The secret to church growth is really no secret. It is plainly revealed within the pages of God’s Word. You don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to a soul-winning workshop to unlock the secret of church growth. You don’t have to travel to the bookstore to purchase the latest volume written to reveal the mystery of church growth. Just travel over to the bookcase, pull down your copy of the sacred writings, open it to the New Testament and start reading.
Read of the life and ministry of Jesus. Read of how Jesus preached peace and went about doing good (John 16:33; Acts 10:38). Read of how He demonstrated His love for the lost (Mark 10:21; John 15:13). Read of how He spoke the truth in love without ever compromising (Mat. 15:3-14). Read of the Jerusalem church and their common love for Christ and one another (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-37). Read of how the first century Christians went every- where preaching the Word (Acts 8:4).
Read of the tremendous sacrifices endured by the Apostle Paul so that the cause of Christ might be advanced (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Note the duties and qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-13). Read the epistles to understand God’s will for each member of the Lord’s body. After you’ve read and read and read some more, read Revelation 1:3 to learn that just reading is not enough. We must read and then live out that which we have read.
What is the secret to church growth? When preachers speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), and reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering (2 Tim. 4:2), the church will grow. When elders shepherd the flock properly under the direction of the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:1- 3), the church will grow. When deacons serve well, the church will grow (1 Tim. 3:13; Acts 6:1-7). When each member seeks to live like Christ and to love like Christ, the church will grow. Simply put, the church will grow when every part of the body does its share (Eph. 4:16). This is God’s plan and it will not fail!
This is not a very popular subject. Many “religious” leaders, preachers are even denying the reality of hell. Is there really a place called Hell where the wicked will be punished forever? What will it be like? The only accurate source of information about Hell is the Bible. What does the Bible say about this place called HELL?
The teaching of Jesus often included the subject of hell. In Matthew 25:41 Jesus describes Hell as a place prepared for "the devil and his angels” but, where the “cursed” will also suffer in "everlasting fire.” Hell is Eternal. The word ‘eternal’ is synonymous with ‘everlasting’ and means “without end; never to cease.” Hell will endure just as long as Heaven because the same word used to modify Hell’s punishment is also used to qualify the bliss and joy of heaven! The horrors of hell and the happiness of heaven will endure forever; time without end!
Hell is also described as a place of Fire! In Matthew 13:42, Hell is described as a “. . . fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” while in Mark 9:44,45 we read that “the fire is not quenched.” John describes hell as “a lake of fire and sulfur” (Revelation 20:10) and as a “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). These are only two of many passages that describe hell as a terrible place of fire.
The Bible also describes Hell as a place of Total Darkness! It is difficult for us to imagine hell as a place of fire and darkness, but Jude 13 describes hell as “the blackness of darkness” while it is referred to “outer darkness” in Matthew 25:30. Why will hell be a place of darkness? The apostle John wrote, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (John 1:5; James 1:17). God is light and He will not be in hell! Paul told the Thessalonians that the damned will be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Since “God is light” and is the “Father of lights” there can be no light in hell. Can you imagine total, complete darkness forever?
Hell is also a place of great Pain! In Matthew 25:30 Jesus said concerning the punishment of the one talent man, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” People usually cry and grind (gnash) their teeth when they are in great pain. Imagine endless pain and suffering with no relief - ever! Revelation 14:11 and 20:10 teach that the wicked will have no rest day or night.
Hell Is Real! These are only a few of the many horrible characteristics of hell! But surely none of us would even like to visit there, much less live there forever. Thankfully, we don’t have to even though ALL of us are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and we deserve to die spiritually (Romans 6:23). God has provided salvation through Jesus Christ his Son! "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). If we will obey Jesus (believe that Jesus is the Son of God - Mark 16:16; Repent of our sins - Acts 17:30,31; Confess the name of Jesus - Romans 10:10; and be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins - Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4) and then live faithfully the Christian life (Revelation 2:10) we will escape the horrors of hell and enjoy the wonders and beauties of heaven!
My friends, we have the choice? We are choosing here and now where we will live eternally - in heaven or hell. On the day of judgment it will be too late. What is your choice?
What The Bible Says About Judgment
Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Why is it, that we find time to read the newspaper, magazines, etc., but cannot find the time to read, study, and meditate upon God’s Word? (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:15; Psa. 1:1-3).
Why is it, that we faithfully attend ball games, business related meetings, social gatherings, club meetings, but are not faithful in attending all the services including Sunday and Wednesday evening? (Heb. 10:24-46; Acts 2:42).
Why is it, we are so concerned about the physical things of this world, and we neglect spiritual things? (Mat. 6:33; Col. 3:1-3; 1 John 2:15-17).
Why is it, we are so concerned about whether or not animals are being mistreated, but are not concerned when unborn babies are being killed every day? (Rom. 12:9-10; 13:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).
Why is it, we can sit at a ball game or in front of the TV for two to three hours and not even nod, but the moment we sit down in our place in the worship services, we are gone? (John 4:24; Psa. 122:1).
Why is it, that we as parents will make sure that our children will be in school every day possible, but then we are not so concerned about their attendance in Bible class? (Eph. 6:1-4).
Why is it wrong to have God and the Bible in our schools, but right to have God and the Bible in our prisons? You can pass out Bibles in prison but not in school. Does that make sense? Is there any wonder why there is so much lawlessness, disrespect, and irreverence in our world today?