Multiplication Is Your Birthright
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 17:1-5 & Genesis 1:28
Sunday 3rd January 2016
I begin a new series today as this New Year unfolds: ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’, and today’s message is titled ‘Multiplication Is Your Birthright’. Here is our foundation scripture in Genesis 17:1-5; ‘When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations’.
Genesis 1:28 reads: ‘Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’.
God’s plan to multiply each of us is not a suggestion or an offer, but rather it is an act of His will and intention. His mind is made up regarding our multiplication and nothing can inhibit or prevent this. Isaiah 46:9 further reiterates this decision: ‘Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.’ (NLT). The words in Genesis 1:28 established multiplication as a mandate. Each of us have been chosen and destined for multiplication. God’s intentions are to pour out layers and layers of blessing upon you this year. It’s time to have a turning point.
The word ‘multiply’ can be defined as ‘many layers’. In Hebrew, the word ‘multiply’ means to become many, numerous, great, large, increasingly or exceedingly great. I declare these words upon you in Jesus name! Now, it is important not to limit yourself or begin to reason within yourself whether these words of God will work for you. God’s word will work in your life, irrespective of the circumstances you may be facing. These words are well, over and above every circumstances of life. Despite the hopeless conditions that characterized Abraham’s life, God’s word to multiply him still remained constant. At 99 years old, the possibilities of becoming a father were naturally bleak and dismal. Yet God’s declaration regarding Abraham, unequivocally announced His boundless and limitless power to circumvent natural laws regarding His ultimate intention. By the same token, God’s word is not bound by our limitations and circumstances. Hence, it is vital that we live life to the maximum, embracing God’s promises and overruling the confines of life that may have defined us hitherto. Our approach to God and His ways ought to be new in this New Year.
Multiplication as God sees it is not a function of our experiences, efforts or background. It is a simply a function of God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast’. God reminded Abraham of His limitless power in Genesis 17:1, by introducing Himself to him, as the ‘Almighty God’. This unparalleled power of God was to become manifest in Abraham’s life, as long as he walked faithfully before Him (Genesis 17:1).
A careful examination of the scripture reveals that multiplication is a process. God takes each of us through the stages of fruitfulness, before multiplication ensues. In other words, multiplication cannot occur in a vacuum. Usually when you come across the word ‘multiplication’ in scriptures, fruitfulness must have been established or implied.
Here are some examples of this. Genesis 1:22 reads: ‘And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” These same words are echoed in verse 28. Genesis 35:11 reads: ‘Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body’. Genesis 48:4 completes this list of verses: ‘And said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ Since fruitfulness is inextricably linked to multiplication, it is vital that we decipher and understand it, in order to fully appreciate what multiplication is all about.
Fruitfulness can be simply defined as the ‘capacity to bring forth’. It paves the way for multiplication. The law of first mention in interpreting a subject in scripture can be applied to this concept of fruitfulness. The law of first mention for fruitfulness is located in Genesis 1:11-12, which reads: ‘Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good’. When vegetation was created by God, each plant bore a fruit, within which were life-giving seeds; a miniature of the tree or herb. Every future tree is within each seed in a fruit. Each seed has the capacity for multiplication. The same concept holds true for every living organism, including humans.When God was addressing Abraham in Genesis 17, it was simply to introduce the seed of His word into Abraham’s spirit, as his spirit was seedless at this point. Conversely, unless there is seed within our hearts, we cannot experience fruitfulness. And without fruitfulness, there can be no multiplication.
God had given Abraham, the seed of His promise. However, this had yet to blossom, because of Abraham’s lack of faith. As the seed could not be planted in his heart, Abraham was unfruitful, ultimately inhibiting multiplication. Here is Genesis 12:3 stating God’s promise; ‘‘I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” However, this seed needed to be planted in order to begin to enjoy fruitfulness. God had to reveal Himself once again in Genesis 17 to convince Abraham of His unequalled ability in bringing His promise to pass regardless of the passage of time. Abraham’s refusal to receive the seed of God’s promise had up till this point inhibited the conception of this word in His heart. Conversely, we must be cautious not to carefreely dismiss God’s word as irrelevant to our circumstances.
Romans 4:13 gives an insight into this process: ‘For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith’. The process of Abraham’s fruitfulness was a function of faith, rather than by sheer effort. The moment Abraham believed God, the seed of the promise was planted, and the barrenness he had experienced ceased. We know that in the natural, without the reception of a human seed, there can be no conception. Scripturally, this is how 1 Peter 1:23 interprets this concept in relation to our salvation: ‘Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God’ (ESV). Extrapolating this truth, we can safely deduce that the word of God is a seed. Hence, when God’s word is declared to our hearts through a sermon or various media, God’s word is being sown as a seed into our hearts. Again, let me reiterate this truth: ‘the promise of God’s word must be received by faith in order for the seed of fruitfulness to be planted in our hearts’. And just like Mary said to angel Gabriel in Luke 1:38, our response to every word of God should be: ‘Lord, may it be unto me according to your word’.
Here are four things that God did in order to help Abraham to embrace the promise of fruitfulness:
(1) God took Abram out of the tent: Genesis 15:5 reads: ‘Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”’ The tent often refers to the limitations of the flesh. If we approach God’s word from a perspective devoid of faith, then we would not experience its power in our lives. God’s word says to us ‘Let the weak say “I am strong” and the poor say “I am rich”. In God’s economy, we are never regarded as weak or poor. We ought to realise that right in the midst of our weakness, God’s strength is made perfect in our lives. Abraham saw barrenness, a complete opposite of the nations that God had promised him. It wasn’t until he came out of his tent that he could fully appreciate God’s word and His perspective.
(2) God changed Abram’s perspective: Abram was instructed to look towards heaven in order to change how he saw the situation. We must also change our perspective. What have you been considering in relation to your circumstances? Instead of looking at your condition, raise your heart and your eyes towards heaven. Abram’s perspective was changed as soon as he began to count the stars. Genesis 15: 6 confirms this: ‘And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness’. And the moment Abram believed God, the seed of the word was planted in his heart.
(3) God established a covenant with Abraham: Genesis 17:2 reads; ‘And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations’. It is vital that we ought to always remember that God is covenant-keeping God. Abraham could not live up to the term of the covenant, and it is for this reason that God put him to sleep during the process as narrated in Genesis 15: 9-18. We must always remember that God will fulfil His promises to us.
(4) God changed Abraham’s name: God changed Abram’s name to Abraham in Genesis 17:5. ‘No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations’. A simple experiment of this concept is the process of listening to a speaker over the course of a period of time. If a person listens to a speaker for a period of time, that person will soon begin to believe what is being said. This was the concept behind changing Abram’s name to Abraham – from ‘high father’ to ‘Father of many nations’. Hence we must be careful with what we expose our minds to. Soon enough, Abraham began to believe this truth and shortly afterwards his story changed.
Can I challenge you this year to receive the seed of the promise? This is our year to multiply. So can I encourage you to open up your heart to receive all that God has promised you? Embrace God’s word and it will become a reality in your life in Jesus name (Amen).
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