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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
God's Fish n' Chips
(Luke 9:10-17)

By Delbert Young
(video audio page)

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE God's Fish n' Chips (Luke 9:10-17)

Luke 9:10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what THEY HAD DONE...

Previously, even Herod the tetrarch heard all that was happening as a result of Jesus sending out the twelve. They were tremendously successful, ministering, learning, and gaining confidence. Discovering they could actually teach, pray for, and heal people, they returned with their reports of all they had done.

Have you discovered yet you can teach, pray for, and heal people? In the name of Jesus, you can (1) drive out demons; (2) cure diseases; (3) preach the kingdom of God; and (4) heal the sick, I promise. If the Spirit of God is in you, the gifts of the Spirit are in you. And, when you go out and minister, Jesus will take you on vacation with him, which is never a vacation as we think vacation.

Luke 9:10 ...Then he took them with him AND THEY WITHDREW BY THEMSELVES to a town called Bethsaida

Mark 6:31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves TO A QUIET PLACE AND GET SOME REST."

Jesus knows we all need to get away and get some rest from time to time. They were also overwhelmed with the news of John the Baptist's hideous execution by Herod (Mat 14:13). They all needed to withdraw, but ministry follows you.

Luke 9:11 but the crowds learned about it and FOLLOWED HIM...

Ministry looks easy, but it's actually 24/7 and the needs and hurts of people never ever stop. You go to sleep thinking about hurting people. You wake thinking about people. You constantly pray and want to help them through their difficult times. There's never really a "day off," or vacation when ministering to people. There are at all times day and night phone calls, emails, text, etc. I've terminated vacations to minister. There are weddings, deaths, funerals, and people in hospitals. Ministry follows you. I'm certainly not complaining. I'm rejoicing. God's given us a blessed great life and I truly believe it's because we've given ourselves to minister to people. I signed up for this and I love it when people feel I can help in their times of need. People are always the Lord's priority. God will bless you if they're yours.

Luke 9:11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He WELCOMED THEM and SPOKE TO THEM ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and HEALED THOSE who needed healing.

Vacations never worked out for Jesus and the disciples. On their last attempt, a storm attacked them in a boat and when they reached the beach, a monster man full of demons jumped out at them. Vacations for Christ followers don't always work out like you think.

I want to show us three things every church ministry should do as crowds come. Let's evaluate Life Gate Church and see how we do.

(1) "He welcomed them." Welcomed is dechomai {dekh'-om-ahee} - to take with the hand, to receive or grant access to a visitor, not to refuse friendship, hospitality, of the thing offered in speaking, teaching, instructing, embrace, not to reject. Isn't that great! Jesus welcomes all into friendship. He takes your hand. He grants you access to him. He offers you teaching and instruction. He embraces you. Jesus never rejects anyone.

Life Gate and our lives should be a place people feel welcome no matter what their facing (as we are all facing something). I think we do pretty well here. How about you? Get here in time to welcome if possible.

 (2) "...spoke to them about the kingdom of God."Jesus always, and only, spoke about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the deepest understanding a person can acquire. If we learn about the kingdom of God, we've learned how to do life now and eternally. We've learned God rules and his rule is always advancing.

I've learned after people feel welcomed, they will allow us to speak to them about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the message at Life Gate Church. How do you think we do here?

(3) "...healed those who needed healing" - iaomai {ee-ah'-om-ahee} - to cure, heal, to make whole, to free from errors. Healing is physical, but it's also emotional, mental, and spiritual as we help someone to be whole. Jesus healed their lives at their point of need. He prayed for people to be healed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

That's what we are to do. Nearly every week we pray for people to be healed physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. We constantly send out emails for prayer. I believe we see as many miracles in these areas as any church I know. We definitely pray for people. We don't see everyone we pray for healed, but it's not because we don't pray. How do you think we do on this one? All in all, I believe we score pretty well as a ministry ministering to the crowd.

Luke 9:12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "SEND THE CROWD AWAY so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."

Evidently, Jesus didn't know where he was. Jesus welcomed the crowd. The twelve said, "Send the crowd away." Have you ever felt that way? You want to tell someone, "Will you please go home and take care of yourself!" Be careful with that attitude. Jesus will adjust you as he adjusted them. What did Jesus say to their send the crowd away statement?

Luke 9:13-14 He replied, "YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish -- unless WE go and buy food for all this crowd." (About five thousand men were there.)

