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Snapshots From Acts, Number Two - How the Church Grew

Updated on January 17, 2018

Snapshots from Acts -Number 2- How the Church Grew.

The Church was established in response to the preaching of the Gospel on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter two. In Acts 2:37-47 on the question of "What must we do" the answer by Peter is recorded; "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." This comes after Jesus had sent his disciples out to all nations with the "Great Commission"; "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you". (Matthew 28:18,19). Luke states it as follows in his Gospel in 24:47; " and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem."

Then follows the account in the Book of Acts of how this was put into action and if one were to describe the early church in one word, perhaps "growth" could be used?

In fact one of the really amazing facts about the early Church was how fast it grew. Let's look at the examples in Acts:

Acts 2:41- Many believed and 3000 saved.

Acts 2: 47 - Every day God added to their number.

Acts 5:14 - Multitudes of both men and women were added to their number.

Acts 6:7 - The word of God spread and the number of disciples multiplied greatly and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 9:31 - The church grew in numbers.

Acts 11:21 - The Lord was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

Acts 12:24 - The word of God continued to spread and grow.

Acts 16:5 - And so the churches were made stronger in the faith and grew in numbers every day.

Acts 19:20 -The word of the Lord grew mightily or "spreading and growing stronger".

Acts 21:20 Thousands of Jews have believed.

Questions we need to look at include "Why the fast growth then?" "How did they do it?" "What about today?"

The following factors seem to stand out in this rapid growth as recorded in the Book of Acts.

1. Growth in numbers always seemed to come with the spreading of the word. Preaching was mostly done to the lost.(5:42)

2. The Holy Spirit was active and working in the proclamation of the Gospel.(4:8,31)

3. Members were active in the process on a day to day basis. When persecution broke out they took the message with them as they fled. (8:4)

4. Sharing of the message was important. Everyone had a part in the excitement of the "Good News".(5:27-29)

5. The example set by the believers had an impact. People could see they had "been with Jesus".(4:13)

6. When opposition came, the church continued to grow. As the people fled from persecution they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news about Jesus and who He is.(5:42)

7. God was involved through the Holy Spirit working in and through the members. Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit as he proclaimed the message. (7:54-56)

8. Prayer was central to their message. The early disciples prayed and preached. (2:42; 4:24; 10:4,9)

What is different today? Are there advantages to being a Christian today? What about disadvantages? Why is it so hard to convince people about the truth.

Obviously the many different teachings and churches today confuse people who are seeking the Lord. Humanism and a general rejection of spiritual reality has confused many and resulted in many rejecting the possibility of eternal life and salvation. While many have accepted the general principles as taught by Jesus, the truth about salvation and forgiveness of sin does not go down well in a world where the idea of absolute truth about right and wrong as revealed in the Bible is rejected. Everyone is a law unto themselves and what feels right must then be right. The law of subjective judgement rules. No one has the power or right to tell me what is right or wrong. The world in the time of the early Church, as described in the Book of Acts, was perhaps simpler in many ways and so people believed easier. That does not mean that the message is any less relevant today than it was then.

References:

Bible quotations are usually from the NIV translation or of my own from the Greek text.

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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      9 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Preach the Good News where ever you can!

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      9 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Preach the Good News where ever you can!

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      9 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Have to agree with your thinking. Being just a Christian puts you in contact with God's grace. Once men (or women) grab an authority that they have not been given problems develop. Jesus said all authority has been given to me. Matthew 28:18,19.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      9 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      The simple explanation is that most who profess Christianity are church members, that is what the term christian means today. But there is no such scriptural command. The scriptural command to make disciples of Christ from the mouth of Christ is the ONLY valid command in this age. The church system does not even have a minimal understanding of the ages of men or that in this age which completely eliminated the previous age when Jesus fulfilled the temporary law given to Israel only There is as in that last age a stand in for God. In that age it was the prophets and kings and priests.In this age it is Jesus Christ and He is acting as God until the end of this age when He returns all authority to God.

