Receiving The Power For Multiplication
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 17:1-2, Genesis 1:27-28
Sunday 20th March 2016
In the message from last week titled ‘Make Your Life Count For a Divine Purpose’ from this series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’, we understood that we’ve been created by God to live a life of purpose and significance. We all have a purpose bigger than the desire to have our needs met by God. As a result of this, everything given to us by God is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.
Shortly before Jesus ascended to Heaven, he gave the apostles and by inference, the church a mandate to multiply and make disciples of all nations. Our ultimate purpose as Christ’s disciples is to touch and pour out our lives into nurturing other people. In making disciples, here are the five things we need to do to attain that purpose, namely: (a) We must first be a disciple (b) We must be mission minded (c) We must be dead to self (d) We must rely on Christ and lastly, (e) We must depend on the Holy Spirit.
As we round up this series today, here is the title of today’s message: 'Receiving the Power for Multiplication'. There are various accounts of men and women in scriptures who experienced multiplication as a direct result of God’s empowerment. The church was also born in like fashion, and as Christians, we’ve been designed to experience and exercise divine power. Undoubtedly, God’s power accompanies the mandate that He gives to His servants, otherwise, it becomes difficult to effectively affect the lives of other people in our generation. A church devoid of God’s power is inadvertently relegated from its original assignment to existing like a social club.
God’s power elevates a person beyond his or her natural limitations, in order to fulfil the mandate given by Him. Multiplication is triggered by God’s active power in the lives of God’s people. Here is the reason why St. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:4 which reads, ‘My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power’. Hence, multiplication is not as a result of human effort or performance, but simply of God’s power at work in our lives. Moreover, God expects us to daily enjoy multiplication in our lives.
Let’s take a quick tour through scriptures, highlighting bible characters that experienced God’s power and multiplication in their lives. Starting with Adam and Eve in Genesis, God blessed them in order to experience multiplication. Here is Genesis 1:27-28, which reads: ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 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.” In other words, God’s blessing is a prerequisite in order to experience multiplication.
In Genesis 17:1-2, God met with Abraham and much later on, his wife Sarah. Eventually, their long awaited yearning for a child was fulfilled. ‘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.’ Here are some verses in Genesis 18, which reads: ‘Then the Lord appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 21:1 records the fulfilment of that promise. ‘And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him’.
Gideon also experienced God’s multiplication as recorded in Judges 6:33-34, which reads: ‘Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him’. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also gathered behind him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. The conclusion of the story is found in Judges 8:28, which reads: ‘Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon’.
King Jehoshaphat had an encounter with God’s Spirit, resulting in triumph over their foes as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:14-15. ‘Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s'.
King David is another example from scriptures that experienced multiplication. Here is 1 Samuel 16:13, which reads: ‘Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah’. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 reads: ‘David therefore, departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him’. From a single, forgotten shepherd, David became captain over 400 men after he was anointed and empowered by God. 1 Samuel 30:9 -10 reveals more. ‘So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the Brook Besor, where those stayed who were left behind. But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor’. 2 Samuel 2:4 reads, revealing more progress: ‘Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. 2 Samuel 5:3 finally concludes this progression with these words: ‘Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel’. God’s anointing on David moved him from the back of the desert to the palace of Israel.
Let’s cross over into the book of Acts of the Apostles. Here is Acts 1:4-8 which reads: ‘And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 2:1-4, 40-42 reads: ‘When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance’. And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized, and that day about three thousand souls were added to them'.Jesus spoke to the disciples before his ascension, instructing them to stay in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Prior to this experience, the disciples had been involved in ministry in the days when Jesus was with them – they had laid hands on the sick and cast out unclean spirits. Yet, Jesus was specific in imploring them to stay in Jerusalem, in order to be filled with the Spirit.
The assignment ahead of apostles required the full baptism of God’s spirit in order to successfully fulfil that assignment. In other words, the full measure of the Spirit is wholly different from having a measure of the Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s address to the multitude resulted in the multiplication as never known before, with three thousand converts being added to the church. Just like the apostles, we all need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we already have a measure of the Spirit within us, but a full measure of the Spirit is key to experiencing multiplication maximally. 1 Corinthians 3:16 reads: ‘Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?'. Ephesians 5:18 gives us the full picture, which reads: ‘Don’t be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit' (NLT). When the Holy Spirit fills us completely, He would be in total control of all that pertains to our lives. This is the guarantee that we need in order to be fully devoid of any godless entanglements. Self is an alternative to the fullness of the Spirit, which compromises the work of the Spirit in our lives. Hence, we must desire the fullness of the Spirit to be free of self.
Here are five things the disciples did as they awaited the Day of Pentecost:
(a) They yielded themselves totally to God: Jesus instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem – and the disciples obeyed this instruction. Acts 1:4 reads: ‘And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father’. They separated themselves from worldly inclinations in order to dedicate themselves to the God’s presence.
(b) They emptied themselves of self: The apostles’ personal plans gave way to God’s final intentions for them, culminating in the full expression of the Spirit of God in their lives. In the same way, God wants to be fully expressed in our lives. God’s mission became the primary assignment as a result.
(c) They asked for the outpouring of the Spirit: They asked for the Spirit in order to fulfil the purpose for which they had been called. Luke 11:13 reads: ‘If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”. The Holy Spirit desires to be expressed in us more than we desire.
(d) They were hungry for the empowerment of the Spirit: The disciples stayed in the Upper Room till the Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 5:6, ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled’. The psalmist also expressed this longing in Psalm 42:1-2, which reads: ‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?’.
(e) They exercised faith: After Jesus gave them the promise of the Holy Spirit, the disciples stayed in Jerusalem to await the Spirit’s arrival.
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