“Brother, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should
restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
As you know, I attend a home-based church. It’s small, and we’re talking about growing. We spent a year to see if we could do this new adventure, and it turns out we can. Now we’re itching to add more people. Why? It’s nice to have a larger group for times that some can’t attend. There seems to be numbers that make a small group work. Too many and you lose focus. Too small and you risk losing a critical mass.
We’re NOT interested in growth for growth’s sake. Bigger numbers prove nothing to us. We’ve seen what that can do for a church. Besides, we know that human effort does not convert anybody. Sure, humans can attract other people, but look what that often gets. We have churches full of non-believers who go to church regularly but do not truly know the Lord nor are they interested in knowing him. Get enough of these types and you’ll find the gospel message watered down. As with many churches, it may disappear altogether.
Our strategy for growth is to simply share the gospel with lots of people. We’re getting itchy to be more and more bold with telling others about Jesus. We feel that this should be as natural in our conversation as talking about the weather. Why shouldn’t it be if Jesus is in the forefront of our minds? Through this we will share the gospel with both unbelievers and those that already do believe. Perhaps the Lord will bless some of the unbelievers with mercy and provide opportunities for us to make disciples. Let’s also acknowledge that sharing the gospel is intended to harden hearts as well. This glorifies God, too, you know.
We’ll also run into plenty of believers, many who will be just as disenchanted with “church as usual” as we were. We already know lots of people like this. In fact, we know quite a number who have even become so discouraged by what they see that they have stopped going to church altogether rather than participate in what is available. At one time, I was quick to judge them, but not anymore. I’ve met some that know their bibles better than I do and share the gospel freely. It’s not that these folks don’t have a good relationship with God; it’s that the local churches don’t.
Meanwhile, we have been talking about potential problems. If one steps back a bit, we see that much of the New Testament are warnings about this. It really doesn’t take much to derail a church. All you need is a little sin and people who start allowing it to happen. It then spreads like gangrene. It always does. “The wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) and “A little leaven leavens the whole lump,” (Galatians 5:9). I witnessed this firsthand in a church in which sexual sin was not dealt with as it should have. It wasn’t long before the pastor abandoned meaningful gospel messages.
What does Paul hammer at in his epistles? Doctrine. As delivered by the Apostles – with a capital A. Over and over he corrects the churches and admonishes them to think and act according to the teaching that Jesus handed down to these men. He’s dead serious about this, too.
1 Corinthians 1:10, 5:4-5 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment….When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Why so harsh? Because sin will destroy a church. That’s Satan’s job. He’s VERY good at it.
So, while our little church is preparing to go out into the world, we’re also preparing to deal with problems. We’re sure to have them.
Father, I pray for our little church that we be faithful and willing to do the difficult things when the occasion arises. Grant us wisdom, courage, and strength. And bless us by adding to our numbers. You already know who they will be. We welcome them! Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers