Why type of external things do people typically point to when determining whether or not a church is successful and blessed of God? They often point to a churches’ facilities or the lack their of. They point to all the programs a church puts on throughout the year. They point to the size of the congregation (bigger being more blessed). They identify the people that actually make up the churches’ congregation (do they have prominent community members attending there church?). Yet when you read through the New Testament those things are never mentioned when evaluating the spiritual health of a congregation. How shocking!
I acknowledge that this series of posts could have been written by any Christian. It’s not as if any of my points are super insightful or deep. Here is the good news. God loves to bless His children and thankfully He has laid out what He wants His Church to be very clearly. You just read the Word and it is right in front of you. That leads me to wonder how so many congregations can miss that which is so plain and obvious?
God blesses Churches that are (#5) Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.
One of the Ascension gifts of the Resurrected Savior is the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says to his disciples, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…At conversion every Believer receives the Holy Spirit (He’s the down payment if you will of our future inheritance, note also Ephesians 4:30).
Galatians 5 exhorts us to walk in the Spirit and to be filled w/the Spirit in effort to live a Christ-centered life. As a church body we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, which at minimum, means committing ourselves to prayer and to the Word (Acts 2:42)! The early Church in Acts was blessed by God for lots of reasons. It’s clear to me they were Spirit-filled and Spirit led and were used mightily by God.
Next, God blesses Churches that are (#6) dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission
When is the last time you invited someone to your home church? When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone who isn’t a Christian? One of the main reasons why Jesus gave us His Spirit was to fulfill this purpose. Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Our God is a global-minded God therefore we should be global-minded Christians. As you know, Missions is about 4 basic things: 1. Giving; 2. Sending (Acts 13); 3. Praying; 4. Going (Mt 28).
1 Peter 2:9 adds this layer, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. One of the reasons why God saves people is so they can declare His majesty and greatness to the nations. The gospel is the power of God until salvation and faith comes by hearing; so how will people hear that message without faithful preachers?!? (note the progression in Romans 1-10).
God may not be calling you to China but He is interested in you living out our faith in Freeport, Ill or wherever you might live. Personal evangelism is not just for evangelists & missionaries! It’s an individual responsibility and a corporate obligation. Some churches that are really strong in in-reach are really weak in outreach. I believe that God still blesses Churches that are (#6) dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission.