The Miracles of Christ
THIS MORNING – is week 5 of our message series ‘I Want To Know Christ…’ A SERIES – where many of us in this room are desperately trying to know better THE ONE we have chosen to follow and have surrendered our lives to. AND WHY – are we so desperate to know Him…
Because ‘in HIM’ is life… Because people who know Him put their trust in Him.
• get out of the boat/walk on water
• overcome… fear, doubt, sin and worry
• become a new creations, live bold lives
• pray bold prayers, take huge risks
• live the life that they were always intended to live…
Who is Christ? He is…
• the lamb of God
• the Alpha and Omega
• the Lord
Who is Christ? The most passionate guy who ever walk the face of this planet… Among many other things Christ is passionate about…
• the Father’s house… the Word
• Community… outcasts
• Serving… The Cross
• The Father’s Glory
Question – (Tim, Laurie) are you passionate about those things?
Who is Christ? He is not some unemotional, unfeeling, dead, stoic deity… INSTEAD – He is full of life and dripping with emotions…
• Christ cares
• Christ gets frustrated
• Christ get angry
• Christ gets excited and fired up
• Christ believe in
THIS MORNING – in our quest to know better THE ONE…who:
• put on flesh
• made know the Father
• existed in the beginning
• who is and was and is still to come
• who at this very moment is sitting on the throne of the universe with all power and all authority
WE ARE – going to talk about The Miracles of Christ… UNDERSTAND – when Jesus Christ walked this earth He did a ton of miraculous stuff…
What is a miracle? Something - that defies reason, doesn’t make sense, extraordinary, unexplainable apart from God
Jesus: healed the lame, cleansed the lepers, feed the hungry, cast out demons, opened blind eyes and ears, walked on water, turned water into wine, calmed violent storms and raised the dead…
WHY – did Jesus do this… Because He is God. Because Hall powerful, all knowing, all present… and can do anything) AND HE - wants everyone to know it – believe it – and put their trust in Him…
37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." - John 10:37,38
THIS MORNING – we are to look at just one of those miracles. It's one of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact it's so famous, that it's the only miracle of Jesus that's recorded four times. You can read about this miracle in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
It's commonly called the Feeding the 5,000. But if you want to be technical there were a whole lot more than 5,000. The Bible just says there were 5,000 men. But understand that wherever you have 5,000 men - you've probably got 5,000 women and maybe another 10,000 kids. And Jesus (the living God) is going to take one little boy's sack lunch and feed every one of them.
NOW – there’s something that YOU need to understand right up front - Jesus Christ never did a miracle just to show off. Listen – Jesus always did miracles to teach principles. And in the feeding of the 5,000 we see the principle of how to have God miracle in your own life.
HEY - someday you're going to need one. You may even need one right ‘now.’ I MEAN – right now you may be facing something that is a whole lot bigger than you…
AND WHENEVER - you have a problem that is so much bigger than you. You start to wonder, “Lord how do I get you to be a part of this, how do I get you to help me.”
UNDERSTAND IF – we want the Living God to be a part of those kind of situations… We need to listen to this message because in this story are 4 lessons, 4 truths, 4 principles that teach us how to cooperate with Christ so that He can move in our lives…
34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 35By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. 36Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." 37But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
- Mk 6:34-37
NOW - what we have here is a problem, a BIG problem. There’s a large, very hungry crowd. They've been out in the middle of the desert all day long listening to Jesus teach. And as the day wears on, they start to get a little hungry, and remember there's not a McDonald's, a Chix Filet, or a Burger King anywhere in sight. 20,000 hungry people, that’s a real problem.
OKAY - when you have a problem and you need a miracle (again is that where you are this morning), you need to do four things. AND - all of those things are a part of this story.
I. ADMIT Your Need To God
UNDERSTAND - that's the starting point. If you want ‘the LIVING’ God to work in your life, you've got to admit that you have a need. "God, I need Your help! I can’t do this on my own. The river is too wide, the task is too great."
NOW - for some of us admitting a need (even to God) is NOT an easy thing to do. We’d rather hide our problems, blame other people for them, runaway from them – ignore them, pretend they don't exist.
QUESTION – ‘what’ is in your life… IN – your: marriage, work, your home, your life, your ministry - that you don’t want to admit is a problem?
OKAY – you need to get this down; the first principle for having THE LIVING GOD move in your life is;
God doesn't work in your life until you ask Him.
Jesus says, ”Ask and it shall be given." Over twenty times in the New Testament, we're commanded to ask. So when there is a problem in your life, you need to come to Jesus, and say, "Lord I really need your help."