      Here is what scripture says about the kings and priests of this age .

      Peter is Talking to the disciples of Christ.

      1 Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

      There is NO separate clergy(no church system) in this age ALL disciples of Christ are the priests and that is why the words of Christ were written in scripture, so we could understand. There is just no where to go to meet God, true disciples of Christ are commanded to GO and make disciples not sit and listen to an apostate man. Because they are baptised in the Holy Spirit and therefore carry the Spirit of God (God) wherever they GO. The only place that the Spirit of God inhabits in this age is in the sons of God, the disciples of Christ that do ALL He commands. No churchman answers to God he answers to man, his overseers or himself who ever they are and they are apostate man.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      9 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Amen-organized religion has diluted and destroyed the intended simple Christianity that God planned and put into practice through His Son!

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      9 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      simple all "leaders" and their flocks are following men instead of Christ. There are more quotes on hubs from men being used in "christan hubs" than from scripture , most by people professing to be christians. and it is the same in the church system. The church system make disciples of their "church" as their leader learned from their leaders. every one has their doctrines none have exclusively those of Christ.

      there is no such thing as a place called a church in this age, nor clergy, the church of Jesus Christ is 2 or more sons f God (saints) gathered in His name wherever they are whenever they wish, they are the building blocks that Christ is building on.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      9 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Very interesting comment and statistics. The "Christian Church" has lost its mission of making disciples and with the help of the Holy Spirit the world can be won for Christ. If we all win one to Jesus and then this mission is continued the results would be amazing. What is hindering us?

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      9 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      the truth about the church system making christians vs what Jesus said about making disciples for Christ.

      I am interested in your comment to this.

      Here is what Jesus says;

      Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

      If each man ( remember we are all man and man comes in male and female versions).would do all that Jesus Christ the Lord of this age requires and makes disciples of Christ.

      If one man makes 1 disciple of Christ each Month and teaches each of them to do the same, this is how it would affect the world, this shows how many man will become a disciple of Christ in one year from that one man fulfilling his commission from Christ.

      The first month there will be one new disciple, the second month there will be two new disciples, the third 4 , the fourth 8, the fifth 16, the sixth 32, the seventh 64, the 8th 128, the ninth 256, the tenth 512, the eleventh 1024 and the twelfth 2048. A total of 4095 disciples as a result of only one person making 1 disciple of Christ per month for a year and each doing the same thing.. Remember this is growing every month by doubling each month if each is making one new disciple. So that for two years the total would not be 8190 but would be as follows. The thirteenth month 4096, the fourteenth 8192,the fifteenth 16,384, , the sixteenth 32,768, the seventeenth 65,536, the eighteenth 131,073, the nineteenth 262,144, the twentieth 524,288, the twenty first 1,048,576. the twenty second 2,097,152, the twenty third 4,194,304 and the twenty fourth 8,388,608 for a grand total of 16,793,599 new disciples of Christ in two years as the result of ONLY ONE disciple of Christ doing all Jesus requires at the rate of one new disciple a month.

      Let me show you the result of one man making only 1 disciple of Christ for each year of his life for only 30 years of his USA life expectancy of 76 years.

      for a total of 1,030,779,823, that is one billion, 30 million,seven hundred and seventy nine thousand and nine hundred and twelve new disciple of Christ because of one man that made only one disciple a year for only 30 years of his life.

      Which shows us that if we could find 461 man that would do all that Jesus requires of them at the rate of making 1 disciple a month for ONLY 2 years EVERY person on the earth would have the opportunity to become a disciple of Christ IN ONLY TWO YEARS. Not all will respond positively, but all would be afforded the opportunity to accept or reject (become personally accountable) to the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Or we could reach the entire population of the earth in thirty years with only 8 man making one disciple of Christ each year for 30 years. Why has this not happened if all of the estimated 2.2 billion that profess to be followers of Christ, those called Christians are actually disciples of Christ?

      you can find detail of this on hub truth about disciples of Christ evryone should know

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