True Christianity flourishes where Bible preaching and teaching prevails. The way of the Word is what make church life a blessing. In places like India and Baltimore, the Word and worship nurtures people in the reality of truth and they share that truth. (1 Peter 1:15-19; Acts 20:24-25; Mark 4:14)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 5/15/2022
P. Schaller –
Good morning. It is well with our soul. Amen! Wow! It is well with our soul. Turn to Ephesians 4 for an introductory word.
We have the word “increase.” Increase. Ephesians 4:16, what kind of togetherness do we have but
fitly joined. There is a building in Japan, 900 years old, made of wood and there’s not one nail in
the building. It’s all fitted together like a puzzle. The building is old like I said and just is fitted
This is like us. We are the Body of Christ. We are joined together. Fitly joined together. Turn to
your neighbor and say I don’t think you look like the kind of person that would be fitting
together with me! Now, we have to do a lot of marriage counseling. We are fitted together by
God. God put all different kinds of people together in Christ. Vs. 16. There’s an increase of the
Body. The main point in our introduction is I would like you to understand that there’s an
increase going on in your life. That is so exciting. We’re not frozen or stagnant but there is a
spiritual increase that is happening in our lives.
If you go to a concordance and look up the word “increase,” you have seven different increases
that you can find with that word. Increasing in love. Increasing in joy. Increasing in faith. Here
we have the increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love. Vs.17. We are not living as
others in our culture in an empty mindset that has no increase. It’s just the same, round about
the same thing over and over again with no progress and no increase.
I wish I could explain it more but I want to say I came back from India about two days ago. A
team of us. There were six of us that went to India. And in the sermon this morning, I want to
talk about our experience there. I have a short video to show you. We have a map of India also
to put up on the screen and we’ll talk about it. Our main point is the Body of Christ has an
increase. It’s not from the flesh of man. It’s from God. We actually change. There’s an increase.
Not just here in Baltimore in our local assembly which we are very thankful for but in India also
and in every other part of the world. The church is a reality that is given from God. That we are
the members of his Body. There’s an increase that happens in our lives and this by his grace
To think that some people are frozen in life. They’re frozen. There’s no change. Their mind and
their heart and the way they live. They might even increase in wickedness or increase in
bitterness or increase in selfishness. But not you. You are increasing with the increase of God.
That will go on forever and ever. But it starts here in this life by Christ. When Christ comes into
your life, now you have him and he fitly joins us together in the Body and there is a divine
increase that happens in our lives. Has that been happening in your life? Do you feel it or sense
it that there is a divine increase that happens in life? That’s a good question and I hope you
could say something about that. By the end of the message, I think you will. At the beginning of
the message, why not give it a shot! Turn to your neighbor and say I think in one year’s time, my life has changed. That God has given me something more. There’s an increase happening in
Okay. You may be seated. So, P. Steve, how do I get that up there? Okay. Can we put the map
of India up on the screen, please? There is the map of India. Years ago, Dr. Stevens said we
want to go into all the world with the gospel and preach the gospel wherever God would send
us. Who is willing? What produced in us is Mark 4:24. What was produced in us was faith. Faith
comes from hearing. Mark. 4:24, a measurement is – just think of a tablespoon is a measurement.
A quart sauce pan. Two quarts. Gallon. Fifty-five gallon drum. A swimming pool has a volume
capacity. Bathtub. What measure I measure; it will be measured back to me. Vs. 24. We must
be careful what we hear because there are a lot of voices. There’s a lot to listen to. It happens
in our culture.
This is a Hindu country which means it is pantheistic. There are many gods. More than 300
million gods I’ve been told in India. Gods that are from the ground, from the animals, from the
sky, the stars and the moon and the sun; under the ground, fish, under the sea in the sea and so
on. Many gods in this country. But we that are believers and have come to Christ, God told us
not to make any god of anything that you see in the sky above, on the earth or under the earth.
Because I am a jealous God. I am the Almighty God. I make myself known to you. What you
hear has a lot to do with what kind of person you are going to be. What you hear and if you are
careful of what you hear, you are able to filter through what is said in our culture and come to
God and by the grace of God receive his Word.
