Hymns: 692 Jesus Saves 685 O Breath Of Life
Bible Reading: Mark 6:31-44
Consider the Lord's command to disciples in v 37. "Give ye them to eat."
We want to look at the Lord's challenge to the disciples to feed the 5000. They were given this task before the Lord multiplied the bread and fish. They were brought to confess total inadequacy and need of the Lord's power.
1. We are challenged to feed the souls of men in this world. The church is commissioned to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel."
But how can it be done?
2. We need to pray for the Lord's intervention because of the impossibility of the task. With this scene of feeding the 5000 in mind as a symbol of the church's great commission, I want us to read 2 Cor. 4:1-3 to learn how the Lord can multiply the ministry of the gospel.
You will see our responsibility in Ch. 4:3. We need to realise the vast need for the gospel in this world and that we are commanded to address this need. "Give ye them to eat," the Lord said to His disciples, and he speaks to us also about feeding precious souls who will perish without the gospel. We see how the Lord works through the ministry of the gospel by mere men, who are only earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7).
3. We must confess our insufficiency. Ch 2:16. That is how Philip and all the disciples must have felt. They complained of so many to feed with so little supply. The apostle Paul recognised the sufficiency that was in the Lord. See 2Cor. 3:1-5. We must be brought to confess our total inadequacy to minister spiritual things and reach men with the gospel.
4. In gospel ministry, we must cast ourselves on the sufficiency of God, in Christ (Ch. 3:5).
The Lord performed this miracle of feeding the 5000 to demonstrate that He possesses creative power. Think of the impact it had on so many people. After this event, His fame was spread abroad far and wide.
The Lord performed the miracle of multiplying the bread, but he gave the food to the disciples, and it passed through their hands to the men sitting down in rows of 100.
The Lord is able to make us able ministers of the NT ch. 3:6
The Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. See the power of the Spirit in such ministry Ch. v6 -18.
5. In gospel ministry, we must learn to depend on the Lord for His blessing to feed souls.
"We faint not" It is not hopeless. It is not pointless (Ch. 4:1).
We learn that there is no need to resort to deceit or gimmicks (Ch. 4:2).
Our confidence is in the person and work of Christ (Ch. 4:5). Do not miss this truth.He is able to feed the souls of men. He is able to shine into hearts (v 6). This is how the work of gospel ministry is accomplished. We must pray earnestly for that.
While we keep on preaching the person and sufficiency of Christ we shall expect God's power to be at work through us, even though we are but earthen vessels.
6. Every one of the Lord's people shall be fed. Just as there was a sufficiency of food for the 5000, so the Lord of the Church will feed His people. 5000 X 1/4 lb of fish each = 1250 lbs of fish. Two slices of bread per person would require approximately 800 loaves. It took a miracle to supply this urgent need. Yet, there was food left over. Without the gathering of the fragments recorded here, we might think this was nothing more than a snack!
The challenge of taking the gospel to the world is formidable, but when the Lord is pleased to bless our labours it can be done. Every conversion is a miracle of God's grace. Pray for the power of the Lord to convert souls through the gospel.
7. We need to pray for the same compassion that moved the disciples to point out the need for food to the Lord (Mark 6:35-36). We must do this in prayer when we see souls in need. We need a burden for perishing souls. We need a view of what Christ can do through earthen vessels.
He took the boy's lunch and the five loaves and broke them in public through prayer to His Father.
The Lord passed the food through the hands of the disciples and it was they who fed the rows of people So, they did actually feed the people, after the Lord multiplied the food. Imagine 50 rows of 100 men each. That is like 50 congregations. Think of the many gatherings of hungry congregations around the world on the Lord's day and the Lord feeds them all with His word by His Spirit.
Our task is to keep feeding souls through the power of the Lord and His word. He works miracles of grace through the Holy Spirit lifting the veil from off eyes, making blind sinners to see (2 Cor. 4:6-7).