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Devotional - week of April 23, 2006


MAJORING ON A MINOR

 

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit … about three thousand were added to their number that day.  Acts 2:4, 41

 

In one of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, He told His followers that the message of forgiveness of sins through Him should be preached to all nations.

 

Then Jesus told them to remain in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. What Jesus meant by this came to pass on the day of Pentecost. The 120 followers in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke to gathering groups in their own languages. The result was about 3000 new converts. Acts 4:4 records the number of believers had grown to be about 5000.

 

Modern-day believers often major on seeking the result of being Spirit–filled through means other than the filling of the Spirit itself. We even call some churches “great” because they are growing in numbers—even if there is no emphasis on the filling of the Spirit.

 

Following the report of the 3000 and the 5000, the New Testament never again mentions the rapid growth of any church or even the size of a church. We have no idea of how many believers were in the churches of Galatia, Ephesus, Colossae, Thessalonica, Corinth, or Rome. Furthermore, not one of these churches was encouraged to grow in numbers.

 

Jesus commended and condemned the churches of Ephesus, Thyatira, Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea for one or more things. However, He never mentioned their size. The church at Ephesus was possibly the largest of the seven churches—but she was on the verge of becoming non-existent.

 

The size of churches in New Testament days seems to be of no consequence. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, sanctification, faith, prayer, love, church unity, and living by grace were the qualities of significance. If we look upon a church, large or small, as being great, we should do so only by New Testament standards.

 

All churches that emphasize and live out New Testament priorities will experience numerical growth but it will almost always be in concurrence with the size of their communities. But if we major on the size of the church, we are majoring on a minor.