Acts 9:31

Church growth. It’s a topic of interest to most preachers and pastors. Especially, as we witness the decline of so many churches today. And too often see young people leaving the church.

If you google church growth you will receive 402,000,000 responses in .50 seconds, which offer these insights.

  • 8 Keys to Church Growth
  • 11 Powerful Strategics to Grow Your Church
  • Six Steps to Rapidly Get Your Church Unstuck and Growing
  • Why Do Churches Stop Growing?
  •  Common Road Blocks to Church Growth and How To Fix Them
  • 5 Big Surprises About Church Growth That Nobody Told Me about.
  • The New Rules for Church Growth in a Post-Pandemic World

Furthermore, if you go to Amazon and type “church growth” in the books column, it responds with over 40,000 books on the topic.

However, our text today provides some very simple and scriptural insights about growth among churches in the New Testament worthy of our consideration and emulation.

Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

#1 Harmony.

These brethren were at peace. In the context this may refer to the end of the persecution which Saul of Tarsus was inflicting upon the churches. His reign of terror caused much conflict. Now they are at peace.

However, it also indicates that the brethren were living in peace with one another. No fussing. No fighting. No internal disputes. No pressing of personal opinions. No political partisanship.

A church can’t grow when brethren can’t get along with each other. Paul’s plea and prayer for peace among brethren is found in almost every letter he wrote to churches. The God of peace desires peace among His people.

The Bible says, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Jas. 3;18).

Where there is pride, selfishness, conceit, hard headedness, and a contentious spirit, there is no peace. For a church to grow each of us must “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:11).

#2 Edification

Edify means “to build up.” In Bible times the word described the construction of a building. Scripture uses the word metaphorically, W. E. Vine says, ”in the sense of promoting the spiritual growth and development of character of believers, by teaching or by example, suggesting such spiritual progress as the result of patient labor.”

Peace and edification go together. When there is no peace, building up the church is difficult, if not impossible. To the church at Rome admonished, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19).

Ephesians 4:11-16 explains that edification occurs when preachers, pastors and teachers are working together to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” It is based on the faith. The Word of God.

Solid, sound Gospel preaching, vibrant, relevant Bible classes, and a membership that is immersed in Bible reading and study will build up a church. Carnal methods and secular schemes may draw numbers, but will never grow a church spiritually as God desires.

To the Ephesian Shepherds Paul extorted, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Ax. 20:32).

#3 Reverence.

“Walking in fear of the Lord” is respect for God Himself and reverence for His Word. His plan. And His purpose for our lives. Lloyd Ogilivie says this means “awe and humble receptivity.”

Reese writes that “fear of the Lord” may “denote Christian conduct and manner of life.” It also speaks of our “reverence for Him and scrupulous obedience to His commandments.” So, in our daily lives we have a God-consciousness that shuns the “works of the flesh,” and respects God’s directives for godly living.

#4 Comfort of the Holy Spirit

Christians are promised “the gift of the Holy Spirit” when they obey the gospel (Ax. 2:38). We know that the Spirit intercedes for us in prayer (Rom. 8:26-27), provides an incentive for holiness as He dwells in us (1 Cor. 6:18-20) and produces fruit in our lives that is demonstrated in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When we have that relationship with the Holy Sprit, we will enjoy comfort, consolation, and encouragement.

Imagine an entire church with every member imbibing and internalizing these four qualities?

The result? Growth. Increasing. Multiplying.

Maybe before we read any google articles or buy any books from Amazon on church growth, we ought to try following the method of first century churches.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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