Spreading the Gospel
When Jesus gave the great commission He told the disciples they were to scatter outward from Jerusalem to be witnesses for Him. Because of the Christians being persecuted in Jerusalem, they had little choice. Therefore, persecution became a significant point in the development of the early church. By spreading out to Judea, Galilee, and Samaria they created the second stage of growth as they took the gospel message outside of Israel. Whenever we take the gospel outside our sphere, the result is always the same: the church grows. The great commission was not just Jesus’ mandate to the disciples. It is Jesus’ mandate to the church and we need to be the church.
What is the Church?
We often refer to “church” as the building where we go to fellowship with other believers. But the Church is more than brick and mortar, carpet and pews, choirs and praise teams. The Church is actually the body of believers. It is made up of people who have surrendered their life to Christ. Therefore, there is only one church. However, within the Church, there are local congregations that meet and gather to worship God and encourage one another. So when we talk about the church growing, we’re not talking about a Building Campaign to build a bigger sanctuary. We’re talking about adding souls into the Kingdom of God.
We often refer to “church” as the building where we go to fellowship with other believers. But the church is more than brick & mortar, carpet & pews, choirs & praise teams. The Church is actually the body of believers-people who have surrendered their life to Christ. Therefore, there is only one church.Tweet
From Acts 9:31 we see three things that helped the church grow. We can use these same three principles today so that the church can see substantial growth once again. Acts 9:31 says:
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. They were edified
To edify means to build one another up. The world does a great job at tearing others down, but this should not be true of Christians. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote that the church was to “encourage one another and build one another up. Jude wrote, “you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). And in Ephesians 4:29, we can see what it looks like to build one another up: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
How much would the church grow today if we edified one another rather than tearing each other down?
2. The early Church walked in the fear of the Lord
Most of us today are walking in the fear of a pandemic. But “fearing the Lord” doesn’t mean to be afraid. Simply put, the early church had respect and reverence for the law of God. “To walk in the fear of the Lord” then means they obeyed His laws. God’s laws are not suggestions. They are not meant to be obeyed just on Sunday morning when we dress our best and walk through the church doors. Rather we are to walk in His law and in His truths day and night. Psalm 1:2 says, “His delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.” This means that we dwell on God’s word, taking it into our hearts and apply it to our lives as the Holy Spirit works within us. Walking in the fear of the Lord isn’t just for when others are watching us. It’s also for when no one is watching.
How would the church grow today, if we walked in the fear of the Lord? How would our lives be different? Would our homes be different? Would our marriages be different? How would our finances be different?
3. They were in the comfort of the Holy Spirit
As a church that was being persecuted, they needed the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit enabling them to be bold and continue telling the gospel message. Some parts of the world today still see persecution of Christians. If Satan were to have his way, he’d stamp out all of Christianity and he sure is trying to get his way!
Just as the Holy Spirit was the source of comfort in the early church, so He is today and He accomplishes it through the word of God, through inspiring others around us with messages and words that bring us comfort, and He can directly minister comfort to our hearts. Just as His work helped the early Christians be bold witnesses for Christ, so it can help us today.
How would our churches grow if every Christian accepted the comfort of the Holy Spirit so they could boldly proclaim the name of Jesus?
What would the early church have to say about the church today?
I often wondered if the saints of the early church could see the church of today, what would they think of us? Many of them were martyred for their faith – but they told the world of their day about Jesus anyway. They new that to be bold witnesses for Christ it would eventually catch up with them and cost them their lives.
It’s time the church today arises and does the work of the church. We need to edify, walk in the fear of the Lord, and dwell in the comfort of the Holy Spirit who enables and empowers us to boldly go forth to tell the gospel message to a lost and dying world.
So church – let’s be the church!
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.
Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.