What Keeps a Local Congregation Going?
”Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea 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.”
There is a formula for congregational life in this passage. Congregations of the Lord’s church have been known to suffer death because the time honored principles of inspiration were ignored. Let’s look at the inspired formula a little closer.
Local churches need rest. Rest is also “a time of peace.” Every local church needs such peace. This was not peace resulting from diminishing the work and worship God assigned to her, but a time of peace from problems. The churches in Judea and Galilee had gone through both internal and external difficulties. By their faith and dedication to keeping the Lord’s church active and alive, no difficulties hindered their growth. That’s a lesson for us. A dedicates group of Christians can out last any problem that threatens their togetherness.
These churches were edified. That means they were strengthened. and built up. Peter wrote, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). Any congregation that lives and grows must be built up. This requires the effort of every member of the congregation. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:16).
The churches“walked in the fear of the Lord.” In order for a congregation to walk in the fear of the Lord, all the members must live by the same rule (Phil. 3:16). That rule is the will of the Lord. Those who fear the Lord never take liberties with his will. Walking by the same rule assures and maintains the blessed fellowship among those who seek to keep a local church active, well and going. Walking in the fear of the Lord is synonymous with walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Cor 13:14). Paul said the church is God’s temple and is indwelled by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
There is no greater thing a group of Christians can do than to keep the local church active and going in the fear of the Lord.
A.T. Robertson said, “The multiplication of the disciples kept pace with the peace, the edification, the walking in the fear of the Lord, the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” Never let any trifling thing disrupt the growth of God’s church. - DRS
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