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Transition From 'Not Enough' To 'More Than Enough'

 

 

pastor michael170216

 

 

 

 

  By Pastor Michael Olawore
  New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

 

 Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 17:1-2, John 6:1-14

Sunday 21th February 2016

 

 

We have looked at four messages in the on-going series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’. From the last message, titled ‘The Mandate, Power and Principles for Multiplication’, we agreed that Multiplication is an instruction, not a suggestion. As God’s children, we’ve been created for greatness and not for ordinariness. Even though we are aware that multiplication is God’s idea, we still need to play our part in ensuring that this mandate is fulfilled in our lives.  With God’s grace sustaining us, we are undoubtedly on our way to its fulfilment.


Again, we discussed the power of the seed in actualizing multiplication last week. Here is a simple quote that sums this up: ‘Every experience of multiplication begins with a seed’. From three stories in scriptures illustrating this principle, we agreed that we all have to present a seed before God, in order to experience a blessing. These stories, Elisha and the widow of the prophet, Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, we understood that as long as our confidence is in God, and not the presented seed, we can certainly expect multiplication. In rounding up last week, we drew out three lessons from story of the feeding of the five thousand, namely; (a) There must be a seed before God in order to experience multiplication (b) Every seed must be blessed and lastly (c) Multiplication can only be activated in our lives when the seed is sown or given away.


Today, let’s take this truth a bit further in this message titled: ‘Transition From ‘Not Enough’ To ‘More Than Enough’’. God has a desire to bless us with more than we require. Today’s message is a sequel to the message we examined last week, focusing specifically on the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus. This story is recorded by all four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Here is St. John’s account of that miracle in John 6:1-14: ‘After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.  Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”


The lessons we learn from today’s message have the potential to change our lives significantly. From this story, we can deduce that this problem right at the beginning was quite a significantly huge one, which looked impossible to surmount. Firstly, the area this multitude was occupying was a deserted place. Symbolically, this represented a place of hopelessness.  Secondly, it was almost night time when this need to feed the multitude became apparent – there were natural circumstances working against this breakthrough.

 

Thirdly, the supply of the meal; five barley loaves and two fishes was way insufficient to cater for the need of the people. Fourthly, with almost twenty thousand mouths to feed this was a big dilemma.


As long as we live in this world, there would always be a need in one area of our lives – business, career, marriage, finances, family etc. However, those needs must never be big enough to define our future. The disciples drew a conclusion from the evidence before them that this need was great. Besides, they tried quantifying this situation financially, saying: ‘“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Andrew went further, hoping to clarify the menu that they could provide, if possible by saying: “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Isn’t this the attitude of many believers today when discussing their problems with others? We inadvertently conclude that the problems are greater than any obvious solutions. This same attitude eventually barred the ten Israelites spies from entering the Promised Land.


There is a parallel account of this story in our foundation scriptures in Genesis 17:1-2. Abraham’s 99 years of barrenness could be synonymous to the multitude awaiting an evening meal from Jesus. God introduced Himself to Abraham as the Almighty in the same way that Jesus positioned himself beside the disciples as the multiplier.


The disciples had concluded that the issue was insolvable and gave a quick remedy. Matthew’s gospel records that the disciples advised Jesus to send the multitude away. Here is a simple analogy for this: whenever we look at our situations from a human point of view, we most certainly would see limitations. Our natural resources can hardly meet the demands of our opportunities. Mark 8:31-33 describes another discussion which Jesus had with his disciples, the lessons from that story being aptly applicable to our on-going exposition on the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. ‘Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s”’(NLT).


I have come to realise that when a situation looks impossible in the natural, then it is at that point that we must place it in God’s hands – career, business, finances, marriage and family are all raw materials in the Master’s hands. In His hands, everything is blessed. That’s what He did when he created man in Genesis 1:28. Jesus also blessed the loaves and fish in today’s foundation scripture.


Here is Ecclesiastes 11:4-5: ‘Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.  If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things’ (NLT).

 

If we wait till everything in our lives is perfect, we would really never take a step. Our qualifications are not God’s prerequisite for service. He usually calls us to serve Him and subsequently prepares and qualifies us. We must rely on God by faith, taking what is not working and placing it in His hands. Proverbs 3:5 reads: ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding’. While the disciples concluded that the multitude should be sent away, Jesus instructed that the multitude should be made to sit down in groups, so that they could be fed. Here was a particular situation being seen from two different perspectives.

 

Let me ask you these questions. Firstly, which perspective are you operating from? Secondly, what do you see? Thirdly, what informed the conclusion you may have drawn on the particular situation confronting you, presently?

 

Jesus went further, requesting that his disciples arrange the multitude into groups of fifties, consequently counting the multitude. It seems to suggest that Jesus intended the disciples to do this, in order to fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem before them. Shortly afterwards, Jesus blessed the meal and fed the entire multitude.


Interestingly, this story unfolds an aspect that we could easily dismiss. In counting the number of the multitude, it is safe to assume that Jesus wanted to know the exact number of people in order to provide the sufficient quantity of the meal that would go round. Rather, there was a surplus of twelve baskets after everyone had eaten satisfactorily. Here is a lesson for us today – our God is the One who supplies in abundance. He is the God who gives us more than enough, provided we are willing to place the situation in His hands.


And so the disciples, who had concluded that the situation was impossible, went round gathering the excess into baskets. Conversely, those problems that we’ve been tackling for so long can be resolved once we place them in the Master’s hands. We must always remember that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.


Here are four lessons to draw out from this story:


(1) What God intends to accomplish through our live is beyond our efforts: Since our efforts are not proportional to our opportunities, here is a good reason to look beyond natural abilities to God’s, who has all we need to prosper. Hence, we must be fully aware that our resources is not match for what God intends to accomplish in and through our lives. Zechariah 4:6 put it this way: ‘Not by power, nor by might but by my Spirit, says the Lord’.


(2) God is able to meet every need: Again, everything that is not working in our lives ought to be placed in the Master’s hands. When God spoke to Abram in Genesis 17:1, He was also addressing all those who would listen to Him, saying:  ‘I am the Almighty God’.


(3) God want us to depend on Him, irrespective of the need confronting us: Just like the disciples released the loaves and fish into Jesus hands, He wants us to release every situation in His hands. He is able to handle any need confronting us.


(4) God doesn’t give us what we need, but more than enough: Everything God has given us can be handed back to Him. Remember that we’ve been engraved on the palm of His hands.


I declare that in this year, multiplication will indeed be your experience. I declare that you will prosper and flourish, and see God’s hands moving on your behalf in every area of your life in Jesus name (Amen).

 

 

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