chapter 7     Who Adds to the Church Daily? and Where?


“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”  (Acts 2:
47)

7-1:  A textual and exegetical outline of the verse above, also even topical and
expository as we see how it summarizes all that happened in Christianity up to
this point in history
.

1.  Who did the additions to  the church?  Not the pastor, a visiting evangelist, or ever
zealous “soul-winners” in the local church; but the LORD God the Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ.
2.  While none would deny the uniqueness and great contribution of the First church in
Jerusalem with the Apostle James as pastor, and with so many who had seen the Risen
Christ themselves, it was “to the church”, the church of the one body of Christ and the
assembly of the Firstborn {Jesus was the firstborn of all Christians that came after Him,
and after the preaching and teaching which was in His name}.  To properly understand
this, you must carefully study the approximately 128 times the word “ecclesia” for
church or assembly is found in the New Testament.  {A good analytical concordance
can help you with this like Young’s or Strong’s.}  Granted that some of them that
collectively joined together at the place of assembly were also added to the church of
the firstborn written in heaven (Hebrews 11:6), but by no means all.  The ones being
selectively added to the church roll up there in heaven was determined by the choice of
the great God the Father.  Remember what Jesus taught, “Many are called but few are
chosen”. (Matthew 20:16)  
Obviously there are at least 4 factors affecting revival of this “one a day additions”
today:  (1) this was a one time shot of a few years for the Jewish nation, notice that it
tapered somewhat as Paul got out primary among the Gentiles {however still fewer also
Jews}; (2) there has been some very good years of evangelism among Americans and
by Americans to the world, that came to almost a sudden halt about 1968, the same time
that Billy Graham became less popular, and that tends to mark for us the solid
beginning of the great apostasy in Christianity called the Falling Away (II Timothy 3:3,4);
(3) with this deep Falling Away of present Christianity, churches and denominations
have gone so far into (a) intolerance toward sound doctrine, (b) motivation by church
member “wants”, (c) the heaping up of pastors and other teachers with “itching ears”,
and the business of additions as Christianity “turns away from truth”; that the
atmosphere of churches no longer has the convictions, dedication, or Spirit for “times of
refreshing from the presence of the Lord” (the Acts text of this series on refreshing
evangelism); and (4) it is all over during the Falling Away’s last “little time” as Satan is
released from bondage for a little while, because no longer will there be the additions of
the Lord aspect through the work of the Holy Spirit to “convict of sin, of righteousness,
and of judgment”.

7-2:  “Were BEING saved” in Acts 2:47  is the equivalent of the BEs and Cs for
conversion that were discussed earlier in a previous Bible study session.

1.  Remember the “Repent therefore and be converted” of the series text of Acts 3:19,
and from Jesus the “Believe and Be Baptized” teaching from Jesus of Mark 16:16 with
the explanation from other Scripture how the “one baptism” is the one salvation of the 7
major doctrines of the Bible.
2.  You can consider “were being saved” in two ways:  (1) that since additions were
made daily, that the “were being saved” applied to the time sequence that went on right
up to the cutting off of Jews at the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem; and/or (2)
as God was at work among them and the newly arrived presence of the Holy Spirit on
earth to convict the world of sin, of righteous, and of judgment, it speaks more of the
quality of the early church and Christianity, as God and the Spirit were daily at work
having many called and chosen to be saved!
3.  Actually 3 ways in that complete salvation is a process of past present, and future of
more godliness and Christlikeness, it could mean that in the initial days of Christianity
after the Ascension of Christ, early Christians were just starting salvation from God and
the Spirit that continued a lifetime.

7-3:  How good do you think Acts 2:47 is as a summary of all that happened in
Acts up to that point, of Acts even up to the text of the series--Acts 3:19-21?

And maybe it should be considered as a summary of all of Acts if we consider the
“Outreach for the Unreached” other half of the great commission, the teaching and
development parts. Some of the great moments of Bible refreshing in my own life
includes (1) the book of Acts using the Moffit translation as the sophomore year at UT
and at the Bible chair at University Baptist Church, where I was also on the pastor’s
youth council to Dr Smith, (2) a spiritual study as a freshman at Baylor under Dr
Woodfin using the RSV, and (3) The Life and Letters o Paul written by David Smith and
taught at Ouachita Baptist College, and (4) during graduate work in physics, a course
on the book of Revelation taught by Dr Ray Summers.  Don’t get me wrong, there were
many other highlights of Bible study, many times that on my own or in preparation for
teaching and preaching.  And how quite often I felt a time of refreshing from the
presence of the Lord like J.B> Phillips mentions in the preface of his commentary on
Revelation or on the Life and Letters of Paul, like an electrician who in the process got
ahold of a live wire.  {You know, that is another good definition of Refreshing
Evangelism, “like getting ahold of a live wire”.  Did I hear an “amen” across the internet?
Look again at the great commission highlighted by reaching, teaching, winning, and
developing; and then we will consider what is the best Scriptural summary of the book
of Acts like the Acts of the Apostles, like the acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles
and other Christians, like a continuation of “all Jesus began to do or teach”, or may be
even THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY ALL THAT WERE BEING SAVED!

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all
things which I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the
end of the age. Amen.”  (Matthew 28:19,20)

1.  Outreach as the same as “Go”.
2.  “Make disciples” as the equivalent of winning; however even here in the great
commission there is the teaching aspect, even as making disciples is a learning process
so being a disciple is a continuing process.
3.  “teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you” includes
teaching and development and certainly takes time.

7-4:  A Quick Summary of all that happened in Jerusalem and recorded in Acts
by Dr Luke and the Spirit in the early days before the temple destruction under
Titus of 58 A.D. with some effort at achieving a summarizing subtitle.

NOTE:  Let me warn you what you might find, that Real refreshing evangelism is more a
daily atmosphered created in the church body and spread to an enlarging community
that it is one week of revival with a revival sign and advertisement put out, or even
occasional evangelistic sermons by the pastor, or even less the same sermon of instant
salvation always preached without other teaching and development.  And what pastors
use to impress each other at the denominational level and in conferences, is not the
same as the Refreshing Evangelism of the book of Acts and the Bible.

7-5:  As young preacher boy I puzzled over the evangelistic efforts of
fundamentalists to make the salvation of others depend on how they felt about
“last things”.

Now, I have come to realize the opposite, that we should have worried about them and
the Bible perspectives from which they came, the same perspectives and motivations
that led to the giant splits in the SBC, and led up to this moment in the “itching ears”
Falling Away of the SBC and those less conservative around them!  Just like their fake
literalism, which is more a defence of isolation of their sermon topics and texts to only a
few of the ALL SCRIPTURE, and uncompromising attacks on “moderates” based on the
very dubious Scofield Bible Notes on eschatology was more a cover up job for their own
superficialities on ALL Bible.

NOTE:  In short we should worry about their eschatological background for evangelism
in spite of that oft heard most fundamentalists of the bunch, saying, “I am too busy
winning the lost”.  Can any member or preacher have a Biblical view of the Scriptures
on evangelism and salvation that has such a distorted understanding of real Bible on
last things.  For example, it is helping them little in understanding that the church is well
into the Falling Away because they mistakenly think that Christians will be “raptured”
out of this world before it happens!  {Read on this www.biblecombibleman.com web site,
“Wound of the Unheard Doctrine” and “Wounded Christians”.}

7-6:  Do you think that because of the unique position of Christianity now, head
over heels into that great apostasy called the Falling Away, that it is time to
focus more on those in your churches and denominations already at the
beginning of stage 4, turning away from truth, and so close with most of your
church and churches to be “turned into fables”, the last final stage of the Great
Apostasy.  Perhaps you can help save some of your members, helping them to
“work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phillipians 2:12).

Evangelism, other than a Refreshing Evangelism, will continue to decrease like the
battle for the survival of Christianity that we are in now.  It is a well established fact from
denomination history, the history of evangelism, and Baptist history, even the history of
the SBC, that evangelism goes down during times of war,  My goodness what a WAR
Christianity is into now with the rising tide of the mystery of sin and lawlessness that
Paul writes about in II Thessalonians, not to mention the extent of the Falling Away and
the approach of the “little season” when the Great Evangelist, the Holy Spirit is
withdrawn from earth {also in II Thessalonians 2:7} It is so unfortunate that churches
and denominations get so involved in their own customs, traditions, and concepts and
terminology that they are not at all awake to the drastic change in the history of
Christianity of these present days.   You know for example that while “evangelism” and
Christianity are clearly essential to theology and history, they are not Biblical words.  
That is why a refreshed study of the book of Acts might get us more into a Refreshed
evangelism both more Bible based and consistent with these terminal days of this old
earth!
This is not to say at all that evangelism, the outreach for the unreached and making
disciples--the first 50% of the great commission--is to be ignored; but with emphasis as
much on the second 50, the teaching them to observe all things and the development.
And when you consider that making disciples is a lifetime process, the second half
actually becomes more like 66.6% or one third of the work of the pastor and the work of
the ministry.  Especially should all you assigned work by the Ascended Christ
(Ephesians 4:11)--that is, “pastors and teachers, evangelists, and prophets”--both
brace yourself for the little season as the Spirit is withdrawn from earth, loosing Satan,
and the completion of the Falling Away when Christ Comes Again, and the battle is over
in victory.
Now, the critical part:  there is no way a less than Biblical truth and reality on last things
will lead you into such a re-arrangement of great commission realities, if you think and
preach:  (1) that Christians will not be part of the Falling Away, and (2) if you fail to
recognize that your church members are already in the Falling Away, and (3) if you do
not admit to the Refreshing Evangelism of Acts 3:19-21 where “times of refreshing”
happen right up to the end, the restoration of all things, at the Second Coming of Christ.

7-7:  WHERE?

To say with confidence that the LORD and Lord add to the church of the Firstborn {the
Lord Jesus Christ was the firstborn of the assembly}, written in heaven, seems to not tell
the whole story; and it remains somewhat of a mystery for eternity as to the correlations
between local churches and the assembly roll call in heaven.  Living, as we should, by
“every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” as Jesus taught, we are compelled
by exegesis of the Bible to reconcile Acts 2:47b--”And the Lord added to the church
daily those who were being saved”--with Acts 2:41:

“Then those who gladly received the word were baptized; and that day about
three thousand souls were added to them.”  (Acts 2:41)

The counting of numbers, except that a lot of souls were saved, was not then as
important to the Holy Spirit and Dr Luke, both of whom wrote the book of Acts using the
log manuscript of the Apostle Paul.  If it were the BBF, they could give you an exact
number, for counting is by and large, with show, what they are all about.  However, the
prime point here is that these words of Acts which came out of the mouth of God,
counted it worthy of mention as commendable to the local church in Jerusalem that in
one day only, 3000 souls were added to them.  One might make a fine point of
distinction that the adding to the local assembly of 3000 is not exactly, and precisely,
the same as the Lord adding daily to the church of the firstborn written in heaven.  
{Unless the BBF has bean counters better than big business, surely even their august
body can not add 3,000 every day; and in fact, after their takeover with the split of the
convention into 3 conventions, and the subsequent 20 years of rule over the SBC, the
lack of love in their hearts that allowed them to destroy so many carriers and reputations
of pastors and seminary teachers has become more evident.  They are now, like the
local church at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22), lukewarm and in the process of being
spewed out.  This is one reason that when they get converts to their local church, they
are so eager to share those numbers with the Convention, as if there was a direct
correlation between the church roll of their local churches and the assembly written in
heaven.
It is apparent that at least one member of that first local assembly in Jerusalem, in spite
of their excellent Pastor, James, was not enrolled simultaneously in the church of the
firstborn written in heaven.  Ananias and his wife purported to be part of the sharing,
that started the first middle class in the world, in the assembly at Jerusalem; however
having lied to the Holy Spirit, and taking credit before the assembly and the apostles for
the giving of the whole amount, immediately died as they were caught in the hypocritical
lie of sharing!
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