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And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved

Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 in discipleship, scripture | 4 comments

And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved

The title of this post is the ESV translation of Acts 2:47. As we’ve continued to study through the Book of Acts together as a church (and we’re up to chapter 19 this week), we’ve noticed this kind of statement.

It seems that the Lord was continually adding those who were being saved, or the word of the Lord was increasing, or the church was growing, or something like that was continuing to happen throughout the Book of Acts.

Today… not so much?

So, what do you think? Was the growth of the church by conversion (I’m only talking about conversion growth in this post) not as dramatic as it appears? Was that kind of conversion growth limited to the initial days of the church? Is there something we are lacking or not doing that is precipitating a lack of conversion growth? Is there some other reason that we don’t typically see that same kind of “conversion growth” today?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this. By the way, when I say “conversion growth,” I’m not talking about just people saying a prayer or even just people getting baptized. I’m talking about people going from not being a disciple of Jesus Christ to being a disciple of Jesus Christ and following him. (Believe me, I have plenty of stories of the say a prayer / get baptized kind of “conversion growth,” and I’m not interested in that at all.)


4 Comments

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  1. 9-23-2011

    Good question Alan. My understanding is that this is happening in the majority world (Latin America, Africa, Asia). However, it is not happening in the West. Maybe part of the question is “Why is this happening in the majority world and not in the West?” I’m looking forward to hearing what others think about this.

    – Chris

  2. 9-23-2011

    The passages in Acts clearly connect the Holy Spirit to the growth in numbers to the church and the personal spiritual growth of the members of Christ’s invisible church. Often, I think we neglect to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and neglect to follow His urging. Thus, much of our efforts are “man’s efforts” not one of God. It’s no surprise that our growth has slacked because we’re doing it under our own abilities and withing our own desires.

    That’s my observation, anyway.

    Dan

  3. 9-23-2011

    I don’t think we should call this a formula, but the equation as I see it doesn’t begin at Acts 2:47b. Instead, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” was the result of:

    1. Some folks were so affected by the Holy Spirit that they were propelled to publicly proclaim “the wonderful works of God.” What onlookers saw was explained in the light of scripture, and this baseline spiritual connection was used as a springboard to talk about Jesus crucified and risen again. (Acts 2:1-33)

    PLUS

    2. Those hearing them via the work of the Holy Spirit were impressed and curious to understand what this ruckus about God was all about. Some (many) became convicted of their dangerous standing before God, gladly learned of God’s gracious offer, and took the recommended action to get what these witnesses had–the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:34-41)

    PLUS

    3. The whole crew, witnesses and glad receivers of the message who wanted what Christians had, “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” God was surprising everyone with His continuing “wonderful works” and people experienced a renewed fear of God. Having received remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, believers acted as if the things of this world were not worth clinging to as they shared everything with each other.(Acts 2:42-46)

    (Just to sum up, observable evidence was abundantly present that Christians were madly in love with God as well as becoming unselfishly in love with each other.)

    And THEN

    4. The believers actions caused those observing them to look on the whole goings on favorably so that the society around them also wanted what these followers had (Acts 2:47a)

    And THEN

    5. the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved

    Might not be a simple math formula, but it does look like a supernatural progression…

  4. 9-23-2011

    These are some great comments, and great things to consider!

    -Alan