Genesis 1:28 (NRSV): "God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion…'"
God created human beings for relationship and wanted them to cover the earth. What dream was on God's heart from the beginning?
How has our Creator built an organic strategy for multiplying human beings in the likeness of God in both the physical and the spiritual realms?
Why would the devil try to stop this plan from advancing by getting people to multiply sin and brokenness instead of the peace and purity of God?
Genesis 17:2 (NIV): "I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."
When God Almighty is choosing a family and nation to redeem, why does he want to grow it so large?
How is the God's blessing to Abraham seen in the evidence of exponential multiplication of his herds, wealth, and descendants?
Exodus 1:12-13 (NIV): "But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly."
How is it that the people of God, even in slavery and facing the onslaught of evil from other humans, could grow strong and overcome?
When God has a plan for his people in the history of salvation, who can ultimately overthrow it?
Matthew 13:23 (NIV): "But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
What is the good news here described by Jesus as the "message of the kingdom"? (See also verses 11 and 19.)
When heaven showers earth with its blessings and transformation, how can it be described as producing a minimum of a thirty-fold increase over that which was sown in us?
Matthew 13:33 (NIV): "He told them still another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.'"
Of the 82 times Jesus teaches about the kingdom of heaven in Scripture, what does it mean here, where heaven impacts the many facets of human life until they reveal the will of the King of heaven? (Examples: government, business, family, education, churches, media/arts, sports/entertainment)
Why is the kingdom of heaven able to multiply its influence where tradition and religion cannot?
Matthew 14:19 (NIV): "[Jesus] gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people."
When did the multiplication of the loaves and fish to feed the hungry multitudes of people that Jesus was healing occur? Was it in the blessing, the breaking, or the distribution by the disciples that the miracle of provision showed up?
If the multiplication came in the blessing of Jesus, then a pile as big as a haystack would have appeared on the ground. If it was in the breaking, Jesus would have been breaking off bread and fish into baskets for a couple hours to feed 7,000 or 8,000 people. The text never says that happened. It appears it was in the distribution by the disciples--the food just never ran out, similar to the oil and flour that lasted through a famine in the Old Testament.
What implications for our ministries does this multiplication text have?
Matthew 25:20 (NIV): "The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master', he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'"
In this parable of kingdom life, what is the proportional return on the investment that Jesus commends as faithful?
Why would Jesus describe the servant who did not double what was entrusted to him as wicked, lazy, and worthless? (v. 26, 30)
Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV): "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'"
When the crowds of needy people were multiplying, what strategy did Jesus use to multiply the presence of God in a saving way to meet the need?
Jesus sends the 12 disciples to do and teach the same message and methods of the kingdom of heaven as he was (Matthew 9:35; 10:1, 7-8). What principles of leadership selection and reproduction do we see here?
Acts 2:47 (NIV): "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
What would you rather have, $1,000 each day for a month, or a penny doubled and then doubled again every day for a month? (Hint: the penny doubles to over $10 million by day 31.)
Why was the kingdom of God expanding so steadily and rapidly that the net effect was 120 (Acts 1) becoming 3,120 (Acts 2) and then 5,000 men alone (Acts 4) and then thousands more as "the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly" (Acts 6:7)?
How does Acts 8 with Philip in Samaria show that this rapid increase of disciples is normal for the multiplication of kingdom growth? (Acts 8:6, 12)
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV): "It was he [the ascended Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."
The intent of the ascended and glorified Jesus is to "fill the whole universe" through his church in multiplied ministry to the world (vs. 10, 13). Jesus' method is multiplication of his own character and ministry through the five-fold equipping leaders he calls and qualifies, who in turn multiply ministry by equipping the saints in great numbers, who in turn multiply the serving by God's people directly through the whole church and community around them and ultimately to the world. What possibilities exist where this leadership paradigm is fully lived into?
How can we increase awareness and alignment among the five-fold equipping leaders raised by Christ in his church today, so that verse 12 overflows into verse 13?
2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV): "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
Paul speaks of four generations of equipping leaders branching out here. How would it impact the life of your church if every apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher would multiply leaders in this manner?
In Acts 19:10, how does the apostle Paul use this strategy to multiply leaders and new churches to fill the province of Asia? ("This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.")
Revelation 7:9 (NIV): "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes…"
Since this great multitude comes out of the generations who have lived on the earth, how can you increase the total harvest of the kingdom of God in your region, including crossing cultures and language groups to bring Jesus to them?
Can you see here how God has delighted in the dream of his heart and seen the fulfillment of millions upon millions of human beings becoming members of his forever family by receiving the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon