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Church Growth – Witnessing

Church Growth – Witnessing.

Church Growth – Witnessing

One of the biblical methods for church growth is found in the words of Jesus recorded in the Book of Acts Chapter 1 verse 8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in all Samaria, and in the uttermost part of the earth.”

Listen to this statement: “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” You shall be witnesses – unto Me! Jesus tells the early church and all we who in latter years accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and become disciples that we will receive power after that the Holy Ghost comes upon us… to be witnesses.

Strangely though, we as Pentecostals are mostly guilty of receiving the Holy Ghost to speak in tongues, dance in the Spirit, have Holy Ghost meetings with excessive joy, loud clapping and shouting and enjoying ourselves in our church services. We miss the point completely. The Holy Spirit was not given for these reasons. Jesus promised us that He would pray that Father send us another Comforter, namely the Holy Spirit. He was sent to teach us to glorify Jesus, and to be effective witnesses by leading men to Christ. Not for ourselves to glory in but to become evangelists. Become disciple-makers. To spread this Gospel message with power.

The early church experienced terrific growth in Jerusalem. So much so that the scribes, the Pharisees and Sadducees all “blamed” Peter and the other disciples that “…and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine…”(Acts 5:28b). How did they do it? What was the secret? Why were they successful?

They preached Christ, the Son Of God, whom God had raised up, whom these godless religious leaders slew and hanged Him on the tree. This same Christ did God raise from the dead and exalted Him with God’s right hand to be a Prince and Saviour, that Jesus would give repentance to all Israel (and later Paul would teach that the Gentiles too were saved by grace), and have forgiveness of sins. Listen to Peter in Acts 5:32 “And we are His witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Ghost. whom God hath given them that obey Him.”

The disciples met in peoples houses EVERY DAY. Church services, the breaking of bread, prayers were offered and communion and fellowship which strengthened the converts was done daily. We would also experience the same results if we were as committed and sold out to Jesus as they were. It is almost impossible to do these same things that the early church did, imitating them to a tee and not duplicate these results. We expect the preacher today to pray and fast, then preach with fervour that God save the lost visitor to our churches. Then we leave the rest of the new convert’s walk and growth up to God.
Imagine mothers and hospital staff taking new born babies, laying them on a bed, leaving their bottles and milk on the cupboard, the nappies and all that a new-born baby would need with instructions that they cannot read or understand within easy reach and expect that baby to live? I know that there would be an outcry from angry members of the public at such atrocities yet we do that to new-born Christian disciples. Then we wonder why they don’t grow spiritually or why the cannot produce results. The duplicate what they were taught – nothing.

The wise writer of the Proverbs wrote: “…and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) In other words, when you win souls, you are regarded as being wise. God expects you and I to pray for a burden for lost souls. We should fast and pray for wisdom to win the lost to Christ Jesus and the Kingdom of God. We must be “violent” in exercising our faith and taking the Kingdom by force. Reinhardt Bonnke refers to it as: “Plundering hell and populating heaven”. We should storm the gates of hell to rescue the dying masses from a Christless grave and an eternity separated from God.

May I ask you child of God, can we stand watching a burning building where the screams of anguish of the trapped people are ignored? Can we watch them die without even trying to do anything to rescue them? Yet we work with people who are lost and on their way to an eternity without God…and we have the deal. We have the answer. We can rescue them and by the grace of God, lead them to a safe harbour in Christ Jesus. But we ignore the call of God. We still the voice of the Hoy Spirit who calls, anoints and appoints us to be armed and dangerous to the devil and his demons at work in the lives of the lost!

I have said it many times before and I repeat it now again, if our churches do not smell of alcohol, dagga and cigarette users smell, then our mission is in vain. The smell in the church should not be from the members but from the sinners. When we have this sort of thing happening, we are on track. Then we are fulfilling our purpose and calling by leading precious souls to God. Allowing God to convict sinners of the sin of not knowing Jesus and delivering them from their vices and addictions. These people, when won by showing them the Love of God, will be on fire for God and as we disciple them, they will become disciple-makers.

These men and women will have first-hand knowledge of the saving grace of God toward them, be effective witnesses and the church membership will grow.

Prayer:
Lord, we confess that we have not applied these strategies and have no burden for the lost. We are sorry Lord God, for disobeying your Word which has power to save and we confess being lazy and cold towards sinners. Father, set us on fire for You and Your Gospel. Fill us with the Holy Ghost and help us to be witnesses for Jesus, winning souls and adding to the church membership as we lead men and women to Christ Jesus. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Lord, start with me, please in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray this. Amen

MAKE YOUR VALLEY FULL OF DITCHES

I would like you to read the narrative as recorded in the Bible, 2 Kings 3:1 to :25 in order for you to get the full background leading up to these events.

The godless king Ahab dies according to the prophetic Word spoken over him and his son Jehoram starts his reign.

:2 “And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord: but not like his father, and like his mother; for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.

