Once the church of Christ was established, the Lord was daily adding the saved to it (Acts 2:47). The multitudes that were added kept increasing (Acts 5:14) to the point that the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly (Acts 6:7). The reason for this growth was continual teaching and preaching. The first-century church taught Christ’s word even when persecution arose because of it. Early Christians filled Jerusalem with the doctrine of Christ (Acts 5:28). Right after the apostles had been detained by the council and warned by them not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 5:40), they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the Lord’s name (Acts 5:41), and continued preaching and teaching Jesus. Acts 5:42 says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” To multiply, the church must teach and preach the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
The rest of the book of Acts is filled with examples of great numbers of souls being added by the Lord to His church (Acts 8:12, 31; 35, 42; 10:47-48; 11:21, 24; 13:12, 48; 14:1; 16:5; 17:4, 12; 18:8). The church of Christ at Flatwoods has had as its motto a determination to go and grow like the New Testament church. Just as we strive to follow the pattern of the New Testament in the organization and worship of the church, we also must strive to grow like the church in the New Testament. This past week, I noticed the statue of a blue mustang outside the Denver airport. Thinking of this statue compared to real flesh-and-blood racehorses that come to Kentucky to compete, I was reminded of a quote. Regarding churches of Christ, Donald McGavran observed: “For a church to claim to be a New Testament church because it has the right form, as regards deacons and elders, and right ritual in regard to communion and baptism, and right name is, to be sure, good. But the claim sounds a little hollow when the New Testament life and exuberant ability to proclaim the Gospel and propagate churches are lacking. A marble statue of a horse might exhibit all the outward forms, but lacking the ability to run and father colts, it can’t really claim to be a horse. To truly be New Testament churches, the gathering of Christians must want to grow, know how to grow, and pay the price to grow.” Let not this criticism be valid regarding us.
The Goshorns assemble with us this Lord’s day for the last time before their departure to Peru to do mission work. We have the expectation of seeing them again in their return visits. We pray for their family here, their safety there, and their success—that many souls are added by the Lord to His church due to their efforts. We should also be convicted as a congregation to be in mission here in Flatwoods, KY. Daniel, Audrey, Caleb and Charlie are dear friends. Daniel and Audrey have the desire for the Lord’s church to grow, have greatly increased their knowledge of how the church can grow, and are willing to pay the price for the church to grow. Let us all have the desire, know-how, and willingness to pay the price so that souls may be saved.