Acts 2:37-47 NKJV
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
The results of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day was not just for the small gathering of about 120 of Christ’s followers, but 3,000 souls were added to them. And, more than that, this growing church of Christ was also given a strong sense of unity of doctrine, community of mutual care, and fellowship of corporate prayer. Rather than compromise quality for the sake of quantity, the Holy Spirit gifts the nascent Christian church with both: quality and quantity. On Pentecost Day, by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Word, the church is now bigger in quantity and better in quality.
Nevertheless, church-growth gurus typically pit the quality of the church against its quantity. They urge us to compromise on certain doctrines and practices to be welcoming of more people. This is never seen in the Bible as the way of God’s working with His people. Instead, we see just the opposite in Scripture: “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Ps 127:1); Jesus clearly says, “I will build My church” (Mt 16:18); and the Holy Spirit is the One who does the convicting and convincing through the Word (Jn 16:8). Our God-given task is simply to present the Word and let the Holy Spirit go to work.
However, compromise is never an option. We are never called to compromise the message for the sake of adding numbers. Instead, we are told throughout Scripture to remain faithful to the end (Mt 24:13, 1 Cor 16:13, Heb 3:14, 6:11, 10:23, 1 Jn 2:24, Rev 2:10—just to mention a few).
Our marching orders from our Commander in Chief were very clear on this matter: “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”; and His promise is just as clear: “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mat 28:20).
Let us pray: O God, you taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit. By that same Spirit give us a right judgment in all things that we may have and always rejoice in His holy comfort; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.