:3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

 

The Bible tells of how after the death of Ahab, the Moabite king Mesha rebelled against Jehoram the king of Israel by not paying the tribute to king Jehoram what king Mesha normally paid over to Ahab. He would pay over 100000 rams with the wool and also 100000 lambs. This infuriated the king of Israel to the extent that he mustered his men and those of the kings of Judah and Edom to join him in attacking the Moabites.

However, on their journey through the wilderness of Edom, on the seventh day these kings and their hosts were without water. Listen to the king Jehoram’s words:

:10 And the king of Israel said, alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

The king of Israel lays the blame at God’s door BUT… he decided to go to war WITHOUT seeking God or His counsel! Look at the alliance he formed! Luckily for him, he had the king Jehoshaphat with him. This man it seems was a godly man. A man who knew the importance of getting God involved in their situation. Jehoshaphat knew that only God can do the impossible and that without God, they were doomed to fail. Listen to his enquiry in verse 11

:11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him?

Wow! What wisdom. Thanks be to God that someone wanted God and His direction in this dark moment. …Isn’t there a prophet?

Elisha the son of Shaphat, the prophet who followed Elijah up, who had poured water on the hands of Elijah had no regard for the person of Jehoram because of God’s Words spoken over Ahab and his descendants and also because of the king of Israel’s sinful life. Elisha also knew the importance of anointed music. He calls for a musician to play on the lyre. This is when the Hand of God moves upon him and he utters these words:

3:16 And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.

:17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye and your cattle and your beasts. : 18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

 

Consider this for a minute with me. Here are three armies mustered together. They are on the warpath. They are carrying their swords, spears, bow and arrows, shields and short shields but I can’t imagine that they were also carrying picks and shovels! They are on their way to war. Prepared to battle until they fall or succeed. Yet the Prophet is telling them to make the valley full of ditches! How deep? How wide must the ditches be? How deep? How many?

In their moment of despair, thirsty, weakened by lack of water all God is saying is: “Make the valley full of ditches”

These soldiers I imagine, took their swords and spears to start digging ditches. I imagine that the armour bearers must have told their lords that they would be lending either a sword or spear because they also wanted to help dig ditches. You see, they would all benefit from the water. The following morning, water suddenly came in from Edom’s side. The same places they had passed through these past few days. They knew there was no water there, they were there. Remember, 7 days journey?!?

God said through the prophet, “…you will not see wind, neither see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water.”

 

We need to look as this passage of scripture today as if God were speaking to us. It was meant for those kings in that day, that is correct. But I believe that God can use the “old” word even in our situations. For instance, how many times have you and I ventured out on our “mission” without consulting God or His Word? How many times have these situations been detrimental and we found ourselves in trouble? How different it could have turned out if we took it to God in prayer. Not as a last resort but beforehand.

Thank God that He is a forgiving and loving God, who is not out “to get us” but is a help in the time of need. At the right time, He is more than willing and able to help. He wants you to succeed and advance in hope, power and love that He may be Glorified.

 

Maybe you “stumbled” on this posting today, you thought. I know that God doesn’t allow things to come our war “Per chance” but that it is His Will for you to read this blog posting because He wants to work a miracle for you. God is saying to you today: ” I have your way out. Make your valley full of ditches!” Take your Bible, the Sword of the LORD, and make as though you are digging a hole or a ditch. This is called “manifesting” and may seem to be quite a silly thing to do. However stupid or silly it seems, it is in effect your faith in action. How many times must I dig? I don’t know. How big is your need? I suppose until you feel release in your heart and the Spirit of God leads you to stop. Dig for your breakthrough. Make your valley (the place of your trials, tribulations, struggles and hopelessness), FULL of ditches. Why? Because you will not see wind, neither will you see rain, yet will your valley fill with water. Water typifies the Word of God or the Holy Spirit. Whichever way, it will be Divine Intervention that will come to your aid. Not only will it help your thirst but God will also give the Moabites (your problem) into your hand. You will experience a victory. It may be healing of a sickness or disease, it may be that the sheriff is about to dispossess you by repossessing your home, car, furniture, business or it may be that you a financial breakthrough. I don’t care how big that problem may seem, I care that you survive and experience God’s miraculous Power to deliver as He wants to.

Will you take God at His Word and do what I suggested in a manifestation in the Name of Jesus? Or will you back down because it seems silly? I know God as the God of the Impossible. He is yesterday the same, today and forever. The Unchangeable God. The LORD God, Creator of heaven and earth. Who spoke a Word and what we see formed out of nothing. Your child-like faith, mustard seed faith, can bring this to pass as God creates the fruit of your lips. What you say God uses to create just that.

 

Let us pray:

“Heavenly Father, I bring this reader before You today in the Name of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, that You will answer their prayers. As they read this thought and react upon it as though You, Oh LORD, were speaking to them, I pray in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, that you give them the desires of their heart and LORD, be glorified by them in their answers and through their joy. Amen”

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