Look at vs. 24. More be given. Maybe If you get a tablespoon of faith and you believe God,
that’s what you’re going to get back. Your faith increases. You start to believe God. And he gives
you a swimming pool back. You believe God, you actually are increasing in an increase that
comes from what you hear. Good question. What happened in India through the last 40 years is
that not only where there was the preaching and the teaching that comes from the Bible as God
raised up men and women to do this, that God also gave the ears. He gave the ears to hear. The
same is happening to you. You are coming here to listen and receive what is said from the Bible
and you have your Bible at home. You are listening to what God is saying to you as you read the
Bible. You’re mixing faith with it and with what measure you are believing is the measure that is
returning to you. You are actually increasing with the increase that comes from God.
Turn to Acts 6. Thanks for your prayers. There was a team of six of us that went to India. We
had a fantastic time. I’m going to show you a video in a few minutes and explain to you but first
the scriptural premise for what we want to say. Acts 6:7, the Word of God increased. What a
minute. You don’t add to the Bible or take away from the Bible. But you’re understanding of the
Bible is increasing. The frequency of hearing it is increasing. The increase in the understanding
of the Bible. The Word of God increases. Whenever there is an increase with the Word of God
and the ears that are associated with that increase, then there is an increase in the church. Vs. 7. I think that’s happening here as we are hearing.
That means really you have to get out of bed
and come and really you got to get in your car and come. You got to sacrifice something, a late
breakfast and come. You can’t go to the gym and come here at the same time. You got to do
one or the other. You got to come. You got to put it in your schedule and come because there is
an increase by listening.
Vs. 7. The number of the disciples multiplied. But I’m a mom. I have a couple kids. Can I be a
disciple? Yes. When the Word of God increases and God gives an increase of discipleship, your
heart opens up to God. You relate to God. You worship God and this is what happens with us.
Some people don’t like the restraint. They don’t like the restraint that happens that comes from
God. But actually, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and there is an increase of
knowledge that comes from God as we walk with God. And it means we have a wide place. The
entry is narrow but the increase is clear. I have more liberty. I have more freedom. I have more
godliness. I have more understanding. There’s an increase in my heart.
Sometimes the heart of man shrivels up like a raisin. But when God gives an increase in your
heart, how many people could fit in your heart? Remember when we used to say how many
elephants can fit in a telephone booth or how many elephants can fit in a Volkswagen? We
could say how many people could fit in my heart? Sometimes we don’t have room for anybody.
But when God is in our heart, then he enlarges our heart and we actually have an increase that
comes from God and there is love.
This is what happened to the church in Jerusalem. Vs. 7. I don’t know the year exactly. I know in
1983 I went to India for the first time with a group of people from Bible college. I was a teacher
in the Bible college and we went to India by faith. It was part of our mission to go to other
countries with the gospel. To make a long story short, some people that went, they returned
and lived there and preached in this city here in Mumbai, India. I’m sorry if I’m leaving any part
of it out, I apologize cause I don’t have the time to go into all the detail. P. Carl Silva was in I.T.
school or engineering school and he got some cassette tapes of Dr. Steven’s preaching. He was
fascinated, riveted listening to those messages and it changed his life, opened his heart and he
started to have a desire to serve God. He’d go to Bible school. He and Susie came here I think in
1989 to go to Bible college and then he returned with a vision to reach India, all the states of
India. And that’s what these parts are. They’re states in the country.
It actually happened that through the years the increase of the Word and the listening year and
God gave an increase. God raised up men that would go to Gujarat state, Rajasthan, Bihar state
over here. 72 people came from Nepal. Many of the pastors from Nepal came to our
conference that we had in Mumbai. Up here in Punjab, in Lucknow, in Andhra Pradesh, in
Sikkim near Bhutan. I think, P. Steve, I messed it up again here. I don’t know how to get it
permanent. I took all the red marks off. Okay. Give him a hand. Orissa, very primitive areas in India. Village life. There is illiteracy. There is a caste system. It’s just a different culture from
what we know, but our culture has darkness, too.
Read 2 Peter 1. This is a good word for all of us. 2 Peter 1:19. Again, we have the theme of the Bible,
the Word of God. The Word of God. The Bible. If you pay attention to the Word of God, that will
contradict our culture, parts of our culture. Parts of our culture are good. Parts are neutral and
parts are evil. In India, parts of the culture are good. Parts are neutral. Parts are evil. We must
pay attention to the Bible because it is the sure word and we do well if we pay attention to it as
unto a light that shines in a dark place. That’s how we live. We live in a dark place but we have a
light. That light is in us.
