Summary: A sermon detailed why the NT church grew and what we can do to grow too.
“Multiplying By Addition or How Churches Grow”
Act 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
I’ve been a minister now for better than 39 years and one of the main focuses of my life during that time, the thing that has occupied my thoughts, hopes and dreams has been the growth of the church. During that time I have had the opportunity to hear about every kind of church growth program and plan available. I’ve given it a great deal of consideration and I’ve come to the conclusion that they all have certain things in common. They may differ in methodology but they are similar in several areas.
ILL - Jawanza Kunjufu, who has written a book concerning black churches in America, says that only 10 to 20% of churches are empowering people to be bold witnesses for Jesus Christ. According to him, the other 80-90% of American churches fall into the entertainment or containment, just keeping their doors open on Sunday, categories.
One reason for this is that in many churches, whether black & white, man-made opinions & traditions that have been handed down over the years are held in higher esteem than the Holy Scriptures handed down by God.
ILL - Dr. Terry Teykl, in his book, "Acts 29," writes this challenge to us all: "Imagine gang members, drug dealers, racists & sex offenders being transformed by the Gospel. Imagine politicians, judges & other influential leaders taking stands based on the word of God. Imagine hundreds & even thousands of people being saved in a single church service! Imagine the unimaginable." Then he goes on to say, "It all happened in the pages of Acts, & it can happen again if you are willing to pay the price." He’s right! The early church, as recorded in the Book of Acts, was a dynamic, growing church that turned the world of its day upside down! In spite of incredible opposition & terrible persecution - first from the Jewish authorities & then from the might of the Roman Empire itself - the church began & grew so dynamically that within 300 years the Roman Empire had surrendered to the gospel of Christ, & the emperor himself had become a Christian, too.
How was this possible? Why did it happen? What was there about the early church that gave it the strength, enthusiasm, & unity to face incredible odds & outlast strong opposition in its conquest of the hearts & lives of those around them? MELVIN NEWLAND
First, there was:
I. The Scriptural Dynamic
A. The Communication of the Word
There is one truth that is inescapable as you read this second chapter of Acts. There was a strong commitment to the proclamation of the Word of God. Churches that grow understand this and strive to use every means possible to accomplish this goal. Preaching and teaching the Word is the prescribed methodology and nothing has ever been given by God to take the place of verbal proclamation! The following is a sampling of verses that reinforce this truth: