The Elements of a Growing Church-Part 1

Acts 2:40-47  Why did the Early Church grow? 
What elements were present when God launched
the Church?  Does leadership matter? 
 
The Apostles were numbered together with the other disciples. They
were 120 in number according to Dr. Luke’s account (Acts 1:15).  Jesus had died. Peter had denied that he even knew Him, just as He said he would.  All of Jerusalem was a blaze with the news of the resurrection of Jesus and more than 500 witnesses were proclaiming their stories.  The Jews were furious.  They were afraid that their schemes to control the people and the temple church were so damaged and they were threatening to imprison anyone who dared to speak of Jesus.
The disciples of Christ were trying to get it together.  He had appeared to them in the upper room and He had proven Himself to the doubting members. Even after some time, He appeared to them at the Sea of Tiberius where Jesus had “called” them to become fishers of men and Peter was reminded of his calling to feed the sheep of Jesus and be a leader.  He told them to go back to Jerusalem and wait.  Wait for what?  Jesus promised that He was going to send the presence of the Holy Spirit to empower each of them to launch into ministry. Then it happened!  While these weak-kneed disciples were fearing the retribution of the Jews one morning, a sound came from Heaven and barreled through the house of the disciples (Acts 2:2).  You may note there was an important aspect of the event taking place… they were together in one accord. (Acts 2:1).  In other words, they were seeking God, they were ready to work together with their brethren, they were observing unity.  The Bible describes it as the sound of a mighty rushing wind that filled the whole house.  Immediately, this presence of God’s Holy Spirit filled each of the disciples and they began speaking many different, but specific native languages (divided tongues-glossa Greek in Acts 2:3).  The event was so amazing that those who were out in the streets heard the preaching, teaching and praise of God in their own languages.  How amazing! It was the time of the feasts of  Pentecost.  There were thousands of people who had come to Jerusalem to observe this special time.  Parthians, Medes, Egyptians, Libyans, Romans and Arabians, they all heard the gospel of Jesus and praise in their own languages (Acts 2:8). Amazing!  What were previously weak and scared disciples became brave men of the gospel.
They opened up the windows and doors and preached the Word of God and praised Christ in front of all of those present.   
 
The Apostle Peter steps up and begins to preach the greatest message of his ministry and at the end there are 3,000 people converted to Christ.  The Bible passage ends in proclaiming to us that souls were being added daily to the church (Acts 2:47).
 
Why did the Church grow? What elements were present
that caused God’s Church to grow?  Believers:
 
1. Received the Word of God Gladly.  (vs. 41)
     then those who gladly received his word were baptized
     They made God’s Word paramount in their lives.  Nothing was
     more important than hearing, absorbing and learning the words
     of God’s awesome Word.  The word in this passage for “gladly” is a
     word in the Greek that means to “embrace something very closely.”
     They came to worship at times with the anticipation that one of
     God’s anointed was going to share something that would challenge
     and change their lives to strengthen their journey. A great
     supporting scripture would be (1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the
     wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased
     God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who would
     believe). 
 
2. Refused to Waiver from their Commitments.  (vs. 42)
      they continued steadfastly
     The word in the Greek for this word steadfastly means to “cling to
     something and not let go.”  The first church of God continued on
     their journey and refused to let go of their commitments to Jesus. 
     A great supporting scripture would be (1 Corinthians 15:58 . 
     Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always
     abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in
     vain in the Lord). God has called the Church to a holy calling of
     Great Commission. We must continue.
 
3. Radiated the Apostle’s Doctrine.  (vs. 42)
      they continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine
     What was the Apostle’s doctrine?  The Greek word doctrine in verse
     42 means “the absolute belief in something.”  They believed the
     doctrine of those who had walked with Jesus, seen and witnessed
     His miracles and were convinced that He was the Son of the Living
     God.  They began placing everything they owned and believed in
     accordance to this new life.  They wanted to know the accuracy of
     what Jesus taught. A great supporting scripture to this thought is in
     (2 Timothy 4:2-5 … Preach the Word!  Be ready in season and out of
     season.  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 
     For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but
     according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will
     heap up for themselves teachers...) 
    
      What an awesome beginning to God’s first church in Jerusalem.
     They received God’s Word through the preached Word of God,
     they refused to waiver from their commitments and they radiated 
     the doctrine taught by the Apostles about Jesus.  How effective.
     May we choose the same course as we pray for God’s church to
     grow in our communities.  Pastor Mark Reese