Summary: In our text about the early church let’s consider some of the growth problems they faced and how they overcame them. Or some of the things that hindered their growth. 1- Complaining 2- Lack of workers 3- Poor organization
INTRO.- Growth problems. Ever had any? I have. I was born with a heart murmur. Guess I got over it. I’m still here after running many marathons in my forties. I remember standing in the street in Huntsville, AL, (Rocket City) with about 1200 other runners waiting for them to shoot the gun to start that marathon race of 26.2 miles. And I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’ll live through this?” I did. Apparently, I outgrew that heart murmur.
I had another growth problem. I had/have a twin sister who got all the goodie! My twin sister Sharon weighed 5 lbs. 8 1/4 oz. And I was 4 lbs. 6 oz. And I didn’t get released from the hospitalized right away and it wasn’t because I was causing trouble. I needed to weigh 5 lbs. before they would let me go home. And I finally got over my growth problems, as you can well see!
There is growth and there is growth. We need to be somewhat concerned about our physical growth or how big we grow because our bodies belong to the Lord. We are supposed to be stewards or managers of these bodies that God gave us. We need to take care of them as best we can.
And there is another body that we need to take care of and it’s called the church. The church is the body of Christ and God wants His body to grow. He wants it to grow numerically and spiritually. And when it doesn’t I am sure He is quite concerned about it. WE SHOULD BE TOO.
In our text we notice that the number of the disciples was increasing. That’s exactly what God wants! He wants the church to grow! He wants people to come to know Him and be saved!
But have you noticed that whenever something good is happening the devil seems to throw a wrench in the works?
ILL.- Remember Matthew 3-4 just after Jesus had been baptized? Do you remember what happened? The devil showed up to test Jesus. Perhaps he thought, “Oh, so Jesus was baptized to please God. We’ll see if it did any good.”
What about you? Did your baptism take? Did it do you any good? Did it change you somewhat? Jesus was, no doubt, on a high after His baptism and then the Devil showed up.
ILL.- Deborah Scott is the wife of my preacher friend, John Scott, who just passed away on Monday, July 2, just after their 5th wedding anniversary. Here is what Deborah said about her husband, “I thanked God all day long for His tender mercies in bringing us together and keeping us for the happiest 5 years of my life. I found something he wrote after I visited him in California for the first time: ‘Deborah is fun and I am falling in love with her. We have many things in common. ‘God bless our relationship!’ And He certainly has. Of course, there was some sadness, too, in that John couldn’t talk to me. I miss his sweet voice so much. And he wasn’t having the best of days that day. Actually, he seems to have gone downhill a little bit since then, which makes me terribly afraid and sad. I would love to be married to him for another 20 years! Please keep praying for us. God is good.”
She apparently had a great love in her husband, John. And then a few days after she wrote those tender words, John died.
Sometimes it seems that whenever something good happens in your life the devil shows up to test our faith. Ever happen to you? I’m sure it has. The early church was having a growth spurt. She was growing by leaps and bounds and then the devil walked through the door and started causing trouble.
PROP.- In our text about the early church let’s consider some of the growth problems they faced and how they overcame them. Or some of the things that hindered their growth.
2- Lack of workers
3- Poor organization
ILL.- Entering a department store, a little old lady was startled when a band began to play and a dignified executive pinned an orchid on her dress and handed her a crisp hundred dollar bill. She was the store’s millionth customer. Television cameras were focused on her and reporters began interviewing. “Tell me,” one asked, “just what did you come here for today?” The lady hesitated for a minute, then answered, “I’m on my way to the Complaint Department.”
Some people don’t go to the complaint department; they live in the complaint department! Some people are chronic complainers. However, if anybody ever had the right to be optimistic about life, it should be the Christian.