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This Is Only a Test | With Special Guest Pastor Levi Lusko

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2022 2:00 am

This Is Only a Test | With Special Guest Pastor Levi Lusko

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 24, 2022 2:00 am

**Join Pastor Greg Laurie, Chris Tomlin, and Jordan Feliz for Night 2 of the Boise Harvest! Be sure to share this life-changing event with your friends and family. Learn more at https://harvest.org/boise-harvest-2022/

In this special Sunday episode of the Greg Laurie Podcast, special guest Pastor Levi Lusko shares a powerful message from John 6 titled, “This Is Only a Test.”

Levi Lusko is the founder and lead pastor of Fresh Life Church, located in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Utah and everywhere online. He is the bestselling author of Through the Eyes of a Lion, Swipe Right, I Declare War, Take Back Your Life, and Roar Like a Lion. Levi also travels the world speaking about Jesus. He and his wife, Jennie, have one son, Lennox, and four daughters: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, and Lenya, who is in heaven. Learn more at https://levilusko.com/

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you. If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org about us encountering God. And that is true right where you are because you are a brick.

I am a brick. Altogether, we are the house of God. And it is such an honor to get to have this opportunity. I'm such a fan of Pastor Greg and Kathy Laurie. I love the way that God has worked in their lives as they have made themselves available and opened themselves up. And now with the Crusades and the radio ministry and just the churches and now getting to reach out to so many people. Through the internet, as God has given us this ability through the world wide web of literally fulfilling the Great Commission, going into all the world and preaching the gospel. If you haven't yet, take a quick second and hit that share button so you can send this out whether you're watching on the Harvest app or on YouTube or Facebook.

It's just it takes one little second to throw that share button to get that out to your story on Instagram. But you never know what God could do. I remember one year a family got saved at our church at Easter because they had found a little invitation on the back of their bathroom floor of a stall at the mall. And just to think how God could use that, that person who left it there, never knowing what God would do. Or maybe they didn't leave it there on purpose.

It did fall out in the bathroom floor after all. But God can use everything, even a share. So make sure you do that so God can bless you through using you even as we are about to open up God's word together.

But as you heard, my name's Levi. And I lead a church called Fresh Life. We started it 15 years ago just with the encouragement and support of Pastor Greg, who all along the way has been a champion to me in my corner, encouraging me to step out in faith and preach God's word. And God's using us as we've now got to grow and are reaching out into Portland, Oregon, and Salt Lake City, Utah, and literally campuses all across Montana, as well as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and our newest place that God is using us in Victor, Idaho. If you're ever in the area on vacation or travel, make sure you come see us at Fresh Life. Some prayers gearing up because we're this summer going to be reaching out in a way that we never have before through a summer camp that we're inviting youth groups all around the country to come to Montana, experience that Yellowstone life. We're putting on what we think will feel like a passion conference if it was planned by John Dutton. And we've got Kerry Jobe, and Cody Carnes, and Crowder, and Phil Wickham, and Tim Tebow and his wife Demi are coming. And it's just going to be an amazing time of revival.

And you can get information if you are interested in that at mvmnt2022.com. But please do keep it in your prayers. Well, if you have a Bible, we're going to be in John chapter 6 today. That's the sixth gospel of John.

We recently had the chance to release my newest book. And it's called The Last Supper on the Moon. And this book is all about NASA's 1969 lunar voyage, Jesus Christ's bloody death, and the fantastic quest to conquer inner space. But before we go any further into this message, to check out kind of the big picture and the story behind this book, why don't you watch this quick little video.

Three, two, one. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped off a lunar module and onto the surface of the Earth's moon for the very first time. Neil Armstrong's voice was immortalized in that moment as he uttered the words, That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. A few hours before this milestone was marked, while still inside the lunar module, Buzz Aldrin invited those who were listening in from every nation to quote, Pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.

And then the radio went silent. What the citizens of Earth didn't know at the time was that astronaut Buzz Aldrin had purposely planned this radio blackout in order to eat a small meal. From within a flight packet, he withdrew a piece of bread and wine from which he had received permission to bring on the spacecraft. And then, after reading from the Gospel of John, he proceeded to take communion. In the middle of a conversation between the heavens and the Earth, only Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were there to witness the last sunrise as the first supper on the moon. A lot of people don't realize that when Neil and Buzz landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, that before Neil's small step that was a giant leap for all mankind, first Buzz Aldrin took communion. And he brought with him not only a little card that had a verse from Psalm 8 and John 15, which you saw there on the screen, but he also brought a small piece of bread and some wine.

And he ate and drank in a moment of silence to celebrate the historic import of the occasion. And that was before he and Neil ate their dinner, ate their meal on the moon. So literally, the first thing ever eaten on the lunar surface was the last supper.

Communion, or communion, I guess you could call it, was literally the first thing eaten, the last supper on the moon, which was not an end, but a beginning. And that's where this book begins. But it's not a book about space. It's a book about Jesus. It's a book about how lifting our eyes to the heavens, looking at space, causes us naturally, like David did in Psalm 8, to ask the question, what is man?

When I consider the heavens, who am I? So we're using the language of outer space as a metaphor to try and understand this inner space, to conquer the most difficult battle that there is, the one between us and ourselves. We all can be our own enemy. And what I want to show in the book is that only through a relationship with Jesus can the fighting stop. Can there be victory?

Can there be peace? And this book hopefully will point you to Jesus, who, like the mighty Saturn V rocket that generated 7.5 million pounds of thrust and broke windows four miles away, that only through the cross of Christ, his resurrection, ascension, the sending of his spirit, can we all tap into the lives that Jesus wants us to live. Not only in salvation, but in sanctification, in growing as Christians.

As C.S. Lewis-Well put it, a lot of us are not as happy, as blessed, as God means for us to be. And so continuing to use the same thing it took to get saved to grow in our salvation is the hope, is the goal of this book. And what I want to do today in our time is going to be essentially the Costco-sized sample. Of course, I can't pack all of this message that's here in this book pointing to Jesus into our time together. So with our moments that remain, this is the Costco sample.

And if you enjoy what you taste here, the chimichangas are on aisle 17. You can get the book, the audio book. There's a small group curriculum.

All of that will be helpful to you, I hope. But in John 6, what we find is something that I give in the book, and that is one of the sevens. Seven played a big part in NASA's history. Of course, the original seven, the Mercury 7, were the seven first astronauts chosen. This is well-known because of Tom Wolfe's epic story, The Right Stuff. It was made by National Geographic and Disney Plus into a television series, The Right Stuff, about these original seven astronauts that were larger-than-life heroes in their day.

Take Justin Bieber and LeBron and Lady Gaga. All of that rolled up into seven individuals. That's how America treated and lauded these astronauts. Every mission they went on, they were given a ticker-tape parade down the Broadway in New York City.

People just followed their every move in articles in Life magazine. It was seven, though, was a big number when NASA got started. Similarly, when you read the Bible, you can't help but notice seven is all over the place. I mean, there are seven, we're told, spirits in Revelation. Isaiah talks about the seven different ways the Holy Spirit moves. We're told that there were seven letters Jesus wrote to seven churches. Seven times Jesus spoke as he hung on the cross. God made the world, we know, in six days. And on the seventh day, he rested, establishing a rhythm of a seven-day week.

When you look at a rainbow, there are seven colors in the visible spectrum, seven notes in the musical scale, in the Western scale. So seven's all over the place, seven trumpets, seven seals. And what we're going to look at in John chapter 6 is one of the seven signs that John collected in his gospel to show us who Jesus is. Seven miracles, and a lot of them line up with the seven I Am statements. And this particular one is the miracle that is contained in all four of the gospels, which is just one more way that the Bible tells us this is a big deal and really important, because repetition reveals importance. And if God gives a lot of time to something, that shows just how important it is. And the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, as it's been called, or the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 is, alongside the Resurrection, one of the only details, one of the only stories that is told four different times. Matthew tells it, Mark tells it, Luke tells it.

And then here, in John chapter 6, we see the feeding of the 5,000 again. And I want to read it to you. But first jot this down if you take notes.

And if you don't, start taking notes today, because it is so important. You cannot live out of a revelation that you forget. And by writing it down, by taking note of it, you're able to then reread it down the road and remember it when you need it. And I would caution you that today, the word that you might need might not be the one that's a felt need today.

God can and does speak words to us in season, but He also can speak to us words out of season. And maybe just maybe a month from now, or a season from now, or even a decade from now, there will come a situation where you'll need this. Myself, go back over notes that I took in Bible studies when I was 14, 15 years old. And they blessed me today in a different way and at a different level than they did 35 years ago, or I guess 25 years ago.

I'm almost 40 this year. So the math, sorry people, that's not my strong suit. I got in the ministry because I didn't want to do math. But John 6, title of this message is, this is only a test. This is only a test. That's what we used to hear on TV, and maybe they still do it when they would have that terrible sound, and you're like, ah, what's going on?

My feelings are rattling like I'm chewing on aluminum foil or something. And then you would hear, this has been a test of the emergency broadcasting system. Had this been an actual emergency, a tsunami, or an earthquake, or a tornado, then actual instructions would follow. But this, again, has just been a test.

It's the same sound we hear when those AMBER alerts go off, right? This is only a test. And that literally is what we find in John, chapter 6, in the feeding of the 5,000. Let's read it together. It says, after these things, Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed him because they saw his signs, which he performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward him, he said to Philip, where shall we buy bread that these may eat? But this he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, 200 denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one of them may have a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, well, there is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish.

Then he discounted the thing he had just suggested. But what are they among so many? Then Jesus said, make the people sit down. And there was much grass.

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 them to the disciples and the disciples to those sitting down. And likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, he said to his disciples, gather up the fragments that remain so that nothing is lost.

Therefore, they gathered them up and filled 12 baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, this is truly the prophet who is to come into the world. And Father, we thank you. We thank you for your word. We thank you for the privilege that it is to have such ease of access to your word that I hold in my hands this Bible. And like that, I have many other Bibles, many other versions. And all of us have these devices that give us unlimited and, in history, unprecedented access to your word.

God, we don't want to take that for granted. We want to tremble before your word, knowing it is precious, and it is life, and it is light. And I pray for your spirit now to illuminate our hearts to see what the natural man can't and, in his stubbornness, won't, that you would reveal it to us and open up our eyes to see glorious truths in your word that will impact our everyday lives, for the learning is truly for the living. And I ask that, as we spend this time considering your word, that you would, God, draw people to yourself who don't know you. And that if even one person on their exercise bike, or taking a walk, or driving and having this up on the podcast, or gathered together with some friends in the living room, that you would, through your spirit, draw people to yourself, even as we consider your son Jesus and who he is and what he has done through this miracle, through this story. And we pray your blessings on harvest. We pray your blessings, your rich blessings, on Pastor Greg and Kathy, on Jonathan and Brittany, just the entire church staff, family, everybody who works hard behind the scenes to make Harvest at Home possible. And we thank you for those who have tuned in today. And just even that small act of opening up their hearts making space, we know you will draw near to us as we draw near to you. And we pray this in Jesus' name.

And everyone together said, amen. Now, the sign of this miracle, the feeding of the 5,000, as it has been called, though, it's incorrect, because we read it. There were 5,000 men. And that's how the Jews kept track of numbers. They would just count the men, because it was easier to count.

I see the heads of households. And then they could round that up. So most commentaries put this number at upwards of 20,000 people, if you have wives and children, as there obviously were, because the little boy comes up to bring this food. So to think about Jesus feeding the 20,000, we are meant to see this as a illustration or a demonstration of the reality that Jesus will communicate. And that is the fact that he is the bread of life.

That's also in John chapter 6. I am the bread of life. And he pointed to himself as that which could meet the needs of the human heart. All of us are hungry. All of us are hungry for something. We've been our entire lives searching for that which can fill our bellies. And Isaiah says, why would you buy food that doesn't satisfy? And he's talking about all the food of this world, that we look to our careers to give us a full belly. We look to money to give us a full belly. And there's like in the empty carbs that we eat when we shouldn't be looking to these things to satisfy us, a little hit of that sugar spike and a little rush of it for a moment.

There is pleasure in sin, the Bible says, for a season. And when we look to idols, and I know we're going like, hey, it's 2022, pal. We don't have idols anymore. It's not like I have a little statue. Oh, yeah, we still do. Idolatry is alive and well. It might look like the Tesla logo.

It might look like the brand new pair of skis that you bought for your next epic trip to Park City, come next winter. It might look like how many followers you have on social media or how much cryptocurrency you have in your MetaMask and your MetaWallet. But we all have things at times we look to to give us the satisfaction that Jesus said, I alone can give. I alone can give you meaning.

I alone can give you life after death. Jesus said, I alone can forgive your sins only through being lifted up on the cross. Jesus said, could we look to him like the serpent in the wilderness, John chapter 3, and have our sins forgiven and have our sins paid for? It is that that he points us to.

That's the ultimate meaning of the feeding of the 5,000. He was pointing to himself as that which can satisfy. But as we begin to work through it, out of that being established as the primary teaching, the supporting, substantiating miracle to point to him as the bread of life, there are many different things that appear that we can take note of by way of application to our lives. So first note, and there's going to be seven different things as we move through the movements of this familiar story. And my prayer is that God would shine something fresh on all of us, especially if you folded up your notes and turned off your Evernote when you found out I was preaching this text because you're like, I have known this since I was a little kid in Sunday school, and there is nothing new I can find in this passage. So I pray that you wouldn't be robbed of the freshness God wants to speak into you because of a sense of familiarity with it.

The truth is, you've never experienced this text today. And every new day, there's something new God wants to show us. That's why the angels in Isaiah 6 as they fly around the throne say holy, holy, holy every time they come around because they're each time seeing something new about who God is. God can never become old. The gospel can never become old if you let him show you something new. So what is the first of the seven?

Yes, I'm sorry. Gratuitous plug again, the sevens as they show up. What are the seven movements to this story? The first is we find an unsolvable problem. Thousands of people come to Jesus, and Jesus says to his disciples, give them something to eat. But he doesn't just ask the disciples that. He singles out Philip. Philip, and he turns to Philip and says, hey, Philip, where can we buy all of these people some food that they can have their hunger satisfied? Now, I think the reason he asked Philip this question is because we're told that Philip was from this area.

Philip was from Beseidah, which is a nearby area. So I kind of imagine, much like the friend that you and I all can think of, who when we tell them we went to their hometown, they sort of act like the unofficial chamber of commerce, like they're a one-man personal Yelp website just of their city. And they go, oh, where'd you eat? And you go, oh, well, I ate here. Like, oh, that's not where the locals go.

That's where tourists go. If you want the real deep dish pizza, you can't go to Giardano's. You've got to go to Lou Malnati's. And there's the Philly people who will say it's Pat's. And there are the Philly people that say, no, it's Geno's that has the real cheese steak. And there are other Philly people who go, both of those are not the real thing.

You've got to go over here by the Eagles stadium. There's always that person who just is so eager to tell you all the things. And since they were in the area, I kind of just imagine with my creativity as I read the Bible, Philip sort of like kind of strutting his stuff. This is his moment to let everybody know this is what's what. And so when all these people come, and they're hungry, and Jesus knows that they need something to eat, I kind of love the twinkle in his eye that makes Jesus say to Philip, hey, Philip, this is your area. You seem to know it so well.

Where should we, what grocery store should we go to to get all of these people some food? And Philip, I just love it. You almost see him having a seizure.

You almost just see him like, the Insta Costco. There's no way, right? He says there's no way. Not only because there's no restaurant that could accommodate 20,000 people, there's no caterer that last minute could put together such an order and do such a fee, but he also knows how much money they have in the bag. Because he had asked Judas just a couple of days ago how much we got. And interestingly enough, the number that Judas came back with was less than the number it should have been. But that's a different sermon for a different day.

But he says there's no way, even if we had 200, even if we had this huge sum of money in the bag that we could possibly do this. And listen, Jesus knew that was the case because the text clearly tells us he said this to test him. Verse 6, look at it one more time.

It was there the first time you read it. He said this to test him. That is to say, Jesus had no intention of Philip going to a grocery store. He had no intention of having the disciples do a Safeway run. There was no point in his mind when he thought Instacart was what he was going to do. Because the text says he already knew what he was going to do.