Question – if this is what we are supposed to do (hit our knees and go to God), when we have a need… when facing something that is bigger than us WHY - don’t we do it? WHY – don’t you do it? BECAUSE - many times instead of admitting and going to God with our need - we tend to either procrastinate, pass the buck, or worry. AND - all three of these ‘self defeating’ behaviors are in this story. The disciples did each them.
1) First the disciples procrastinated.
They put off dealing with the problem; they delayed it. Notice Mark writes: "By this time it was late in the day." (maybe for a lot of the problems in your life it is already getting pretty late in the day)… NOW - it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these people are going to get hungry. I MEAN – they are out in the middle of the desert. There's no place to eat, there’s no Kroger or Harris Teeter. IT - seems obvious what's going to happen? But they put it off.
TYPICALLY – this is what we do with a lot of our problems. We delay, we procrastinate, we pretend that it doesn't exist or isn’t that bad - we look the other way - bury our heads in the sand. But the truth is, procrastination only makes a problem worse. I MEAN – when has: putting a term paper off until the last day; your taxes off until April 15th or flossing your teeth until the day of your cleaning – ever made things better…?
Understand Procrastination never solves any anything. In fact, most times, it makes the problem worse.
2. The Disciples passed the buck.
Not only did the disciples procrastinate, but they passed the buck. Notice what the disciples said, "Send the people away." In other words -- out of sight, out of mind. They're basically saying, "Hey Jesus, we didn't ask these people to listen to you. So it's not our responsibility to feed them. We’ll just tell them to go into the countryside, find a store, get themselves some food, We didn't invite them."
We do this with our problems as well. We say, "It's not my fault. It's society's fault. It's the environment's fault. It's somebody else’s fault – not mine that we are in this mess…” We blame other things and other people. BUT UNDERSTAND - when you pass the buck – you miss out the miracle that God is going to do one day with that buck...
3. The disciples worried about their problems.
LISTEN - if we prayed about our problems as much as we worried about them, we'd have a lot less to worry about – do you agree? AGAIN – what did King Hezekiah do?
BUT INSTEAD - we fret, we stew, we worry, we get anxious, we get stressed out. NOTICE - what the disciples said in response to feeding all of those people, "It would take eight months of a man's wages!" (Now 8 months of wages, that would buy a lot of fried chicken). YOU SEE - the disciples did a little cost analysis and as the number of digits increased - their anxiety went into overdrive. YEAH – I can imagine Peter and some of the other guys saying, "Jesus! How are we going to do this? Feed 20,000 people? Where are we going to get the money? How are we going to transport the food out here? How are we going to keep it warm? Where are we going to get the paper products.. Who's going to clean up the mess? Who's going to pay for the liability insurance?" Their minds are going into overdrive – seeing only: the barriers, the problems - AND the reasons why it couldn’t be done…
“Your circumstances do not determine your opportunities, or if they do it may be quite the opposite than you expect. The more challenging your circumstances, the greater the opportunity to see God raise you to new levels of living. When life is overwhelming, it provides the context for you to experience something breathtaking. After all, if the all the world was flat there would be no mountains to climb.” (quote from somewhere)
NOW – don’t miss what is going on here… WHILE - these guys are procrastinating, passing the buck and worrying about the problem – they are standing right next to a guy; who cast out demons, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the lame, raised the dead, calmed storms and created the universe! I MEAN – JESUS CHRIST (the Alpha & Omega), is standing right there, and they're looking for a KFC and worrying about paper cups.
QUESTION – do you do this when you have a problem?
DO YOU FORGET – that ‘the all powerful’ God's is with you? DO YOU THINK - that you are in this mess all by yourself?
UNDERSTAND – (if you are a Christ follower) the guy not merely standing beside you BUT living right inside you is THE LIVING GOD. YES – the same power that conquered the grave lives in me (get it?)
The first principle for Christ to move among us, is that God won’t help you until you ask Him…
After you ADMIT your need to God – you need to;
II. Assess What You Already Have
DO - a realistic analysis of your resources… ASK - yourself, "What have I got?... AND How am I using it?" [repeat] THIS - is exactly what Jesus got them to do.
v. 38 "Jesus said, `How many loaves do you have?' `Go and see.' When they found out, they said, `Five small loaves of bread and two fish.'"
Question - Why did Jesus do this? I MEAN - after all, He's God. He already knows how much bread there is… AND BESIDES - He could have just rained loaves of bread down from the sky. He'd done that before. SO WHY - would He say, "Go see what you've already have."
