The Principles of Multiplication
This morning we are going to be looking at the last message in our series the blessed life. The title of todays message is The Principles of Multiplication. If you have your bibles turn to the book of Luke 9:12-17.
As we get ready to look at the message we must understand that there are principles of multiplication in the kingdom of God. Think about the term multiplication. Multiplication is a mathematical term, like addition or subtraction or division, but multiplication is better than addition when it comes to our resources and I know from experience that our God is a God of multiplication.
(Pause to pray over the series and the message)
Today, I want to show you two principles of multiplication from a very famous passage found in, Luke 9: 12-14. It is the story of the feeding of the 5000.
“When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.””
Before I go on I want you to catch something here. This story is known as the feeding of the 5000, and typically we think 5000 people. But there were way more people who were blessed by the miracle in this story and let me tell you why. In Jewish culture at that time, when they counted a crowd they only counted the men because they were counting families. The parallel passage of this story is in Matthew 14:21 “Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
The average family during this time if there was a spouse could have had 2-5 children. So, if you do this math you will see that this miracle is significantly greater than feeding 5000 people. Which by the way is huge deal in itself when you consider the amount of food available. So when you think about the feeding of the 5,000 keep it in your mind that it is 5000 families, not 5,000 people. __________________________________________________________
Submit: So in the story Luke 9: 14-17 “For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.”
So this is pretty amazing! We have two fish and five loaves, and God multiplies it to feed 20-25,000 people. Not only that but they gather up the fragments and there are 12 baskets left over. Everyone ate until they were satisfied, and they still ended up with leftovers.
Can we be honest for a moment. If you really think about it this story from a practical perspective it doesn’t make sense. Think about it. For a moment use your imagination and put yourself in this story.
Jesus is preaching all day to the point that the local restaurants are going to close. You are a disciple in the story and your thinking we need to send the people away to eat before they close (they were probably hungry). You tell Jesus hey uh, we don’t have food for these people which is a fancy way of saying your message is too long. We need to send the people away to get some food.
Jesus responds by saying awesome give them something to eat. What would you do? I Probably would have panicked! They only had 2 fish and 5 loaves that they snatched if from a little kid walking home from long john silvers.
Just playing they didn’t beat him up for His lunch the kid offered it willingly. By the way don’t count out the next generation! What seems small can be used for big things in the kingdom!
But here is the main thing. If you had never heard this story before, and your looking at the size of the crowd the only thought is how could you even try to feed that many people with such a small amount. If you did that today you would get laughed at, ridiculed, and someone would find a way to make a meme out of your life.
It just seems crazy! It doesn’t make sense! Listen, to me, can I also tell you this morning that similarly things like tithing don't make sense.
A few weeks back the Lord had me divert from the message to speak to you from my heart. What I shared with you was about doubt and unbelief. We live in a culture of reason. We attempt to explain away everything. But can i tell you this morning that in the kingdom of God there is mystery. A story like this can be easily written off as something impossible. But can I tell you today that God is a God of the impossible. Feeding the multitudes with 2 fish and 5 loaves is nothing for Him. He is a supernatural God. He does the impossible.
Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” Mark 9:23 “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.””
I personally have learned that most of the time doing things God’s way doesn’t make sense, but what I know is that His way always work out better than my own!
In the kingdom what seems insignificant God can multiply! But how?
To understand let’s look harder at what Jesus did with the food that was brought to Him.
Luke 9:16 “Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.”
1) He received it from them.
2) He looked up to heaven, and blessed it, and broke it. (Did you know here that blessing it wasn’t just giving thanks. Asking for the blessing of God was asking for an endowment of power for prosperity and success.) 2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
3) He gave it back to them.
4) They gave away what was in their hands.
We know from reading the story that it began to multiply when they gave it away.
This is what happens when we give the first to the Lord. He blesses it, takes the curse and devour off of it, gives it back to us, and multiplies it. He makes His grace (favor) abound towards you. So that you will have sufficiency in all things, and an abundance for every good work!
Can I tell you this is my wife and I’s personal testimony of the last 2 years in paying off debt. We were obedient to do what God asked us to do, he rebuked the devour, and then gave it back to us through ways we didn’t expect. The end result was to us the miraculous that caused us to give praise and Glory to God! Our testimony in numbers doesn’t make sense.
I want you to see something. After Jesus blessed it and broke it, He gave the same meal back to the disciples. They began to distribute the food to the people. Do you realize the miracle did not happen in the master's hands. It happened in the disciples hands.
Here are two principles about multiplication. They're real simple.
1. It has to be blessed before it can multiply.
We've learned from this series the way our finances are blessed. We have seen this over and over again it is by bringing the first 10% to the house of God. Even Hebrews backs it up new Testament that Jesus himself receives and blesses our finances.
If we choose to give a little here and a little there, and don't bring the first 10% to the house of God. Our finances will not be blessed because only Jesus can bless them.
Think about this. What if the disciples had given out the two fish and the five loaves before Jesus blessed it? Would it ever have multiplied? No, because the multiplication happened as a result of it being blessed.
In our home what was under the curse did not turn until we brought to the Lord what he asked for. It wasn’t until we were obedient to His instruction that favor and multiplication came.
God cares greatly about the condition of our hearts. He does not want to empower and bless cursed thinking. He wants us to be free. The pain of the devour I believe is intended to be a merciful wakeup call to change our posture and thinking.
2. It has to be given away before it can multiply.
So the principle of the first refers to bringing the first 10% to the local church and Jesus blesses it. But once He releases the blessing, it multiplies and you have the ability to have greater impact with it.
For my wife and I, we have had seasons where after we brought the tithe the Lord impressed on us to give over and above the tithe. Which we have done many times. In some seasons it has been an additional 10-20%.
Many times it to give to missions, special projects, guest ministries, individuals, or families. Each time we felt the Lord was leading us to sow. Can I tell you during those times we never lacked for anything.
Even during the last two years as we were paying off debt. Pastor Chris told me this week as we discussed the message. He said, “Looking back I don’t really remember seeing a significant change in your life other than the fact that you told me you were getting out of debt.” There was no major drop off in how God provided for us.
But here is a thought from the story today. What is if the disciples after Jesus blessed the food, just sat there and ate it?
They would have never seen the multiplication. You see so often what I see is that many want to see the results of multiplication before they are willing to release what they have. Essentially, they want to see God’s goodness without actually having to trust Him first. Can I tell you. Multiplication never comes before letting go what’s in your hand.
I want to challenge you this morning. Maybe you have stepped out in faith at some point in your life to tithe consistently, but you struggle in the area of giving offerings. There is a potential for multiplication in your hand. If you will give in obedience when the Lord tells you He will multiply it.
Now as I close out this series I want to finish with a few final thoughts. First let me give you a quick recap of the series.
Through the Word we have learned that tithing is a test, and it is all about the heart.
We have established scripturally that we are to bring the tithe to the Lord. The principle of the first is that it belongs to the Lord, and we bring the tithe the Lord and he rebukes the curse and the devour.
I have shown you through the scripture that we must break the spirit of mammon off our lives. That if God doesn’t have our treasure He doesn’t have our hearts.
I have shared with you that the root of generosity is gratitude.
And finally, that God desires to multiply what he has given you. However He cant do it until you give it to Him.
Now with this understanding let me finish with a few important thoughts. When God told me to get our finances in order it was with the purpose that He could bless our lives, so that we might live as a blessing to others.
The instruction He gave was to pay off our consumer debt outside of our mortgage. He used the process of debt reduction to reveal discontentment in my heart, and a lack of personal financial discipline.
What I want you to understand is this. These are instructions He has given to my wife and I.
The Holy Spirit will give you instruction specific to your situation. My desire in this series and sharing our testimony is not to reproduce our lives, but to teach you the principles of the word, and to follow His voice and leading.
Jesus said in , John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
We first follow His voice in bringing to him what belongs to him, but when it comes to giving beyond that How will you know what to give? When to give? How much to give?
You have to listen for His voice. You will know when it is Him that is speaking to you. You won’t feel manipulated, and you will have peace about it. Peace to be obedient is not an absence of fear, it is knowing that God will meet your needs and bless your life because you are faithful to walk in His ways.
As you grow in this area of your life, don’t allow someone to talk money out of your wallet by pulling on your heart strings. Be a good steward. Listen for His voice and allow Him to lead you.
1) A prayer of thanks for God’s wisdom and faithfulness in our lives.