The Ideal Discipleship
I Thessalonians 3
Chapter 2 had a nursing mother, and a teaching father doing spiritual parenting of these new believers. It leads perfectly into this chapter about grounding new believers.
v. 2 “to establish you”
v. 3 “no man should be moved”
v. 8 “stand fast”
When someone gets saved they are 1/3rd of the way. When we baptize them we are 2/3rd of the way. But often we stop right there, because the last 3rd is the hard one. “Teaching them to observe ALL things”. That’s a biggie. It’s hard. It takes a long time. We already have them, so why put more effort into it? Because it’s right, and someone did it for you! Because it’s the only way to multiply and reach others.
Our job isn’t complete, it’s only just begun. They need to be grounded or they won’t last. And they won’t win others if we skip this last step. They will head out the back door or slip thru the cracks.
We need to do some better math. Instead of just adding to the church, we must learn how to multiply. By teaching them to reach others to reach others to reach others. Many churches are all about dividing and subtracting, sadly.
THREE THINGS PAUL DID TO DISCIPLE THEM:
I. HE SENT THEM A HELPER (V 2, 3).
Paul couldn’t do it all himself, so he delegated young Timothy. [despise thy youth/beard] It was good for the young man, and good for the discipled ones.
A. To establish them in the faith (v 2).
Check out these stats:
Church Growth Magazine followed 100 new converts. Of those who made 2 or less friends in the church, 35 dropped out in the first 6 months. 3-6 friends-only 15 dropped out. 7 or more friends = 0!
Let’s reach out of our little circles. We have familiar fellowship groups, but we must always be about others. Cliques make churches look very unfriendly.
B. To encourage them in their frustration (v 2, 3). [comfort/afflictions]
Getting saved didn’t totally fix their life. End of problems? Front end? They need Bible principles, counsel, and help in getting it all together. Satan wants to take them out, so we must bind ourselves w/ them and the Lord and that 3 fold cord is not easily broken!
Ill-- During a practice session for the Green Bay Packers, things were not going well for Vince Lombardi's team. Lombardi singled out one big guard for his failure to "put out." It was a hot, muggy day when the coach called his guard aside and leveled his awesome vocal guns on him, as only Lombardi could. "Son, you are a lousy football player. You're not blocking, you're not tackling, you're not putting out. As a matter of fact, it's all over for you today, go take a shower." The big guard dropped his head and walked into the dressing room. 45 minutes later, when Lombardi walked in, he saw the big guard sitting in front of his locker still wearing his uniform. His head was bowed and he was sobbing quietly. Vince Lombardi, ever the changeable but always the compassionate warrior, did something of an about face that was also typical of him. He walked over to his football player and put his arms around his shoulder. “Son," he said, "I told you the truth. You are a lousy football player. You're not blocking, you're not tackling, and you’re not putting out. However, in all fairness to you, I should have finished the story. Inside of you, son, there is a great football player and I'm going to stick by your side until the great football player inside of you has a chance to come out and assert himself." With these words, Jerry Kramer straightened up and felt a great deal better. As a matter of fact, he felt so much better he went on to become one of the all-time greats in football and a few years ago was voted the all-time guard in the first 50 years of professional football. That was Lombardi. He saw things in men that they seldom saw in themselves. He had the ability to inspire his men to use the talent they had. As a result, these players gave Lombardi 3 consecutive world championships at Green Bay.
C. To enlighten them in their future.
The discipler must help them take the next step, and the next, and the next.
Assurance of salvation, church attendance, Bible devotions, prayer, finding God’s will, giving, confession, witnessing, and much more are gone over in our discipleship program, but perhaps the most important thing is the personal pouring in of yourself into their heart, dealing w/ their particular needs, just listening, and sharing your heart in return.
II. HE WROTE THEM A LETTER (V 4-9).
A. He wrote about trouble (v 4).
B. He wrote about temptation (v 5)
C. He wrote about testimony (v 6).
D. He wrote of his thankfulness (v 9)
III. HE PRAYED FOR THEM. (V 10-13)
A. That they might be perfected through discipline (v 10).
B. That they might be provided direction (v 11).
C. That they might be personal in devotion (v 12)
D. That they might be prepared at His descent (v 13).
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