And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
The preaching of the gospel was annoying to some and life to others. Some responded negatively because It threatened their customs and power. For others, it was the very hope and truth they had been longing for.
Not much has changed in 2000 years. When the gospel is preached and the proclamation of the cross and resurrection is presented the response is varied. Some are annoyed by it. The presentation and application threaten their way of life and the status quo. If that is us, we don’t want change. We like life as it is. Not that it is perfect, but at least it is predictable. The story of the gospel demands us to place our faith in the actions of Jesus and trust Him with our tomorrow. For some, that is simply too much to ask.
For others though, the gospel is life. The number grows from 3000 in Acts 2 to 5000 in Acts 4. This was not a result of simply mass preaching. It was a mixture of the apostles messages and the people sharing their own stories.
The church was taking off for three clear reasons. The Holy Spirit was moving. The gospel was being proclaimed. The people were sharing their stories with those they influenced. These are still the three keys to church growth. All three must be true for growth to happen.
A handful of things…
-I can’t get discouraged if people are annoyed with the message. The gospel demands change and some people don’t want or are afraid of change.
-I must instead celebrate when some of the crowd experience life. Even if the majority are reluctant, I must focus on the few.
-The Holy Spirit’s presence is mandatory if the gospel is going to spread. He speaks into the depths of the soul where mere man cannot.
-The gospel must be preached. In a world where it seems watered down,cookie cutter, feel good, life coaching is what everybody wants, I must be dedicated to preach Christ’s death, resurrection and the only hope for eternity in Him. If I am not preaching this, I’m simply not preaching.
-The church cannot rely solely on the message of the preachers. The church grew from 3000 to 5000 because people were telling the story themselves. I must do my role as a preacher, but the congregation must also do theirs. Exponential growth happens when the things that happen in the gathering spread to the community.
Lord, you are so good. I needed this. I want to see your movement in our city. I know our church does as well! We need you! Move! Even if some are annoyed, others will embrace the message as their very Life source!