Mar
21

Church Increase – Sermon Outline

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CHURCH INCREASE
by Rev. Charles Spurgeon
 
TEXT: The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing ! have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? – Isaiah 49:20-21.
 

A hopeful mood becomes the church of God, for the memories of the past, the blessings of the present, and the promises of the future are full of good cheer.
 
"All the promises do travail with a glorious day of grace."
 
The church lives, progresses, conquers by her faith; let her abandon despondency, as her weakness, her sin, her greatest hindrance.
 
The prophet, to remove all fear, reminds us that,—
 
I. IN THE CHURCH THERE ARE DECREASES. 
"I have lost my children," etc. This is frequently the bitter cry of a church.
 
1. Death invades the house of God and takes away those who were its pillars and ornaments. But those who depart go to swell the chorus of heaven.
 
2. Providence takes away useful persons by removal or by excessive occupation which keeps them from holy service. The removed ones go to build up the church elsewhere: those who are lawfully detained by business are still doing the Lord's will.
 
3. Sin causes some to backslide, wander away, or become inactive. But they go from us because they are not of us.
 
This decrease is painful, and it may go so far that a church may feel itself to be "desolate" and "left alone." Yet the Lord has not forgotten his church, for he is her Husband.
 
II. IN THE CHURCH WE SHOULD LOOK FOR INCREASE
"The children which thou shalt have."
 
Let us not be absorbed in lamenting losses; let us rejoice by faith in great gains which are surely coming.
 
1. Increase is needful, or what will become of the church?
 
2. Increase is prayed for, and God hears prayer.
 
3. Increase can only come through God, but he will give it, and be glorified by it.
 
4. Increase is promised in the text, and in many other Scriptures.
 
5. Increase is to be labored for with agony of heart. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth children."
 
III. IN THE CHURCH INCREASE OFTEN CAUSES SURPRISE.
 
So narrow are our hearts, so weak our faith, that we are amazed when conversions are numerous.
 
1. Because of the time: "Behold, I was left alone."
 
2. Because of their number: "Who hath begotten me these?"
 
3. Because of their former character: "These, where had they been?" They were not after all so very far off.
 
· Some of them were quite near to us and near to the kingdom, in the family, school, class, congregation, inquiry-room.
 
· Others were far off in irreligion, and open sin.
 
· Others were opposed through rationalism, superstition, or self-righteousness.
 
4. Because of their good nurture: "Who hath brought up these?"
 
5. Because of their eagerness and courage. "Shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me."
 
6. Because of their constancy. "Give place to me that I may dwell."
 
· They come to remain.
 
Where had they been? Say rather, "Where had we been?" that we had not long ago looked after them, and welcomed them.
 
IV. IN THE CHURCH, INCREASE SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR.
 
We make ready for the coming of children. Is the church an unnatural mother? Will she not welcome newborn souls?
 
We must prepare for an increase—
 
1. By intense united prayer for it.
 
2. By the preaching of the gospel, which is the means of it.
 
3. By every form of Christian effort which may lead to it.
 
4. By enlarging our bounds: "The place is too strait for me." To provide a larger audience chamber may be a true act of faith.
 
5. By welcoming all true-born children of God: who say, each one, "give place to me that I may dwell."
 
Oh, for a triumphant faith that the little one shall become a thousand! Oh, for grace to act upon such faith at once!
 
"Believe great things; attempt great things; expect great things."

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