When we were in India at the conference, there were about 600 people that came from
different parts of India: Maserati, Orissa. Let’s see. West Bengal, Calcutta area. I did it again. I
don’t know how to do that. I lost it again. What? Sorry. I don’t know how to do it. Orissa. This
area Andhra Pradesh. We did a second conference in the south here in Bangalore which is
another headquarters. P. Carl started this one. And then P. Brian Cohello started this one and
then Chennai, Andhra Pradesh. Orissa. Down here near Kerala. Coimbatore is a city there. We
had a few hundred people come to that conference. We were four days in Mumbai and four
days at the other one.
We saw, we noticed, I have four things I want to share with you about it and it parallels what is
happening in any healthy church where you have the Holy Spirit speaking to people, ministering
to us and there’s an increase that comes from God. It’s like our body is connected to our head,
Colossians 2:19 says that we hold tightly to the head. Christ is the head and we are members of the
Body. As we listen to the head and relate to the head, the Body has an increase. Like a child
growing up, like a healthy child, this arm doesn’t grow longer than the other arm or one half of
your body grows and the other doesn’t. But the head is actually fitting all the parts together
and giving an increase. That’s why your spiritual life as you relate to God and hear from him,
then there is an increase that comes to you spiritually where you have a better understanding.
You have an increase in faith. You have an increase in your heart being enlarged.
What happened in India started very small. This is 40 years ago. Very small. A handful of people.
But the hearing ear. The increase that comes from God. The faith. And one brother says I am
from Maserati state here. I’m from here. I did it again! What? If you touch – I did it again! I
don’t know. Does it mean anything to you that I am making these marks? I’m going to give up
one more time. I’m not doing it anymore. Does it mean anything? It’s good to make the marks,
right? P. Steve, get back over here. What? What’s that? One more time. That’s it. I’m done. No.
Okay. He’s working on it. You can do it. Don’t give up! Pray for him! Don’t give up. Alright.
Let’s go to the video. What happened, we had our meeting.
The room is full of people. Big smiles. A lot of joy. Precious people from all different parts of India. You just can’t help but say God is doing this work. I told them I’m going to make a video so I’m going to walk down the aisle and they can wave if they want to. P. Fred Ellis is preaching while I’m doing it, so you hear
his voice in the background. Let’s play that video. What do we see there?
Here it is. #1. The teaching of the Word. Even before people become Christians, the Word of
God preached and taught, brings God’s grace to them. It is the instrument God uses to impart
spiritual life to them and bring them to salvation. Let’s say you never heard about Jesus and
somebody comes to your village and tells you about Jesus.
That Word of God is a tool that God uses to give grace to the hearer. Paul said in Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation. That the preaching of Christ is the power of God and the
wisdom of God. God calls us to be born again or brought forth by the Word of truth in James
1:18. We are born anew of the imperishable, incorruptible Word of God, 1 Peter 1:23.
That’s what happened to these people. They were born of God. Let’s say you come from a
Hindu background but this is stronger. This is something where it’s over the end. I found him.
It’s like the woman at the well. If you asked of me, you will never thirst again. The existential
questions of the meaning of life are answered by the person of Christ. I am the way, the truth,
the life. I am the one you are looking for. Come to me. Believe in me.
Think about it. We were relatively, we were up in Maine where we came from and we heard
the message about going into the world. We just started to go. Just getting on planes and going.
Look at what happens. By God’s grace to send laborers into the field. We pray this way. Pray to
the Lord of the harvest that he would send laborers into these fields. This is nothing less than
the church that is healthy because healthy teaching affects our hearts, opens up our capacity,
gives us the ear to believe. Delivers us from ourselves, and gives us an increase in God
consciousness, awareness of truth. Encouragement.
#2. We saw in India, worship. We saw worship. We sang like we do here. We saw the release of
the joy, the presence of God in the worship. Worship. Healthy churches worship God not like –
we don’t have long dissertations on politics or social issues of the day. We touch on it. We
relate to it. I think we should be politically engaged, by the way. All that needs to be done for
evil people to take over is for good people to do nothing. Like good people can’t do nothing. We
need to be engaged and part of the process.
