In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul described the way he nurtured new believers in Thessalonica. As we consider this passage over the next two weeks, let’s look at seven keys that are essential for fostering dynamic Gospel relationships.

You and I can have meaningful Gospel relationships when we:

1. Share the Gospel through adversity.

For you yourselves know, brothers,[a] that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-3) ESV 

Paul and Silas endured incredible hardship for the sake of the Gospel. Even on the occasions when they were beaten with rods and imprisoned, they continued to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They carried on “in much affliction” with as much joy as they did in good health.

If you are committed to sharing Christ and making disciples, it will cost you. It will require sacrifice at some level. You may not be beaten or imprisoned, but it will cost you – things like time, money, inconveniences, and heartache. 

2. Share the Gospel with integrity. 

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2: 3-6) ESV

You can’t read this passage without seeing the integrity, Godly character, and sincerity with which Paul and his co-workers ministered to these new believers. They weren’t in it for any kind of personal gain, they didn’t have any hint of selfish motivation, and they weren’t looking to receive any kind of accolades for their effort. More than anything else, their desire was to please GOD!

3. Share the Gospel in love.

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. . (1 Thessalonians 2: 7-8) ESV

Paul and his co-workers really loved these people! Dr. Pete Charpentier helps us understand this:

“As a mother who compassionately cares for her children, Paul made every effort to be gentle with these new believers.”

They shared not only the Gospel of GOD, but also their very lives! Why? Because these new believers had become “very dear” to him!

The motivation for Gospel work must be the love of Christ. Paul elaborates on this in 2 Corinthians:

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. (2 Corinthians 5:14) ESV

Walk in love, with perseverance, and with integrity this week, and join us again next week as we continue our examination of what fosters dynamic Gospel relationships! You are all in my thoughts and prayers, brothers and sisters!

David Platt has been hosting Secret Church since 2006, and it’s a great resource for going deeper with scripture. He’s done in depth teaching on New Testament, Old Testament, the Cross, end times and much more. Click here for the videos.

Making disciples is tied to being a disciple.

Missional Challenge:

In a recent conversation with a local church leader, he shared with me his greatest joy in ministry and also his greatest frustration. They were interrelated.

His joy was related to the impact that he was having in the lives of high school students. And yet he confessed to me, “I don’t know how to make disciples.”

Read those words again: “I don’t know how to make disciples.”

This is the main thing that Jesus focused on before heading to the cross as the payment for sin. He focused on making disciples. And not only that, He sent His disciples to go make disciples.

Something is wrong in our churches when leaders are faced with this reality – “I don’t know how to make disciples.”

This is one of the largest problems in the modern church. We are experts at getting people in the doors, but not how to turn them into disciple-making believers.

Missional Challenge:

What do most churches measure?

- Offerings
- Attendance

In fact, every week success is often gauged by how many people show up and how much they give.

I know many pastors who feel better on Monday because of these two numbers. When I was a pastor, I often counted how many people showed up at every event I attended. I was addicted to increasing numbers. Counting for me became an obsession. I loved to count heads and often was irritated when the total attendance of our Sunday services wasn’t tallied because someone forgot to count. I falsely linked my worth as a pastor to attendance as if I was responsible for everyone who showed up. That was totally ridiculous.

Discipleship isn’t how most churches want to measure success because it takes time. It’s a “crock pot” instead of a microwave.