That wasn't a suggestion! They had to say, "Do what? You're kidding right? Good one Jesus. Ha, Ha!" Jesus wasn't kidding. You give them something to eat. What I love is these guys went into overdrive attempting to figure a way to pull off feeding thousands of men. Someone began counting. "There are 5,000 families here!"

Matthew 14:21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

There's a bunch of people.I don't care if it was only men, but what's the chance of five thousand men hanging out without women especially at church?

Jesus told THEM to figure it out. "You give them something to eat." What did he do, walk off to take a break under a shade tree? Ever felt Jesus is watching off to the side to see what you'll do? The disciples were in a dilemma desperately trying, figuring, talking to one another, what should we do, talking to people in the crowd, and coming to the conclusion, there's no way "unless WE go and buy food for all this crowd." Jesus said, "YOU feed them," so perhaps they were personally going to pay. "We've got to pull this off. How much money do you have?"

What can we learn from this? First, guard your attitude about sending people home. Next, God will ask, no, command you to do the seemingly impossible. You scramble, figure, process, but conclude you don't have the resources. You feel inadequate, but you really feel you're to do it. You say, "I'll give it all I've got. What can I do?" If you really believe God said do it, you foot the bill yourself. We have. Once I was told we didn't have the funds. We said take it out of my salary. Somehow you find two fish and some bread.

The truth is Jesus entrusts the needs of people to inadequate me and inadequate you. I'm never adequate. Who am I to preach to you? Who am I to pray for you? But I give it all I've got.

I want to share something with you. Every year, I mean every year for nearly 30 years now, you and I not only fed, but paid medical bills, provided heat, provided shelter, provided transportation, you name it, for people. Just last week we helped a mom acquire insulin for her diabetic daughter. Every year, it's thousands of dollars and I don't know how many people we've actually affected - over the years - maybe 5,000 men plus women and children? What we've done sounds impossible. Jesus told us to do it. We gathered what we had.

When impressed to do something for God, we often think, I'm not rich enough, or smart enough, or old enough, or young enough, or spiritual enough. All Jesus needs is something to work with. Bring what you've got.

John 6:9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Close enough to hear the dilemma was a young person who offered up his lunch. That answers if it was only men, right? We think loaves of bread and two nice sized fish. Actually, it was five biscuits and two small dried fish. I've always admired this young man. He was interested in following Jesus. He wasn't home playing X-Box. Jesus will take and use the limited resources of that young man, multiply it, and create an amazing miracle. Young men and women, I'm not telling you to give your allowance to Jesus. I do want you to know if you will be interested in following Jesus and offer him what you have; God will use you in miraculous ways you can never begin to imagine.

We think, "I wish I could give. One day, when I win the lottery, I will." I wish you'd all win the lottery. I wish I'd win the lottery, but your fantasy and my fantasy do not give Jesus anything to work with. Jesus doesn't work with our fantasies. He works with reality and what we give him. You probably aren't a millionaire, but I suspect you have five biscuits and two dried fish. Offer it up to Jesus. Offer up what time you have, or what talent you have. Maybe you can't tithe right now, but you can give some biscuits and dried fish.

Luke 9:14-16 But he said to his disciples, "Have them SIT DOWN in groups of about fifty each." The disciples did so, and EVERYBODY sat down. TAKING THE FIVE LOAVES AND THE TWO FISH and looking up to heaven, HE GAVE THANKS and BROKE THEM.

Sometimes, God asks us to do things that make no sense at the moment. They sat prior to the appearance of food. Sometimes we do things in obedience not understanding why, but hoping. Obviously, there was the hope of a miracle. For what are you hoping? What has Jesus instructed you to do?

It says, "Taking the five loaves and two fish..." Jesus had the boy's lunch in his hands. Everyone is sitting in 50's. What's he going to do? Maybe, have a raffle? No one knew what was happening. What's he doing?

Here's the miracle. Even Jesus looked to heaven and gave thanks for the tiny amount he had to work with. He's God. Why should he give thanks? Jesus showed us the basis of a miracle from heaven. People are often unthankful. Jesus was thankful for what he was given to work with. When thankful for what God has provided, we open a way for it to multiply. You may not have enough money, but give thanks for the money you do have. Make a way for God to multiply it. You may not have talents you need to acquire a specific job, but give thanks for the talents you do have and make a way for God to multiply your talents. Where do you need a miracle? Health? Take the health you do have, look to heaven, give thanks for the health you have. Make a way for God to do his miracle.

Jesus "broke them." He broke the biscuits and the fish. Sometimes God will break things so he can use and multiply them. Broken soil produces hundred fold crops. