“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day.” - Acts 2:41
What do you think of when you hear the word, “church?” Some people associate this word with a religion, and that is why more and more people will tell you they are “spiritual,” but don’t have any use for “organized religion,” or, “church.” Some people associate the word “church” with a specific denomination, so when you mention church they think Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or Lutheran. Then, many associate “church” with a location. They think about a church building or what is traditionally called a “sanctuary.”
The surprising truth is that the word “church” occurs more than 100 times in the New Testament, but it is never used in any of these ways. This word, “church,” literally means, “a gathering of people.” A religious bureaucracy, denominational branding, or a specific building is not needed. All you need to have a church is people.
This definition reflects the purpose of the Body of Christ, doesn’t it? The purpose of the Church is to reach people with the Gospel so that the Holy Spirit can draw them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Two thousand years ago the earliest Church had a magnetic draw that was to this day unparalleled. This Church, formed right after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, started with 120 people. After a brief but powerful sermon preached by Peter at a festival called Pentecost, the Church grew from 120 to 3,000! Throughout the Book of Acts we read about the Church’s continued growth.
The reason for the explosive growth of the early Church was this: People were drawn by the Spirit of God to the Word of God. You see the only thing the believers had to attract people and to draw people was their witness. The Apostles knew they must continue to faithfully preach God’s Word or the Church would not grow. They knew that it was God doing the work of salvation.
The same is true today. When we get right down to it, our witness is all we have to draw people to Christ. The Spirit of God still draws people to the Word of God. When we let our light shine, God can use our witness to do this incredible work of drawing lost souls to Himself. How are you being used?
Father, I want to be used by You to draw the lost into the Church. Please show me how to live in a way that shows others Your goodness.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.