Paul encourages the church to remember the way he shared life with them and how powerful a witness walking alongside of others can be. I am struck by his intentionality to invest in these relationships as I read this passage. Are we willing to invest in others for the sake of the Gospel in our busy lives?
The following guide is a resource for your personal time of abiding with the Lord and for your Community Group when you meet. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
VISION + STORIES
Take time to be reminded of our shared vision- We are abiding in Christ that we might experience Gospel Transformation in our homes, neighborhoods, work places and city.
+ Ask… What are you/we thankful to the Lord for? (e.g., how is he working in our community group or the lives of someone we are walking with to discover the gospel?)
+ What is one need in this circle/our Community Group and how can we meet it together?
SING + PRAY
Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER [ 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 ] In Large group
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 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. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 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. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 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.
+ v. 1-4 What does Paul mean that his coming to them was not in vain?
+ v 4-6 Where did his authority comes from?
+ Notice in v. 7 the metaphor he uses for the way he shared life with them. Do you consider your walking alongside of others intentionally in this way?
+ v 8 What is the impact of Paul’s desire to share life with these people both on himself and them?
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
+ v 9-10 Paul asks them to remember the way in which he lived among them, sharing life and sharing the Gospel. Why do you think he stresses this?
+ v 11-12 Paul uses a similar metaphor to his earlier one. What traits does he highlight in this relational metaphor?
+ What does this passage teach us about Jesus?, Power?, His Spirit?, or our calling as believers?
PROCESS (In Breakouts of 2-3’s, guys/girls)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time? (Below are a couple of ideas to help prompt responses if needed)
+ Are there any people in my life that I can walk alongside of intentionally in this way?
+ Am I exhibiting these attributes (gentleness, encouragement, living above reproach) in my relationships?
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., spend time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)