If we are going to move toward Revelation 7:9-10 as the church of Jesus Christ, then we must pursue growth as disciples – both through developing new disciples and going deeper in life as existing disciples.
If we are going to become a Revelation 7 type of church, then we must reach out as a church and as individuals through evangelism (word), community outreach (deed), and more.
But if we are going to do grow disciples and if we are going to reach out, then we have to also intentionally pursue multiplication as a church. Some may say, ‘but what’s biblical about all that?’ It sounds very programmatic and organizational.
Let me say this about “intentionality.” We are either intending to become something or we are sliding toward something. I would rather intend to become God’s best for us as a church than unintentionally slide toward something else.
Multiplying in ministry is actually one of the most biblical things we can do, so let’s turn back to the Bible to see how this concept plays out through the entire Scripture. Let me share some notes on multiplication from the lives of Moses, Jesus, and Paul.
Moses on Multiplication (Exodus 18)
- The man of God redeemed from his wrongs
- Birth (Exodus 2:1-14)
- Early errors and murder (Exodus 2:11-15)
- Purification in the desert (Exodus 2:16-25)
- Calling at the burning bush (Exodus 3-4)
- The work of God in the Exodus
- The challenge to God’s people (Exodus 5)
- The conflict with Pharaoh (Exodus 6-13)
- The deliverance (Exodus 13:17f)
- The Red Sea showdown (Exodus 14:5-31)
- Provision of Manna (Exodus 16)
- Defeat of Amalekites (Exodus 17)
- The Sinai revelation (Exodus 19)
- Advice from Jethro (Exodus 18)
- Moses is exhausted (18:1-12)
- Jethro’s advice (18:13-23)
- Moses’ change of approach (18:24-27)
- Capable men (18:25)
- Leaders of groupings (18:25)
- Task of leadership/shepherding (18:26)
- Moses’ change of role (18:26)
Jesus on Multiplication (Luke 5:1-11, 27-32; 6:12-16; 9:1-6; 10:1-20)
- Luke 5:1-11, 27-32 – Jesus calls the first disciples
- Luke 6:12-16 – Jesus chooses the 12 apostles
- Luke 9:1-6 – Jesus sends out the 12 apostles to do what he did
- Luke 10:1-20 – Jesus sends out 72 to do what the 12 did
Paul on Multiplication (Acts 20:4-5)
“He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.” (Acts 20:4-5)
- Some we know nothing about: Pyrrhus; Secundus; Gaius; Trophimus
- Aristarchus (Col 4:10; Philemon 24)
- Tychicus (Col 4:7-9; Eph 6:21-22; Titus 3:12)
- Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25-30)
- Demas (Philemon 24)
- Titus (letter)
- Timothy (1 & 2 letter)
- Acts 16:1-5 – beginnings with Paul
- Acts 17:13-15 – teaching the faith
- Timothy writing with Paul (2 Cor 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:1; 1 & 2 Thess 1:1; Philemon)
- Timothy described by Paul (Philemon 2:19-24)
Paul talks about this in a specific way in his words to the young pastor, Timothy. Timothy was one of Paul’s young leaders who had accompanied him on much of his mission work and he is now a young pastor in the city of Ephesus.
“The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
The Multiplication Principle (2 Timothy 2:2)
Why we must multiply:
- If we are healthy disciples, we multiply disciples
- If we are healthy in our service, we multiply servants
- If we are healthy in our ministry, we multiply ministers
- Why?…our need (Moses)
- Why?…development of the other (Paul)
- Why?…the missions of the Master (Jesus)
When we must multiply:
- Right away!
- Share whatever God is teaching us with someone today
Who we must look for (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
So may we be a disciple-making church that is also a multiplying church. May we live toward the Revelation 7 vision of the church, which is also God’s dream for the church, where people from every tribe, tongue and nation are gathered around the throne of God.