So, that being said it’s also true that we a light shining in a dark place and we have this
relationship with God and worship becomes a big part of our life. We worship God. We fear
him. We leave our things at the door so to speak. We come into his presence with singing. We
are thankful. We appreciate God. We worship God. Some of these people are living with a lot of
poverty, and they come from different places. They have a different life, but that’s fine because
if you have bread, if you have food and raiment therewith to be content for – what is it? –
godliness with contentment is great gain.
One of the ways you deal with covetousness and your restlessness in life is by being a
worshipper. Being a worshipper. That’s why we love to assemble. Come to the house of God
and come to the house of God and listen. Come to the house of God and be submitted to God.
For he is in heaven and we are on the earth. He is a lot greater than we are. Let’s stop talking
about ourselves and start talking about him. Let’s stop relating to ourselves and be relating to
him. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be taken care
of. He will help us.
When we were in India, we asked them about these things. There wasn’t any sense of
restlessness or there wasn’t any sense of the strife of man. There was humility, submission,
listening to God, relating to God. It was beautiful. Like here. It’s beautiful. We have Colossians
3:16. We have worship. We have 2 Chronicles 5, 2 Chronicles 20. We have revival in the Old
Testament with worship. Psalm 100, enter his courts with praise and his gates with thanksgiving.
The Lord he has made us. Lord he has made us. We’re the sheep of his pasture. He has made
us. Here it is. We have not made ourselves. Amen. We have not made ourselves. Hallelujah. He
has made us. He is the issue.
Learn to think like that. Learn to think with God. God is God. The angels are worshipping him
day and night. We are on the earth praying without ceasing, relating to him in faith, worship is a
part of church life. A big part. Okay.
#3. Thirdly, what we saw was nurturing. Nurturing. It means there’s real care for each other.
Colossians 1:28, to present every man perfect or mature in Christ. Fitly joined together. Caring with
love. Having privacy like you’re not in my affairs and I’m not in yours. But regarding Christ, we
have a love for each other and we care. We can sit and talk. We can listen. We care. We
provoke each other in faith and encourage. We weep with them that weep.
I asked the Indian pastors; do you know anybody that died of covid and many of them said yes.
One of the pastors and his wife had oxygen and survived because of it. Some did not survive –
not pastors – but some people because they didn’t have the oxygen. So that happened. There
was one 30 years old pastor from Sikkim India and he passed away just before convention or
the conference we had a few weeks before. He had been married 2 ½ months. He was 30 years
old, on fire for God. A pastor very much loved by his church of like 100 people, but he died of a
kidney problem. So, they may not have the same kind of medical care that we have here but
still what is life? It’s a vapor.
We are living here and God knows the hairs on our head and the steps we take and when it is
our time. He knows we are made for his glory. We are not made for ourselves. We are made for
his plan and his will. We have the mind of Christ. The church was brokenhearted losing their
pastor but the assistant pastor came to the conference. We had a talk. We are praying for them
and encouraging them as they continue their work.
What is the church? What is the church?
#1. It’s a place where truth is preached and heard and embraced.
#2. It's a place where we worship.
#3. It’s a place where we are nurtured. I asked some of the pastors there in India, do you ever
see demon activity? One pastor said I saw a young man levitate off the ground in front of me
and it was like demonic. It was demonic. I said, how did you handle it? He said we prayed. We
cast the demons out. We said you have to come to church. You have to come to church on a
regular basis and God will heal you and make right decisions.
He said it changed the boy’s life. That was all that it was. Another pastor said I saw a woman walk up a wall, like she walked up a vertical wall. Again, I said, how did you handle it? he said we prayed for the woman, had her
come to the church and she changed and nothing like that has happened again and she’s now
Here’ s a good question: Has God sent the church into the world to have authority over
demons? Has he sent the church into the world to preach the gospel to the poor? Has he sent
the church into the world to heal the brokenhearted and to give us a divine purpose and make
our life okay, and make us worshippers of the living God who will take care of us and heal us
and help us in life? Yes. Look at what’s happening in our country. People are leaving the church.
What’s happening in our country? People do not know about God. They do not care about the
Bible. They close the Bible. They don’t know about it at all.
