Pastoral Theology with Luke and Paul and Barnabas

When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
(Act 14:21-22)


When Luke wrote his history of the church, certain things that the church did seemed important enough to tell Theophilus. This is one of them. Luke tells us what Paul and his buddies did when the preached the gospel

First they were in Derbe and in Derbe they preached the gospel in such a way as to make disciples of Jesus rather than pew fillers or tithers. The church wasn't a business with a product called gospel, but was in some sense a continuation of Jesus' call to repent, believe, and follow him.

Next they went back to some towns with previously made disciples. They strengthened their souls. In Ephesians Paul prays that the recepients of the letter will have strength to comprehend the vastness of Christ's love. I know this isn't necessarily the best exegetical work, but it just shows what Paul or a Pauline student thought we needed strength for. So at least part of Paul's disciple strengthening is probably explaining more fully the incomprehensibly large love of Christ.

They then encouraged them to continue in the faith. Think of the parable of the sower, people stop believing the gospel, or stop giving a rip about it all the time. So, they encouraged the believers to continue in the faith, now how they did this I don't know, perhaps by confirmation of the gospel with miracles, with good arguements, with displays of sacrifical love, warnings, who knows, but nonetheless, they were encouraged to continue confessing Jesus as Lord.

Finally Paul told them that you will enter the kingdom of God after many tribulations. In other words, you didn't pick a soft life style when you believed in the gospel of Christ crucified and risen.

So then, if we preach the gospel to others in any way, I think we should look over snippets of scripture like this and see if our priorities are even near these types of priorities. I remember a friend of mine shared an interview with a certain public figure who almost in order sloughed off all of these practices for something more marketable. It was comical, but only because it seemed to be done as a joke. It wasn't. Anyhow, the point of my ramblings is this: preaching the gospel to others has ramifications for the preacher, are we willing to live with those ramifications or did we want something else to begin with?