Summary: To establish that the church will grow; when this pattern is applied and followed: with all sincerity, patience, and with love. This lesson gives God the glory for the church's growth and development.
1. Give Him All the Praise
2. Grant Favor to All People
3. Guided by Apostolic Practices
1. In our discussion today we will notice the: "Divine Pattern in Church Growth." It is believed that this pattern when applied and followed with all sincerity, patience, and love; God will grow the church in any community, under any conditions, and in every generation. When were stray from His pattern; there will be problems in the church, and even a departure from the faith.
2. The first consideration in this pattern; is to give God all the praise, for any successes and congregational achievements. Luke wrote: "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved," Acts 2:47. This verse summarizes our work and God's work in church growth and development. Every congregation with its leadership and membership are: "fellow labors with God." When we give him praise, glory, and honor; men and women will see our love and devotion to God, and desire to be a part of this fellowship with the saints.
3. Secondly, we must learn to grant favor to all people. That is, to love and be concerned with all people. The church's problems arise when it begins to have favorites (Acts 6), among other believers. There can be no partiality or "respect of persons in the kingdom of God." God's grace must be shown to all: "For there is no respect of persons with God." To behave as such is sin in the sight of God and men.
4. Then lastly, this pattern requires us to be guided by apostolic practices: teaching and preaching. There is no room in the kingdom of God for the ideas and teachings of men when it comes to God's pattern. Each local congregation must abide by this pattern if the: "Lord will add to the church daily, those that are being saved." The bible, the precepts, and the teachings of God can be our only standard. "We must walk by the same rule; mind the same thing," Philippians 3:16. With this brief introduction, let's consider our first point.
BODY OF LESSON
I GIVE HIM ALL THE PRAISE
A. Give God all praise and glory. Luke wrote: "Praising God," Acts 2:47.
1. Praising God. The disciples after Jesus ascension: "And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen," Luke 24:53. The word "praise" in the Gr., is aineo or i-ne'-o, which means to praise (God):—praise. Observe—
a. First, Angels gave praise to God at the birth of Jesus, Luke 2:13.
b. Further, "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them," Luke 2:20.
c. Next, the impotent man and multitude praised God for his healing, Acts 3:8-9.
d. Finally, Paul wrote quoting the prophets: "And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people," Romans 15:11. Paul was quoting David, in Psalms 117:1. Truly, God is due all our praise and thanksgiving.
e. Conclusion: The church on Pentecost and the days surrounding it; was devoted to "praising God" for "those that were being saved," Acts 2:47.
1) When our work starts to grow; let us not seek to obtain praise or glory for this success. This growth is due to God's working within the lives of those being taught the word of God.
2) Remember Lydia: "And...Lydia heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she convinced us, saying: If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us," Acts 16:14-15. We must—
2. Remove our self. "Get self out of the way--so the congregation and others can see Christ in you and His work of the ministry." Jesus said: "If I am lifted (up) above the earth, I will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die," John 12:32-32. Some are too busy lifting (up) self! Or even worst, seeking honor from men, and not from God.
3. Jesus said: "I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I have come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" John 5:41-44.
4. Solomon wrote: "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips," Proverbs 27:1-2; Proverbs 25:27. Let others commend and praise you, don't praise yourself.