That was like me. I didn’t know about the Bible at all. I tried to read it one time but when I got
to too many begats – so and so begat, begat, begat. I had no idea what I was reading and I
closed it and didn’t open it again until I was born again. When I was born again and the pastor
told me and taught me and we opened up the Bible together and turned to the book of Titus
and found out what a chapter is and what a verse is. I started to hear it and believe it. The drugs
went away and other things went away and alcohol went away and many other things that
went away like leaves off a tree in the fall. The leaves just die and they fall off. So, our sin also
falls away cause Christ dwells in you and there is an increase from God that has no end. God is
infinite and he has more to give you and more to give you.
Nurture. Nurturing. One day I was very discouraged in Bible school walking down the hallway
and P. Stevens was walking the other direction and he stopped me, put his hand on me and
said, are you okay? I just come from the chapel and in the chapel I was distraught. I said Lord
send P. Stevens to me. I left the chapel. He comes walking towards me and stops. He said, are
you okay? I said, I’m fine. Thank you. I’m good. A second ago I wasn’t. Right now, I am. I’m okay.
You know, you are nurtured in the Body. We are fitly framed together in the Body. We are
loved in the Body. We’re not judged in the Body. We are loved in the Body. We are encouraged
in the Body. There are gifts in the Body.
What did we see in India? We saw a work of God that’s going on year after year by the grace of
God where God gives an increase and it’s growing and a vision to reach more and more people
with this good news. And it is good.
So, #4. The fourth and last thing is the church has a message for others in the world of
evangelism and mercy. Works of mercy. Does God love the unbeliever? He does. Did Jesus ever
heal an unbeliever in the gospels? Many times, he was healing unbelievers. Did he ever speak
to an unbeliever? Many times, he spoke to an unbeliever. He said the Son of man came to seek
and to save him that is lost. Who is a lost person? An unbeliever. God is merciful to the
unbeliever. God is seeking the unbeliever. God saves the unbeliever and God heals the
What’s the church? We are here built up in Christ and knowing Christ so we can go into our
community and at work and wherever we go. Wherever we go, we can share mercy and grace
and love with people and draw them. I asked some of the pastors to tell me some stories about
salvations and going to villages. I heard different things and one of them up in the Gujarat state
northwest of Mumbai they would go to a village and the leader of the village would get angry
with them because they came with the gospel and their Hindus and they don’t want to hear
anything else. It violates their ancestry, their background, their culture, their way of thinking.
So, they might drive them out of the village.
They go away to another place looking for the opportunity. They told me they will pray a lot before they go out on evangelism because they don’t know who they are going to meet. Sometimes they go to jail for a while.
In Bangalore, they said you may go to jail but the police might say you are good people. We
don’t want to put you in jail. Just stop doing this. Just stop handing out materials. Stop
evangelizing. They go back at it. Why? Why? Why do they go back at it? Cause when you have a
release in your own life from the darkness and the guilt, when you have in your own heart you
found him. When you find Jesus the liberty from sin. When you find Christ the answer for life,
then you want to share that.
So, they go walking and they walk through jungle areas in Andhra Pradesh. They go to Orissa.
There are villages there. Sometimes they get beaten. But they just want to pray for wisdom and
guidance and they go on their way because they believe in it. They believe that Christ is the
answer. They believe that Jesus is the answer for the human heart. When you’ve been years in
the other thing and it doesn’t work and it leaves you high and dry, you don’t find the real end.
You find the search is over and you want to share it. You share it in wisdom. I heard many of
these and I’m just thankful.
When you see it, you just say there’s no way that man could do this. There’s no way people
from India or China or any other part of the world or in our country there is no way that you
could make this up and make people follow Christ and follow God and resist sin and temptation and have a new way of thinking unless God did it. That’s what Jesus said. I came so that you
could have life and have life abundantly. This is what we are talking about.
Let’s close. It’s possible that some of the Indian pastors will come for the Convention in June.
We have a yearly Convention all the time at the end of June. It might be that will happen. It
could be that some people have a calling to go to some part of the world and bring the message
of Christ there just by preaching the Word of God. It could be that this story would be repeated
in many other parts of the world. It could be. We have seen it happen in a lot of places and we
have a lot of affiliated churches around the world. When ever you see it happen, you step back
and say Lord it is like the way you said. Thank you. May we share that encouragement with
everybody and just say wow. It’s really true. Amen.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.