So from the beginning of time, he knew how he was going to feed this multitude. Yet he went through the exercise of asking Philip how to do something he didn't actually want Philip to do. Why would he do that? Here's why.

I wrote it down this way. The greatest miracles in scripture usually follow the most bewildering behavior. This is bewildering. Why would Jesus ask a question he actually doesn't want to know the answer to? Because he's different than we are. The Bible says his ways are not our ways. How does this apply to you and to me? Whenever we see God acting strange, we should take note that he's about to do something great. Whenever we come up against something, we don't have an answer for it. We're going, why would you act that way?

Why would this happen this way? We can truly believe that God is getting ready to do something. When God told Abraham to bring his son up a mountain because he was going to have him go through the ritual of offering him up to God, the Bible says in Genesis 22, God did all this to test Abraham. When God's acting weird or doing something you don't understand or even it's not like you think God should be acting, you can say to yourself, this is only a test.

This is only a test. God doesn't intend to actually go through with it with Abraham. God doesn't intend to actually go through with it to Philip.

He's doing this to develop him. So when you're going through something weird, something hard, and God's not acting like you think he should act, you have to remember, he's testing you. And a faith that can't be tested is a faith that can't be trusted.

So give him room to be God. Secondly, this movement of a story continues on with a heart of compassion. We see an unsolvable problem, then a heart of compassion. The compassion is in Jesus's heart where he cared for these people. The disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away.

We know that from the synoptic accounts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, they tell us that the people were a problem. The disciples wanted to hang out with Jesus. They wanted the rest. They were stressed, by the way, because John the Baptist had just died. They had emotionally been fatigued by dealing with his funeral. They needed a hot minute, right? Church staffs the week after Easter or Christmas, like, oh my gosh, we're run down.

We need a day off. And that's how the disciples were sort of feeling. And Jesus cared for the people. And Jesus knew they had a need. And so he wanted to feed them. He was often moved with compassion for the crowds because they were like sheep that didn't have a shepherd. And so, of course, he did care for the food in their stomach. But even more than that, Mark 634, he cared for the emptiness of their souls. So he began to teach them many things.

John doesn't highlight it as much, but this meal came along with a message. He gave to them a Bible study. He taught them about who he was.

Jesus would often use Old Testament stories, as well as real life situations, to illustrate something about him. And that's why the common people heard him gladly. He didn't come across like some elite professional clergy.

He was down to earth. He told stories that connected with them. And so he had a heart of compassion. And that's why he didn't just meet their physical need. He dealt with their spiritual need. And the church should always care about both. Yes, we care about homeless shelters and food banks, but we also prioritize evangelism and Bible study and Christian education.

Number three, third movement, we're covering all seven. There's an unlikely solution. And the unlikely solution is when Philip says we don't have the money, we don't have the food, Jesus says, well, what do you have? And a little boy emerges. He's brought to Jesus by Andrew.

This is key. Every time Andrew's name comes up in the Bible, he's bringing someone to Jesus. May God bless us all to be like Andrew and invite people to watch Harvest at Home with us and invite people and be bringing our children to Jesus, bringing outsiders to Jesus, bringing the seekers to Jesus. Andrew brings a little boy to Jesus. And what does he say? Here's a little boy who has five loaves, barley loaves, the food of the poor, and two sardines.

This is a better translation. It's these small little fish. Don't think big lake trout or something. It wasn't mahi-mahi, it was these small little fish. It was salted.

It was what the boy could roll up in a tortilla, basically, and bring with him in the pocket of his robe and have to munch on his mom. By the way, the real unsung hero of this story, mom or dad or whoever it was, maybe his grandma, who packed him this lunch, had no idea that as they did this small little thing in secret, that they were gearing up to do something that would be used by the hand of God to feed 20,000 people and go down into scripture and be encouraging people all around the world at Harvest at Home in the year 2022. So an unlikely solution is God using something small, a small act of obedience, to do something great.

How many loaves do you have? You see, human nature makes it very easy to focus on what we don't have. I would do this, but I don't have the resources. I don't have the ability.

I don't have the gifts. But God has very little concern for what you don't have. He has a lot of concern, though, for how you use what you do have. If you were given one talent, he doesn't expect you to do what someone with 10 talents was given, but he does want you to multiply the one talent.

