Give It All Back

Start where you are with what you have and let God multiply it.

Scripture: John 5:40-6:15


Alright, thank you very much and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Oh, I hope everything is alright at your house. Bless your heart. I’m feeling fine. Praise the Lord. No complaints, hallelujah. It’s great to wake up and be alive and well and happy. Thank God. I’m so grateful. He’s good to me.

Well anyhow, we’ve gotten now to the beginning of chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. And the Lord Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee, commonly called the Sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed Him because they saw His miracles, which He did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain and there He sat with His disciples and the Passover was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up His eyes and saw a great company come on to Him, He saith unto Phillip, “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” This He said to prove Him, for He himself knew what He would do. Philip answered him, “200 penny worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother said, “There’s a lad here which has five barley loaves and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?” And Jesus said, “Make the men sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place, so the men sat down, in number, about 5,000. And Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were sat down and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost.” Therefore, they gathered them together and filed 12 baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did said, “This is of a truth, that prophet, that should come into the world,” the messiah in other words. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. I read the whole story there, it took three minutes, more or less because it holds together. You have to see it all together, don’t you? Wherever Jesus is really working, there will be people. The reason your church is empty, perhaps, now I’m not saying this categorically, but perhaps, the reason your church is empty is that nothing is going on there but the rent. How long has it been since someone has been saved? How long has it been since you had a baptismal service? How long has it been since someone got up in mid-week service and said, “I wanna thank God that He’s delivered me from the cigarette habit,” or whatever. Where Jesus is and where he’s working, you’ll find people gathering.

I think the best proof of that by way of illustration, is what happened in a little South Side church in Chicago many years ago when after the minister’s sermon was concluded, a man stood up and said, “Pastor, I’d like to say a word.” He went on up to the platform and he said, “You know, I travel. And when I’m traveling, I oftentimes think and pray.” And he said, “I was out in a boat fishing. I had a little time off. And I was thinking and praying while I was fishing. And I began to read Malachi and it says, ‘Will a man rob God, but yet ye have robbed me in tithes and offerings.'” And I began to think about the fact that I hadn’t been a tither and that I had been robbing God.

And so he turned to the pastor now, he said, “Pastor, when I got home, I went and drew out everything I have got in my checking account and here it is. And when I get some more, I’ll pay you what I owe the Lord. I don’t want to rob God anymore.” And he handed the pastor a check in four figures, hefty check. Well, the pastor who fainted, but when he came to in time to grab the check, they always do. [chuckle] And then the man who was speaking turned again, he said, “You know I had the church directory with me when I was there praying and we began to pray for other people, and I figured there’s a lot of other people that have been robbing God and so I’ve been praying for you.” Well, at that point, different people began to come forward, for this was a church where they had a prayer bench, the altar of prayer. And they began to come and kneel and cry out to God for forgiveness themselves. And that service lasted until about 1:30 in the afternoon.

And that night, without any announcement of any kind, the church was full and for two weeks after that. Every night, there were services unannounced. People from the neighborhood had heard that something was going on and they came in. And a lot of folks were saved and the church revived. One person getting serious with God. When Jesus is working, people are there. You wanna think about that pastor? Do you wanna think about that Sunday school teacher? How about that deacon, trustee, elder, church member? What is God doing in your church? Anything? Well, let’s get out and win some souls. The best way to have something going on is to win people to the Lord Jesus. Every blessing in the local church follows evangelism. Jesus, he said to his apostles, “Go and make disciples, teaching them and baptizing them.” Every blessing, the Christian nurture of teaching and the witness of baptism and all the rest follows evangelism.

Jesse Massey was my teacher in seminary many years ago. He had been pastor of Tremont Temple in Boston. He told us one day that as a traveling evangelist, when the call came to him from the congregation there in Boston and he was considering it, all his friends had said to him, “Don’t go to Boston, it’s the graveyard of evangelism. Nothing ever happens there.” But he felt that he should go and so he did accept the call to Tremont Temple. And he told us as he was talking to us there in seminary, he said, “I made up my mind that I was going to win at least one person to the Lord every week myself and have that one person ready to come down the aisle at least when I gave the invitation.” He said, “It never failed. I won at least one person myself to the Lord every week and other people followed when that individual came forward to confess Christ.” He said, “We always had people responding to the gospel invitation.” Well, of course. Pastor, if you’ll win one soul a week, you’ll see revival coming to your church.

Think about it and pray about it and then do something about it. Where Jesus is working, you’ll find the people. Well, it took a little longer to nail that point down than I had intended, but let’s go on. Jesus saw a great company come to him and he said, “Whence shall we buy bread?” God talks to you in terms that you understand. Our Lord was about to do a miracle but he talked to Phillip in terms that Phillip could grasp in order to make the point of miraculous provision more clear. He said, “Whence shall we buy bread?” In other word, no delicatessens around the corner, this was up on a mountain. “Went up into a mountain,” it says, “there he sat with his disciples.” There weren’t any stores, there weren’t any vendors and there wasn’t any money. These people didn’t have anything.

So it would seem that the Lord was asking a question calculated only to upset the man. Well, it did upset him. He said, “Why 200 penny worth?” I’ve read that’s 200 day’s wages. “Two hundred days wages would not be sufficient for them that everyone of them may take even a little.” All you’d be able to give him is just one bite and you know how mad that makes a hungry man when you give him an hors d’oeuvre, a Ritz cracker with a dead herring on it looking sadly up at you and he’s hungry. That’s an insult to a person with appetite. And Phillip was pointing that out, he said, “You’re gonna make the whole crowd mad and go into debt for 200 day’s wages and you won’t satisfy them then.” Now out of that response, you find, number one, human nature can’t cope. Number two, the best human efforts don’t satisfy. That’s the two things that you get out of that.

Human nature can’t cope with the impossible demands of the needs around you. You need God, you need God’s touch, you need God’s miracle power, you need the indwelling Holy Spirit to work and speak through you day by day. Human nature by itself cannot cope with the impossible demands around you. Second, the best efforts of human nature do not make it. He said, “If we went in debt,” that’s the first thing, “and bought 200 day’s wages worth of bread, it would only give each of them a little and that wouldn’t be enough.” So the best human efforts are not enough, it takes the power of God. Will you remember that? This is not to discourage you beloved, this is to make all of us lean harder on the Lord. He is our source.

Well, it says in verse 6 that Jesus was asking that question to prove Phillip. Oftentimes… Let’s get this small thought here nailed down in your thinking. Oftentimes, what seems to be an impossible challenge is just God’s way of proving whether you’re going to turn to Him. “Whence shall we buy bread?” He said this, he said to prove him. Jesus knew what he would do. God’s plans are already laid. Hallelujah. You can always depend on God to have the right plan to meet the need. All you have to do is turn to him. He himself knew what he would do. You can count on God’s prior plans because they’re already laid. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” God says. “Thoughts of good, not of evil. To give you a desired end. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way.” All right?

Turn to God when you’re challenged by something impossible, instead of throwing up your hands and say, “Oh, I quit.” Turn to the Lord and let him show you that he already has plans for you relating to that impossible challenge. Now before we close the broadcast, let me remind you that Andrew who was the first soul winner recorded in the gospels is also the person who is practical enough to say, “What there is available,” Andrew said. There’s a lad who has five barley loaves, a little black pancake looking things and two small fishes. But what are they among so many? A little boy was there. He had his lunch. Andrew said, “This is the only thing that’s available, but it is available.”

Start with what you have. Start where you are with what you have and let God multiply it. God started with Moses after He had disciplined him for 40 years with a shepherd’s staff and it became the symbol of divine power. God started with David with a slingshot and took care of Goliath and all of the enemies of God’s people. God started with Gideon who was so scared that he was thrashing grain in a wine press and Gideon and 300 people armed with flashlights and pitchers and second-hand coronets made the difference. Start where you are with what you have and let God multiply it. Good idea? Try it out for size today.

Father God today, oh may we offer to Thee what we have, and trust Thee for the miracle. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the king today and be a blessing!

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