Acts 9:31 “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria<sup class="crossreference" value="(AR)”> enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.”

     How many mainline church meetings over the years and years have I sat through where the leaders have lamented over the dwindling membership and diminishing resources.  And yet, through it all we have enjoyed a time of peace in so far as the church was not openly persecuted .  But we have not increased.  Why?

     Years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote;

“So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent—and often even vocal—sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.”

     Fear of man and accommodation with the world has been the driving force of the church of our time and we have suffered terribly for it.   Fear of man is to be primarily concerned about popular opinion.  Fear of man is to accept the fake notions of tolerance that society demands of all.  Fear of man is to let go of some of God’s Holy Word in order to gain favour with tyrannical so called marginalized groups.  Fear of man leads to the view that growth is simply an increase in numbers.  The fatty increase of a horizontal view of the world where looking upward is deemed unrealistic is preferred over prayerful seeking of the Holy Spirit’s direction.

     The words of Hosea are a damning inditement of the leaders and people of the milk toast church of today; “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways,  And reward them for their deeds. For they shall eat, but not have enough;  They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.” (Hosea 4:7-10)   All this has come to pass. 

     Yet, His true church and the remnant of believers still live in fear of the Lord.   God and His Word has primacy and comes before ‘social concerns’.  God’s favour is valued first and last.  Popular opinion has no bearing upon decision making or conduct.  There is no accommodation for worldly ideas and acceptance of sin; “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)   

     The Holy Spirit’s encouragement still lifts His true church on His wings;  “. . . those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)  Healing, deliverance, guidance and answered prayer is all in the reality of a church that lives in the fear of the Lord.  “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

     This truly is the Lord’s work in the church today; “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.”  (Jeremiah 23:3)

     Praise the Lord!