Faithlife
Faithlife

The Lord Was Adding to Their Number

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To give God’s people some truths the Bible teaches relating to church growth and create a desire to do the right things the Lord can use to grow His church.

Notes & Transcripts

THE LORD WAS ADDING TO THEIR NUMBER

Acts 2:41–47 NASB95
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:41-
AIM
To give God’s people some truths the Bible teaches relating to church growth and create a desire to do the right things the Lord can use to grow His church.
INTRODUCTION
When I read , am led to ask, Why? This may prompt you to ask, Why what? Why are we not seeing the Lord “adding to” our “number day by day those who” are “being saved”? The easy response is, That was then and this is now. This is true, however, there are more people living in this world today than there was then and there are more lost people living in this world today than there was then. Due to the numbers, there is a greater need for winning souls today than there was then. The Lord was “adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Unfortunately, documented surveys are telling us our churches are either plateaued or declining in membership because, in many, maybe most cases, numbers are not being added day by day. May I suggest to you, this congregation has moved beyond the plateau and is declining in membership? I know this is not a statement most of us wanted or intended to hear this morning, but it is definitely what we need to hear. I would also suggest, there are Biblical things we can do to change negatives into positives if we are willing to do the right things. I actually believe you will be surprised to learn how many things we are doing right as we study together why “the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
DISCIPLESHIP
Acts 2:41 NASB95
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
Acts 2:41
This verse teaches us “about three thousand souls” being added to the church on the day of Pentecost. Most of the time we read these words and shout, Hallelujah!, but have you ever taken time to think about some of the logistical problems this created for the church? Seriously, how were they going to house this many people in one place? Who was going to disciple this many people? There were about 120 people in The Upper Room praying together before Pentecost. If each person from this group participated in discipling new converts, there would be 25 in each group. There would be 50 in each group if only half the number chose to help disciple new believers. The number in each group changes to 100 if there were only 30 who would disciple the young believers.
Acts 2:42 NASB95
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:
Perhaps we first need to establish who “They” were. “They” must include the total number of of the church, or about 3,120. The first thing we notice is “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” The apostles were committed to The Great Commission given to them by Jesus. The instructions of Jesus to His disciples for new converts was “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.” In comparison, do you think we are doing a good job discipling believers, especially in “teaching them to observe all things” Jesus has “commanded” us? We might show wisdom in adding to the best of our knowledge and ability. I will deal with the latter part of verse 42 under our next point in the message.
FELLOWSHIP
The second thing we learn about the early church is their close fellowship. We must keep in mind “They were continually devoting themselves...to fellowship.” I wonder if we realize how important our fellowship with other believers is to the Lord Jesus. How important is our fellowship with other believers to Jesus? Let’s read the answer in His own words.
I am going to leap over a few verses to help support the latter part of verse forty-two.
Acts 2:46 NASB95
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
These verses answer a prayer Jesus prayed before His crucifixion.
The second thing we learn about the early church is their close fellowship. We must keep in mind “They were continually devoting themselves...to fellowship.” I wonder if we realize how important our fellowship with other believers is to Jesus. How important is our fellowship with other believers to Jesus? Let’s read the answer in His own words.
John 17:20–23 NASB95
20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
John 17:20-
Their Christian fellowship may have led to a very compassionate ministry to other believers.
Acts 2:43 NASB95
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
Acts 2:43
Acts 2:43–45 NASB95
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
The church kept on “feeling a sense of awe.” God did many “wonders and signs” “through the apostles.” because there was a close fellowship of believers. A lack of fellowship or a broken fellowship could have had a negative effect upon the ministry of the apostles, however, there was a very close fellowship which led the Lord to bless the ministry of the apostles. Do you think we have a close fellowship with all believers in this congregation? Again, we might show wisdom in adding to the best of our knowledge and ability.
Acts 2:43-44
The church kept on “feeling a sense of awe.” God did many “wonders and signs” “through the apostles.” because there was a close fellowship
STEWARDSHIP
Acts 2:44–45 NASB95
44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
Acts
