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New Testament Sunday School Lesson 31: "And So Were the Churches Established in the Faith"

(Acts 15:36-18:22; 1 and 2 Thessalonians)

INTRODUCTION:

Paul was a superb missionary. He understood that the Lord was perfectly serious when he commanded his emissaries to open their mouths.

The book of Acts and the epistles of Paul indicate many of the places where Paul opened his mouth. Some of the locations were Antioch in Pisidia, Antioch in Syria, Athens, Berea, Caesarea, Corinth, Damascus, Derbe, Ephesus, Galatia, Iconium, Jerusalem, Lystra, Melita, Miletus, Mysia, Paphos, Philippi, Phrygia, Ptolemais (Acco), Rome, Salamis, Thessalonica, Troas, Trophimus, and Tyre.

However, Luke shows us something more interesting than the cities where Paul preached. For within those cities, Paul taught in many synagogues (see Acts 13:14; 14:1; 17:1-2, etc.), in "all the coasts of Judea" (Acts 26:20), "by a river side" (Acts 16:13), in a prison (Acts 16:25-32), on Mars' Hill (Acts 17:22), in the market (Acts 17:17), in a certain man's house (Acts 18:7), over all the country (Acts 18:23), in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9), at a sacrament meeting (Acts 20:7), from house to house (Acts 20:20), on the stairs (Acts 21:40), in the castle (Acts 23:10), in the judgment hall (Acts 23:35), on a ship (Acts 27:21-26), in the quarters of the chief man of Melita (Acts 28:7-8), and in his own house (Acts 28:30-31).

The Lord commanded His disciples to take the witness to "all the world" (Mark 16:15) and "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). But in this worldwide ministry, the instruction was to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That one-by-one ministry to individuals happens in places smaller than cities and countries. The sons of Mosiah reported that they had preached to the Lamanites in many places: "And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them" (Alma 26:29).

In the process of testifying, as I mentioned in the lesson last week, Paul presents us with some wonderful curricula about missionary work. No missionary could ever go far wrong who took experiences as a guide. In this lesson we will review a number of precepts regarding missionary work from the 2nd missionary journey of Paul, and then we will examine his own teachings in 1st Thessalonians about what great missionaries do. I have often called the missionary instruction in Thessalonians Paul's Missionary Handbook.


I. PAUL, SILAS, AND TIMOTHY PREACH THROUGH MACEDONIA AND GREECE.

Here are some of the principles from the 2nd missionary journey of Paul that show us how to be great missionaries and great disciples.