There are far more ingredients needed to cause a fellowship to grow than we may think even though the Lord has promised ‘to build His Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’. God has placed within the Church the necessary gifting in order that it might grow. Ephesians 4 v 11 tells us that it was Christ who gave some to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. These Holy Spirit gifted people are raised up to ‘prepare God’s people for works of service’ and, as each ministers, the body of Christ is built up. (Edified) Three measurable outcomes happen as believers respond in a right heart; 1. Unity in the Faith. 2: Knowledge of the Son of God. (Relational Knowledge- not just facts) 3: Maturity in Christ. (Character transformation attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ)
The passage continues to remind us that further factors are vital that Church growth might really happen. Let me point them out for you:
- SPIRITUAL STABILITY: It is vital that we become stable in our spiritual walk with Christ. The foolish man built his house on sand while the wise man built his house upon the rock(Christ is the rock) It is knowledge of the Word and application of Truth that will stabilise our spiritual life
- SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT- to know, understand and judge in the realm of the spirit. In the early Church there were false teachers who presented something that was as near to the truth as possible, but was in actual fact as far away from truth as it could be. Error is error no matter how cleverly or deceptively presented. We are living in times when we need to discern that which truly is of God. The Word is our measuring plumb line which keeps us on the straight path. We walk the narrow way because the wide path leads to destruction. May God sharpen our spiritual discernment. HICC NEEDS TO BE A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE LEARN AND DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THAT WHICH IS OF GOD AND THAT WHICH IS NOT.
- SPIRITUAL SUPPORT: The Church should be an environment shaped by support mechanisms that selflessly serve to support the weak and enable them to grow strong until they take their place in affective service. In our garden we have a nesting box that has become the home of nesting blue tits. They busily work away and prepare for babies to hatch. The other morning I saw that a cat had stealthily climbed up a nearby bush to try to reach the box. I burst into the garden and scared away the cat. I stepped in to protect. One day the parents will push the young to fly. When they know they are ready they will encourage them to leap and fly. Before that time they will practice and strengthen their wings until they are mature enough to take the step. HICC NEEDS TO BE A PLACE WHERE THE YOUNG CAN GROW STRONG AND BE READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP. TO SOAR ON WINGS AS EAGLES. This does not mean leave, it means achieve.
- SPIRITUAL LOVE: There is nothing sentimental about pure spiritual love. This love is God produced and grows as Christ is shaped within us. It is strong love and yet gracious. We need to know this love that surpasses knowledge because we rely on this love and must live a life of love. Galatians 5 v 6 says………’The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love’. That which is of God manifest through the vehicle of our nature and lives. HICC NEEDS TO BE FILLED WITH THIS LOVE. LOVE THAT STANDS THE TEST AND STILL CONTINUE TO LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS.