A. The growth of the first century church was both spectacular and constant
1. Acts 2:41, 47
2. Acts 4:4
3. Acts 5:14
4. Acts 6:1, 7
B. What caused this tremendous growth?
1. I am sure there were many factors, probably some that we have no way of knowing of today.
2. But in the book of Acts there is a verse that speaks of growth, and factors are named there that helped this growth occur
3. If we were to employ these same factors, we too, can have church growth.
C. Persecution arose at Jerusalem, and the disciples had to leave for safety.
1. Of them it was said – Acts 8:4
2. As the gospel was scattered abroad where these disciples went, the church flourished
3. Acts 9:31 speaks of the factors that helped this growth to occur
4. If we are serious about church growth, we will pay close attention to these four principles of church growth
A. THE CHURCH HAD PEACE
1. Through out all the church there was PEACE
2. Of all people on this earth, the church of Jesus Christ should be at peace, for Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).
a. Jews and Gentiles had always be at enmity with each other,so notice what Jesus did- Ephesians 2:13-15
b. The message which Jesus gave to the early church to preach to the lost is called “the gospel of peace” (Acts 10:36)
c. It is by this gospel of peace that men are led to salvation in Christ and in His church (Acts 2:38, 41, 47)
3. It is because of sin that we are:
a. Separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2)
b. No longer in fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:5-6)
4. But notice what Christ did for us:
a. Romans 5:1, 9-10
b. Colossians 1:20-22
5. As a result of having peace with God we must also have peach with each other
a. 1 John 1:6-7
b. Notice what the Lord prayer for – John 17:20-21
c. John 13:34-35
d. When brethren fight and bicker, the world will hear their message, but when the church has peace, hearts are opened to the gospel of peace”
B. THE CHURCH WAS EDIFIED
1. To “edify” means to build up, to strengthen and encourage
a. Ephesians 4:11-12, 16
b. 2 Peter 3:18 – edification must take place for this to occur
c. 2 Thessalonians 1:3
2. When the disciples grew in faith, in love, in dedication, and in commitment to the Lord – is it any wonder that the church grew?
3. How can we accomplish the edifying of the church?
a. Good Bible Classes
1) 2 Timothy 2:2
a) Good material … sound material
b) The whole council of God must be taught
2) James 3:1
a) Prepared teachers
b) Qualified teachers … knowledge … Example
b. Sound preaching
1) 2 Timothy 4:1-2
2) Ephesians 4:15 … “truth” … “love”
3) Acts 20:27
c. Personal study and effort
1) Hosea 4:6
2) 2 Timothy 2:15
3) Hebrews 5:12
1) Romans 14:19
2) Ephesians 4:29
C. THE CHURCH WALKED IN FEAR OF THE LORD
1. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon is seen searching for the true meaning to life.
a. Didn’t find it in pleasure, in material things, in work, or in worldly wisdom.
b. Ecclesiastes 12:13
2. To “walk in the fear of the Lord” means more than to just fear God
a. It means having a changed life because of reverence for God
b. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Pro. 1:7)
c. “By fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Pro. 16:6)
d. The church of the first century grew because they were intent on serving God “with reverence and awe” (Heb. 12:28)
3. The church of the first century was doing just what Paul wrote – Philippians 2:12
a. The first century Christians were an active people, walking as God wanted in the work He gave them to do
b. Even though they sought God’s kingdom first (Mt. 6:33), they realized that they could not do it alone – Philippians 2:13
4. But notice that they walked in the “fear of the Lord” and in the “comfort of the Holy Spirit.”
a. Ephesians 3:16
b. Romans 8:11
c. But how does the Spirit do this?
1) Through the word of God – 2 Peter 1:3
2) Men, inspired of the Spirit, wrote the words of God to comfort, strengthen, and instruct us in our endeavors as a Christian- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
3) We will be victorious is we will rely on the comfort of the Holy Spirit
D. THE CHURCH WAS MULTIPLIED
1. Look again at the growth of the early church in Jerusalem:
a. Acts 2:41, 47
b. Acts 5:14
c. Acts 6:1, 7
d. When people live for God, as He wills, they accomplish His work according to His purpose.
2. A simple fact of farm life is that before there can be a harvest the seed must be planted.
a. “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11)
b. Just as was true then, the gospel is still “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16)
c. Notice what the Christians of the first century did – Acts 8:4
d. Andrew heard Jesus and was convinced He was the Christ, but notice what he did- John 1:41-42
e. This was the pattern with all those believers; they were busy telling others about Jesus.
f. It was natural that they speak of their Savior, just as natural as breathing- 2 Corinthians 4:13
A. Is the church at Avenue T growing as it should?
B. If it isn’t, maybe we need to examine again the early church and pattern our lives after the lives of those people
C. Acts 9:31
D. It worked for them 1900 years ago, it will work today!