Kind of like what God did with Moses in Exodus 4 @ the burning bush… ‘what is that in your hand?” “A staff”
OKAY – here is the second principle for having the LIVING God move in your life. REMEMBER - the first principle is that God doesn’t work in your life until you ask him – the second principle is;
God always starts with what you have
UNDERSTAND GOD - is not interested in puppets… HE - wants partners. He – wants you to take your: energy, time, money, relationships, talent…
whatever and you GIVE IT to Him. "God, here's what I've got."
AGAIN - in v. 36 Jesus says, "You give them something to eat." You feed them. QUESTION - how would you like to be a disciple and have Jesus say that to you? I MEAN – there you are… You're standing with Jesus.
Jesus says, “place sure is packed”
And you say, “Yeah, it sure is Jesus – I’ve never seen so many people”
“Yeah It’s a bunch,” Jesus replies.
“You know Lord it’s getting late and I bet those people are really hungry"
(Yes these guys see the problem – but it’s all they see)
“I’m sure they are - why don't you take care it"
The disciples responded, "Lord, this is impossible! It's humanly impossible. It's financially impossible. It's practically impossible! We can't do this!"
QUESTION - has God ever asked you to do something impossible…
IS HE – asking you to do something that ‘seems’ impossible even now?
HEY REMEMBER – as we said back on Mother’s day… when we talked about the impossible situation Mary faced?
Tim, Laurie - OUR GOD - thrives and moves in the things that we think are impossible… OUR GOD - loves impossible odds… BECAUSE – impossible odds are what sets the stage for amazing miracles.
UNDERSTAND – our God often allows the odds to be stacked against so that He can reveal more of His glory…
• When a river parts so that millions of people and cross over.
• When 185,000 enemies soldiers are killed during the night
GOD gets all the glory. Why? Because a victory like that defies all odds.
“Too often our prayers revolve around asking God to reduce the odds in our lives. We want everything in our favor. But maybe God wants to stack the odds against us so we can experience a miracle of divine proportions. Maybe faith is trusting in God no matter how impossible the odds are. Maybe our impossible situations are opportunities to experience a new dimension of God’s glory.” - Mark Batterson (In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day)
UNDERSTAND – as you flip through the pages of Scripture time and time again, you see God asking us to do the very BIG with our very LITTLE. Why is that? Is it because he wants to watch us freak out, fret & worry – No it’s because God wants to stretch our faith. IN - John’s account of this story, he writes; "Jesus asked this only to test them, for He already had in mind what he was going to do." CIRCLE “He already had in mind what was going to Do.
JESUS - wasn't sweating this problem. IN FACT – He saw the need long before they did… AND - He already had a plan… HE – was just testing the disciples, by asking them to do the impossible.
Listen – there is an important truth you need to get here, because someday, if NOT already you are going to face a BIG problem (health, financial, relational, vocational)… YOU KNOW - what I’m talking about? The kind of problems that knock the wind out of you – wake you up at 3 am… AND GET – your: pulse, adrenaline and sweat glands pumping…
BUT KNOW THIS – Jesus won’t be taken off guard… He won’t be sweating about the problem… BECAUSE – just like in the feeding of the 5000… He already knows the answer before you even know that there’s a problem.
(Does anyone hear what I am saying?)…
Almighty God is never taken by surprised. He is all knowing, He can see both the beginning, the now and the rest of story. CHECK THIS OUT - God knows every problem that you're going to face for the rest of your life. He already does. AND – ‘when’ they come (and they are)… He won’t be shocked. He won’t be surprised. He won’t be ever blown away. HE’LL – just be waiting on you to get concerned about…. To admit you have a need – To access what you already have…
The 3rd principle
III. Give God What You Already Have
In the book of John it tells us that in this story a guy named Andrew, one of the disciples, found a little boy in the crowd who'd brought a sack lunch. It wasn't much. It was just five little barley loaves (probably little muffins) and a couple of fish (probably dried sardines). Now, I'm sure that in a crowd of 15,000-20,000 people, that somebody else had brought a bigger and better meal, but this little boy got to be the hero not because he brought the best meal - but because he gave it to God. “Jesus this is all I got but you can have it…”
Okay write this down – it’s the 3rd principle for having Christ do His ‘Living God thing’ in your life.
God uses whatever you give Him.
NOW NOTICE – that I didn’t say that God uses ‘whatever you have.’ NO – I said that God uses whatever you give Him. And there is a seas parting – giant falling – enemy defeating – wall crumbling difference between the two.
THE - Bible says "Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people..." This is awesome. I don't know how He did it… He'd break off a piece and there was still a piece there. He kept on doing it over and over again, multiplying it. AWESOME – I would love to see how it all actually went down.
