The Gospel and Multiplication
11 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ," (Ephesians 4:11-15, ESV)
"For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14, ESV)
11 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ..."
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood...."
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8, ESV)
"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Timothy 4:1-5, ESV)
LIFEGROUP NOTES Week 4 -
The Gospel and Multiplication
Today’s passage is well-known but maybe not for the reasons that we are studying it today. I have always admired this passage for the way that it depicts God’s design of multiplication. As a group, turn to and read John 6:1-14.
1. What is the problem that Jesus and the disciples face here in this passage?
2. V5 - Notice who starts the conversation of food and where it will come from--it was Jesus. Why did he do this?
3. V7 - What is Philip’s response?
Each person in attendance had a need--they were all hungry. But this is not what Jesus’ ultimate goal was. He used this worldly need of food to communicate to the disciples each person’s need for The Bread of Life. Here is where it gets interesting. Let’s examine these verses more closely.
4. The need for food was overwhelming--there was only a little food and so many to feed. As a group, compare this to man’s sinful nature and need of a savior.
5. Now, let’s examine an often overlooked part of this passage. Look at v10, it seems to be insignificant, “Have them sit down, there is a lot of grass’. But it is actually quite important. Look at v11. Who was it that was given the bread?
This passage says in v12 that all had eaten their fill--no one was left hungry. This tells us that even though the need was overwhelming was satisfied--and paints a clear picture of the Atonement to come in just a few chapters. Now let’s bring this back full circle to multiplication. After everyone had eaten their fill, a picture that Christ will satisfy the overwhelming need that sinful humanity has for a savior, there was actually an abundance of food left over. This parallel is that the Grace of Christ being our Savior will never be completely consumed.
6. Now, what is the significance of their being twelve baskets left over full of food? (Think back to the original intent of Jesus starting this conversation.)
This premise of multiplication is designed to be something to celebrate. It is God’s plan for reaching the lost. But multiplying the influence of the Gospel by sending out loved ones who we have lived with, served with, and who have become part of our families, can also be difficult--as it often means saying goodbye. But our common faith and belief in the Great Commission allow us to suffer whatever pain is necessary in order to propagate another leader for the Kingdom of God. Saying Goodbye to the Oni’s is personally a difficult one for me, but I am confident that their basket is full and that they will do great things for the Kingdom of God--which makes it much more sweet than difficult. Soli Deo Gloria!