The early church did their best to take care of church members who had genuine needs in their lives. I am really fascinated with how members in the early church sold their personal property and possessions to help their brothers and sisters in Christ. This leads me to believe they had hearts filled with compassion for others much like we read about the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry. It also tells me they had a strong commitment to and great confidence in the Lord. Do you think there is any way our generation can really comprehend the sacrifices of church in the first generation?
I really think a great number of believers really struggle with the understanding of stewardship. Please understand, I have not excluded myself from this statement. We often confuse stewardship with ownership.
Psalm 24:1 NASB95
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
Psalm
This means the Lord owns everything and there is nothing He does not own. This also means the Lord has made everyone a steward of the things He owns. Some accept the idea of being stewards of God’s possessions and do their best to glorify the Lord with them. In all honesty, it is really difficult to be a good steward in a materialistic country.
Do you think we are faithful in the area of stewardship in this congregation? Once again, we might show wisdom in adding to the best of our knowledge and ability.
The early church
WORSHIP
Acts 2:47 NASB95
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Do you think our generation has a good understanding of how we should worship the Lord? Each generation has struggled with preaching styles. Some folks think preaching means beating on the pulpit and yelling to the top of our voices. Other like a teaching style of preaching with a much lower volume in our voices. We also struggle with music styles. Currently, an older generation prefers a very traditional style of singing while the younger generation prefers a more contemporary style of music. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters about the preaching or music styles. Please do not understand what I am saying. Everything we in preaching or singing must be Biblical, however, none of us worship God the same way as the early church or succeeding generations. And, in all honesty, worship should never be about us; it should always be about the Lord. He is always the center of our worship. Worship on earth should be similar to worship in heaven. In heaven, everything is centered on Jesus, therefore, regardless of our styles, we should spend time praising the Lord.
Do you think our generation has a good understanding of how we should worship the Lord? Each generation has stuggled with preaching styles. Some folks think preaching means beating on the pulpit and yelling to the top of our voices. Other like a teaching style of preaching with a much lower volume in our voices. We also struggle with music styles. Currently, an older generation prefers a very traditional style of singing while the younger generation prefers a more contemporay style of music. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters about the preaching or music styles. Please do not understand what I am saying. Everything we in preaching or singing must be Biblical, however, none of us worship God the same way as the early church or succeeding generations.
We also struggle with music styles. Currently, an older generation prefers a very traditional style of singing while the younger generation prefers a more contemporay style of music.
Do you think the Lord is the center of our worship in this congregation? One more time, we might show wisdom in adding to the best of our knowledge and ability.
MEMBERSHIP
Finally, we come to the very last part of this study. There is a focus on membership. The Bible teaches us, “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” This is the puzzling part of the passage. The Lord was adding to their membership every day. What was the difference between the early church and the church in our generation? We believe and practice discipleship, fellowship, stewardship and worship, but we do not see God adding to our membership each day. Why?
CONCLUSION
Yesterday, one of my preacher friends asked me about today’s message. I shared the text and the abbreviated version of the things I have preached this morning. When I finished he asked, “So, what is the answer?” I said, “I don’t know.” I continued, “Maybe we are not sharing the gospel enough. Or, maybe we are not committed enough. I just don’t know.” The one thing I do know is we are definitely missing something. We have the completed text of the Word of God. We have Jesus who has forgiven our sins and saved our souls. We have the Holy Spirit who indwells each born again believer. We believe and practice discipleship, fellowship, stewardship and worship. So, what are we missing? The Lord was adding to their number and we should desire for Him to add to our numbers. Is this our desire? Is this your desire? “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
We have the completed text of the Word of God. We have Jesus who has forgiven our sins and saved our souls. We have the Holy Spirit who indwells each born again believer. We believe and practice discipleship, fellowship, stewardship and worship. So, what are we missing? The Lord was adding to their number and we should desire for Him to add to our numbers. Is this our desire? Is this your desire? “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
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