Summary: What we have here is a perfect balance. Sometimes a church will put all emphasis in one direction and doesn’t balance out.
Edified and multiplied.
Acts 9:31. 08/22/04
When you study the book of Acts, what you see is the progress of the church. You find the birth and the development of the New Testament church. As we read along in this wonderful book we find what the church is to be about. We get snapshots and glimpses of what the church is to be about. I believe in verse 31 of chapter 9, we get the picture of what Oak Ridge is to be about. It talks about in this verse, the church’s had rest, and were edified. Then it says walking in obedience of the Lord they were multiplied. What we have here is a perfect balance. Sometimes a church will put all emphasis in one direction and doesn’t balance out. Evangelism is the main business of the church, but it is not the only business. Evangelism is our ministry to the lost. We ought to be trying to win the lost to Jesus. But I also know that if all the emphasis is placed on evangelism, we would be heavy on the go but short on the grow. People get saved but don’t grow in the Lord.
But on the other hand there is a tendency for a church to go in the other direction into the area of what we call discipleship. That is, just primarily a ministry to the Saints, the members of the church. You may be surprised to know that some members think that is all the church is to do. That is a church that is very self-centered. The first thing that would burn is the baptismal pool. A church or member with this train of thought is only concerned with what I can get. Bless us four and no more. A church member with this kind of attitude thinks the ministry of the church is just supposed to be to the sheep. A church is just supposed to feed the sheep. There is something drastically wrong with this kind of attitude. Sheep die, and if we aren’t looking for sheep, it will not be long until their will not be any sheep to feed.
What we have here in this verse is a picture of a church in balance. It has evangelism, reaching the lost for Jesus, and also edification, a ministry to the saved.
Now last week we talked about the great commission of our Lord. Go and make disciples; that’s evangelism. Then He said baptizing them and teaching them to observe all things. That’s edification, growing the Saints to maturity in the Lord.
Now we want to be a church that is in balance. We want to look at two points this morning. We will look at inward edification and outward multiplication. This is the balance we want.
Let’s talk first of all about INWARD EDIFICATION.
There is something I want you to get a hold of here as we open this point. Something has to happen on the inside of the church before anything will happen on the outside of the church. God must work in you before He will ever work through you. God must work in the church before He will work through the church.
Now we are looking inside the church for a while. He says the church’s were edified. That means to build up. He is talking about building a building. I don’t know much about building but I know before you go up you have to go down. If a building is to stand there has to be a foundation. Now what is the foundation of the church? Jesus! First Cor. 3: 11 says, “other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Any church that has something other than Jesus as its foundation is destined to fall. Some have the idea that if you can get a preacher with a shirt unbuttoned and a gold chain on, and then the church will take off. But a church is not built on a preacher.
You cannot build a church on music. I like good Jesus music. There is a place for music; it sets the mood for the service. But a church isn’t built primarily on music.
You don’t build a church on gimmicks. I have heard that some Pastor swallowed a goldfish if a certain number shows up in church. I realize there is no unfair way to win people to Jesus but a church is not built upon gimmicks.
I heard about a church one time announced Ed, the wonder horse was going to be in service on Sunday morning. Everybody came to see the wonder horse Ed. They called Ed to the platform and ask him some questions. Ed, how many gospels or there in the New Testament? Ed stamped out 4 times. The congregations mouth dropped open. Ed, how many disciples did Jesus have? Ed stamped out 12. Ed, how many hypocrites do we have here today? Ed broke out into a gallop. You don’t build a church on gimmicks. You build a church on the Lord Jesus. We are built on Jesus.