Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Who Causes Church Growth?

God’s Part in Church Growth
Church growth ultimately happens because of the work and grace of God. God alone is the One Who can work salvation in the heart of a man and Who can cause that man to grow to become more like Himself. It is His power alone that can work such a miraculous change. This is seen in His statement to Paul in Acts 18:10, “For I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” God is the only One Who can actually cause church growth. Furthermore, it is the Holy Spirit who works in the lives of individuals, both in salvation and in sanctification.

Man’s Part in Church Growth
However, church growth does not happen without the proclamation of God’s word. That proclamation calls for saved individuals to tell the gospel to those who are unsaved. Both after Peter’s preaching in Acts 2 and Paul’s preaching in Acts 17, the Scriptures state that individuals were added to the church. God used these men to proclaim the message of truth and as a result individuals were saved.
There also needs to be a commitment to proclaiming the word of God. Paul had a deep-seated, heart-felt concern for the churches he planted. This is seen in his tireless toil (II Corinthians 12:15; I Thessalonians 2:9), his fervent prayers (Ephesians 1:15:23), and his determination to preach the word (Acts 14:19-21). His determination, his passion, drove him to do what would seem to be the impossible. He continued spreading God’s word despite beatings, imprisonments, and hardships. He persevered. He strove on. He pushed on for the sake of the kingdom of God. He was – through God’s power and grace – unstoppable. He used every opportunity to preach the word: imprisonments, trials before officials, a stop-over in a city. The message of the gospel overflowed in his life. It was the driving force in his life.
As a result, he turned the world upside down and is known to this day as one of the greatest preachers of all time. It was this passion that God used to grow the first century church. Paul’s example demonstrates that bringing souls to Christ must be the main thrust of the church.

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