May 19, 2024

Abundance

Abundance

TRINITY HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

 

SUNDAY SERMON

19th of May, 2024

Topic:                         Abundance

Preacher:                   Pastor Abiodun Kolapo

Text:                           2 Kings 3:15 – 18, 20

 

MESSAGE

The Word of the Lord for us this month is that it is our month of abundance of rain, and there is no better time than this present time to hear this kind of Word from the Lord. We do not need a prophet to tell us that the country is passing through a turmoil, and the truth is that it is a global thing, it’s just that it is bearable in some places than the other. So, it takes a lot of faith for the child of God to survive, that’s why the Bible says, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ That is, in the midst of the scarcity, famine and turmoil, the mind of God for his children is for them to live in abundance. The gospel of prosperity might have been bastardised but the truth is that God wants his children to flourish, and we see a lot of this example in the scriptures.

There was a time the children of Israel were complaining of meat and the Bible says, the Lord sent a wind that brought quails into the land, such that the Israelites could walk miles and keep picking quails. The quails were so much that the children of Israel could not finish gathering them. In 2 Kings 4:42 – 44, the Bible says somebody brought bread to Elisha and he told his servant to serve it to a hundred men. The servant complained that the twenty loaves of barley bread could not be enough, but Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord: “They shall eat and have some left over,”’ and they indeed had some left over. So, it wasn’t Jesus alone who multiplied bread.

All of these point to the fact that God is able to supernaturally meet the needs of his people. We read the story of the woman of Zarephath, who was about to eat her last meal. The Lord sent the Prophet Elisha to her, first of all, to be a blessing to her and to help her later on, and the Bible says, she lived in abundance throughout the famine. In Luke 4, Jesus was saying that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah, but it was only one of them in Zarephath that God sent Elijah to, and I am wondering, why did God send to just one? The advantage we have now is that God has given us faith by which we can access His promises. Whatever God did in the Old Testament, He still has the power to replicate such in our days. God is still in the business of giving abundance. Jesus multiplied 5 loaves of bread and they have leftovers. God is a specialist in meeting people at the point of their needs. There is a difference between God meeting your needs supernaturally and giving you an abundance that you cannot finish. What God has promised us is abundance, which means something that is beyond you, that you cannot consume alone; God does this so that you can be a distributor and a channel of blessing to others. In 1 Kings 18, the Bible tells us of that famine in the land and what eventually happened when the Prophet told Ahab that he could hear the sound of the abundance of rain, not just a trickle, but an abundance. Our God is a specialist in giving abundance, and it is not just limited to food, but even revelations. Whatever God does, He does it in abundance.

Jesus says in John 10:10 that ‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly,’ this is overflowing life, something you cannot finish but just have to share with others. God wants to pour His rain and blessings upon our lives. He wants us to prosper in the midst of the famine, hardship and turmoil. He wants to surprise us in ways beyond our comprehension. In Leviticus 25:3 – 4, the Bible talks about the year of Jubilee – the year declared as the year of release among the Israelites. Here, the Lord told the Israelites that ‘Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard…’, that is, no planting in the seventh year. Now, God knew the people would ask questions such as we ask today, ‘How can God expect me to give when I don’t have enough?’ Therefore, God said in verse 20, ‘And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?” Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.’ Do you get what God is saying here? In other words, it is possible to have the profit of three years in one year. This is a very powerful scripture. God is saying, ‘See, there is a level of blessing I can give such that you will do something small and your harvest will be tripled; you will get manifold blessings that will last you for years.’ So, it is God’s mind and intention that His children be blessed.

Again, Amos 9:13 (MSG) says, ‘“Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like win pouring off the mountains and hills.”’ Blessings! That is God’s promise for us and I believe it with the whole of my heart. God is saying things will happen so fast; you do not have to bother about how God will do it, He has given you His Word through His Servant, just believe. Most times, we argue with the Word of God and that is why we don’t get results. It’s high time we believed the Word of God and put questions aside. There will be blessings everywhere, that’s the Word of God to us.

Deuteronomy 28:2 also says, ‘And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.’ In other words, the blessings will overcome you, you can’t catch up, they will be ahead and all around you; that is what God is promising us. God is not just promising you enough for you and your family, but abundance, so that you can be a blessing to everyone He has brought across your path. This is God’s promise to us as we gather before Him.

Now, as children of God, how can we tap into God’s resources and enjoy this abundance that God has promised us? We read some things in the scripture and maybe because we haven’t rightly divided the Word, we think that is the norm. When Peter said silver and gold I have none, that doesn’t mean it is the prescription for our lives as Christian, the same way it doesn’t mean we should pray for thorns in our flesh because Paul said, ‘I have thorns in my flesh…’ they only said what was their reality at that time. God wants you to be a blessing. Everywhere people supported the Ministry of Paul, he would bless them; in Philippians 4:18 – 19, he says ‘Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Now, can you imagine quoting that verse without doing what the Philippians did? So, I want us to consider a few principles that I have seen in the scripture about how we can claim spiritual abundance.

Know that God cannot be boxed into a cage; He has principles. Let me give you an example: God gave abundance to people through several means. In the case of Elijah in 1 Kings 18, after the defeat of the Prophet of Baal, he put his head between his knees and started to pray. He told his servant to go and check the clouds and when nothing happened, he told him to return until the seventh time, until there was rain. However, in the case of Elisha that we read in 2 Kings 3: 16 – 19, God told him that he won’t see wind nor rain but the abundance will come, and the ditches shall be full of water. What God was saying is that he doesn’t need to see anything physical but he will bring abundance in his own chosen way. Yet at the same time, God has the ability to produce manna from heaven. We know that God usually doesn’t work that way now; I’ve not seen where He rained Manna from heaven again but He always has his own way of giving his people abundance. Now, what are these principles?

One principle of divine abundance is that you must work. You must have a work you are doing. God doesn’t bless a lazy man or woman. In Ephesians 4:28, Paul says, ‘Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.’ In other words, he will have enough to even give others. Reverend would always tell us that grace causes us to labour more. That you have grace doesn’t mean you will be lazy, indolent and doing nothing. God blesses the works of people’s hands with abundance. Deuteronomy 28:8 says, ‘The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand…’ God has a way of commanding blessings, that is why we must not be too rational and think it is our struggles and strength that will bring riches and abundance. The Lord will command His blessings upon the works of your hand in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

For us in the New Testament, all these are promises to claim. The Bible says, ‘For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us’ (2 Cor. 1:20). In those days, they had what we call storehouses, something like granaries and barns where they keep farm produce, but for us today, these represent your bank accounts, stock, etc. and we must begin to think like this because we will not be little. My blessing will be upon your storehouses, and because you are not hoarding, God’s blessings will rest upon it, but you must do something.

Another thing is that, we must learn to prepare for abundance. I cannot overemphasise the issue of preparation. Faith without works is dead; show me your faith without your work and I will show you my own faith by my works, that’s what the scripture says. You keep praying for abundance and yet you are not making any preparations to receive the abundance. In 2 Kings, when God was about to do the miracle, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha and what he said was that they should dig ditches, because God will bring rain and those ditches will serve as containers for the water. Can you imagine if they hadn’t done anything? God is telling you to also create containers for the blessings He is bringing your way. For the widow whose husband was one of the sons of the Prophets, the prophet asked her what she had in her house and then told her to borrow more vessels, not just a few. So, it depends on how far you can see. Jesus told them in John 2 to fill the waterpots, and they filled them to the brim, what if they had filled them halfway? They would get ‘halfway blessings’. This means that it depends on how much you can see, and how much you can prepare. What are you doing in preparation for the blessings you are praying for and the abundance you want to receive from God? What are you doing differently from others? We live in a rapidly changing world and we must learn to think differently. Prepare for God’s abundance. That was the same thing Elijah told Ahab; he said to him in 1 Kings 18:44, ‘Ahab, prepare your chariot.’ Prepare! That is the first instruction. There must be preparation in anticipation of the abundance you want from God.

