1 Thes 3:1-13 The Difference Between A Minister & A Soul Winner CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In 1 Thes 3:1-13 , this lesson could be called “The difference between a Minister and a Soul Winner.” A minister takes a far more personal interest in the souls with whom he deals than a soul winner does. A soul winner’s primary interest is increasing the number of souls that he leads to the Lord. The minister, on the other hand, is interested in the souls, themselves, and not the numbers. Notice:
The Minister’s heart is knit with his converts – v.1 – Paul was at Athens and yet his heart was concerned about the souls in Thessalonica. He couldn’t leave Athens so he sent Timothy. A soul winner would have won them and then left them, because he had done his “duty” in simply bringing them to Christ.
He’s careful about who disciples and teaches them – v.2 – Paul sent Timothy, who was not only a brother, but also a “minister” and a “fellow laborer.” He wasn’t going to send just anybody to look after these converts.
He addresses their basic spiritual needs – v.2-3 – Paul had two objectives in sending Timothy. First, he wanted to establish the Thessalonians in their faith. This is done by teaching them sound doctrine so that they won’t be tossed to and fro. Second, he wanted to comfort them in their faith because of the afflictions that they might suffer.
He endures suffering on their behalf – v.4 – Paul could have easily avoided suffering for the sake of the gospel if he had changed his preaching and if he had quit his evangelistic missionary work. Neither of these was going to stop.
His labor is vain if the devil gets them after they’re saved – v.5 – Paul knew that the tempter would be after them once they had gotten saved to keep them from reproducing and to mess them up doctrinally. The minister considers protecting young sheep from the devil as important as winning the lost to the Lord. The soul winner, on the other hand, is not concerned with what the devil might do to them as long as they get saved.
He’s comforted when they bear spiritual fruit – v.6-7 – Paul’s converts in Thessalonica demonstrated three things that convinced him of their salvation and growth: faith, charity, and remembrance. Remembrance is very important because it shows the desire of the converts to see their minister again. In soul winning, it is very typical for the soul winner to hang on to the “profession of faith” and not concern himself with the fact that his new convert runs and hides when he sees his soul winner coming for a follow up visit.
He lives to see them stand – v.7-8 – It’s not enough to get a profession of faith, he wants to see the new born babe get up and walk and become strong enough to stand in faith 1 Cor 15:58.
He rejoices to see them grow – v.9-10 – He’s like John in this regard 3 Jn 4 – he wants to perfect whatever is lacking in their faith
He prays for time, divinely appointed, to see them – Paul was stuck in Athens and needed to get back to Thessalonica – but as BJ SR said, “duties never conflict” – so God had to open the door for him to see them
He prays for them to reproduce the love that he has for them – v.12 – He wants them to show this love to each other [all the saints] and to all men opportunity to lead others to the Lord
He prays for them to be unblameable in holiness – v.13 – till Jesus comes – in other words, he wants them to be as concerned with living separated, sanctified lives as he is