BUT AGAIN – I cannot emphasize it enough that God will only use what we give Him. AND UNDERSTAND – it doesn’t take much… faith as small a mustard seed (or young boys sack lunch) can do great-supernatural-amazing things, but we have to give what we have to him.
• David had to step into the valley
• Moses had to throw his staff on the ground
• Noah had to go Lowes and pick up some building supplies…
• Abraham had to climb the mountain
• Esther had to walk down the hallway to the king
ALL – had to GIVE - what the had…
And God took what they gave Him… blessed it - used it, accomplishing some INCREDIBLE things!
QUESTION – how do you think the story would have turned out IF they had not given what they had?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
Here is what I think: sinking is better than sitting. I’d rather get wet than have a numb gluteus maximus. When all is said and done, I think our greatest regrets will be the God-ordained risks we didn’t take. We won’t regret sinking. We will regret sitting. In the words of German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do.”
– Mark Batterson
All of us have action regrets, but I think our deepest regrets are missed opportunities. Actions regrets taste bad, but inaction regrets leave a bitter taste that lasts a lifetime… failing to take a risk is almost like losing a piece of the jigsaw puzzle of your life. It leaves a gaping hole. When we get to the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the missing pieces. – Mark Batterson
LISTEN - God loves to do extraordinary things with ordinary things (wooden staffs, 5 smooth stones, lunchables, ) – that are given to Him… I MEAN – come on, think about the potential in those ordinary things… A potential that literally exploded when placed into the hands of the living God!
NOW – I think it is important for us to take a closer look at the giving of this little boy that sparked a miracle.
First he gave willingly. The Bible tells us in the book of Matthew that the little boy volunteered his lunch. He said, "Here! Take mine!" I don’t know maybe he liked peanut butter rather than sardines. But for whatever reason he said, "Here, take my lunch!" He did it willingly. Question – if you had been there (hungry, no food around) would you have given up your lunch, your only food?
2nd he did it cheerfully. He didn’t complain, he didn’t worry -- "What am I going to eat - if I give my lunch away?" He did it cheerfully.
3rd he did it immediately. He did it as soon as he saw the need. He didn't hesitate. AND CHURCH - that’s the kind of giving (willful, cheerful, immediate) that produces a miracle… [get it?]
WHICH BRINGS US - to the fourth point in your notes… AFTER - you admit that you have a need - assess what you have - and give it to God...
Expect God To Show Up and Multiply It
NOTICE - what happened in v. 42. This little boy brings his lunch, it’s just a couple of fish and five loaves and it says, "Everyone ate and had enough. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of leftovers."
OKAY here the 4th principle – you ready…
IV. Whatever you give - God always gives back more
When ‘give’ – we step out in Faith, God always shows up and multiplies it… He always does something…
Whatever you give, God always gives back more.
I want to read a passage from Mark 10… But before I do I need to set it up. A rich young guy comes to Jesus. He aces pop quiz Jesus gave him on what is right in God’s eyes. Jesus said, ‘bro, that’s awesome! Great job. You are so close to the kingdom… - you lack only thing. Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor.’ The guy just couldn’t give what he had and left really bummed…’
28Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" 29"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first." - Mark 10:28-31
Let me go out on a theological limb: I don’t think there is any such thing as a sacrifice when you’re a follower of Christ. Sure, we are called to ‘deny ourselves’ and ‘take up our cross.’ We’re called to ‘lose our lives so that we can find them.’ And we certainly experience temporary loss. But I don’t think anyone has ever sacrificed anything for God. Why? Because we always get back more than we give up. And if you get back more than you gave up, have you really sacrificed anything at all?... No one ever bet too much on a winning horse. – Mark Batterson
God doesn't work in your life until you ask Him.
God always starts with what you have
God uses whatever you give Him.
Whatever you give - God always gives back more
OKAY – here is a summary, here is the main thing for you to grab from this story…
OFTEN - when we have a problem, we sit back and wait for a miracle… WE WAIT - for God to move…
BUT UNDERSTAND - while we’re waiting for HIM to do something FOR us - God is waiting to do something through us… SURE – God could have just rained bread down from the sky BUT God has always preferred to do His miracles THROUGH His people… Not FOR His people...
THAT WAY we get blessed, our faith is stretched, we grow up spiritually, we develop maturity, we become who He wants us to be… LIVE – the life He created us to live.
BOTTOM LINE – Christ will NEVER ‘do for us’… What He longs ‘to do through us…’
What is God waiting for you to:
SO – He can move with power in your life?