Another principle that runs through the scripture is to learn to honour the Lord. The people of the world don’t believe this and will even counter you that the church wants to rob you, but if we want divine abundance, these are the principles God has given us. Learn to honour the Lord with your substance (Prov. 3:9). All these arguments on social media about tithing and giving are not necessary. You don’t need these arguments to honour God. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:9, ‘Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase;’ and what follows in verse 10? ‘So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.’ Overflow! That’s abundance. I can tell you it works. It works very well. Now, it shouldn’t be a transactional relationship with God. It shouldn’t be that you are honouring God solely because he has promised that when you do so, He will give you abundance. Of course, it is only a fool or simpleton that will ignore what God has promised but it should be an act of service to you, not just a transaction. In Malachi 3, Prophet Malachi was rebuking them for bringing deformed animals as sacrifice to God. Let us learn to honour the Lord.

In 1 King 17:13, there was a small test for that widow of Zarephath to pass before she was blessed. The Prophet told her to make a cake for him first. If this one had happened in our days, you know what people would have said – that pastors are wicked people. In these days, they will say they are insensitive pastors who know the situation of the country, yet are still collecting tithes. Thank God the woman yielded, and the Bible says she had enough till the famine ended, and she was the only one who had the blessings, even among the widows (1 Kings 17:14). If it were to be a hundred years for the famine, the blessings would still have continued. Let us learn to honour the Lord; don’t argue with God, obey Him and enjoy His blessings.

Another principle I want us to know is that do not despise the days of little beginnings. Don’t despise that small thing God has blessed you with. You are teacher and the salary is small? Don’t despise it, just start from the little you have. God usually blesses people with what they have. What do you have in your house? For that widow, it was just a small flour and some oil; Jesus used just 5 loaves to feed thousands. That small thing you have in your hand now, keep thanking God for it; don’t complain, don’t grumble! When the children of Israel grumbled in Numbers 11, they actually got abundance but while it was still in their teeth, the anger of God came and many of them perished, because it was the abundance they got out of murmuring. What you have now may not be big, but you know God is taking you somewhere. Keep trusting God. It was that little cloud, the size of a man’s hand that brought massive rain upon the land. That small thing, God can turn it into something big for you. Hallelujah! I hope you know people are doing the same thing you are doing and are blessed. Not everybody is complaining, even in this Nigeria. In fact, with the state of things, some people are happy, because this is the time of their prosperity.

Another principle of abundance is: avoid immediate gratification. This is what I call the ‘Esau mentality.’ Maybe God has given you some things now and you want to start living big, don’t. Continue with your frugal lifestyle. In the book of Genesis 25:29 – 32, we read the story of Esau; he was hungry and because of porridge, he sold his birthright. He said, ‘Of what use is this birthright to me?’ Whereas, Jacob was thinking about the future, this man was thinking of how he will gratify his hunger, as if he will die if he didn’t eat that porridge. The ‘Esau mentality’ is ‘selling your tomorrow today,’ and many people, out of covetousness and wanting to gratify their immediate needs, have sold their future. In Philippians 4:12, the great Apostle Paul says something – “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ There are times when it may not be as you want it, but that does not mean you have to sell your future or take irrational decisions. It is something Paul learned, and you can learn it too. You can learn it for the future, because you know that an abundance is coming. You have to secure your future today.

Another principle is that learn to acknowledge God as your source. I said earlier that all these arguments about tithing being in the Old Testament and that it is not commanded, are not needed. Once you learn to acknowledge God with 10% of your increase, that is a way of telling Him that ‘Lord, you are the provider of this.’ And God says He will rebuke the devourer for you, open the windows of heaven and pour upon you His blessings. These are realities; don’t say it doesn’t work, just keep doing it. God will demonstrate His faithfulness to you in many ways. By the time you start enjoying His faithfulness, you will look back and thank God you did these things. Let us start to acknowledge God, even in the little things – If you are faithful in little things, you will also be faithful in much (Luke 16:10). If you have 1,000 naira now and can’t give the tithe, if God gives you billions, how will you then give the tithe? Tithing is a principle of abundance, forget all the arguments. If you like, keep arguing, the principle of God remains the same. Paul said God shall supply all your needs, and I want us to know that many of these blessings are positional blessings, that is, our blessings in Christ. Practically, there are things you must do to claim them, just as you must contend and cast out devils, even as you are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Let us learn to acknowledge God.

