Why A Church Does Not Grow

Why a Church Doesn't Grow I. Churches go through seasons during which there is little or no numerical growth. A. The ongoing deferral of expected reaping can dampen the spirit. PRO 13:12. B. Much effort may be expended and no results seem forthcoming, which can cause tension and doubts. GEN 30:1-2. II. There is growth and there is growth. A. If you love God, His truth and His church, you want ONLY the increase which God gives. 1CO 3:6; ACT 2:47; COL 2:19. B. Cancers, tumors and weeds grow--- effortlessly and quickly. 1. These, though, add nothing beneficial to the body/husbandry. 2. These actually work to the destruction of the body/husbandry. C. Leaven gives the appearance of growth to dough. 1. In reality, leaven pushes the particles of dough further apart from each other. 2. It only takes a little of this kind of increase to affect the whole church. 1CO 5:6. III. The kind of increase that is most important to the church is faith (2TH 1:3), love (1TH 4:9-10), grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2PE 3:18), obedience (1TH 4:1), fruits of righteousness (2CO 9:10). A. This growth should be the goal of the church. B. Jesus called His disciples to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. MAT 4:19. 1. Following Christ is to be our focus. 2. Let increased numbers be an added blessing from God. IV. God may be waiting to increase a church. He'll do it, but not now. A. God sets a time to favour Zion. PSA 102:13. B. This delay will test the faith of church members. Are you in the church for numbers or because it is right? C. Numbers have never determined right. 1. Ten out of twelve spies were wrong. NUM 13-14. 2. Noah's church was a small one. 1PE 3:20. 3. The prophets of Baal outnumbered Elijah 450:1. 1KI 18:19. 4. MAT 7:13-14; 22-23 c/w LUK 13:23-24. D. Abraham had to wait for the promised son. 1. When Abraham tried to increase his house by his means, he produced an Ishmael who persecuted the promised son. GAL 4:29. 2. This is in the Scripture to reprove such carnal efforts. 2TI 3:16; PSA 127:1. E. Therefore, we DARE NOT make ourselves of the number. 2CO 10:12. F. “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath LONG patience for it...” (JAM 5:7). Patience is the great spouse of faith. HEB 6:12. V. Remember: of all the seven churches of Asia, only two were in good shape and only one had an open door: Philadelphia. REV 3:8. A. Again, increase is of God and you must look to him for it. B. Smyrna was a church in good shape, but had not the open door. C. God does not distribute opportunities evenly, as the parable of the talents indicates. MAT 25:14-15. Why a Church Doesn't Grow 1-8-17 Page 1 VI. Lack of growth may be owing to apostasy. A. AMO 4:7-8 illustrates this. B. We could be living in the end times when Satan is loosed. REV 20:8; 2TH 2:3. C. Paul warned Timothy of defections in his epistles to him. 1TI 4:1; 2TI 4:3-4. D. There have always been times of decline in the church, both O.T. and N.T. 1. The decline may be owing to negative things: apostasy, deaths, judgments. 2. The decline may be owing to positive things: transfers which fill a need in another church (1CO 12:18) or ordinations. ACT 13:3. VII. Lack of growth may be because the church is keeping an appointment. 1TH 3:3 c/w PSA 107:39. VIII. A church may be in a thicket of Pharisees. A. Evangelism is less productive amongst Pharisees. MAT 21:31. B. Or a church may be leavened with Pharisaism. MAT 23:13. IX. A church may have harvested all the people God has in its area. A. The world of Noah's day was a write-off. That there were only eight members in Noah's church was not a statement against Noah's ministry nor his flock's condition. B. There were not ten righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah (GEN 18:32). You could not have a large church of believers there. C. Jeremiah had little success in evangelism because a door was being shut. 2CH 36:16. X. A church may not grow because it is dead. REV 3:1-6. A. Dead things don't grow. B. However, Sardis was not dead because it was small! C. Sardis was dead because its works were not perfect before God. v. 2. 1. There were deficiencies in their faith and obedience. 2. Possible examples of deficiencies: a. Too much doubting the words of God. “Does it really mean that?” b. Lack of love for God and Truth; too much love of the world. REV 2:4; MAT 22:5; LUK 8:14; JER 9:3 ct/w JOB 23:12; EZE 9:4. c. Lack of zeal. REV 3:16, 19. d. Not enough heart service, too much lip service (MAR 7:6; EZE 33:30-33). This is the leaven of Pharisaism as noted above. e. Lack of esteem and support for the pastor. 1TH 5:12-13. f. Lack of prayer. COL 4:3; 2TH 3:1 c/w JAM 4:2. g. Marital disharmony among members hindering prayer. 1PE 3:7. h. Internal consumption. GAL 5:15. i. Secret, unforsaken sin among members. PSA 50:16-17; 51:12-13. j. Known, tolerated sin in the body. REV 2:20; JOS 7:12-13. k. Unpreparedness to give an answer. 1PE 3:15. l. Lack of courage to witness. MAT 25:25 c/w PSA 40:10. XI. Being small is not necessarily a bad thing. ECC 4:6; LUK 12:32; ZEC 4:10. XII. The Answer: Be thankful for what you have and be faithful with what you have. REV 2:25; 3:11. A. Included in what you have are whatever opportunities God gives you to teach others. B. Leave the results with God. Why a Church Doesn't Grow 1-8-17 Page 2
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