Series: Reproducing The Christ; Changing Seasons
Sun am 18 July 2010 – Kobus Swart
(John 3:16); John 6:1-71; Eph. 4:7- 8 KJV; (Matt. 24:14); 2 Tim. 2:2
Are we a church that is busy infecting the community or are we merely a presence with some services rendered into the community? I believe transitions are needed in order to become more effective as the salt of the earth, the light of the world. It is not enough to just represent Christ, we need to reproduce Him.
When feeding the 5000, Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples to give to the people. Jesus and the disciples kept breaking the bread and distributing it, so the miracle happened in the hands of Jesus and the disciples. Multiplication took place as they were feeding the people. Once the multitude were filled, the leftovers were gathered – twelve baskets full. The number 12 usually has to do with the perfection of (apostolic) divine government.
Following the sign (“attesting miracle”), Jesus refused any exaltation (the crowd wanted to make Him king) and withdrew by Himself. When the multitude caught up with Jesus again, He told them, “Truly, truly I say to you, you seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’” (John 6:28). The answer? “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29).
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:54). How do we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus and preserve eternal life? This must have baffled people. It was difficult for them and it is difficult for us today unless we have understanding by the Holy Spirit, unless we have present truth. The key verse: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Jesus is beginning to explain what it means to eat His flesh and drink His blood. It is the Spirit that gives life, it is not mere sermons, it is words of Spirit and life. He didn’t make the gospel easier, He said if you want eternal life you must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Then He explains it. It’s all in the Word, filled with spirit and life. By then the multitude had left Him. He then asked the twelve, “Don’t you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:68). That is how we eat His flesh and drink His blood; it is by assimilating the words of life and Spirit.
More about the sign of the 12 baskets. What does it mean? Why 12 baskets full? Christ poured Himself into twelve “baskets” – referring to the apostles – who were going to take Him to the world with a living present truth Word in their mouth. How will the world have eternal life; how will the world eat His flesh and drink His blood? It is when the Living Word of Christ is spoken through those who are sent (apostolos = sent ones). This is how the world will be infected by the living Christ in us.
“Wherefore he saith, when he ascended upon high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Eph 4:8 KJV). Jesus was one man in one body in one place at one time. But when He ascended on high He took captivity captive and released Himself into the ministry gifts. No more limitations! (See also 2 Cor 5:16). Sent ones need to become breadbaskets, grace carriers. This is how the many-membered Christ will infect the world. I doubt whether this will happen through a mere soul winning campaign.
Something has to happen and that has to do with ministry multiplication. We have to have a generational mindset. A Church that is walking in apostolic order will impact the world. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Generations must come into order. “Only a father in ministry can pass on the full measure of identity, purpose, inheritance, vision and blessing. To be Christ focused is to be focused on the future generations” (Hanby). Paul says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). The success of any ministry can only be measured in the fourth generation. Jesus started with twelve disciples and through ministry multiplication they infected the whole world. And this is where the father-son relationship plays a key role. We have the responsibility not to just represent Jesus but to reproduce Him. Something in your character, something in your lifestyle, something in the fruit you bear must impact that other person. This Biblical plan has to be implemented by help of the Holy Spirit.