Finding Strength in Unity: The Path to Church Growth

Acts 9:31
Then 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.

Great things happen when churches are able to experience rest instead of strife; the church is edified, the fear of the Lord is increased, the ministry of the Holy Ghost is welcomed, and the church is multiplied. What a power-packed verse this is! Within this single verse is found the nucleus for what it takes for the church to experience explosive growth. What is the key ingredient needed? An absence of contention and strife! Within the context of our selected passage, the contention was primarily coming from the outside; Saul was persecuting the church. However, when Christ saved Saul, changed his name to Paul, and called him into the ministry, he who was before the arch enemy of the church is soon to become their greatest ally. Could you imagine the sigh of relief the church felt in that region when God made even their enemy to be at peace with them!

Furthermore, imagine what it would be like today if there were no strife in the church. No contention. No fighting. I understand that I am shifting my focus from external sources of strife to internal sources of strife. However, is this not a real problem in modern Christendom which needs to be addressed? Today, although we still suffer persecution from outside, still our greatest form of persecution come from within in the form of contention and division within the body of Christ. There are yet many churches that are full of division, and yet still wonder why there is no growth in their ministries.

It ought to be our prayer today that the Holy Spirit would begin again to revive the church of the living God back to a state of unity, peace, and harmony within our own ranks. Jesus himself taught us that a house divided against itself cannot stand; how much more is this true of a church! Many today seem to enjoy living for the fight, but let it not be so among the children of God. We are to be more concerned with edifying, or building up, our brothers and sisters, than we are tearing them down. If you are in a peaceful environment in your church, then you had better thank God for it, cherish it, and guard against an enemy who would seek to destroy it.

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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