Five Reasons the Early Church Grew (Acts 4)

Introduction:

         In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised to establish His Church. This  glorious  event took place on the Day of Pentecost. The book of Acts tells us on that day the  God of Heaven launched the Church of Christ.

Our remarks for this article will come from Acts 4. In the first  few chapters  of Acts we are told how the early church centered her ministries  in the city of Jerusalem.  They had  not ventured out  as  Jesus had  commanded in Acts 1:8. The  narrative  centers on the  ministry of Peter and John. In the  3rd  chapter they had  just  healed the lame  man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.

We would like  spend  some  time on each of the five reasons for church  growth that  we have  gleaned from this chapter. If we are willing to see how the early church existed among the  Jewish, Roman, and Greek cultures, and  implement their techniques, we too, can  experience church growth. It will also help us work for the unity of all believers in Christ.

The Early Church Preached the Right Message

In Acts 4:2 we read the  following: being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” As the Apostles were teaching, opposition arose from the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. There are many  today who  do not  believe in the  bodily resurrection  of the Lord Jesus.  Sadly, that includes  some who claim to be  Christians. It took then, and takes today, boldness to  proclaim the  resurrection. We must proclaim  it from  our pulpits and with all we  come in contact. The early church stressed the importance of proclaiming the  resurrection of the Lord of Glory, The  resurrection is the  driving force behind the Gospel. It should be the  basis  of our message.

Jesus proved Himself to be the  Christ through the  resurrection. It makes the  church and  her mission  strong. We should declare it as  the  bedrock of the Christian faith. If Chrsit did not  rise form the dead, we are dead  in our  sins and have  no hope of  Heaven. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that God’s power was  greater than that of Satan. The resurrection of Jesus is the most essential element of the Christian faith.

The Early Church Preached the Right Name

In Acts 4:12, we read: Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This passage declares that  salvation is in the Name of Jesus Christ.  When the  Bible uses the expression “in the Name of,” as  used  here and in Acts 2:38, it  means by the authority of. Many are saying today that it does not matter what you believe in or  who you believe  in. This is not the  case. A world that is under the sentence of death need a  redeemer.  In John 14:6 we read: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  The early  church declared that Jesus was the hope of the world. Let’s lift up Jesus to a dying world. Let the  world know what Jesus means to us. Jesus  offers the only  hope there is!

The Early Church Had Boldness in Defense of the Truth.

The  Sanhedrin had commanded  Peter and John not to preach about the  resurrection under threat of punishment. In this passage we see the boldness of the  apostles. They were ready to go anywhere and everywhere in defense of the  Gospel. What  is the  “Good News?” I 1 Cor. 15, sometimes called  the  resurrection chapter, verse1-4  tell us that Gospel consists  of the fact that Jesus  died and  was buried and that He rose from the dead. Let’s look at the  boldness of the   apostles and seek to have that  same  kind of  boldness today.

We must know what we believe and  why. We  must believe that the Word of God is inerrant and  infallible. If we  know what we  believe and  why we  can have  boldness in presenting the  Gospel to a lost world. In Jude 3 there is a  passage that fits the  situation,  “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

The early Church was a Praying Church

After Peter and John had been  released by the  Sanhedrin they went back to the rest of the  apostles and fellow believers to give  a report o what had transpired. Verse 24-31 record that the early Chruch was  a  praying  church. In Acts 4:29 we read: Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,”  They  believed in the  power of prayer and  also of  answered prayer. Many of the  great figures  of the Old and New Testament were  people of  prayer. God has  told us to pray. If we pray, knowing that God hears, and expecting that God will answer in a way that will bring  glory to His Name, we can  have a victorious prayer life. Remember, it is our  Creator that we are talking to. If we can  recapture the prayer life of the  early church we can better  stimulate church growth.

The  Early Church was One in Christ

         Verse 32 tells us that the  early church was one. The Church of Christ was ready to work together in her mission to reach the lost with the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

If we are willing to learn from the  experiences of the  early church, we can have church  growth. The early church spread across the known  world. Everywhere  Christians went the preached the Word. If we, today, can put the into practice the methods used by the early church, we can have  church growth.