HALLMARKS OF A GROWING CHURCH
Introduction: If we desire church growth, it would be good for us to look at the pattern set by the early church in Jerusalem following the Day of Pentecost. The church experienced phenomenal growth and had the power of God flowing through virtually everything they did on a daily basis.
I. THE WERE STEADFAST
STEADFAST - unwavering
1. Steadfastly adhere to truth - apostle’s doctrine
The Apostle’s doctrine—The Word of God
II Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
We are living in the day Paul described in
II Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
Churches across our country have sought various ways to address growth in the midst of a changing culture. Unfortunately many have compromised and have failed to maintain a strong stand on doctrinal truth. Many have gone so far as to condone activities of the culture which clearly violated the precepts of Scripture.
A. W. Tozer wrote “Great saints have always been dogmatic.” We need a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God.
Don’t buy into this modern day philosophy that we need to lay our doctrinal differences aside and just get alone.
Doctrine is what defines us, it matters
II John 1:9-11 "Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  for he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
2. Steadfastly share in the work - Fellowship
Fellowship - a sharing in common, partnership
Fellowship—fellows in a ship / We are in the same boat.
II Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?"
I Corinthians 1:9 "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."
For the early Christians, "fellowship" was no about the church-sponsored bowling parties. It was not tea, cookies, and sophisticated small talk in Fellowship Hall after the sermon.
The Greek word ‘koinonia’ (koy-nohn-ee’-ah) here translated fellowship means - joint participation, it implies an unconditional sharing of their lives with the other members of Christ’s body.
...working together for success.
This is the same word used in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth
2Co 8:1-4 “1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to [their] power, I bear record, yea, and beyond [their] power [they were] willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
Christianity is not a solo sport.
Ephesians 4:11-13 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:"
Philippians 1:3-5 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,  Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,  For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;"
When a member who is active in a church moves or dies, it creates a vacancy that is many times very difficult to fill.
We have some that are so involved it is hard to image our ministry with out them.
So, we understand that true fellowship means each person should be using their talents, their resources, and their time to make the their local church successful.
3. Steadfastly remember the cross - breaking of bread
This is speaking of = Communion = Lord’s Supper, it speaks of their worship.
Psalms 77:11 "I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old."
Ills A powerful ruler built a great palace. Among the rooms was one that was always locked. He called it the Chamber of Memories. Every day he visited that room, but no one else was permitted inside. Finally one day the servants got a peep inside the locked room. There was no silver, no gold, no precious jewels. All they saw was a humble shepherd’s robe; the one the king had worn before he came to the throne. The Lord’s Supper reminds us of what we were before Christ found us and how far we have come.
I Corinthians 2:2 "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
Everything we do must revolve around the fact that we are where we are today, we do what we do today, we go where we go today, we say what we say today because Jesus Christ redeemed us by His precious blood and has commissioned everyone of us to spread the good news of His redeeming love.
"Well, we can water down theology, and preach a word to suit our needs. We can justify sweet, subtle lies that are wrapped in noble deeds. We can alter our convictions to adapt to social whims, But we cannot change the Gospel or the truth contained within.
It’s still the cross. It’s still the blood of Calvary That cleanses sin and sets the captive free. It’s still the name, The name of Jesus that has power to save the lost. "
4. Steadfastly pray
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Without the power of God there can be no lasting work done for Christ.
We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.
Romans 15:30 "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;"
Watchman Nee wrote “Our prayers lay the track down on which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails”
John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Prayer Book, wrote "Far away from the Bible’s example are most people when they pray. Prayer with earnestness and urgency is genuine "prayer" in God’s account. Alas, the greatest number of people are not conscious at all of the duty of prayer. And as for those who are, it is to be feared that many of them are very great strangers to sincere, sensible, and affectionate-emotional-pouring out of their hearts or souls to God. Too many content themselves with a little lip-service and bodily exercise, mumbling over a few imaginary prayers. When the emotions are involved in such urgency that the soul will waste itself rather than go without the good desired, there is communion and solace with Christ. And hence it is that the saints have spent their strength, and lost their lives, rather than go without the blessings God intended for them.
James 5:16b "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
II. They feared God v43
There was a genuine fear of God Almighty.
Ac 9:31 “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
III.They were united v.44
IV. They were givers v.45
They were faithful v.46
VI. They had a good testimony v.47a
VII. They were fruitful v.47b