44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
It was exciting to read about such rapid growth in the early church. Clearly the fields were ripe unto harvest. There are places around the globe today that have such growth, and a lot of the growth is due to intense persecution. But you ask, “How could persecution lead to church growth? Doesn’t the church get smaller when pastors and laypeople are thrown into prison…or worse?” That would be the logical way to look at it, but God has a different view on that. The persecuted church tends to thrive because the Believers there do not play games with their faith. They are true Believers or they are not; there’s no middle of the road Believer when jail time is very real.
The “logical” extension of that thought would be, “Shouldn’t we want to be persecuted if the church grows so quickly?” Well, churches and societies go through stages. When churches get too comfortable within society (and where you cannot tell the difference between the two), persecution comes in one form or another as a result of the passivity or lukewarmness.
To those who view the new president as someone who might usher in economic prosperity, be very careful. Economic prosperity does not equal moral prosperity. There is still a large segment of society that despises the Church and all it stands for. They are not backing down.
It’s imperative in these times that we draw near to God in whatever we do and say. As a pastor friend of mine used to say, “If we don’t humble ourselves, He may have to humble us.” Having God humble us, though, may be His indirect way of “adding to our number daily those who are being saved.”
Something to think about.