If you have two, he wants you to multiply. If you've been given only five loaves and two fishes of skill and ability and gift, use that to bring glory to God. Put what you have into God's hand. If you haven't yet begun the journey of giving, begin giving. Don't wait to be a millionaire to give.

Give right where you are. Begin to support this ministry. Begin to support the work of God in the world. As you tithe, as you give those offerings, you're putting your five loaves and two fishes into God's hands.

It's an unlikely solution. The better solution would be God says, you stay on the bench with your little fishies, with your little sardines and barley. You keep your little tithe.

You keep your little gifts. You'll just rain down manna from heaven, because he can. But God likes to use us. God loves to use his children to do great things. So the unlikely solution is God involving the foolish things of this world.

The fourth movement is a grateful petition. You'll notice in the scripture that before the food was handed out to the people, first Jesus blessed and broke the bread. He blessed and broke the bread. Now, I want you to use your imagination. I want you to see. We should try and smell the Bible if we can. 20,000 people, 12 apostles, one Messiah. And he's holding now what he received from that little boy, that little gift, that little offering. We said, here am I. Send me.

I don't have much, but I'm going to give it to you. And now he's got it in his hands. And it's broken, and it's blessed. And the blessing, the scripture tells us, involved thanksgiving. And that's why I called it a grateful petition. Petition is a fancy word to say, prayer.

And I wanted it to rhyme with the other points, which is why I picked petition over prayer. But really, he was just praying. And his prayer had in the middle of it gratitude. That is to say, like many of us would, he thanked God for the food they were about to eat. And in the prayer, he said to his father, thank you. Some have speculated he used a well-known prayer at the time, thank you, that, Father, you give the rain, and you bless the grain that allows it to grow. You made the vine. You allowed it to produce grapes. It was common prayers that were prayed.

We have our own versions of it. Thank you, God, for the food we're about to eat. We pray you would use it for the nourishment of our bodies. Bless those who prepared. Jesus was thanking God for this food, hold on, that he knew wasn't enough. He's holding in his hands what is not enough for this situation. Philip had said so. Andrew had said so.

And he and his team did not have enough money to pay the bills for what it would take to actually give these people each a bite of food. And yet, holding not enough, having not enough, he chooses gratitude, which is God's will for you and for me. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4, this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus, that in everything, you would give thanks. I would give thanks. That's God's will for you.

We ask that question a lot. What's God's will for me? Well, here it is. In everything, give thanks. I love that Paul didn't say for everything, give thanks. Because there are things we face that we shouldn't be thankful for. We don't need to be thankful for death, or thankful for cancer, or thankful for abuse. Those things are not to be thanked God, to thank God for. But we can't thank God in everything. And in this lack, and in this situation, Jesus models for us what should be our response. God, we don't have enough. I don't understand how this is going to work. I don't see any way out. And yet, I choose to thank you, that you're a provider.

I thank you, God, that you're a healer. I think about in our own church, we ran out of money in a building project. And it was a lot of stress and a lot of fear. And there were overages. That's how construction works. And we had had margin and had buffer.

But it even exceeded that. And there was just such a sense of, how is this going to work? And it took faith for us to say, thank you, God, even when we didn't know what he was going to do, but to believe that he did, and that we were still going to trust him. If you can only follow God when you fully understand what's going on, then you actually don't need God, because faith begins where our resources end. And so Jesus is showing us what to do.

Today, with what you're holding, I don't know how I'm going to raise these kids. I don't know how I'm going to do this, start this business, start this church, write this song to say, God, I choose to thank you anyway. It is an act of defiance in the middle of a storm.

It's a grateful petition. And notice, he also broke the bread. And I love that here we have in Jesus's hands something that has been broken, and it is something that is about to be blessed. And I believe it is always so. Does not Jesus say, blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who are persecuted?

What's the point? In God's hands, blessing and brokenness always go together. So if in your heart there's a brokenness, if in your life there's a brokenness, if your feelings have been hurt, if you feel like you've been abandoned, if there's brokenness in your life, then trust God that he's about to bless you. Because pain always leads to power if we let that pain push us into God and not away from God. Well, that's the fourth movement of the story.

