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Additions To The Church

Scripture: Acts 2:41-47; Text: Acts 2:47

In this passage, there are many characteristics of the early church. They are equally important for the church of our day. If a church is lacking any of them, it is not all it should be. Let us consider some of them, that we may examine our own church. (1). It was a learning church - continuing steadfast in the apostles' doctrine. (2). It was a fellowshipping church - enjoying the companionship of God and His people. (3). It was a communing church - in which the holy emblems of our Lord were received. (4). It was a praying church - for they sought the blessings of the Almighty. (5). It was a fearing church - holding God in reverential fear. (6). It was a sharing church - sharing their material resources with one another. (7). It was a worshipping church - praising God and having favor with the people. There are many in our society who think these marks of the church are too old fashioned and obsolete. Keep in mind that the church is the bride of Jesus Christ. Most brides change slightly over the years, but they remain basically the same in appearence and temperament. Even so, the bride of Christ may change in some slight details, but she is to remain unchanged in her purposes and purity.


What is meant by the church? You may well get different answers by asking different people, so let us get God's view of the church. In the Bible, there is one basic idea that is conveyed by the Greek word "ekklesia." It seems to mean "That which is called out." The church then is made up of people whom God has called out and separated unto Himself. It is my understanding that within that basic concept, there are three divisions that we may consider. Keep in mind that all three are "the called out." (1). There is the REDEEMED church, which is made up of all God's elect. All who are saved, in all ages of time and nations of the world, are the redeemed church. If Christ died for your sins and atoned for you by His shed blood, then you are a part of this church. This is the church at large, the objects of Christ's love and grace. Ephesians 5:25. (2). There is what might be referred to as the GOSPEL church. Within the redeemed church, there are saved people out of all churches and denominations. However, the gospel church is made up of people who hold to and believe the truths of the Bible. Not all of God's children are found in this group, but thank God for all who are. This church teaches the word of God and is the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15. (3). Finally, there is the LOCAL church. It is even smaller than the previous designation. Here we have a body of believers who are part of both the redeemed church and gospel church. They are banded together to worship and serve the Lord, doing those things which praise Him. To this church we may share our needs and find help to solve our problems. Matthew 18:17. Thank God for His church, the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. Matthew 16:18.

The infant church was enjoying a season of innocence and phenominal growth. We are told that it grew by three-thousand in just one day. Specifically we are told, "there were ADDED unto them about three-thousand souls." (verse 41). The question then arises, "Who added all those people to the church?" Who has the authority to add to the church? The answer is simple, God did the adding. This is not supposition on my part, it is clearly stated in our text. The Bible says, "And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved. Let us consider three important facts about this statement.


People were added to the church daily. Perhaps that seems strange to many who read this passage. How could they be added daily or each day of the week? It could not happen in the church of our day, for most of our churches meet weekly or bi-weekly. However, such was not the case with the church at that time. They evidentally meet daily for worship and fellowship, according to Acts 2:46. Exactly how long this practice continued in the early church, I have no way of knowing. While it was the practice, they met daily and in every service the Lord added to their number. What a blessed experience that must have been. For us to have a similar experience today, the Lord would need to add new members during the Sunday and midweek services. By their frequent meetings and the Lord adding to the church daily, they grew rapidly. As they praised God, others outside the church, respected them.


Notice who the Lord was adding to the church. He was adding "such as should be saved." There can be much debate about the meaning of this statement. It is my understanding that God was adding to the church, people whom He had saved through Jesus Christ our Lord. In other words, those who are part of the redeemed church, were added to the local church. As far as I can determine it is the same in our day. Those whom God has saved through His Son Jesus and quickened into spiritual life by the Holy Spirit in the new birth, He then adds to the local body of believers. For as many years as I can remember and before, we have practiced a "believer's baptism." We do that, as I understand it, because we want those whom God has changed, to be added to the church. Would God actually add the unsaved to the church? I seriously doubt it. If God were to add the unsaved, in their unregenerate condition, they would only impede and hamper the progress of the church. There is enough opposition to the church with the unsaved outside the church. Why would He want them in the church, until He has saved them and made a new creature of them? Unfortunately, some are in churches as evidenced by the unspiritual positions they sometmes take, but apparently they were added by man - not God. Even when a church is made up of the saved, satan will tempt, deceive and mislead those who are weak and cause difficulties. Satan cannot defeat the church, but he can harass and persecute it. Shortly after that glorious growth by the Lord, the church fell under the horrible persecution of satan. Though many died, the Lord continued to add and the church persevered until now.


As we have already notice, the Lord added the saved to the church daily. Now let us place the emphasis on the main thrust of the passage, "the Lord ADDED." There are a great many ways that members have been added to churches. Over the years man has assumed the responsibility for church additions. The erroneous assumption is that if the Lord is not adding, then we must. But what do we add? Sometimes the unregenerate and worldly are added, but what do you really have other than numbers? Such people are not genuinely and lastingly interested in the church. Their heart is not in its welfare and promotion. What the church needs are born again people who will adhere to the teaching of the Bible and build Christian homes.

In spite of that fact, many ways have been devised by man for bringing people into the church. One of the oldest methods for getting people to join the church is FEAR. There is no way to accurately determine how many have been frightened into making some declaration of faith. The old "hell fire and brimstone" sermons are an example of this approach. Ministers have said to people "If you don't come tonight and you die, you will go straight to hell." I have known of children being so frightenend they could not sleep for nightmares. Fear is a powerful force of persuasion. It should be used more in the prevention of crimes and less in gaining additions to the church.

On the other hand, some use a more positive approach. They PROMISE people all kinds of blessings, including salvation and heaven. They say, "If you will just come and make things right with God, He will save you." Using that same approach, people are told that they will have access to the storehouse of God and will be able to have a variety of blessings. This approach is somewhat like the lottery, spend a dollar and win a million. They promise heaven and eternal joy, if you will just come down the aisle and give your hand to the preacher. Multitudes have been persuaded by such promises. The only problem, men cannot make promises for God to keep.

Another idea commonly manifested is the PRESSURE approach. Everyone is made to feel responsible for getting others to join the church. Family and friends are to use their influence and so are business men in the community. People are pressured into joining the church. It is important for all of us to make people feel welcome and to encourage them to obey the gospel. God's word does teach that we are to be baptized and we should be supportive to all who feel this desire. Yet when people are coerced and pressured to join and made to feel as an outcast if they do not, that is man's doings - not the Lord's.

Today, one of the major tools is ENTERTAINMENT. Is it working? Yes. If you will make people laugh and entertain them, they will come. If you make them feel good enough, they will join. Millions of the Lord's dollars are spent without His consent, building buildings that are more for secular use than spiritual. Somehow I cannot see Jesus condoning such actions. The church is not a stadium or night club, it is a house of prayer and worship. However, in our society the end often justifies the means, so probably this approach will continue for a while. At least until something is found that seems to work better.


The church needs the Lord to add, just as much as it did two-thousand years ago. If the church is to remain a spiritual sanctuary from the world, it must not become more like the world. If we want the ways of the world, the path is wide and varied. Matthew 7:13. When the church becomes like the world, another path is added to their variety. However, when the church becomes unique and spiritual, set apart from the world, then there is a separate path. It becomes distinctively different from the world and a viable choice is presented to the Lord's people. Let us therefore look to the Lord for our growth. We should never take it for granted, but pray often and fervently about it. He says that if we ask, we shall receive. Matthew 7:7.

Pray for the Lord to add to the church. We do not know what the early church asked in their prayers. We do know that they prayed and the Lord added. Whether there is a connection between the two, your guess is as good as mine. Somehow I think it was a matter of importance to them for which they prayed. It certainly should be a matter of importance to us as the life of our church depends upon it. So then, let us take the matter to our Lord often, asking Him to add to our church. I cannot help but believe that the Lord Who is the same today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), will do the same for us and add to our church.

He can lead by His Spirit, to warm hearts toward our church. He can implant a desire to become a member and then tug upon their heart so they will walk the aisle. When He does, we must remember to thank Him for each one who comes, and continue to pray until He is pleased to add again and again. Then our praise of Him shall be, "The Lord added to the church, such as should be saved."

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014