1 Thessalonians Two: Beyond Evangelism

Posted: June 2, 2012 in 1 Thessalonians

Before Jesus ascended back into Heaven, He told His followers here on earth to “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Now if that were all that Jesus commanded of us, it wouldn’t be unthinkably hard to achieve. Indeed, we can see throughout the New Testament evidence that that news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed throughout the known world. Today we have the technology and resources to distribute mass literature or write in the sky with airplanes- we don’t even have to be verbal in our communication of the Gospel anymore.

But that wasn’t all that Jesus said, and that’s not what we see Paul engaged in. See, Jesus also said “Go and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them, and teach them to do everything I taught you.” In other words, be Christ-followers producing producing Christ-followers. Don’t just make converts to Christianity- make disciples.

And there is where we find Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2. For ease of reading, let me bullet-point some thoughts from this chapter.

1. Paul preached the Gospel in Thessalonica even though he was being persecuted for it.

2. Paul pressed on in his endeavors out of a motivation to please God, not man.

3. Paul didn’t come with flattery, or a desire to personally profit from the gospel ministry.

4. Paul didn’t just share the gospel- he shared his life.

5. Paul worked day and night in secular work so as to minister to the Thessalonians free of charge.

6. Like a father, Paul “raised” these new believers in Christ, teaching them how to live.

7. Paul witnessed their transformation and development as Christ-followers.

Now I know that not all of us are called to walk in the same shoes as Paul. But at the same time, we’re all called to be disciple-makers, and if Paul is the model to follow, what this means is that we ought not be content to merely toss the gospel out there in hopes that the Holy Spirit will do His thing and save people. Instead, we need to be willing and ready to invest our lives into others. Yes, this means evangelism, but it also means teaching them, training them, doing life together with them, so that as we make disciples, and our disciples make disciples, and then they make disciples…the Kingdom grows exponentially larger with true followers of Jesus, which is really what we’re here for.

Discipleship wasn’t intended to be something we supplement our lives with- it was meant to be our lives.

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