Church grows only when we...
Acts 6: 7 -
So the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
In the book of Acts we see the same happening with the Church as it was with the Israelites. When the Israelites did according to the Lord's instructions, it pleased God and thus they became an inimitable force and not one of them became a victim at any battle. But when they did not do according to God's instructions they bore great losses and at times they were delivered by the Lord Himself into the hands of their enemies.
We see in Acts whenever the Church did things right the Lord added people unto their congregation and the Church grew. It grew not only in numbers but also exceptional leaders were noted among them.
In the records of the earliest Church, chapter 6 records the first case of denomination issue coming up in among the congregation. The Grecians (in Greek were called Hellenistes) were people who had a Greek background. Their dialect and their customs made them different from native Jews who spoke mainly Hebrew and Aramaic.
People do not use languages for communication but communication depends on the language. This creates communication rift / separation between people and form groups. Another factor is customs that become traditions. In India this is seen very clearly. The different parts of the country have different types of vegetation and climate. Parts were under the rules of foreigner of different countries thus their languages also changed. The clothes and the diets of the people have developed differently due to these factors, but now even though people move from one part of the country to another part and generations latter yet they feel they need to continue the customs of the part of the country they come originally came from and this becomes a matter of self respect and family pride. People kill each other for this and families perish due to these customs.
When this issue came up in the congregation, the Apostles used wisdom and attended to the issue according to their best understanding of the Kingdom of God. This act pleased God and His glory was experienced among the people and thus the Church grew.
These days' people use worldly wisdom and commerce to fill the church more than their leading of the Holy Spirit and the understanding of the Kingdom of God. Some even manage to be successful for a short period of time but soon or later their kingdom comes crashing down.
We have denominations among us mainly because we have tried to separate ourselves from the others believers by our differences. The Lord instructed us to separate ourselves from the belief and ways of the unbelievers but not form groups among ourselves due to differences in customs, languages, understandings, race etc...
Let us remember if we all believe in Jesus Christ as the only way, we believe that He died and resurrected, and by His sacrifice our sins have been forgiven, that He gave us His Spirit Who guides us and leads us to the Truth of His Word. Then all other differences and misunderstandings should be borne with tolerance, cleared with love, patience and help of the Holy Spirit.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we suffer because we use our worldly wisdom and our worldly understanding. Even though the Israelites lacked understanding of things yet when they walked even in that little they knew, You were pleased with them, You blessed them and prospered them. Lord, give wisdom and understanding of your Truth to the leaders of the Church so that they stop using worldly ways but work according to the ways of your Kingdom...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
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.
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