The fifth is there's a mentality of multiplication. I love the little detail John gives, that Jesus did not hand out the food. He handed the food to his disciples, and he had them hand it out. And I love this, because it's the same as when we find out that Paul told the Corinthians, I didn't baptize any of you except for Gaius and Crispus.

Why? Because Paul was focused on raising up those who would do the baptizing. Similarly, Jesus, we're told, didn't actually baptize anybody, even though he and his disciples baptized even more than John the Baptist. And that was his name, the Baptist, right? And Jesus knew, it's not just about what I as a leader do, it's about who I give the opportunity for other people to do those things.

He could have thrown out all this bread, but he involved the disciples. So leadership question, who are you raising up to do what God has given you the ability to do so you can multiply? So it's not just one person doing it, but now it's 12 people doing it. A question I'm always asking is, who's going to reach my grandkids?

Who can I minister and release and give opportunities to you today who will be positioned to do greater things down the road? It's a mentality of multiplication. Five of you shall put 100 to flight, Leviticus says, but 100 of you could put 10,000 to flight.

It's called compound interest, and you should check it out. Number six, we're getting very close to the end. This next movement is an all-you-can-eat celebration.

Because once Jesus passes to the disciples the blessed and broken bread and the fish and hands it to them, and they start handing it out, the order is given. You can eat as much as you want. I like those words.

I love that idea. My goal in any diet is to figure out what are the good things that I can have no limit of. Is it peanuts? Is it celery?

Is it cucumbers? Fine, just tell me what I can have unlimited quantities of. And I love that as Jesus hands this out, it's an unlimited celebration. It's an all-you-can-eat occasion. Charles Spurgeon commented on this passage when he said that this is one of the rules of Christ's feasting as much as they wanted. And then he says this, according to your appetite, according to your will, according to your faith, so be it unto you. You can have as much or as little as you want of God's word. You can tune in all 52 weeks of the year for Harvest at Home, or you can just go to a couple of them. You can just rely on a weekly sermon to bless you, a few podcasts here and there.

Or you can open up this book every single day and begin your day with a compass, begin your day with a rudder to say over your family, as for me and my house, we will serve Lord. It's up to you. Some people went away, they ate a little bit. Some people went away, they ate a lot.

How much they got out of it was up to them, up to their appetite. So how is your spiritual appetite? Are you memorizing God's word? How many prayers are you praying? A lot of people talk about, well, my prayer didn't get answered. I think the bigger problem with prayer is the prayers that were never prayed in the first place.

And Jesus said, you have not because you ask not, but ask and the door will be open to you. It's an all-you-can-eat celebration. Some will get to heaven and find out they laid up wood.

Some will find out they laid up straw. Others will have an abundant entrance, and they'll be rewarded in gold and silver and precious stones. Run, Paul said, that you may win that full prize. All you can eat. It's up to you how much you get out of this Christian life that Jesus died for you to have. Now, seventh and finally, we see when the story ends and the dust settles, there's an excess of provision. The multitudes are happy and glutted, and they go away. And all that's left is the disciples and Jesus. And he says, make sure you pick up every crumb so that, here we go, nothing is wasted. Now, I love this is technically miracle food, right?

It's like it came from these five lows. It multiplied in God's hands. It multiplied in God's will. So the logic could be, he'll make more if we need more.

But Jesus is much too efficient to ever waste a miracle. He wants it all harvested. He wants it all retained.

God cares very much about stewardship. And so he says, I want you to all load it up. And when the story was done, there were 12 baskets of fragments. The word in the Greek is kofinos, and it could be actually translated backpack of provisions. It was this straw basket that they would weave, and then they would wear on their back. And I love the idea as they march down the hill to get into the boat, because spoiler alert, next comes a storm Jesus sends them into.

And again, when he's acting weird, he's up to something. But in that storm, they will each have a basket pointing to his past faithfulness for them to remember in their present difficulty. The excess of provision, though, speaks a very, very, very important lesson if you look at the whole Bible. When Jesus's ministry on this day was done, there were leftovers that he said are still going to be good tomorrow.

What's the point? Well, to use language from the book, he's saying, I am greater than Moses. Now, think how that would sit with the Jews.

