The Importance of Numbers

The Importance of NumbersText: Acts 26:28-29

This is a follow-up to the previous lesson on things that are more important than numbers. There are certainly things we must not sacrifice for the sake of larger numbers; however, we should not overreact and think that smaller numbers are inherently good. We need to remember that numbers represent people – made in the image of God who He wants to save.

Seek the Favor of God, but Strive to Live at Peace with All Men (Romans 12:18)

  • Better to seek God’s favor than man’s (Galatians 1:10) – yet we should not actively seek man’s disapproval
  • If possible, be at peace with all men – sometimes it’s possible to enjoy the favor of both (Acts 2:47)

Preach the Word, but Speak the Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:15)

  • We must preach the word in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2-5) – even if people want something different
  • We must speak the truth in love – even when contending (Jude 3), do not be quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:24)

Warn against Sin/Error, but Remember That We’re Trying to Turn People to the Truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

  • People may be offended by this (Matthew 15:7-14) – yet we should not try to be unnecessarily offensive
  • Correct with gentleness – show mercy (Jude 22-23); restore the penitent (2 Corinthians 2:6-8)

Keep the Church Pure, but Also Help the Weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

  • Sin cannot be tolerated or celebrated (1 Corinthians 5:1-7) – but one who refuses to repent is different from one who is weak
  • Be patient and help the weak – we are not to just please ourselves (Romans 15:1); encourage others (Hebrews 3:12-13)

Strive to Maintain Unity, but We Must Not Pass Judgment on Matters of Opinion (Romans 14:1-4)

  • A factious man is to be rejected (Titus 3:9-11) – but unity of the Spirit is not uniformity of opinion
  • Must not divide over matters of indifference to God – maintain unity with tolerance (Ephesians 4:2-3), not force people to accept our opinions

Value Committed Disciples, but We Must Still Be in the World (John 17:14-16)

  • Disciples must put spiritual things first (John 6:60-68) – but we cannot isolate ourselves from the world
  • We will be in the world – we must be an influence for good (Matthew 5:13-16)

Follow the Narrow Way, but Don’t Make It More Difficult Than it Needs to Be (Matthew 23:2-4)

  • Jesus said the way of life is narrow because it is difficult (Matthew 7:13-14) – but we can make it more so
  • Must not add to the burden imposed by God’s law – this would be an unbearable yoke (Acts 15:10); not helpful (Colossians 2:20-23)

Conclusion

  • Certain things are more important than numbers – there will be few who follow Christ; yet we must not drive people away or isolate ourselves unnecessarily
  • Each person is someone who has been made in the image of God – Jesus died for each one
  • We should never compromise the truth in order to obtain larger numbers – but we do need to plant and water and allow God to give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6)

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