Summary: Jesus wants to build His church, and add to the church daily those who are being saved. One of the keys to seeing the church grow is preaching the Word.
PREACHING THE WORD
INTRO TO SPEAKER: Fourteen years as youth pastor in BC, teaching @ PLBC and chaplain at Regent, started RMC, then call to pastor the church in Beausejour.
BACKGROUND TO ACTS:
• Acts is a HISTORY but it is also a BLUEPRINT (for the church today).
THE GROWTH OF THE EARLY CHURCH IN ACTS:
The story of Acts is also an amazing story about the supernatural growth of the church.
Jesus made a powerful promise in Matt. 16:18, “I will build my church!”
2:41 - Those who believed were baptized and added to the church – about three thousand in all
2:47 - And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved
4:4 - But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so that the number of believers totaled about five thousand men
5:14 - And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus wants to build His church, and add to the church daily those who are being saved. One of the keys to seeing the church grow is preaching the Word.
KEY TEXT: Acts 6:1-7
“1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.
• This story is about one of the first threats to the growth of the church, and how the early church dealt with it. See the framework for this story:
o v.1 - “the number of the disciples were multiplying…”
o v.7 - “the number of the disciples multiplied greatly…”
2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.
• Some people must have been suggesting that the apostles should take on this work.
• If you don’t know what your focus is – like Doug talked about this morning – there are many people who will gladly tell you what they think you should be doing!
3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
• What was the leaders’ response to this crisis? Delegation and Devotion.
• Delegation – they recognized that caring for widows and the poor was very important
• Devotion – they also realized that their first responsibility was to the Word & prayer.
• Lesson for leaders: We MUST be devoted to prayer & the Word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. 7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:1-7).
• What was the fruit of the way the apostles responded to this crisis?
o The Word of God spread (because they devoted themselves to this important ministry and would not allow themselves to be distracted from it).
o The number of the disciples multiplied greatly
o And – great miracle – many of the priests were obedient to the faith! (Why is this miraculous? Remember – the priests were the ones attacking the church and threw the apostles in prison in Acts 4:1-3).
JESUS WANTS HIS CHURCH TO GROW:
• Some say, “We don’t care about numbers. We’re content with us four and no more.”
• It doesn’t matter where your church is at now, the Lord wants our churches to grow.
• If Jesus wants to build His church, and add daily those being saved, why wouldn’t we?
• I’m all about the numbers! If we believe Hebrews 13:8 – then I want to see more people saved, healed, filled with the Spirit, and prepared for our soon coming king!
• Spiritual growth is important too – we want to grow people, and the church.
APPLICATION #1: WE ARE TO EQUIP OUR PEOPLE TO MINISTER:
• How does this story speak to our lives in our churches today in the 21st century?
“Jesus is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12).
• Our job as the pastor is not to do all of the work of the ministry.