First, ADDITIONS TO THE CHURCH, WHAT ABOUT THEM? "The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Second, UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS MAY WE EXPECT ADDITIONS TO THE CHURCH ON A LARGE SCALE?
THEY WERE A DEVOTED CHURCH:
THEY WERE A HOLY SPIRIT CHURCH
THEY WERE A UNITED CHURCH
- We read of them that they were so united that they had all things in common, and they daily continued with one accord in the church. There were no parties among them, no petty conflict and divisions, they loved the Lord too well for that If you divide the church within itself, you also divide it from the mighty operations of the Spirit of God. Be full of love to one another, and then you may expect that God the Holy Spirit will fill you with blessing.
THEY WERE A GENEROUS CHURCH:
- The Lord will never bless a church of cheapskates; if they are skinflints they may keep their worship to themselves, for God is a generous God, and He loves to have a generous people. They sold what they had, and gave to those who had needs.
THEY WERE A CONTINUAL CHURCH
- Again, these people were in such a condition that their homes were holy places.
- I want you to notice this, that they were breaking bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart.
- They did not think that religion was meant only for Sundays, and for what men now-a-days call the House of God.
- Their own houses were houses of God, and their own meals were so mixed and mingled with the Lord's Supper that to this day the most cautious student of the Bible cannot tell when they stopped eating their common meals, and when they began eating the Supper of the Lord.
- They elevated their meals into diets for worship: they so consecrated everything with prayer and praise that all around them was holiness to the Lord.
- I wish our houses were, in this way, dedicated to the Lord, so that we worshipped God all day long, and made our homes temples for the living God.
- A footnote: My earliest days in my parents’ home, my remembrance is filled with people coming to our home on a daily basis. After Charity and I were married, and in our first youth ministry in Wooster, Ohio, our home was our church youths’ home. When we pastored at First Baptist Church in Altoona, Kansas, our home was never our house, but the place where our members were always there.
Does God need a house? He who made the heavens and the earth, does he dwell in temples made with hands? What crude ignorance this is! No house beneath the sky is more holy than the place where a Christian lives, and eats, and drinks, and sleeps, and praises the Lord in all that he does, and there is no worship more heavenly than that which is presented by holy families, devoted to the fear of the Lord. A Christians home is always a Christian home.
I have already mentioned that they were a praying church, and that accounted greatly for the increase.
They were a devout church, a church which did not forget any part of the Lord's will.
They were a baptized church,
They were a church that continually celebrated the Lord’s Supper, in the church; and they had a meal with others in their home daily. so we can see that they were obedient to Christ in both ordinances.
They were also a joyful church. We find that they ate their food with gladness. Their religion was not of the somber type which comes from doubts and fears. They were believers in a risen Redeemer, and though they knew that they would soon be persecuted, they rejoiced so much that everybody could see heaven shining on their faces, and might have known that they believed in the blessed gospel, for they were a blessed people.
They were also a praising church, for it is said they "praised God, and they had favor with all the people." Oh, may the Lord make this church and all the churches around us to be as holy and joyful as that apostolic community.
3A. WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DO THESE ADDITIONS TO THE CHURCH BRING TO THE CURRENT MEMBERSHIP
- To those who come into the church it needs to be said: Please do not join our fellowship as a member unless you are saved.
- As for us (the current membership) who will receive the converts, what is our responsibility?
- First, to welcome them wholeheartedly. Let us open wide the door of our hearts and say, "Come and welcome," for Jesus Christ's sake.
- After welcoming them we must watch over them, and when so many are added, double care is needed
- Let the watching be done by all the members: by the officers of the church first, and then by every individual
Guide them and cheer them on. Help their weakness, bear with their ignorance and impulsiveness, and correct their mistakes
THIS IS A LITTLE DESCRIPTION OF THE KIND OF CHURCH IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.
If we want to have an Acts kind of Church, we need to know what kind of Church was in Jerusalem.
Drafted By Charles E. Whisnant, March 25, 2007 Proof Checked or Read by my lovely wife of thirty-seven years. 9 months 11 days, and several hours