August 4: Paul's Pattern of "Strengthening" (Acts 14:19-23)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship by using the guide below
This Sunday Levi Regalado will continue teaching Challenging Questions Christians Face. This class will be held at 10:00 in the Youth Room.
Unreached People Group
In our Sunday gathering this week, we will be praying for Bania of India
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
What do you first think about when you think about the work of missions? Learning a new strange language? Eating weird stuff? Proclaiming the good news to tribesmen in a hut in the middle of nowhere? Baptizing people in the local watering hole?
While these are all things that might be part of the task of sent-out ones across the world, there is a segment of the task that is often neglected but is, nevertheless, a clear Pauline pattern in the pages of Acts...the ongoing strengthening of existing disciples (and by extension the churches in which they gathered). Paul's various methods for accomplishing this segment of the task of missions among newer disciples included leadership training, biblical literacy training, letter writing and above all...lots of life-on-life time with him and/or his companions. Throughout this strengthening process, Paul was very concerned with making sure that the gospel was impacting every aspect of the life of the disciples. Dare we ignore this aspect of the task of missions in our own efforts to obey the Commission of our Lord?
Review and Apply
If someone asked you the question, "what is the task of missions?" how would you respond?
Which examples of Paul's methods (mentioned above) for strengthening existing disciples fall within your giftings, capacities, desires, etc.?
What could some of the potential negative consequences be of not making every effort to cause the gospel to permeate every aspect of the life of a believer?
How might you be able to personally contribute to the strengthening of disciples both in your own context and in faraway contexts?
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