APOSTOLIC KEYS TO CHURCH GROWTH
I. A. It is the will of God that the Church grow:
1. He built a growth principle into every LIVING thing.
B. Why then is not the Church, the thriving, throbbing, pulsating, dynamic organism God intended it to be?
C. We need the HOLY BOLDNESS of the Holy Ghost to blow across our own soul again, clear the fog from our spiritual eyes and give us a vision of what the Church can be.
D. The Jews said – “We have ABRAHAM to our father” – Jesus said – “If ye were indeed the children of Abraham, ye would do the WORKS of Abraham.”
E. We claim to be descendants of the early Church – It must be more than just the fact we preach ACTS 2:38.
II. On the Day of Pentecost, 3,120 souls were born.
A. 24 hours later, the Day of Pentecost was history.
B. The early Church could have leaned back, folded her hands behind her head, talked about the Great Revival and yawned in contentment. The Disciples went everywhere preaching.
C. They continued STEADFASTLY – A fire had been kindled and as the wind of the Spirit continued to blow – IT WAS KEPT ALIVE.
D. The Lord added DAILY – Chapter 4, 5,000, Chapter 5, MULTITUDES.
E. GROWTH & REVIVAL was the norm – It should be that way today. God’s Church should be a GROWING Church!
F. God’s people had with them the KEYS to Apostolic Revival – They used them – there was daily addition of souls.
KEY NO. 1 – IT WAS A FEELING CHURCH
A. Excited about what they had found, lives drastically changed. Jesus delivered from sin – Guilt of Past – Had right to be excited.
B. The Lepers in the camp of the Syrians – “We do not well”.
C. We gorge ourselves with the blessings of God – THE WORLD is starving.
D. They were willing to go and tell – felt compelled to go.
E. The devil would like to add us to his list of helpers by making us think we can live a Christian life and still not tell what Jesus did for us – Only an ungrateful person would do that. We think serving God consists of what we don’t do, but what are we doing?
F. The Ethiopian Church doubled in 3 years – no pulpit ministry. The underground Church. A telling church – never will be revival and growth where saints remain silent.
KEY NO. 2 – STUDY
A. They studied diligently – had open ear to any spiritual information. Relished knowledge about JESUS – no New Testament scriptures for some time.
B. We should all seek to tap the riches of Christ to learn more about him.
C. One man said, “Precious time is wasted if 24 hours have gone by and we have not learned something new about God.”
D. We need to get HUNGRY for something from God.
E. You will find the hungry in the prayer room – lingering around the altar while others are sitting back talking.
F. What we learn of Him (He invites us to learn of Him) we can share with others – the Lord will add daily.
KEY NO. 3 – UNITY
A. The original Apostolics were united – Acts 2:1 – One accord, one place.
B. United is more than together in one room – or one Church.
C. Verse 46 – singleness of heart.
D. Gideon’s army successful because every man was in his PLACE.
E. Must be Unity of PURPOSE, must understand the purpose & mission of the church – lights from candlestick blend together.
F. Instruments in orchestra – each have their own part to play when put together – ONE sound is all you hear.
G. Never accomplish what Jesus wants us to accomplish unless we are united.
H. One can put a thousand to flight – two can put 10,000.
KEY NO. 4 – VISION
Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish.
A. What do we mean “a vision”? Not just seeing things as they are but as they could be.
B. We measure ourselves by ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
C. God measures our POTENTIAL.
D. We need a vision of what could be done – what we could become.
E. Everything that is in existence began either in the mind of God or in the mind of man. What man’s mind can conceive – What God inspires us to pray.
F. FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith takes the vision and brings it to reality.
KEY NO. 5 – FELLOWSHIP
A. The early Church was known for its fellowship – there was a closeness, a togetherness, a friendliness and LOVING CONCERN.
1. Not all just alike – personalities different – made no difference -a family – not Lone Ranger Christians.
B. By one Spirit, we have all been baptized into one body.
1. We are our brothers keeper – bear burdens – pray for one another. We need a revival of caring for one another.
C. It seems that eating together was a popular thing. Saint or sinner- it made no difference – this was a vital KEY to winning the lost.
D. Someone said – The reason a new convert is winning more people to God – He still has FRIENDS in the World.
E. Most Christians consider themselves friendly. They are to each other. Arms of love reach no farther than those who are close and lovable.
F. James 4:4 does say “Friendship with the World is enmity with God”- has been misinterpreted – we will never win those we do not REACH or ASSOCIATE with.
G. Our fellowship must encompass those we know who need God.
H. Are we guilty of the attitude of the Pharisees? – Walking down the street – gather our robes of self-righteousness about us.
