The Growing Church

Faithfulness to Christ and church growth go hand in hand.

This lesson is about the growth of the church during the first several months after the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). In Jerusalem and Judea, the church experienced not only tremendous growth, but multiplication. This growth was a blessing of God’s providence for the young church, and was essential for it’s survival in the face of significant opposition from Jews in Jerusalem and Judea who were strongly opposed to the belief their fellow Jews had that Jesus was the Messiah, whom God had raised from the dead. Nevertheless, as the gospel was proclaimed, a steadily increasing number of Jews became believers in Jesus as the Messiah.

Questions? What do you think caused the church to grow so rapidly in its very beginnings?

What are we doing differently?


A. The Apostles’ Testimony

Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Act 2:5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

…….Pentecost, the holiday called “The Feast of Weeks”, was celebrated at the end of the grain harvest, and 50 days after Passover. This was significant because of the number of people that would be in attendance to witness the very first time the Holy Spirt made His appearance.

Act 2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

Act 2:15  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour (9 am) of the day.

Act 2:16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Act 2:18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

…….Can you imagine the talk of the town, this man named Jesus who was supposedly sent by God as “His Son”, who was crucified to sure death, later in a tomb, to later be raised miraculously. Not only that, he’s been walking around for weeks preaching and prophesying about another being on his way! I’m not sure how attractive the feasts had been lately, but we can be sure that because of what had happened recently, and because of the popularity of Jesus, Jerusalem was packed! I can even imagine that there were some that hadn’t been there in years that made special plans to show up only because of the presence of Jesus Christ!

We will never forget how He changed our lives, and our story will live on to change others!

B. Thousands Believed in Christ

Act 2:37  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

…….After the Apostle Peter preached a sermon concerning the Gospel of Christ, and how the actual Son of God was crucified by the local church, and that He had been raised but the LORD and caused to sit on His right hand in heaven at the seat of God, they were all moved with an urgency to know this Christ more!

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Act 2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save (protect, preserve) yourselves from this untoward (warped, crooked) generation.

…….This initial saving is a mutually great step, one of the Lord and the other of the individual! The greater fact is, once we have received Christ, He moves within us providing power to overcome all evil! We must “save ourselves” in order for the Lord to provide deliverance!

Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

…….The Lord provided the Holy Spirit as a helper and guide, and the Spirit moved on men who moved in the crowd! If you truly want ministry, get full of the Spirit

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:


A. Fellowship Facilitates Growth

Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly (constantly, diligent) in the apostles’ doctrine (instruction) and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

…….This is the model of the first church! They came together for learning biblical and Christian instructions, they had much fellowship, they ate together and prayed together. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a church that performed like this?

Act 2:43  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

…….If the colon (:) was eliminated and the scripture was flipped it would read like this: And many signs were done by the apostles and fear came upon every soul. These people had such great church, and so many great works were happening in them that people were afraid not to be a part of it! This is the only kind of fear that the church should create.

Act 2:44  And all that believed were together, and had all things common (companionship, completeness);

Act 2:45  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

…….The people of the first church solely depended on on another, for everything. Nothing else was important except worshiping the Lord and spreading His good news, and they were provided for just because of that!

Act 2:46  And they, continuing daily with one accord (passion) in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily (not weekly, monthly or yearly, but daily) such as should be saved.

……..How? Why? Because they were on fire, full of the Spirit, and living in complete unity! Because of this the church was extremely blessed by the Lord, and outsiders couldn’t help but want to be a part of it!

B. Ministry Facilitates Growth

Act 3:1  Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour (3 pm).

Act 3:2  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Act 3:3  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Act 3:4  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

…….I love this part here. When they approached the crippled, man Peter demanded him to look and realize that they were nothing special. They were simply men just like everyone else. There were no special robes worn like the religious leaders and no crowd following them as the leaders had simply for a show. The first thing he wanted the man to understand is the fact that Peter and John were common just like everyone else!

Act 3:5  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Act 3:6  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

…….Can you imagine the immediate thoughts that must have run through the cripples mind. These people grabbed my attention as if to give a blessing and the next thing they tell me is, we don’t have what you think you need. Feeling so let down, I could see the mans head drop in disappointment. And then the words, “but what I do have I’ll give you”, and then the mention of that name Jesus surly triggered something, and he looks back up to Peter with a little hope….

Act 3:7  And he took him by the right hand (probably thinking he was about to get one of those Pentecostal hand shakes), and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

…….I can see it now, as some as Peter give his hand a little tug of faith, the lame man feels something he’s never felt before, strength where it’s never been!

Act 3:8  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

…….Many miracles took place at this very moment! Not only did the man stand on his own for the first time, but now he can jump and walk like everyone else! Those muscles that had never been developed are now present, and though they had never been trained are now working like they were made to from the beginning! Imagine the depression leave immediately! No longer does he have to sit around and wish he could perform like everyone else! Now he’s with the disciples with the same ability to praise God with the rest!

Act 3:9  And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

Act 3:10  And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Act 3:11  And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

Act 3:12  And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

…….This scripture explains exactly why and how the disciples would continue operating with God given power; they told exactly where the power had come from.

Act 4:1  And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

Act 4:2  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Act 4:3  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

…….The same ones that condemned Jesus are now targeting the disciples.

Act 4:4  Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

…….Though they were being condemned for their faith and actions, the church continued to grow rapidly! Effective Christian ministry leads to effective church growth!


A. Hoy Spirit-Inspired Defense

Act 4:5  And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,

Act 4:6  And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

Act 4:7  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?

Act 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Act 4:9  If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

Act 4:10  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Act 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought (despised) of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

…….The ones who were thought to build and facilitate the church missed the most important material, but God showed everyone who the true strength was and where it came from! That is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God!

Act 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Act 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

…….What a Testimony!!!!

Act 4:14  And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

…….No one can argue against what God has done!

Act 4:15  But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred (had conversation) among themselves,

Act 4:16  Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest (shining) to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

……Admittedly, they could not deny the miracle, nor the power which enabled it!

Act 4:17  But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

…….Though they couldn’t deny it, it still drove them angry because they were losing control! They were anxious to see what would unfold if the church continued in a way they had never seen before, even though the results and growth were greater than ever before!

Act 4:18  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Act 4:19  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

Act 4:20  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

…….The disciples were to the point in their faith that they could not help but to speak the words that the Spirit provided! They seen and felt the results and wanted nothing else!

Act 4:21  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

Act 4:22  For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

…….Closing this section, I can’t help but to mention the the 10th verse again, where Peter accused the leaders of killing the Jesus Christ who was afterwards risen by God, and they never denied it. Because the disciples never backed down in the face of spiritual adversity, and continued to do exactly what the Lord directed, they would continue to be blessed in their actions and the church continued to grow rapidly.

B. Prayerful and Spirit-Filled Community

Act 4:23  And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

Act 4:24  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Act 4:25  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Act 4:29  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Act 4:30  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

Act 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Act 4:32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

…….Their filling was more than a moment of feeling. They continued worshiping and praising God, directing all the glory toward

Him, and He continued to provide power through the Holy Ghost. In the times they would drain themselves for the gospels and ministry sake, the Lord provided everything they needed for every moment! If the church will ever truly and effectively grow, it will do so by the power of the Holy Spirit! He will do what no man can undo!

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