GETTING READY TO GROW
- 1 Timothy 4:15-16
- Our “progress” must appear to all
- This has reference to growth
- Our growth needs to be apparent to the congregation
- This growth takes place when we:
- Take heed to our selves
- Take heed unto our doctrine
- Continue in these things
The description in Revelation 3:15-19 of the church in Laodicea is disheartening.
- Suppose a preacher who was an effective “personal worker” had moved to Laodicea and soon numerous people were being baptized.
- In the environment of the congregation at Laodicea, how long would most of those new converts have remained faithful?
- Remember 1 Timothy 4:15? … “that thy progress may be manifest unto all”
All too few of the lost are rescued anywhere – but perhaps a greater tragedy is the mortality rate of those who are rescued.
- Sometimes the way the Lord’s own people think and act makes it difficult to interest unbelievers in the Lord – and to hold those who are new in the faith.
- In regard to our own work in this congregation, is there work that needs to be done before we can have real, enduring growth?
INDIVIDUALLY, OUR DAILY WALKS WITH GOD MUST BE INTIMATE
We must live as those who genuinely know the Lord and who enjoy an obvious closeness to Him.
- Deuteronomy 4:3-7
- Cleaving unto the Lord saved many in Israel
- God said that Israel’s closeness to Him will be seen by the nations around about
- The same will hold true with us
Others need to be able to make of us the kind of request the Greeks made of Philip
- John 12:20-21
- People must see Jesus living in us!
- Song: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me”
Others must see in us the blessings of walking with the Lord – not simply the pride of knowing about the Lord.
- We cannot share what we do not have
- We need to be able to wish for others the close personal relationship with the Lord that we ourselves enjoy
- Acts 26:29
- Paul wished all could experience the joy he had in the Lord
CONGREGATIONALLY, WE MUST BE INVOLVED IN ONE ANOTHER’S LIVES
- In studying with prospects, we should portray the Lord’s church as a loving family who support one another in this life
- This is as it should be…
- John 13:34-35
- Acts 2:46-47…Worshipped together and ate together
- Romans 12:15
But, does the reality of our congregational life fulfill the claims we make about the closeness of the Lord’s family?
- In this busy age, the same thing can happen to our spiritual family that is happening to our physical families: we are merely living/worshiping under the same roof – without any real sharing of life together.
- As a child… “Whose house are we going to tonight?”
- We need to share more in one another’s life
If we would truly “restore” New Testament Christianity, we must do more than see one another at the church building and show an occasional act of hospitality in our homes: we must become involved (rolled together, intertwined) with one another.
- This is a KEY to growth
- Other must see this in us
THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE CHURCH MUST BE EDIFYING TO THE OUTSIDER AND TO THE YOUNG IN THE FAITH
- The services of the Lord’s people are not always such as would move an unbeliever or a new convert in God’s direction…
- 1 Corinthians 11:17
- 1 Corinthians 14:15-17
- Do our visitors and those young in the faith see our enthusiasm and reverence in worship?
- Bibles open – following along
It is a sad commentary when some feel a bit reluctant to bring their best “contacts” to services – or when they have to apologize to new converts for what they see and hear when the church meets.
- John 4:24
- 1 Corinthians 14:40
- Something is wrong anytime we impart anything other than spiritual refreshment and strength to our visitors and new converts.
In our assemblies, unbelievers ought to experience courtesy, warmth, and genuine interest in spiritual things – love for God and man.
If we are serious about growth, we are going to have to be more “visitor conscious” when we assemble.
WE MUST BE PREPARED TO NURTURE BABES IN CHRIST
- The reality of having “babies” is sometimes strikingly different from our idealized visions beforehand – new converts can sometimes bring with them a host of “problems.”
- They may be from a denominational background – thus, they may have thoughts and ideas foreign to the Bible that has to be dealt with
- They may bring baggage with them which they had before they became a Christian
- They may come from a socioeconomic group we are not comfortable in dealing with
We must continue to teach…
- Matthew 28:19-20
- We must help them to… 2 Peter 3:18
We must be patient …
- 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
- 2 Timothy 4:2
- Most importantly, we must work in the strength of the Lord and to His glory, not leaving the Lord out of His own work.
- We must truly speak and act as stewards
- Philippians 2:13
- 1 Peter 4:10-11
- Before becoming useful and effective in reaching the lost – and in strengthening the brethren – we may have to “cleanse” ourselves from things that hinder us… 2 Timothy 2:21
- Remember… 1 Timothy 4:15-16