Discussion Guide for 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

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.

1 Thessalonians gives us some insight into the Apostle Paul’s favorite methods for leading others to changed lives. This passage teaches us that effective methodology:

  1. is about the people you are reaching and not yourself,
  2. lives what it teaches, and
  3. teaches to transform, not to conform.

We find that Paul was willing to pay a price not only with persecution but with hard labor in a demanding occupation. The cost was worth the opportunity to persuade young believers to changed lives without Paul’s own motives being a cause for their stumbling. The result is that Paul gives us a model for how to lovingly lead as a spiritual mother and spiritual father.

Discussion Questions

  • Are you tempted to see your job as something that detracts leading others to Christ?
  • How was Paul’s work in the “secular” marketplace a labor of love?
  • In what ways can you demonstrate the Gospel in your work life?
  • Do we ever challenge our kids to please their parents more than they please Christ?
  • In what ways do parents sometimes get in the way of their kids’ discipleship?
  • How does Paul challenge you to be a mother or father who leads your children toward a transformed life in Christ?

Prayer

Take time to pray for each other in groups of three or four. Let each person share one way that this passage has challenged them in their faith. Pray specifically for parents and grandparents as they lead their children to love Jesus better.

Jonathan Pugh
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