Faithlife Sermons

The Holy Spirit and Church Growth

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Introduction

Texts - ; ;

Acts 2:41 ESV
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Acts 4:4 ESV
4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
Acts 6:7 ESV
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Church Growth in the last days
remarkable multiplication of mega-churches
use of marketing platforms
use of church programs to attract the public
employing of sermons that appeal to human needs

How the Early Church Grew (the first 3 decades of church history)

Accounts of church growth beginning at Jerusalem

- he church started with a core group of 120 disciples in Jerusalem.
- he church started with a core group of 120 disciples in Jerusalem. - 3000 were added on the day of Pentecost - new disciples were added to the church daily - the number of believers rose to 5,000 - the word of God continued to increase, the number of the disciples multiplied greatly, many priests became obedient to the faith - the disciples were scattered by persecution throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria - Samaria receives the gospel - the church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up, and multiplied. - Cornelius receives the gospel in Caesarea - the word of God increased and multiplied after an angel of the Lord kills Herod in Tyre and Sidon - marks the beginning of the missionary journeys of Paul; the gospel goes to the various provinces of the Roman empire First missionary journey - - Seleucia, Salamis and Paphos in CyprusActs 13.13 - Perga in Pamphylia - Antioch in Pisidia - Jews believed in Pisidia - Iconium - Lystra - Derbe - back to Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, and appointed elders - back to Antioch Second missionary journey - - Cilicia - returns to Derbe and Lystra; finds Timothy - the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily, when Paul came to Derbe - Troas - Samothrace and Neapolis - Philippi in Macedonia; Lydia was converted - the jailer in Philippi was converted with his family - Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica - Berea - Athens - Corinth - Cenchreae - Ephesus - returns to Antioch Third missionary journey - - Ephesus - in Ephesus the word of the Lord continued to increase - goes to Macedonia via Troas - Assos, Mitylene, Miletus - Tyre - Jerusalem - Paul arrested in Jerusalem - at Jerusalem, Paul related how God worked in his ministry among the Gentiles
- 3000 were added on the day of Pentecost
- new disciples were added to the church daily
- the number of believers rose to 5,000
- the word of God continued to increase, the number of the disciples multiplied greatly, many priests became obedient to the faith
- the disciples were scattered by persecution throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria
- Samaria receives the gospel
- the church throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up, and multiplied.
- Cornelius receives the gospel in Caesarea
- the word of God increased and multiplied after an angel of the Lord kills Herod in Tyre and Sidon
- marks the beginning of the missionary journeys of Paul; the gospel goes to the various provinces of the Roman empire
First missionary journey -
- Seleucia, Salamis and Paphos in Cyprus
- Perga in Pamphylia
- Antioch in Pisidia
- Jews believed in Pisidia
- Iconium - Lystra - Derbe
- back to Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, and appointed elders
- back to Antioch
Second missionary journey -
- Cilicia
- returns to Derbe and Lystra; finds Timothy
- the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily, when Paul came to Derbe
- Troas
- Samothrace and Neapolis
- Philippi in Macedonia; Lydia was converted
- the jailer in Philippi was converted with his family
- Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica
- Berea
- Athens
- Corinth
- Cenchreae
- Ephesus
- returns to Antioch
Third missionary journey -
- Ephesus
- in Ephesus the word of the Lord continued to increase
- goes to Macedonia via Troas
- Assos, Mitylene, Miletus
- Tyre
- Jerusalem
- Paul arrested in Jerusalem
- at Jerusalem, Paul related how God worked in his ministry among the Gentiles

Observations

The church was born on Pentecost in 30 AD, Paul was arrested on Pentecost in 58 AD, 28 years later
The Book of Acts opened on Pentecost in 30 AD, and closed 31 years later when Paul landed in Rome, 61 AD
Time when the church showed remarkable growth
Times when church showed remarkable growthfirst gospel preaching at Pentecost - when the problem in Jerusalem church was resolved - when persecution scattered the disciples - when persecution dissipated after Saul was converted - when the church focused on mission work - when confusion among the Gentiles concerning the Law were settled and promulgated -
first gospel preaching at Pentecost -
Times when church showed remarkable growthfirst gospel preaching at Pentecost - when the problem in Jerusalem church was resolved - when persecution scattered the disciples - when persecution dissipated after Saul was converted - when the church focused on mission work - when confusion among the Gentiles concerning the Law were settled and promulgated -
when the problem in Jerusalem church was resolved -
when persecution scattered the disciples -
when persecution dissipated after Saul was converted -
when the church focused on mission work -
when confusion among the Gentiles concerning the Law were settled and promulgated -

3 Marks of Church Growth

Numerical Growth
, were added to the original 120 disciples
- the members grew to 5,000 men (not including the women)
- many priests were added to the disciples
Spiritual Growth
- Spirit-filled men were identified among the disciples; the Word of God increased
- the Word of God increased and multiplied
- prophets and teachers were rising
- the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily
Ministries Expansion
- there was distribution of goods to the poor members
- mission work was established
Note - this was not due to persecution

Genuine Church Growth is a Work of the Holy Spirit

Mission Advance
Biblical Pattern for Church Growth

The Holy Spirit led the church to growth in three ways:

1. Spirit-empowered gospel preaching
- Peter preached the first sermon that brought in 3,000 new believers
2. Spirit-guided resolution of internal problems
- the apostles resolved the rising problem in the church
Acts 6:6–7 ESV
6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Acts 6.
- Saul’s conversion brought peace in the churches
Acts 9.
Acts 9:31 ESV
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
- resolution from the Jerusalem council brought joy to the churches
Acts 15:30–31 ESV
30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
Acts 15.30
Acts 16:4–5 ESV
4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
Acts 16.4-5
3. Spirit-led mission works
Acts 13:2–4 ESV
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
Acts 13.

The Church is the Spirit’s vehicle - the means - by which He will accomplish His work.

to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations
- you will be my witnesses
to bring in God’s people
- the promise is for you, your children, and for those afar off
- the light must also go to the Gentiles
Acts 13:46–49 ESV
46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.

The Church is the Spirit’s vehicle - the means - by which He will accomplish His work.

- the apostles were sent by the Holy Spirit
Acts 13:2–4 ESV
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
- God worked with them
Acts 15:3–4 ESV
3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.
1 Corinthians 3:9 ESV
9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
Mark 16:19–20 ESV
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Conclusion

The Holy Spirit has 2 primary missions on earth

to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations
- you will be my witnesses
to bring in God’s people
- the promise is for you, your children, and for those afar off
- the light must also go to the Gentiles
Acts 13:46–49 ESV
46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.

The same Holy Spirit continues to work in the church today.

God brought us out of religious systems to bring us back to true apostolic faith
God restored the 5-fold ministry today, beginning with the prophet

The church will continue to grow as long as the Holy Spirit is in control

Spirit-empowered gospel preaching
Spirit-guided resolution of internal problems
Spirit-led mission works
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