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Summary: Win ’em, wet ’em, & wean ’em. That last step is the big one of discipleship - "Teaching them to observe all things..." Often forsaken, but so important! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.

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The Ideal Discipleship

I Thessalonians 3

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/IdealDiscipleship.html

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!

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. 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).

Getting saved didn’t totally fix their life. 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.


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