Summary: Acts 2 describes the qualities that allowed the early church to reach its world for Christ.
1. Illus. of my grandson Michael
• Not quite a year old.
• Didn’t get to see him last weekend.
• He has grown 6 inches and gained a hundred pounds!
• Not really, but it seems like it!
• But that is what you want! Babies are supposed to grow!
2. I want to talk to you today about growing churches. You might ask, “Why should I be concerned about the growth of my church? Why should I be concerned about whether or not FBC reaches the lost and unchurched of this city?”
• If you have children or grandchildren in this city, you better hope FBC is a growing church. Who will reach and disciple your children and grandchildren?
• If you have a lost loved one, you better hope FBC is a growing church. Who will reach and disciple your lost loved one?
• If you have a lost or unchurched friend, you better hope FBC is a growing church. Who will reach and disciple your friend?
3. Text: Luke describes the characteristics of the early church that caused it to explode in growth. Key verse is vs 47b
4. Today: any church that develops these same characteristics will experience significant growth. Now, it will be limited by its surroundings. Much difference between a Jackson MS and a Jackson AL!
5. What are these characteristics of growing churches?
I. GROWING CHURCHES ARE CHARACTERIZED BY SUPERNATURAL POWER
1. See vs 43. Sign = miracle with a message, a parable in motion. Wonder = miracle that has the effect of producing awe in those who see it, making them say, “What a mighty God.”
2. When the people of Jerusalem saw the supernatural power demonstrated by the apostles, they knew that God was behind all this.
3. Principle: the supernatural, the miraculous, gains a hearing for the Gospel, even with the most hardened of sinners. People are hungry and thirsty for God to do something that only He can do!
4. Illus. of Mr Sandy
• Wicked, despicable a man as ever lived.
• Led all of his family to Christ one night with “Steps to Peace with God.”
• Made a dramatic turnaround, almost something like Paul’s conversion.
• His secretary called me weeks later wanting to know if I could tell her about Christ. “Only God could have made the change in Roscoe Sandy that I have seen.”
• The supernatural, the unexplainable, the miraculous, gains a hearing for the Gospel!
5. You say, “I thought signs and wonders were the exclusive domain of the Apostles.” See Acts 11: 19-21. “Hand of Lord” = blessing, favor, power of Lord. Even in absence of apostolic signs and wonders, supernatural power was still available to the church! We can’t do signs and wonders, but we can have the hand of God upon us.
6. How can we acquire some of this supernatural power?
• Power comes by purity and holiness.
• Power comes by prayer (hungry and cry out to God for His blessing)
• Powers come with unity. I personally think the Holy Spirit would have come anyway, but its no accident that “they were all in one accord…” when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost.
• Power comes by commitment. Why should God anoint that which is not going to serve Him?
7. If we want to grow, must have supernatural empowering by God!
II. GROWING CHURCHES ARE CHARACTERIZED BY A SINGLE-MINDED COMMITMENT
1. See vss 44-45
2. Level one: not teaching bible communism. Worshippers from afar had come to Jerusalem for Passover and Pentecost, expecting to leave for home day after Pentecost. Now they had to stay and learn more about Christian life. Those who lived in Jerusalem sold possession so that these Christians could stay for months of training before they went home to serve as missionaries.
3. Level two: the underlying attitude of those who sold these possessions. Why would any Christian make that kind of financial sacrifice? Because with all their heart they believed in this new work God was doing, and they were totally committed to doing whatever it took to make it succeed!
4. Principle: Growing churches are filled with people who are committed to the church and its growth!
5. Illus. of Romanian pastor
• Under severe persecution. In America trying to raise money to build a church building. Had to smuggle it back in cash.
• “If I’m caught? I will be imprisioned, perhaps killed while I am there.
• “You’re not really living until you have something that you are willing to die for. I am willing to die for to advance the kingdom of God.”
6. What are you committed to? It takes commitment to:
• Give portion of income to church, money that could easily be spent on lesser things