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God’s Desire for His Church’s Growth

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God’s Desire for His Church’s Growth

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Seeing someone new at church is always exciting. We want to learn more about them, what they’ve experienced, and what brought them to services that day. It could even provide the opportunity to share some of Christ’s gospel with them. Being blessed with Church growth is a good feeling.

God isn’t silent on the matter and gives us an outline for Church growth within the pages of the Bible. Recorded in Acts 9:31 Acts 9:31Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
American King James Version×
is this statement about the first Christian congregations: “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”

What two aspects described these churches that rapidly increased in membership?

  1. They walked in the fear of the Lord.
  2. They walked in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s focus on the second part, and examine what it truly means to walk in the “comfort of the Holy Spirit” by investigating the comfort God provides, the holiness of His people, and the meaning and various attributes of God’s Spirit.

God’s Warm Embrace

“I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27 Matthew 6:25-27 [25] Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? [26] Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they? [27] Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
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, New Living Translation). God doesn’t want you to live a life full of worry. Worrying about things outside of your control is pointless. Everything is in God’s hands.

To walk in God’s comfort means to embrace it, not reject it. Do you turn to God in a time of need? Do you fret about Church issues or place them before His throne? David wrote that God is our “shepherd” who more than provides for us with abundant blessings and zealously protects us from evil (Psalm 23).

In the same manner, we should seek to reflect God’s comfort to newcomers in the faith. What example do you set in times of crisis: one who turns to God or one who rejects Him? Pray for those in need, and lend an empathetic, listening ear when others need it. Scripture says that by the comfort God provides, we can comfort and support “those who are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 [3] Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
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).

What Does It Mean to Be “Holy”?

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, [God’s] own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
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). The word “holy” means set apart, chosen, or sanctified by God for a special purpose. God says you and I, as members of His Church, are holy—we are set apart from the world to be priests in His Kingdom.

God gave ancient Israel specific instructions for the holy anointing oil to be used in their worship of Him. He concluded these directives with this statement: “It is holy, and you must treat it as holy” (Exodus 30:32 Exodus 30:32On man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall you make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy to you.
American King James Version×
; NLT). Likewise, we are holy, and we are to treat ourselves as holy! We do this by obeying God’s law in our thoughts, actions, and intentions. This includes the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) as well as the two great commandments that Jesus emphasized: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40 Matthew 22:36-40 [36] Master, which is the great commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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).

If we expect growth in the Church of God, we should act in accordance with His guidelines. By submitting to and acting on God’s expectations for us, we must treat ourselves and our fellow brethren as holy.

The Spirit of God

God’s Spirit is His power. It is by His power—His Holy Spirit—that the members of His Church are made holy. The Holy Spirit has many meaningful attributes that Christians need to understand.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
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). God’s Spirit helps us combat fear by giving us power and inspiring us with courage. This power can help us overcome both personal and congregational obstacles to growth. His Spirit is the Spirit of love. Selfless, righteous love should be the underlying purpose of all of our actions. The Holy Spirit gives us a sound mind so we can wisely and accurately understand the Bible as God’s Word. It allows us to be self-disciplined and be clearheaded in a variety of situations.

“Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” are all listed as fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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). When you evaluate your life for results, these things should come out on top. If that’s not what you see, take action, and especially ask God to help develop each of them in you. Pray to God to pour out His Spirit on you, that it may guide your thoughts and actions, and help you discern the right thing to do, then fruit will be produced. Let His power be your guide.

To walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit requires faith in His comfort, obedience to His Word, and growth via His Spirit. God’s Church, excelling in these actions and by His authority and blessings, will be prepared for God to multiply it.UN