I believe Peter’s evangelistic sermon that was delivered in Jerusalem forty days after Jesus’ resurrection paved the way for the beginning of the Church. Some three thousand people responded to his invitation to accept Jesus as the Messiah. (Acts 2:41) The new converts began to assemble throughout the city as a conclave of Believers. The Bible states that they “steadfastly” continued in the Apostles’ teachings as they fellowshipped with one another. They had meals together as well as praying with singleness of heart. Signs and wonders were administered by the Apostles. They shared their material goods and responded to those with financial needs. With one accord the early Believers regularly attended the activities in the Temple. There was a positive attitude that was displayed in whatever they did. They did not search for hidden truths, for the Gospel was clear and precise and they received it with gladness and singleness of heart. You could hear them praising God as they traversed the streets of Jerusalem. Their changed lifestyles brought them favor from people everywhere. The Lord evidenced His pleasure with the Church by adding to their numbers daily. (Acts 2:42-47)
Peter would later preach another sermon in the Temple and as a result, five thousand men were converted. (Acts 4:4) The new Church continued to be knit together by their one heart and soul. Their attitude was others first, themselves last. The Apostles displayed great power in their witnessing of the Truth. (Acts 4:32-35)
As the Church continued to grow, Satan attempted to disrupt its momentum by using a number of different tactics. In one of the satellite/cell gatherings, he used money as an instrument of division. It seems that a husband and wife had sold some property but decided to keep back part of the money from their group and lied about what they had received. Peter confronted them by proclaiming that they had not “lied to men, but to God.” (Acts 5: 4) The consequences of their actions cost them their lives. (Acts 5:1-11) The result of that incident did not negatively affect the Church but actually helped them achieve even greater growth. People were added almost daily to the groups of Believers. (Acts 5:14) Tremendous healings were experienced as people from other cities came to Jerusalem not only to witness the miracles but also to receive physical deliverance. (Acts 5:12-16) The Church was growing so fast that it used multiplication instead of addition in describing the growth pattern. (6:1) Satan used the tactic of murmuring when some Believers complained that certain widows were being neglected. (Acts 6:1) Administration adjustment was made and the Church continued to multiply. (Acts 6:7)
Compare the New Testament Church with the churches today. In search of a new and improved Church, we have adopted a movement that is socially acceptable instead of being Biblically correct. Our faith today is inundated with individualism instead of a functioning family unit. Satan is alive and active in the Church today because we treat our faith as an option instead of a commitment.
Church growth is a result of God being pleased with the obedience of His Believers. When we conform to His ways, God will form the Church into an earthly lighthouse that will bring people out of the darkness into His glorious Light. The Blueprint is there, all we have to do is follow the directions.