…4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound rang out, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking his own language. Acts 2:4-6.
40With many other words he testified, and he urged them, “Be saved from this corrupt generation.” 41Those who embraced his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to the believers that day. Acts 2:40-41.
46With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47.
A healthy local church will grow and produce a harvest, providing an opportunity for planting additional churches. Leadership will be required to provide shepherding and consistent godly fellowship. Discipling new converts into the church fellowship should help them learn the feel of family. The kindred attitude of watching out and keeping close ties to each other provides a real experience of “love one for another” (Romans 12:9-10). Praying and encouraging one another with heartfelt affection will bring evidence that we are wanting the very best for each other. Along with the acts of love are the responsibility to share a heaping portion of grace. Acknowledging that we are not all perfect in the flesh, we need to learn to work through each other’s flaws as we become perfected in Christ. An important part of discipleship is to learn about the enemy’s tactic of baiting us with offense from others. It is critical that we help each other to grow up and not be offensive toward one another or offended by one another.
A local church exhibiting these kind of qualities will undoubtedly attract people. This world so wants to be associated with a group of people who cares about them and gives them a sense of belonging. Jesus was always showing those He met that He cared for them and wanted them to be with Him. So with a harvest of souls being birthed into the kingdom of God, the church must be prepared to grow them into mature believers. Everyone knows that when we are born, we physically do not become full grown for at least 18-20 years. So it is similar spiritually: some do grow quicker than others, but spiritual growth takes time and comes by the reading of the Bible and the forgiveness of sin by the blood of Jesus.
Having presented a visual of a functional church of Jesus Christ, I would be amiss to not warn of the things that the devil may use to distract us from our calling. Over the years, the church has been led to believe many things about what agenda to follow. In simplest terms, mega churches that have programs too focused on social needs do not fulfill God’s mission to save the world. Some have thought that the revival of the body of believers was the priority for progressing the growth of the church. The transfer of church members from one church to another does not fulfill God’s mission to save the world. Keeping a fresh love in our relationship with God is true, and the body of Christ must remain faithful and not grow cold.
The previous blogs have reflected on the vigilance of believers to maintain a fresh anointing in their lives through a daily crucifixion of their flesh. But is this the end to what we should be doing? When you have learned the heart of God and truly want to see life as He sees it, there is so much more! “16For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). These verses plainly project that the vision of God is global. We are to pursue the souls that are lost and hurting, constantly praying for God to lead us in the way we can touch people for an experience of repentance, and turning them into the sons and daughters of God.
We need to become centerpieces of God’s Holy Spirit where His Holy Spirit lifts up the name of Jesus Christ through our prayers and speech. When this happens, God promises that His Son Jesus will attract people with hearts ready to hear the call of repentance and the acceptance by faith of Jesus to come into their hearts and begin a new life. If the local church becomes too full for all to meet, then it’s time to build or find a bigger place! Or better yet, appoint new leadership to expand new missions or church plants in more areas. We don’t have to feel like we cannot utilize the churches we have. We are not building our little kingdoms, but rather, we are helping God build up His Kingdom.
Blog Contributed by Kevin Garland
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