KEY NO. 6 – PRAYER AND FASTING
A. New Testament Christians drew upon the resources of God through PRAYER. Jude 20.
B. How do we pray?
C. What do we pray for? Is our prayer mostly for self?
D. Their prayer was not spasmodic but SPECIFIC and MEANINGFUL.
E. William Barclay said “They always spoke to God before they spoke to men”.
F. They prayed not only because they knew the power of Jesus Name, but because they had fallen in love with the person.
G. Only through prayer and faith can we OBTAIN His promises.
H. Their attempts to evangelize would have been futile.
I. Fasting brings our under BODY subjection.
J. Prayer moves God. Fasting moves men.
KEY NO. 7 – GENEROSITY
A. The first Church was a generous Church. verse 45 – “sold their possessions and goods”
B. They possessed a generosity we must possess.
C. Generous toward the Work of God – near and far.
D. What else could our generosity involve?
1. OUR TIME 2. OUR MONEY
E. The first Church showed a deep feeling of concern for OTHERS. I John 3:17 – “Whoso hath this world’s goods and seeth his brother in need and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
KEY NO. 8 – PRAISE
A. The first Church loved to praise God – every opportunity that presented itself found these people worshipping.
B. Their worship was dynamic – full of praise to God.
C. Why was their worship so powerful?
D. Should ours be any less? Do we just want to get our thimble full.
1. What does our worship in the Church really express?
E. If you were a prisoner on Death Row and pardon came, what would be your attitude?
F. The early Church was filled with gratitude – heartfelt love for Jesus – expressed IN and OUT of the Church.
KEY NO. 9 – JOY
A. Isaiah 12:3 – “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
B. If there was someone around from 50 A.D. Ask – What kind of folks are these Apostolics – HAPPY PEOPLE, JOYFUL PEOPLE. 20th Century Apostolics should be happy people.
C. Luke said – “They did eat their meat with gladness.” (Not grumbling at the dinner table)
D. Joy was a quality which drew people to them.
E. Anyone like to be around a person who is always sad? Always complaining?
F. Possible to get in a rut (not happy unless sad, complaining).
G. Everyone likes to be around happy people.
H. Christian’s joy not necessarily a boisterous thing – Comes from deep within – peace that God gives – RESULTS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD- Not dictated by circumstances.
I. Folks want that which can give them joy. Nehemiah 8:10 – “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
KEY NO. 10 – MIRACLES
A. What is a miracle? An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in HUMAN affairs. Heb. 2:4, Acts 5:12-14, Acts 8:5-8
B. God used (and still uses) miracles to draw men to Him.
C. When we talk about miracles, first thought is HEALING.
D. Greatest miracle is SALVATION.
E. What about other miracles –
1. Annanias & Sapphira. – The news spread.
2. Peter’s deliverance.
F. What produced the miracles? – Fasting, prayer, unity, fellowship produces the climate in which the Holy Ghost can move.
G. Converts will be added, Revival will be continuous.
KEY NO. 11 – THOROUGHLY FURNISHED
A. The early Church was empowered by the Spirit and molded together in His love. They relied heavily upon being “FURNISHED – EQUIPPED” for the task ahead of them.
B. They knew without the divine touch and direction of God, they would never get the job done.
C. They wanted to do not only what seemed good to them, but also that which seemed good to the HOLY GHOST.
D. They recognized the DIVINE GIFTS and God’s furnishings for the Church.
1. Honored the position of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
2. They knew they were given for the perfecting of the saints and the edifying of the Body.
3. That respect is necessary. A man cannot be your pastor unless you give him that position – you will be blessed.
E. They believed in and yielded to God’s direction through the gifts of the Spirit.
F. They displayed the fruit of the Spirit.
KEY NO. 12 – FAVOR
A. They had favor with all the people – REVIVAL happened and will happen when a church has favor with people.
B. William Barclay portrays the New Testament Church as “People that others could not help liking.”
C. We must to a large degree win people to OURSELVES.
D. It is a sad mistake to think we must be hated or disliked to be Apostolic. This is an attitude that will destroy revival or a church. The Martyr spirit.
E. There should be an ATTRACTING quality about a true Jesus Name, Apostolic Church.
1. Don’t have to compromise message, standards, or anything else.
2. We don’t have to be arrogant to be separated, different.
3. Our Church should be marked by the beauty of holiness and a CHRIST – LIKE spirit.
III. As we lift Him up through these methods, He draws men to Him through the medium of His people – YOU AND I.
A. If people don’t long to have what we have, we don’t have what we should.
B. We need to be joyful Christians, with a positive, firm, loving personality.
C. Growth will not just happen, but if we can manifest these things in our lives, growth cannot help but happen.
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