Have you ever read in the book of Acts in the Bible how that “God added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Notice that in chapter 6 of the same book it says that “the number of disciples was multiplying.”
Have you ever stopped to consider the difference between those two statements? Many of us who call ourselves Christian read the Bible very little or not at all. Some others of us read it and then let the preacher interpret it for us. The Word of God was not given so that we could have someone else tell us what it means. It was given to us as food to build us up in the body of Christ to carry on the work that Jesus commissioned us to do. So it is no accident as to how things are worded in the Bible. But the treasures of God’s Word will not be “willy-nilly” doled out to those who are not willing to pay the price of discipleship.
Consider the difference
Consider the difference between addition and multiplication. If we do things the way the modern church does it, we let the preacher preach “the gospel” and he leads the people to salvation. That is the way that most “so-called” mega churches and denominational churches do it. They focus on a single personality and promote that person as “God’s Man(or Woman) and they will lead you to Christ.” This is the addition principle. If you will notice the two times mentioned in the book of Acts about adding to the church, there was a specific number mentioned. God was not bragging in those passages but presenting a point. Actually, He was making two points. First, they were saved(born again), then God added them to the church. He did not get them to the church and then save them. They were saved, then added. When adding you have specific numbers. Have you ever noticed that “mega ministries” love to talk about numbers. But notice also, that a thing can only grow so fast when you have one person to which they are being added to.
When we find in Acts 6 the term “multiplied”, they are referred to as “disciples”. When you get into multiplication you have entered into a whole new realm. Addition is a lineal plain of growth. Multiplication introduces you into “orders of magnitude” realm. Simply put, there is no limitation on how fast it will grow or how much it will grow.
Let me look at this word “disciple” a minute. In the passage in Matthew 28 called the Great Commission, Jesus commanded them to make “disciples”. Most people, who say they are Christians, have no idea what a disciple is. (The enemy has done a good job “dumbing down” a generation of people, hasn’t he).
If one will take just a minute to study the word, one will see that it comes from the word “discipline”. Discipline means to shape and to mold someone into the type of person they are to be. This term could be applied to what a football or basketball coach does to his team. He coaches them in the techniques of playing the game. A good coach is very strict in his discipline. The Bible describes our work as a warfare. We are in this war to win. The conflict we are in is not a game. The lives of countless people will be eternally spent in anguish and torture if we do not accept and teach discipline to those that are coming into the Kingdom.
It is evident that if we continue the approach of bringing people to the “church” to get them saved, that we shall continue to lose the battle for the souls of men.
I mentioned above that by multiplying we grow by “orders of magnitude”. To make that a little clearer, we grow exponentially. You have heard the term that 2²=4. The little ² means it is multiplied by itself. If this continues with each succeeding generation of disciples it would take less than 40 generations of disciples to win the whole world for Jesus. The picture is this: If I disciple 2 people and each of those 2 disciples two people, this will only have to occur less than 40 times and we will win the world to Christ. It sounds simple enough. (The example of the man who says he will work for a penny a day for the first day and for double that the second day and then double the second day’s pay the following and so forth. In 28 days the man will be making a million dollars a day.) Though winning the whole world will not likely occur because human beings are born with the inclination to rebel because they inherit that from their human father, Adam.
But consider this. In only two hundred or so years after the Day of Pentecost 120 Christians had turned the then civilized world upside down to the point that Christianity was the most influential force.
Unfortunately the “so-called” leaders of the church fell for a ploy of the “enemy” when he declared Christianity the state religion. It only took a generation or so before Christianity bore no semblance to what the Bible describes as the Body of Christ. The “so-called” body of Christ is still in the same state to some degree or another. It bears very little resemblance to what is described in the New Testament.
The church of today lacks discipline. The scripture clearly states that we are not to be conformed to this world but we are to be transformed by the “renewing” (discipline) of our mind. That speaks of rigorous training and learning. Unfortunately, the “church” of today merely transplants the things of the world into the religious structure and gives it a religious acronym. People are not called to learn and practice the things of God. They can still do the things of the world but just call them by a name that sounds religious.
As an example, look at the music of the “so-called” contemporary church. The roots of much of the contemporary church music are not Godly at all. Many of the foundations of the music is worldly and satanic. How does one import satanic inspired genre into Godly environs. If you look at the music itself it lacks the very thing we are talking about. There is no discipline in it. The preparation is far from disciplined. (Let me say, that I can understand that many who play the music may very well have spent much time in the discipline of music, but then to squander that discipline on that which has no discipline is sad.) The music of true worship is disciplined and honors and glorifies the God of Creation.
The True Church
The True Church is in the business of discipleship, not entertainment or attracting the world with its programs. When the church begins to grow disciplined soldiers who are living the life of Christ, doing the things that Jesus does, then will we see people coming to Jesus.
The world is looking for life that has meaning. Too often the church tries to attract them with the same thing that the world tries to attract with. The world is far better at the things of the world than the church. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.” Apparently the “so-called” church is not lifting up Jesus, because more and more people, especially young people, are leaving the church. Most people would love to learn discipline, even if it hurts. Jesus did not mix words when He told His disciples(see the word) that “in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Those “disciples” never did back down. They had life and they had it abundantly. The people of this world are looking for that life and the discipline that goes with it.
It is time to quit the “mealy-mouth so-called” Christian life and begin to live the disciplined life of “Christ in you” the hope of glory. If you are tired of undisciplined and anemic spiritual leadership, I challenge you to surrender your life to the discipline of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to conform you to the very image of Christ as He said He would.
It is time to quit adding and begin to multiply.
It will take discipline and it may be hard at times. But be of good cheer, He has already overcome the world, and so have you.