Subject: Church Growth

Title: 5 Features of the Early Church

Scripture: Acts 5: 12 – And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

The five features that made the early church effective and brought tremendous growth are found in chapter five of the book of Acts. It was a very explosive growing church it is a model to be followed.

If we can have these characteristics found in the early church, we will have results in our own lives personally and in the life of our church.  The first quality or feature we can find is that it was a

pure church. There was purity in the church. The example of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5: 1 – 10) they wanted to be recognized, they sold their house but kept back some of the proceeds, Peter confronted them. They had lied to the Holy Spirit; the judgment of God came upon them. Verse 11 tells us, and great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

The word got out “if you go to that church and if you are not right you will die!” Sometimes preachers do not want to preach on the truth of God’s word for fear that some people will leave the church. They compromise on the truth of God’s word. You will lose some people but most of the time they are the ones who are not sincere and willing to be dealt with. They are on the latest bandwagon.

God is always dealing with people who need and want to be converted, they are willing to pay the price. The bible says that multitudes came to be part of the church. The emphasis here is made not on quantity but on quality! What is the good in having masses, the church is only effective when there is quality in the church? How is your relationship as a believer nominal? Or are you a quality believer?

Purity comes by prayer and living out God’s word. The spirit of prayer and the word individually and in the church will bring about this important feature.

If the church is pure there is power. If we want genuine power there must be separation, a willingness to pay the price, and a commitment to purity in our lives individually and as a church. The reason why the church had the power is because they were quality people. They were able to experience the manifestation of the power of God. Verse 12 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;”

There was power in the early church. Verse 15,16 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.  If we can see these principles in our church today, we will see the same results found in the early church.

The next identifiable feature of the early church is that they were a persecuted church. Trials are part of our Christian experience. “Don’t think it strange when we fall into divers’ temptations” (James 1:2,3)

Jesus said, “In this world, you shall have tribulation.” (John 16:33). If the early church went through trials, do not think you will not go through them also, it is all part of the package! God is making you into a man or woman of God. God wants to bring out the best in you, we must learn to trust Him in all things and at all times.

The religious leaders rose up also they were jealous of the disciples becoming popular. In verse18 we find another form of persecution. “And laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.”  But God overrules Satan. You and I are not called to run away in a time of adversity. The apostles went back after prison and continued to preach and do the will of God. It was totally contrary to the natural. Most of the time we want to run in a time of persecution. The people were on the side of the apostles they proclaimed the gospel and filled Jerusalem!

We also find that the church was persistent. We need persistence in our lives. You and I do not need to lay down and die.  This is the type of Christianity we need today. Great is His faithfulness despite of it all. Look through your spiritual eyes and believe God. The early church was persistent.

When we see these features like purity, power persecution, and being persistent it will bring out productivity. The early church produced spiritual results. Are you bearing fruit in your life? God wants us to produce results. Peters preaching produced results. The word of God does not return void, there are three ways people respond when they are convicted. Verse 33 “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”

First, they responded in a negative way. Very violent and hostile! Not everybody wants to hear the truth. The second way is found in verse 34 -39 they respond in a tolerant way that produces indecisions. Today is the day of salvation the Bible says. The third attitude is where the people accepted the word of God.

Verse 41,42 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

The early church produced results because they were willing to suffer, they recognized that Jesus had suffered for them. They identified with Jesus and accepted the new way of life.

Do you have the same attitude? Is the devil intimidating you? Jesus is calling you to rise, up do not look at the negative situation. We all encounter these times that is why we need Jesus.

The early church had these qualities, God wants you to have the same qualities in your life and see them lived out in your church. “Pastor Sonny Arguinzoni”