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. Because of this, it became a significant point in the development of the early church as they found peace in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria and created the second stage of growth as they took the gospel message outside of Israel. As a result the churches grew. From Acts 9:31 we see three things that helped the church grow that we can apply today so that they church can see growth once again.
First, 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 Christian. 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?
Second, they walked in the fear of the Lord. Simply put, they had respect and reverence for the law of God and to walk in it means they obeyed it. 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. How would the church grow today, if we walked in the fear of the Lord? How would our lives be different?
Third, 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! But 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?
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. 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!
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.