~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, Your World Needs You (Part 1) by clicking here.
Hear this message through the lens of the word the Lord shared with Peter. During prayer, he saw and heard the Lord Jesus was speaking to our congregation and recorded what He said: “I love you! You are a precious body to Me because of your purity and wealth of knowledge about who I am. I am calling you to go out – to reach out … to deliver to your neighbors what I’ve delivered to you. You do not need to be afraid. The World is ready and waiting for you. I am with you. As I look over this congregation, I see leaders and I see influencers. I see those who will stop the advancement of evil. I see those who will set captives free and mark a standard for Godly Christian character. You are called! You have a purpose! I have not forgotten about you – my secret weapon and hidden gem.”
God does not just say stuff. God talks to churches. He talked with churches at the beginning of Revelation. He could have told us that we were lukewarm and have forgotten our first love! He didn’t! He said we are a precious body to Him because of your purity and wealth of knowledge about who He is!” We are a gem that is coming out of hiding – ready to be displayed for the splendor of the Lord!
A month ago, in a different prayer time, the Lord told Peter, “I want Agathos to prosper.” He immediately followed up with a question for him of, “Do you want Agathos to prosper?” Peter responded “yes” then asked Him “how?”
He told Peter that prayer is our covering. Prayer is also our foundation. He also said that like a business, we have products to offer people. What makes a business successful? When you have a product that solves a problem for people and you get that product in front of people, you have profit – you prosper as a business! God was saying to Peter: If you want Agathos to prosper, then you have to realize that you have products and they need to get in front of people and the whole thing is covered in prayer and founded in prayer.
Notice the products we have here at Agathos: We have a purpose for your life. Think about all the people in the world that are wondering about their purpose and why they are here. It’s awesome to know what you are here for!
We have anointed preaching and teaching. Transformative, life-changing meat from the Word! Not just milk. Not watered-down stuff. Not just platitudes, but life-changing truth!
We have true presence of God! The presence of God during worship here is amazing! Derrick and Erin have been so faithful and as a body we are continuing to learn and grow together as we worship in the presence of God! One of our cleaning people told Peter once that when they came into our sanctuary midweek they could feel God’s presence! We truly can offer people an encounter with the presence of God at Agathos!
We have the power of God! As an example, look no further than the miraculous financial testimonies we have at Agathos! Getting paid 4x as much as you thought you should; receiving a bonus 3x bigger than expected (in answer to specific prayer!); and having your finances nearly double in 12 months – just as you prayed! This is the power of God. These testimonies were by faith! Miracles by faith!
People also get healed at Agathos consistently by the power of God when we pray for physical ailments. When we go out and minster healing to others outside our church, our people often see people get healed. It is not abnormal – it’s actually kind of normal for us and is part of what we do! Praise God!
The final product we offer is you! The people of Agathos are unbelievable! There is not in-fighting. There is submission to authority. We have had a visiting international minister come to one of our board meetings (he has been part of many of these in multiple nations) and say “I don’t think I’ve been part of a church board meeting like that.” The unity that exists here is beautiful! Like Jesus said, “they will know you are Christians by your love for each other.”
Everything about our church is beautiful! There is only one thing the Lord is wanting to add right now. It’s not that we’ve been doing something wrong. It’s just an add. We had 3rd gear, and now it’s time for 4th and 5th. Healthy churches grow. Just like the word Peter received said, “I am calling you to go out – to reach out … to deliver to your neighbors what I’ve delivered to you.” This is the transition; this is the new gear! This is why we recently finished the series,“Commissioned!”
Let’s look at scriptures phrases from Acts 5 about church growth: “That day about three thousand souls were added to them … And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. … However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. … And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, … when the number of the disciples was multiplying … Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem … And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”
Let’s dig a little bit into the story from Acts 5. In the start of that chapter, we read about Ananias and Sophira who were not believers but had somehow “infiltrated the ranks” of the believers and laid before the apostles feet what was supposedly the whole sum of money they had received in the sale of some land. They actually only gave a portion of the sum of money while claiming that it was all the proceeds from the sale. Peter calls Ananias out and all of the sudden Ananias drops dead. His wife, Sophira, then comes in and also lies to Peter and she drops dead.
Wow. Look what happens next in Acts 5:13, “Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.” Imagine the scene! This is not a “seeker-sensitive” church in Jerusalem! This is important! We want to be all about what the Word says and nothing about what the world says! This is not a seeker-sensitive church. I am not saying to be insensitive because God is gentle, kind and on. We should be considerate of the people we are talking to but when you try to water-down God in order to try to make Him palatable for people that don’t have a heart for Him, you are going against the will of God!
“None of the rest dared join them.” No kidding they didn’t dare to join them! The last two that went in there ended up dead! The word would have spread! “You won’t believe what happened! They lied and Peter knew that they lied by a word of knowledge and said ‘you’re going to die’ and then when she came back she said the same price — she lied and she died!” Put that on Facebook as an advertisement! So in verse 13, you see exactly what you would expect “the people esteemed them highly.” They thought “Oh my God – that’s amazing … I’m NEVER going there! I don’t want to die!”
Look at the next verse (14). There is no transition between verse 13 and verse 14: “and believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” God does not need us to be politically correct in order to multiply the kingdom!
Also notice in Acts 2 (in the house churches) there was the time when those who were being saved were added day-by-day (daily). That was addition. Acts 6:1 is multiplication. Some of us have probably thought “can the house church structure possibly hinder church growth?” It didn’t for them! They were in the temple and meeting house-to-house. Those who were being saved were added to them daily! No issue with house church in terms of church growth. It is the model they had in Acts 2 and their churches grew!
In Acts 2, originally at Pentecost, we see that people not having the same language doesn’t hold churches back from growing either. We see in Acts 4 that being persecuted by others doesn’t keep the church from growing! We see in Acts 5 that being absolutely as far as possible from politically correct or seeker-sensitive does not keep the church from growing! Are you starting to see a pattern?!? We even see quick church growth and some contention within the church about some logistical issues not keep the church from growing either! They fixed it, they addressed it, and they grew all the more! God’s will is for His church to grow! God’s will is for Agathos to grow!
Consider this: If you had an investment portfolio and your will was for your investment portfolio to grow, which of your individual investments would you want to grow? All of them! Our church is a gem; we’re a secret weapon and He wants us out there on display for His splendor!”
Everything that God does is healthy and it increases. People grow. Animals grow. “Be fruitful and multiply” He told Adam and Eve. “Go into all the earth …” is the spiritual version of the physical commission He gave to Adam and Eve. Isaiah 9 says that “of the increase of Jesus’ government and of peace there shall be no end.” When Jesus is involved with it, it is never supposed to stop increasing.
Every ministry has two components: a message and an audience. Your message could be “God wants you to be healed” and then you pray for someone. Message and audience make a ministry. For businesses, it is product and people (customers). God is in the business of ministering to people in practical ways. Look at Jesus’ declaration of His mission statement in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Did Jesus have a problem knowing His mission statement? Did He have any lack of clarity about His vision?!? Jesus knew what He was after in His ministry!
We need to have an increase-profit mindset. Let’s translate that to the Gospel. If you don’t have a profit orientation – a prosperity orientation – about the things of the kingdom (healing, discipleship, etc.) it will hinder you actually serving people.
In Luke 19:11-27, the master delivered a mina to each of His 10 servants. He said to them “Do business till I come.” The first two servants recorded here were faithful and profitable, but then we read about the last servant! Oh no.
This servant came back with one mina in the handkerchief claiming he was afraid his master, but he was not afraid. That was not the problem. The master said “It wasn’t because you were afraid of me that this is what you did! If you were afraid of me you would have at least done this …” The issue was that the servant was disobedient.
The one mina servant was deliberately disobedient. God had told him “do business till I come.” Did the servant listen to his master’s orders and do business? No, instead He was disobedient with the mina that he had been given. That is why the Lord called him wicked. He said to the wicked servant “you weren’t fearful, you weren’t anxious, you weren’t unequipped. You were disobedient.”
This servant may have even convinced himself that his inactivity was due to his master being a tough man. He may have believed his own lie. Proverbs 26:13 says “the sluggard says ‘there’s a lion in the street.”
If we will do business with the mina that we have, we will be profitable. We will prosper! God has given us a mina in this body. He has given us our purity and knowledge of Him as a gift. Remember, this message is NOT a rebuke, just a gear the Lord is wanting us to shift into. Remember the word from the beginning – that’s the heart! We need to get in business with the mina that we’ve been given! Many of us are already in business on some level. But, as a church, we are supposed to grow in numbers. Look at Acts. Our church has not been growing in numbers so we are missing something.
If a church did not have a powerful, life-changing message … if a church did not have a product that was amazing, you could see how it might not grow. But if a church has a tremendous product, a life changing message that it’s members have experienced – if we know and have experienced that God is completely GOOD and we are willing to carry this message to others that “you too can experience His Goodness”, then the only hinderance to that message taking off is it getting in front of PEOPLE! We need to get out and reach out to those people (just like Jesus said) with the comfort that we’ve been shown – the message that we’ve been shown – and get that in front of people!
One time, Pastor Brad received a vision of many miracles he had seen happen and every single miracle was out in the streets. Brad realized none of them had happened on his couch. None of them had happened during his quiet time. They had all happened out on the streets.
Here is the plan for this new series we’ve started today: we are planning to have a specific, substantive reach out event or initiative. It may be a one-time event, it may be a continuing thing. This series will equip you to be ready for that outreach in specific ways.
If you didn’t have the goods, God wouldn’t have commanded us to go and make disciples. You’ve got the goods. We just need to get them in front of people. Please hear this: the world needs you! And Romans 8:19 says it perfectly, “For all of creation [Columbus] waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God [at Agathos].”