The Mandate, Power and Principles For Multiplication
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 17:1-2, Genesis 1:28-29
Sunday 14th February 2016
So far in this series, 'Experiencing the Power of Multiplication', we have discussed three messages. From the last message, a fortnight ago, titled 'Developing Your Capacity for Multiplication', we agreed that God's promises are usually humongous, way beyond our capacity to receive them. Even though God has promised to multiply us, it is our capacity that usually determines the abundance that we receive from God. Furthermore, it is with our faith that we receive the promise – our confidence is not our faith, but our trust in what Christ has already done. It is vital that our faith thrives in a conducive and favourable environment. A negative environment could hinder the flow of God's promises in our lives.
We discussed four things we could do to rise about negative situations: (a) Focusing on God and His promises. (b) Staying away from a negative environment (c) Confessing the Word and lastly, (d) Taking heed to what we hear. In conclusion, we shared five things we could to increase our capacity: (i) By praying God-sized prayers (ii) Challenging current situations and believing God for the impossible (iii) Expanding our perspective (iv)Thinking Big: Dreaming about the word of God and lastly, (v) Crossing the boundaries set for us.
Today, as we examine a message titled 'The Mandate, Power and Principles for Multiplication', let's read our foundation scripture once more: Genesis 17:1-2; '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."' Multiplication is a mandate from God, and the inherent ability to fulfil this mandate is inherent within us. Genesis 1:28-29 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." And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food'. Each of us has been created for greatness, not for ordinariness. Having been given this mandate, we still undoubtedly derive our sustenance and strength to multiply from Him, as He is our source.
Here are a few examples of God's multiplication initiation in scriptures. Genesis 22: 17 reads: 'blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies'. Genesis 26: 4 and 24 reads: 'And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed'. And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham's sake."
Ezekiel 36:11 corroborates this truth: 'I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'. Indeed, Multiplication is God's idea. It is obvious from these scriptures that multiplication undeniably takes place once God is involved.
Again, let me reiterate this truth that multiplication cannot be attained by our efforts or performance. Here is the reason why St. John wrote these words from Jesus in John 15:4-5: 'Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" Our multiplication is guaranteed, once we connect to God.
Acts 2:1-4 reveals the story of the apostles, as they awaited their empowerment to multiply from God. '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'. Verse 40 gives us the result of this experience: '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'.
So we've discussed the mandate and the empowerment that we need in order to multiply. Now, let's turn our attention to the principles that we need to apply in order to multiply. As agreed, multiplication is God's idea, but we have to play our part in activating this mandate. It is in the same vein that grace is God's idea, but our faith must be involved in order to experience the riches of God's grace.
As God is a deliberate and principled One, it is unsurprising that everything He does is purposeful and intentional. Hence, in order to experience the blessings of multiplication, we need to follow some God-ordained protocol. Although we can easily point to the present dispensation of grace as God's blessing for us to enjoy and relish, nevertheless we cannot absolve ourselves of the responsibilities that we need to work on in order to fully experience multiplication. Apostle James writes in James 2:17 that faith without works yields nothing, confirming the importance of playing our part in order to enjoy our fruitfulness and multiplication.
The seed is God's perpetuating implement given to mankind for multiplication. Throughout scriptures, we find accounts of this, starting from Genesis 1:29; 'And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food'. Genesis 3:15 reveals Jesus as the Seed. 'And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Isaac was referred to as a seed in Genesis 21:12, 'But God said to Abraham, "Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called'. Every experience of multiplication begins with a seed.
Let's read a story in 2 Kings 4 to further understand this concept. 'A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves." So Elisha said to her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?" And she said, "Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil." Then he said, "Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbours—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones'.
This miracle began with the little oil that the widow had. As God's kingdom operates on the principle of seedtime and harvest, we all have to present a seed for God to bless, in order to experience multiplication.
We find a similar story in 1 Kings 17:8-16 involving Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. 'Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." So she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.'" That miracle began also with the widow's little bread.
In the New Testament, this same principle is re-echoed by Jesus in the parable of the wheat and tares, as recorded in Matthew 13:24-28 which reads; 'Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.'
Apostle Paul picks up on this theme in Galatians 3:16, which reads: 'Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ'. Just as Jesus is a Seed, so are we. In John 12:24, Jesus reveals to the process of multiplication from a seed. 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life'. Multiplication encompasses both tangible and intangible things which God has already earmarked for propagating His purpose on earth. Like Jesus died in order to redeem us, so our lives must be lived as a pleasing sacrifice to God. Matthew 5:16 gives us the ultimate endpoint of this choice: 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven'. Similarly, our gifts, potential and treasures are seeds. Besides, God's word is a seed. 1 Peter 1:23 put it this way: 'having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever'.
Having established the importance of the seed, let's explore the story of the feeding of the five thousand and learn some truths from it. Here is Luke 9:10-17 'And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 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." 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.'
The first truth that we can establish from this narration is the non-negotiability of a seed. In other words, there must be a seed for multiplication to take place. 2 Corinthians 9:10 reads: 'Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness'. As described in the scripture, both the seed and bread are important. Needless to say, multiplication ensues after the seed has been sown. Sadly, many have not been able to distinguish between both and have ingested seed like their bread, to their peril.
Thankfully, the little boy and the disciples in this story were obedient to the directive given by Jesus, ensuring that the two fish and five loaves could be multiplied for everyone to enjoy. In the same way, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit, so that we can easily discern between our bread and seed. As believers, we must be adept at sowing. Again, we already know that the Kingdom of God operates on the principle of seedtime and harvest, and whatever we sow, we will reap (Galatians 6:9). As sowers, our confidence should never be in the seed, but in God who multiplies the seed. The story implies that there is seed for every need. Paul makes mention of God's multiplication factor for the seed in 1 Corinthians 3:6; 'I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase'.
The second lesson from this story is this: every seed must be blessed. In Christ, all that God gives us is already blessed. St Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3 about our God-given blessings: 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ'. After blessing the seed, Jesus gave the seed away. Lastly, multiplication can only be activated in our lives when our seed is sown or given away.
God has concluded our multiplication, but we all have to walk with the Holy Spirit to know what God has already multiplied for us.
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