This week we will look at one of the principles Paul used in his ministry of planting churches. From his conversion in Acts 9 onward, he gave himself to preaching Jesus Christ, “saying, He is the Son of God” (9:20). On his first missionary journey with Barnabas, “they…preached the gospel…and made many disciples” (14:21). That was his method everywhere he went. Often the venue was different; from speaking with those in the synagogue to proclaiming the gospel in the public square; from jails to private homes, everywhere became an opportunity to present Jesus.
Gaining converts for Paul was only the beginning of the ministry God had given him. As a “master builder” he purposely planned his work so that new churches that were planted and the disciples in them were strengthened and established in their faith. Though his time in Antioch (in Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra and Derbe was short in each place (3 to 4 months), Paul determined to returned to these places to “strengthen (stërizõ – make stronger) the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith” (14:22).
We will look at other references in the days ahead and see that this principle ran throughout his ministry, right to the end of his life. Evangelism is at the forefront of any missionary work, both locally and around the world, but converts cannot be abandoned to any religious ‘shepherd’ who might lead them down a road of false teaching. It was part of Paul’s evangelism work to make sure that young believers were becoming strong in their faith. We will expand on this in the days ahead. For now, think about the method you use in discipling new believers. Are they getting strong in their faith so they are unmoved by winds of false teaching?
THE GREAT PROTECTION AGAINST ERROR IS TO KNOW THE TRUTH!
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