Title: I want to grow
Text: Acts 2:40-47
Intro: What is it going take for me to grow? We can learn from the early church how to grow individually and corporately. After Peter preached his sermon of the day of Pentecost, all who heard it were pricked in their hearts and ask Peter and the rest of the apostles, “what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for your remissions of sins and you will receive the Holy Ghost. This is promise to you and your child and those who are far off and whoever the Lord calls. And with many other words Peter said, “save yourself from this untoward (preserve, corrupt) generation. Those who received the word were baptized. That same day 3000 souls were saved!
I. You must be saved
The first thing you must do is to make sure that you are in Christ if you what to grow! My beloved, you must be saved, rescued from a path of destruction and sin. Pause. Then the text says that you will receive the Holy Ghost! But here lies the main problem of why don’t grow. One, is sin. And two, you don’t have the Holy Ghost. Just because you go to church and serve on a ministry that does not mean that you are saved. Being saved starts with repentance which means turning away from or having a new outlook. You have to turn away from your old self and live in your new self. Salvation is about change. You are not the same. You don’t act the same when you saved. You don’t talk the same when you are saved. You don’t think the same when you are saved. You don’t even look the same when you are saved. The problem is with some folk you can’t tell because there is not any change. They will still cuss you out. They are still getting drunk the way they use to. They are still “sexing” and lying. Ain’t no change. If any man be in Christ, you are a new creature. Old things are past away behold all things become new! But Rev, I still have my struggles. I can understand that but you at least should have some conviction when you sin. That is the problem. No conviction, no Holy Ghost! These men were prick in their heart because they knew they were not living right. Some of you are not living right but the worst is that you don’t having any conviction in your heart! You got a hard heart. You don’t have to worry about me judging you. I will turn you over to Jesus because God will not be mocked! Holy Ghost will deal with you! So I suggest you ought to repent right now! And be saved! Sin stunts your growth. But we forget what sin is! Anything that does not glorify God or the Love of God is sin i.e. behaviors, attitudes and issues. Repent and receive the Holy Ghost and be set free and empowered live the way God wants you to live because He wants you to grow. Next, in order for you to grow you need…
II. Scriptural Guidance (stay on the path)
The text says that they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine or teaching. The word continued steadfastly in the original language means that they devoted or committed themselves making teaching and learning the Word of God a high priority. Knowing the Word of God will make you grow. As believers and a church, our ultimate goal is to grow in Christ. The fact is we grow by eating. There is a saying that “you are what you eat”. Therefore, people can tell what we eat because of who we are. Some of you eat gossip, anger, foolish, evil…But I am here to tell eat the word of God. We have to internalize the Word so we can become what it says. It says that we are love, that we are strong, anointed and wise. If you want to grow, you have to have scriptural guidance by eating the Word. You have to study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. If you make God’s word a high priority in you life you can’t help but grow. TS: Scriptural guidance makes you grow by giving you instructions on how to live this Christian life. And we are instructed through scripture to…
III. Share your life
Here in verse 42, we see two aspects of how we grow by sharing our life. The first is to share you life by fellowship. The word fellowship does not mean what we do in a traditional sense. This word means to have an intimate and common participation in the Spirit of God. It is having a kindred spirit with others for the things of God. You grow by being around other people who want to grow. That means you have to come out from among those who don’t. Some of you may have to change friends. Two can’t walk together unless they agree. Iron sharpens iron. You need to have fellowship with people who can build you up and not just stroke your ego. These are people you can be vulnerable around that won’t tear you down. You have to have friends not only you can have a good time with but also you can pray you through! Not only you grow by sharing your life with people by fellowship but you grow by sharing you life with God. The text says they also continued… in the breaking of bread. This points us to our sacrament of communion. God wants to be intimate with you. He invites you to His table with him for a time of reflection of His love toward you. In the breaking of Bread, you are sharing the most intimate demonstration of love man has ever encountered, a dying love that freed you from the penalty of sin and to give you eternal life. He died so you can live. God shared his life with people who didn’t deserve it. This teaches to share our lives with other who may not deserve. When we do this we become more like Jesus and we grow in his love and that make His church grow! Next, what is pivotal in growing is…
IV. Supplication in prayers
In verse 42 in prayers… means to make a humble petition; especially : to pray to God. They called on God daily to meet their needs. If you want to grow you got to have a prayer life. The bible says in Luke 18 that men always ought to pray. Prayer is not an option. Prayer gives us an infusion from heaven that helps us grow in the Lord. Prayer is the growth hormone for the Church. My beloved, we can make time for everything else but we say these quick prayers with no humility or passion and expect God to hear us. We have to learn how to wait in prayer until the Spirit moves and God speaks! It was while this early church was in the upper room in prayer that the Holy Ghost came down with fire and started radical movement that would change the world forever. It is through prayer you gain the spiritual vigor you need live for and to serve the Lord Jesus. For the church to be powerful, the church has to pray. We have petition God daily to help us in time of need and for His blessing. Our problem is we don’t pray enough and we are not humble. We have to learn to pray according God’s will and not our wishes. TS: The next verse shows us the effect our growth. When we grow we experience the Lord in wonderful ways. Look at the text. It says that fear came upon every soul and many signs and wonders were done by the apostles. There was a reverential fear upon those who were gathered on that day because of what was going on. That had a holy ‘awe’. There was astonishment about the Lord that day. God wants us to experience that awe constantly in our lives. God gives us that awe by doing signs, wonders and miracles. Don’t loss your awe of God. That awe gives you a strong belief. And something always happen when people come together with others the same belief. They become strong and unified wanting to live right for Jesus. This leads to my next point.
V. Share you resources
Evidence that you are growing in the Lord is that you don’t mind sharing your resources. You biggest and best resource is you. You share you by serving and giving. In the text, the believers sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. When you serving others and give out of your abundance to help others you also model Christ like behavior. My beloved, you can’t put anything in a tight fist and you can’t do anything with a tight fist but fight. Jesus was the ultimate servant and giver! God is saying to us today. He wants us to improve your serve. Tried Stone, we have to reach out to the needy share our resources. This is our mission of ministry! We can’t be selfish as a church and keep God’s blessing to ourselves. Ministry is about blessing others. Amen. Growing in Christ it is a continual thing. It is an ongoing devotion to God and the things of God. This ongoing devotion is our next point…
VI. Sincere Worship
Verse 46 in the NLT the text says, “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—praising God and having favor with people.” This was their daily habit of sincere worship. They continued to express appreciation and devotion to the Lord in worship. They had a heart towards God and didn’t mind expressing it by opening their mouth. My beloved, sincere worship comes when serve and you sing of His glory. When do this, He will release favor! The text says that they had favor with people. God is saying to us when you bless me I will send people to bless you! This is what happens when you want to grow! As you grow, your witness grows. This leads us to our last point.
VII. Spread the Gospel
The text says “and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”. When you are healthy you grow. Love made the early church healthy. That love was contagious and it attracted those who want to be saved and the church grew. The early church was a witness of the love of Jesus and people had to have that love. Look at your neighbor and tell them I had to have it! You when you grow you are equipped to spread the gospel and start an epidemic of the love Jesus thru the world.
Close: If you start the growth process you need something to get it started. You need a catalyst, a spark plug! That is the power of the Holy Ghost. You can’t grow w/o the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the initiator, the demonstrator, the motivator, the cultivator, invigorator, resuscitator, inaugurator, facilitator, and the innovator. You need the Holy Ghost to study the word, to pray in the Spirit, to fellowship with love, to commune with God, to serve and give. And watch what the Lord with do in your life.