Learn to align with the Holy Spirit. You are children of God, and He will bring you ideas. In John 2, they ran out of wine; Mary told Jesus about it but he said, what is that to me? Anyway, thank God for Mary, she told the servant that whatsoever Jesus says unto them, they should just do it. Don’t argue! Whatever He says to you, do it. Don’t begin to rationalise. How did God open the windows of heaven; how did this and that happen? It’s not your business. Just do your part and expect God to do His. God will bring ideas across your path.

Acquire skills and wisdom. In 2 Chronicles 26, we read of the story of King Uzziah, who had skillful hands that invented devices (engines) to shoot arrows. Brethren, we live in a world of skills and competencies. It is what you do now that determines what you earn. I have discovered that what you study in school, just put it aside, it does not matter. God is blessing people through different means. Level up your skills; learn new skills. The world is fast changing and we must stop doing things in the same traditional ways we used to do them. Don’t say ‘Oh, I study Yoruba, there is no job.’ Go and start online class; there are people in the diaspora who want to teach their children local languages. Begin, and before you know it, you are earning in dollars; people are doing things – innovative things. We have to sit down and really strategise, God will give us ideas. For Jacob, it was in a dream that God revealed to him what tree he should cut and place on the ground for the sheep to cross, so that when they start reproducing, they will give birth to speckled and spotted sheep. God is still giving people ideas; He can give you ideas too, about what others have not done or what others are doing but that you can do better to surpass them.

Distribution. Sharing is another way by which God blesses man. You don’t have to wait until you are a billionaire. Start where you are now (Prov. 11:24 – 26). Let us learn to scatter. In the book of Mark 6:40 where Jesus multiplied the loaves, as Jesus told them to sit down and they were distributing the bread, it was multiplying. As they were cutting the bread, it was multiplying. What am I saying? Don’t be stingy; this is a principle of abundance.

Don’t wait until you believe. God told Elisha to tell them to make the valley full of ditches; they don’t have to see rain or cloud, it may not look like it. In fact, if you see anything, it may just be a cloud, the size of your hand, but God is doing something. Today, we talked about doubt in the Grace Devotional. Don’t doubt, just believe! Confess that you are blessed; that the works of your hands are blessed – that’s how to claim God’s promises.

God is still in the business of blessing people and changing stories. He is still giving ideas. He wants you to flourish. He wants to give you abundance. The blessings will overtake you; that is God’s Word to you and you had better believe it. Don’t say all I just need is to eat three square meals, no! There are people who need your help also. You can sponsor people in schools, sponsor missions, and so on. God wants to bless you.

Prayer

Declare: I receive God’s blessings. My storehouse is blessed. My source of income is blessed. Even as you wait for God to give you ideas, declare that what you have is blessed.

‘Thank you father for the abundance you have promised us. Thank you for your Word will not return void to you. Thank you for your children will not live in wants and lacks. Lord, our heart desires and cry this morning is that your Word becomes flesh in our lives; this abundance that you have promised us, let everybody be a partaker of it in the name of Jesus.’ Amen

Call to Salvation

If you don’t know the Lord Jesus, the blessings you think you have may destroy you. Without receiving Jesus as your Lord, you cannot accept any blessing of God. Do you want to submit to Jesus today and claim His blessings, say this prayer: Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my life. I acknowledge Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and I surrender to you. Take this heart and use it for your glory. Grant me your blessings, even as I submit my life to you. In Jesus name I prayed, amen.