Tag: church growth
Scripture reading for May 17th: Acts 9
Key Scriptures for over-comers: Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened: and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.”
After a time of severe persecution, God sent a time of peace to the early church. During this time of peace, the church was strengthened. One of the great persecutors, Saul, had been converted and became a strong preacher of the Gospel and apostle to the Gentiles. The Holy Spirit brought gifts to the church in the form of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and prophets as well as empowering the individual members of the church to be witnesses to the lost. This resulted in great numerical growth and a growing “fear of the Lord.” The Holy Spirit enabled believers to hold God in deep respect and honor. This brought separation from the world, sin, and the flesh and practical holiness that drew the lost.
Observations for over-comers: Church growth isn’t something that comes from what man dreams up and promotes. God’s Spirit empowers and encourages the Church and brings times of peace where He adds numbers to His Church! The “fear of the Lord” is a key ingredient for this growth initiated by the Holy Spirit. “The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.” (Psalms 25:14)
Scripture reading for June 14th: Acts 9:26-43
God’s Kingdom is always in conflict with the kingdoms of this world and of the devil. We are told to stand in the full armor of God in this conflict. But even in conflict, God grants times of peace where He also works in the hearts of men to bring about His purposes.
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” (Acts 9:31) After Saul was converted, the wave of persecution caused by his misguided zeal subsided and a time of peace settled over the church. The Holy Spirit strengthened and encouraged the believers. The Father’s gift was invaluable in each of these new disciples. They found boldness and power to share the Gospel and see the church grow in numbers. Their proper respect for God, the fear of the Lord, helped them to stay focused and live holy lives.
In this atmosphere, Peter traveled about the countryside ministering to the saints. He visited Lydda and there was used to heal a man who was bed-ridden for eight years. This miracle brought many new believers into the church there.
In Joppa, a disciple named Tatitha who was a faithful worker in the church became ill and died. The church sent two men to find Peter who was near there. Peter came and found a number of widows mourning Tabitha’s passing. Peter knelt down by the bed where her body was laid and spoke to her, “Tabitha, get up.” She immediately opened her eyes and they helped her up. This miracle brought many others to faith in the region around Joppa!
Good news travels fast and God promised to confirm His word with signs and miracles. This early church did not just sit around during the time of peace, but continued in faith and good works. Their lives were marked by expectation of God’s supernatural power and intervention. They were sharing their faith with those outside and seeing people come to faith! They lived in the fear of the Lord and holiness brought God’s presence. May your life and church family be marked by a time of peace like this one!