Since the book of Acts gives the account of early church growth, we’ll look there for principles. Some of what happened may not specifically apply to us today as that was the beginning of the Church but certainly we can find principles to fit any situation. The overriding truth we find is they did all because of, in, for, and through the name of Jesus. Therein they found their power and authority for building His Church.
How the Name of Jesus Affected Early Church Growth
They spoke the name of Jesus as the Source of salvation.
We read of Philip proclaiming “the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12). The Lord referred to the Apostle Paul as “my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Proclaiming the name of Jesus was important because they believed “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Church would not grow unless people got saved. People would not get saved if they didn’t respond to the name of Jesus. They wouldn’t call on the name of Jesus for salvation if they didn’t hear His name proclaimed.
- We too can’t skirt around the name of Jesus if we want to see conversion growth. We live in a day when people seem to want a sense of spirituality and are okay when you talk about God but shy away from the name of Jesus as the only “name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Let’s use the words of Romans 10:13-17 as a source of motivation to proclaim the name of Jesus. — Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” … Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
They spoke “in His name” not only about His name.
The Apostle Paul, previously known as Saul, had once spoken against Jesus, even persecuted those called by His name. That changed when He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. Then, instead of speaking against that name, He began to speak “in” His name fearlessly and boldly (Acts 9:27-28). As he and the others spoke “in His name” they found power and authority which gave them confidence and courage to speak the truth no matter what kind of opposition they would face. As a result, early church growth flourished.
- We too will struggle to lift up the name of Jesus if we aren’t finding our power and authority “in His name” which is the name above all names at which every knee will one day bow (Phil. 2:9-10).