We're going to be talking about a growing church. We've seen some growth recently from, members who have moved into the area, or others who've transferred from other congregations, and some of our families have seen some growth recently.
The church has a Great Commission, Mark 16:15. A church must grow if it goes into all the world.
- Acts 6:1-7
The church here is still located in Jerusalem. You've got a large number of Christians gathering. Some of these Christians are local Hebrews, and those who are of Grecian descent. He's talking about the Hebrews that were local to Jerusalem and those who were there from other places who, perhaps, stayed after the Day of Pentecost.
We see that they church had grown. They had grown from 3000 to around 5000. And, we see that there is a division that was taking place. In Acts 2 and Acts 4, we see that there was a plan in place to take care of the needs of the church.
But we see that there was a division that arose, in that, more bread was being given to local Christians, than the Grecian Christians. They then determined to set seven men over this work. Thus, we see that the church continued to grow.
When the problem is dealt with, we see the church multiplied. The Jews in Jerusalem sees how the problem was handled, and it made an impact. Because of this the church grew.
When we talk about church growth we're talking about, expanding, increasing, becoming more productive, enlarging, thriving, and maturing.
We're not talking about the building. Adding to the building isn't necessarily a sign of chruch growth. The church is not the building, the Church is the called out, it is the people.
Characteristics of a Growing Church
There must be a spirit of love, unity and understanding
- Love one another - Matthew 22:39, John 13:34-35
This is a summary of the final six of the Ten Commandments. These commandments regulate man's conduct toward his fellow man.
“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” — 1 John 4:19-21
- Unity - Ephesians 2:21
- Friendly – Proverbs 18:24
- Hospitable - Hebrews 13:2
- Scriptural - John 4:24
- Enthusiastic - Ephesians 5:19
The results of a good atmosphere is that people will grow and be happy in worshipping God.
Visitors will be impressed with our attitude and they will want to return. Those looking for a place to worship will come back. Fellowship will be so sweet that members will come early and stay late and be present at all services.
Members will read their Bible and study. They'll be prepared for classes.
Brethren will be involved with one another helping to serve.
A growing church must have sound doctrine presented. Sound, simply means healthy.
- Titus 2:1
- 2 Timothy 4:1-3
He emphasized the impotance of preaching sound doctrine. I think in the world at large, they dont' want to hear sound doctrine. They don't want to hear what the Bible says about a subject. They've already decided what they believe is right and they'll only adopt the Bibles teaching if it agrees with their own. There once was a time when people would adopt their belief based on the Bible's teaching, this is how it ought to be.
We've got to speak the truth, the Word of God. We've got to be teaching the whole counsel of God. We've got to rightly divide it, 2 Timothy 2:15. We are to rightly divide, one translation says handling aright*, the word of truth.
The preachers, and teachers must ensure they are teaching the truth. There can be no tolerance for false doctrine. Results of a church hearing sound doctrine is that she will not be pulled, or swayed into false doctrine. There will be stability.
- Ephesians 4:14
It seems like in the religious world at large, and sometimes in the church as well, there comes along fads in teaching. They teach popular doctrine. It changes like the wind, that's the wind of doctrine. But the Word of God does not change. If we just teach the Word of God, the winds of change, the thoughts of man will come and go, but the Church will stay steady.
A growing church is a going church that goes and teaches the gospel to the lost. We must be true to the faith. There is no profit if we are growing in number but at the same time straying from the faith.
A sign of a growing church, one that is growing spiritually as well as numerically is that it teaches sound doctrine.
A growing church will have good leadership. The leaders are men of character, reputation, zeal, and wisdom.
Elders and deacons should be respectable citizens, as well as scripturally qualified and devoted Christians. No organization can rise above its leadership. Good leaders are a blessing.
Characteristics of good leaders which will help the church to grow:
- Vision - Proverbs 29:18
- Knowledge and Wisdom - Titus 1:9
- Faith and Courage - 1 Timothy 5:17
- Enthusiasm and Energy - 1 Timothy 3:1
Leadership is no place for a lazy person, one who postpones, puts off, forgets, or makes excuses. Leadership should not have to be pushed.
Leaders should be leading in the work. The leaders will organize a program of work and motivate involvement by the members.
- Service and Humility - Matthew 23:11
A leader gives his best. He is not a dictator or chief of police. Humility is essential in order to lead. A characteristic of a growing church is having good leadership?
What Can We do to Grow as a Church?
A great, growing congregation has an evangelistic membership. We need more members making a diligent effort to teach lost people. A lot of people zealously sowing the seed is no guarantee that there will be a huge harvest.But if we don't sow seed, there won't be any harvest at all.
- Romans 1:16
But people cannot believe and obey it until they hear and learn it.
- Romans 10:14-15
We are not doing enough private teaching. We need to get into the trenches, roll up our sleeves, and like Philip did, open our mouths and teach the Word of God.
- Acts 8:35
Our task is to sow the seed.
- 1 Corinthians 3:6
God gives the increase. If we will give our greatest effort to teach the gospel, then according to God’s will, the numbers will take care of themselves. The salvation of souls will be our top priority.
We can be involved in what is called team evangelism. We can work together. There are members of the congregation who are equipped to teach the gospel. You can invite friends into your home, and then have another member come along to help you teach them the gospel.
If you have a friend that you can invite to study the Bible, then we can teach them. You set up a time and day and host the study in your home.
Some fear they will no longer be friends, but this doesn't have to be the case.
Remember the song, You never mentioned Him to Me.
What will your friend think when on the day of judgment, they are lost and you have not tried to teach them?
This church can be a growing church if we:
- Maintain a good atmosphere
- Love sound doctrine
- Have good leadership
- Teach the gospel to a lost and dying world
Keep in mind that the church involves all of us. When a church has the attitude that the preacher and elders and deacons and a few others are supposed to do all the work, the church will not grow.
It takes all of us working together. There is more involved in the work of the church than worshipping. Too many churches are nothing more than “worshipping societies”, only keeping house for the Lord.
A church at work will win souls for Christ!!!When we do this the church will grow and be healthy.
Is there anything else that is better worth,
As alone life's way we plod,
Than to find some wandering soul of earth,
And bring him home to God?
I would rather find a soul that is lost,
And bring him home again,
Than to own what all earth's acres cost,
Or all the wealth of men.
Wouldn't I be glad when the day is done,
In breathing my latest breath,
To know some word of mine had won
And saved a soul from death?
— Author unknown
We see the importance of preaching the gospel. It is to save a soul from death. Because of sin, the wages of sin is death. We're all at one point in our lives, when we've reached the age of accountability, lost. We need the gospel. The gospel is for a lost and dying man.
We must hear and believe the gospel.
We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sin. And in believing, we recognize that my sin that put Him there, to die for my sins. And, that we must repent of sin, understanding that I can no longer live like that. We must repent of our sins, and confess that we believe that He is the Son of God. And we must be baptized to wash away our sins. When the church was established and they came to understand their sin, they asked, what to do, and Peter said, repent and be baptized.
If you, desire to be one who believes, repents, and obeys Jesus in baptism to have your sins washed clean, please contact us.
Based on a sermon by Arthur Pigman * American Standard Version