To the Jews, Moses basically hung the moon. Moses could do no wrong. Do you think you're greater than Moses? Do you think you're greater than him who walked with God face to face, the Jews would ask. And then Jesus saying, my food that I created here, that I multiplied here, is still going to be good next week.

It won't spoil. He was saying, you think the biggest thing ever that happened, and this comes later in John 6, was Moses giving bread from heaven. But remember, Moses's manna, which is actually God's, not Moses's, but through Moses, it rotted if they tried to keep it. They had to get it new every single day except for the Sabbath.

They would turn wormy in the pots. Jesus was saying, I greater than Moses, I give you food that's still going to be good tomorrow. You see, here's the point. To hear, keep the 10 commandments, do good, man. That feels really good on a Sunday.

Yes, we're going to go live for God. But then you get out to the Tuesday, and you realize, dang it, that didn't go so well. Whereas when you follow Jesus, that feels good on a Sunday.

But let me tell you something. That's still good on Tuesday, on Wednesday, on Thursday, on Friday, because the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. And seven days of the week, that food still tastes good because it's not about a righteousness you earn.

It's about one you receive. And when that's the case, then you get to walk with God every day knowing that He has already made you perfect in Jesus' name. Amen. I hope that encourages you as much as it encourages me. But before I pray for you, let me just give you four different ways to live this out this week. The next time you feel like, Levi, I'm going through a test.

God's acting weird right now. Remember these four things. And it's an acrostic T-E-S-T. The T stands for training. If you're in training, you need an obstacle course every once in a while.

So if it's getting weird right now, just remember, I'm in training, so this is only a test. The E stands for eccentric. Remember that God, look it up in the dictionary, eccentric is defined as departing from the customary. God always departs from whatever is customary because he's not a normal person.

C.S. Lewis said he's not a tame lion. So if it feels like this is eccentric, that's how God works at times. If he wants to bring a baby into the world, he chooses a virgin. Wants to kill a giant, takes a little boy. Wants to feed 20,000 people, little boy again.

All right, so that's eccentric in my book. The S stands for sovereign. Since he's sovereign, he knows the end from the beginning so we can relax in the middle. And then the final T, track record. He's never failed, so why would he start with you?

This is only a T-E-S-T test. And so, Father, we thank you for your provision. Yes, with our daily bread that we pray for and need, but much more with the eternal salvation of which this bread is a mere symbol.

And I pray more than anything else that every single one of us listening and watching, if we have not, would receive you as Lord and Savior so that we could have a right standing before you. So that when we die, and every one of us are going to die, that we will know our sins are forgiven and it's not about how good we were or weren't. We're not going to find our life put on a scale and all the good deeds on this side and the bad on the other.

And hopefully, we have more good than bad. Because if that was how it all stacked up, no one could stand before you. But with you, there's forgiveness. Therefore, you are feared.

You allowed your son, who never sinned, to be made sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in him. And I pray right now for all those who are under the conviction of your spirit. And maybe that's what you're feeling. You wouldn't know how to describe it like that.

You would just say, my heart's fluttering. I sense God. I know I'm guilty. Guilt's a gift. If you feel guilty, that's God convicting you. He only convicts to bring you to righteousness. The devil condemns to lock you up in shame. But God today, through conviction, is trying to knock on the door of your heart. And the Bible says, if you open the door, he will come in. He'll save you.

You can be saved right now. You're in Iowa. You're in Pennsylvania.

You're in Argentina. You're listening. You're going to leave. God save me. He can save you. And he's speaking to you.

I believe no one's watching by accident. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to say a prayer. And as I pray, I want you to pray with me. I want you to pray, believing in your heart and saying this out loud with your mouth so that you can hear yourself confessing that Jesus is Lord, that God raised him from the dead. And I can say on the authority of scripture, you will be saved. This could be your new beginning, your turning point as the prodigal son or daughter. You're coming back to the Father.

Perhaps you grew up knowing about him. But today's the day you nail it down and say, I'm going to choose to give my life to him. Pray this with me. Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner.

There's no excuse for that. I can't fix myself. But I know that you can. Please come into my heart. Make me new. I give myself to you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 23:10:11 / 2023-04-27 23:29:48 / 20

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