FBC Earlville 3-09-14 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

Bubba and Bo, two good ole boys, were sitting’ on the front porch when a large truck hauling rolls and rolls of sod went by. “I’m gonna do that when I win the lottery,” said Bubba. “Do what?” asked Bo.
“Send my grass out to be mowed,” answered Bubba.

Did you know that there are over 100 verses in the Bible with the word “church” in it? That should introduce us to what I call “The Church 101”. Where have we been: “Why does God not want you to come to church?” – God invented the church as the encourager of the believers, NOT a place for unbelievers to hide out and think they are secure without coming to the cross; or “the church is prayer conditioned” – using Peter as an example, the church prayed believing that Peter COULD be released from prison, not that he WOULD be. And when he was, they didn’t believe it! And last week – the lead church showed us that God has wisely provided leaders from within the church – the importance of training non-stop from childhood.
Today: “The Mathematical Church” – my worse subject in school was MATH! But God has much to say about Math in the Bible. See Rev. 22:18 [“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.”] – don’t ADD anything to this book (cults violate that!). These show the unique stages of a church’s life. PRAYER

1. ADD Acts 2:41: “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were ADDED to their number that day.” See also 2:47: “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord ADDED to their number daily those who were being saved.” – see vs. 38-47) – this should be a regular happening in a local church, along with its subsequent fruits!
And CREATE possibilities of ADDING by PLANTING seeds!
See also 2 Pet. 1:5-7 this is character building, ADDING to our faith!

2. MULTIPLY Acts 6:1,7: “In those days when the number of disciples was INCREASING, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.” “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” This is the result of ADDING to the church (2:41). 6:1: “increased” (NIV)= “multiplied” and 6:7: “of disciples increased”-”multiplied” See also 9:31

3. DIVIDE GOOD: Luke 12:51: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but DIVISION.”; John 7:43: “Thus the people were DIVIDED because of Jesus.”
BAD: 1 Cor. 11:18: “In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are DIVISIONS among you, and to some extent I believe it.”

I encourage you to read Exodus and Nehemiah – books which show us at our worse. There are 3 reasons that there are BAD divisions: Satanic opposition to God’s work; the enemies outside the church trying to tear it down; and those within the church complaining and murmuring. #3 should never happen – why? Because the testimony of Jesus and of the church are too valuable. Listen to Phil. 2:1-2 and zero in on the word “like-minded”. [“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”]
Does that mean we will sometimes disagree? Do you disagree with your brothers and sisters? YOU BET! So that happens here, too. But God does not want divisions to LINGER. What would be the extreme? You’ve been through that 6 years ago. And I know of a church which is closed today because the community OUTSIDE the church saw that disagreements INSIDE the church were never settled. Divisions need to come to the cross.

4. SUBTRACT Phil. 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”; John 3:30: “He must become greater [increase!]; I must become less.” [decrease!] The word “subtract” doesn’t appear in Scripture, but certainly humility and lowering of self in light of the exaltation of Christ are very apparent. Perhaps this is the strongest math principle in the Bible!

CONCLUSION: Thuvia and I went to a 3 day Minister’s Conference last week, and guess what was the #1 lesson: church is not about the building or money or numbers of attendees. Church is about…PEOPLE. Begin by adding – at the cross! PRAYER

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