Church Growth – The Acts of the world vs the ACTS of the Church

Acts 2:36-41
I. There are numerous books, slideshows, inspirational speakers, and programs that claim to have a magic formula for modern church growth.
II. Some Modern Charismatic Methods:
Change the packaging and people will come
The new packaging is all about replacement
True Or False – Do we need a:.
• A ‘stage’ with a moveable acrylic glass lectern replaces the old wooden pulpit.
• A rock band replaces the organ.
• A casually dressed and jovial audience replaces the reverent congregation.
• A charming minister in a t-shirt and jeans replaces the suited ‘preacher’.
• Fun replaces holiness as the tone of the service.
• Side-splitting dramas.
• Humorous ‘talk’ replacing preaching.
III. The popular charismatic “preacher” Robert Schuller suggests:
Find out what would impress the nonchurched in your community then give it to them – his philosophy:
– A good salesman knows you always start with the customer’s needs, not the product.
– Discover what a sinner wants out of life and give it to him ‘in Jesus’
IV. Strange how these people NEVER go to the Bible to seek a formula! We need to ask:
– How did the Church Grow in the book of Acts?
– By what means did the Church Grow in the book of Acts?
V. One thing we see is that it started SMALL. It started with 120.
Acts 1:15
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
VI. In Ch. 2 – On the day of Pentecost:
– Preached Jesus – death v.23 Resurrection v.24
Acts 2:41
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
VII. We observe the Believer’s actions:
Acts 2:42
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
VIII. We see their Spiritual practices – prayer, bible reading, and relationship with Christ & One another
Acts 2:46–47
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
IX. NOW we read of the growth that occurred:
Acts 4:4
4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
Acts 5:14
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
Acts 6:7
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Acts 12:24
24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.
Acts 16:5
5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Acts 17:12
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Acts 19:20
20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
Acts 28:31
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
X. SO How Did The Church Grow?
1.) The Church Preached Jesus:
– No matter the background, culture, status, location
– Cut through the 100’s of beliefs
– Amazing story of God becoming a man
– From lowly birth to the cross & resurrection
2.) The Church Lived In The Transforming Power of the Holy Ghost:
– Understanding the deadliness of sin
– No hope of escape
– Realizing the reality of Christ
– Loving prayer, communion, worship, praise
– Devoting yourself to the truth of the Word
– Living in obedience
– In fellowship, kindness, joy, peace, & generosity
– Church today must allow the Spirit to work
Romans 12:1–2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3.) The Church Thrived In Holy Living
– The church grows when it is pure
– Ac. 5 – Contrasted with Ananias & Sapphira
– Results impacted the church
Acts 5:10
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
– So powerful of the work of the Lord
– People die in that church
Acts 5:13
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
– Note the “BUT”
– Because of purity
Acts 5:14
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
XI. Again the Book of Acts Way (not the modern world’s ways) says the only formula for having church is:
* Preaching! Preaching Jesus!
* Living the Life!
* Worship —praise —prayer!
* Unity!
* Multiplying the Word!
* Witnessing by life and mouth!
* And God adds to the church such as should be saved!