THINGS THAT WOULD HELP THE CHURCH OF CHRIST GROW In Matthew 13:31, 32 the Lord likened his kingdom, (which is his church), to a mustard seed which though a very small seed grew into a tree so the birds came and lodged in its branches. This makes it clear that the Lord wants growth. As individuals we are to desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow (I Pet. 2:1,2) We are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). The example of the early church was that of growth (Acts 2:41,47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7). Let us notice in this articles some suggestions as to how to grow. 1. LIVING IN VIEW OF THE CROSS. Paul said he was determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified (I Cor. 2:2) He also wrote, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world." (Gal. 6:14). The facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The commands of faith, repentance, and baptism. The promises of salvation from sin, gift of the Holy Spirit, and promise of eternal life. Worshipping in spirit and truth. Living a life of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. All these surround the cross of Jesus Christ. Let us never forget these facts and keep them before ourselves and the world. 2. PREACHING THE WORD. Peter's first recorded sermon called for the Israelite to hear his words and to hearken to the things he said (Acts 2:14,22). Those gladly receiving the word were baptized (Acts 2:41). Cornelius' house had to hear words concerning their salvation (Acts 11:14). Paul reasoned in the synagogues in every city where he found them (Acts 17:2; 18:4). Timothy was told to preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2,3). The gospel is the power of God to salvation and we should be careful to preach it to everyone we can get to hear it. No church can have a growth that pleases God if they do not preach the word so people can hear it, believe it and obey the commands of the Lord (Rom. 10:13-17). 3. BEING TRULY CONVERTED. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles enabling them to reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-14). Going to church services is one thing but being converted is another thing. People need to be convicted of the fact that they are lost in sin, want forgiveness, and turn from sinful living. They then will be in position to be baptized for the remission of their sins. We need people to be pricked in their hearts and want to know what to do to be saved (Acts 2:37). People must be willing to deny selves and take up the cross and follow Christ (Mat. 16:24). Filling our membership rolls with people who have not been converted to Christ is not church growth. Take stock of your life by asking, "Am I truly converted to Jesus?" 4. BEING HELPFUL TO NEEDY AND HURTING HUMANITY. Like the early church that had people so concerned that they sold their goods and gave the money to the apostles to help those who needed food and clothing (Acts 2:44,45). We need to be like the people of Antioch upon hearing that there would be a famine in Judea. They determined every man according to his ability to send help to the needy and sent it by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:28-30). Pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows and keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). 5. CONCERN ABOUT ONE ANOTHER. We are to be concerned when brethren are overtaken in a fault (Gal. 6:1,2). Duty demands that we see the restoration of our brother and consider ourselves lest we all be tempted to fall. We are our brothers keepers. Paul considered "care of all the churches" as one of his burdens as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 11:28). 6. BEING FRIENDLY AND LOVING. As the early Christians we should be "praising God and having favor of all the people" (Acts 2:47). Christ's new commandment is that we love one another as he has loved us. This is the badge of discipleship (John 13:34, 35). To have friends we must show ourselves friendly (Prov. 18:24). 7. SPEND MUCH TIME IN PRAYER. The apostles wanted give themselves continually to prayer and ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). What an example this is to us today. (I Thes. 5:17, 18).
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