By David Church
Acts 2:42-47 KJV
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
1. A Praying Church
The first century church continued in prayer. The fact that it continued means that it had previously started. These people had been praying long before the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in the book of Acts.
Acts 1:14 KJV14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Before the church ever experienced growth there was prayer. Corporate and unified prayer. This was the foundation of what happened in Acts chapter two. Prayer is the most basic and necessary requirement of any church. Prayer is the foundation upon which everything else is built. A praying church is a church that is ready and waiting to do whatever God desires to do amongst them.
2 Chron 7:14-15 KJV14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
Show me a praying church, and I will show you a growing church.
2. A Church that Preaches Truth.
John 8:31 KJV31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
The first century church continued in the doctrine. Only by continuing in the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles do we become disciples of Christ. The truth is what saves us, the truth is what sets us free from sin. The truth must be preached at all costs. When anything other than the truth of God’s Word is preached it is impossible for true growth to occur. These kinds of churches may draw large crowds, but the people cannot become disciples because they have not continued in the Word. True growth can only occur where Truth is preached.
3. A Church that Fellowships.
The first century church continued in fellowship. People need fellowship. People know when others really care about them. A church that is truly reaching out to others is a growing church. Don’t wait for fellowship to happen on its own. Fellowship must happen intentionally. Every church must have some type of fellowship or care ministry that is intentionally reaching out to others for the purpose of friendship and unity in the body.Jesus fellowshipped with publicans, sinners, harlots and many others. Jesus did so intentionally, He went out of his way to do so. When He did, it often caused a revival in that city or town.
Fellowship will bring growth.
4. A Church that Serves the Needy in the Community.
Serving the needy in your community accomplishes three important things:
- It meets the need of hurting people
- It shows the Love of God to your community. (this is the second greatest commandment)
- It brings name recognition and exposure to your church
God requires that we reach out to the hurting of our communities;
Matt 25:40 KJV40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
5. Unity of Worship and Praise
We can worship and praise God all day long on our own, but there is something different about corporate praise. Something amazing that happens when a group of believers gather together to honour God with their praise and worship.
Matt 18:20 KJV20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Ps 22:3 KJV3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitant the praises of Israel.
God inhabits the praises of His people. It is as if the presence of God is multiplied. His Spirit comes down to dwell amongst us, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Guests can sense that liberty and anointing in your service, and it will draw them back to your church.
2 Cor 3:17 KJV17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
6. A Church that has Anointed one Able Leadership
The Bible states, "they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine." It was through the anointed and able leadership of the Apostles that the first century church grew. The Apostles had been with Jesus. They had learned the doctrine directly from Him. They had a vision of what Jesus desired for His church, and they imparted that vision to the people.
Prov 29:18 KJV18 Where there is no vision, the people perish:
7. A Church that is Happy.
The first century church had "gladness and singleness of heart."
One thing people always notice when they visit a church is the countenance of the people. Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they friendly? Ask any person who has visited numerous churches and they can tell you if a church has it going on or not by how happy the people are. During the reign of King Solomon, many of the Kings of surrounding kingdoms desired to sit down with Solomon to investigate what brought so much success to His Kingdom. One such monarch, the Queen of Sheba, came to prove Solomon with hard questions. She had heard how great the Kingdom of Solomon was, but she wanted to see it for herself. This is what she found out;
1 Kings 10:6-8 KJV6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
What convinced the Queen of Sheba more than the wisdom, more than the wealth and more than the fame of Solomon, was the happiness of his men and his servants. There was joy in the kingdom of Israel. She did not believe any of the reports until she saw the happiness of the people. The same is true in your church. People will come and check it out for themselves, but until they see the happiness of the people in your church, they will not believe. They need to see the joy of the Lord on your people’s faces.