents forced him and his brothers to come to church. As you can imagine, they had bad attitudes and nothing good to say, and they were generally disinterested.
As I began to develop a relationship with Pete and his brothers, I really enjoyed being around them. I went to eat lunch with them at school, visited with them in their home, and hung out with them during youth group. After some time, I had the wonderful privilege of leading Pete to faith in Christ and then discipling him. Pete showed promise of growth and transformation from the beginning. He always wanted to talk about God and His Word, loved to serve others, and had a desire to share his faith with his friends in school. It was obvious that God was doing something special in his life.
As he grew in his faith, what set him apart from his peers was his faithfulness to God. He was faithful even when his friends made fun of him. They thought Pete was weird because he prayed before meals, carried his Bible along with his school textbooks, and would share a “word fitly spoken” with all who would listen.
Pete’s senior year of high school was quite different. Because he had modeled faithfulness and authenticity before his friends, they began to seek him out for advice and counsel. I prayed at Pete’s graduation and was so encouraged when many of his friends and classmates shared about the difference he had made in their lives.
Pete’s faithfulness is the hallmark of his ministry today. Dr. Charpentier is a pastor and seminary professor in the Southwest. Because of his faithfulness, many are being impacted by the gospel, resulting in thanksgiving to God!
- Entrust the Gospel with Courage.
“For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, since you have also suffered the same things from people of your own country, just as they did from the Jews. (1 Thess. 2:14)
These new believers were experiencing some of the same opposition that Paul and his team were facing, yet they served Christ without fear.
Persecution helped these believers in at least two ways.
First, it helped serve as a catalyst for prayer. Paul’s great desire was for these believers; he longed for them. And because he had them in his heart and on his mind, he constantly lifted them up in prayer!
The persecution also proved the reality of their faith. Persecution will always prove the authenticity of a believer’s faith. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The church persecuted, becomes the church pure; while the church patronized becomes the church polluted!”
- Entrust the Gospel with Joy.
“For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy! (1 Thess. 2:19–20).
Paul and the team found great joy in their relationship with these new believers in Thessalonica. Because they had become a part of God’s forever family, they knew these relationships would be lasting ones. Paul expressed how this made him feel when he wrote, “You are our glory and joy!”
Through the years of ministry, God has enriched my life by allowing me to invest in many young men and women who are either in vocational ministry, are married to someone in vocational ministry, or are serving God in their local churches. It is such a joy to watch them grow, see them develop, and cheer them on as they serve the Lord Jesus and further the gospel!
The most meaningful relationships I have experienced as a believer have been in the context of disciplemaking relationships. When they call for encouragement or advice, share a victory or challenge, or need insight because of some crisis, it seems that we pick up right where we’ve left off even though we may not have seen or talked to each other in some time. These relationships are unending.
As you invest in others and cultivate gospel-centered relationships, you will find the greatest joy you’ve ever known.As you invest in others and cultivate gospel-centered relationships, you will find the greatest joy you’ve ever known. Click To Tweet
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.