4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:4–5)
Paul, Silas and Timothy traveled though the various cities that Paul and Barnabas visited during their previous missionary journey. However, instead of solely sharing the Gospel, the three missionaries delivered the letter and subsequently explained the decisions reached at the Jerusalem Council.
As a result, the churches were strengthened in their faith. The churches became more firm in their trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Dr. R. C. Sproul comments that, “The unity of the visible church is evident in the fact that a decision reached by a council in Jerusalem, in response to an issue in Syrian Antioch, is now communicated as binding on churches in other cities and regions.”
The churches also increased in numbers on a daily basis. Luke does not mention any church growth principles being implemented. Rather, it was the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which resulted in not only spiritual growth but also numerical growth.
I Corinthians 3:5-9 says, “5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”
God is the cause for true church growth. He is the only One who sovereignly appoints or assigns specific converts to specific sharers of the Gospel. Let us always remember this biblical truth.
Soli deo Gloria!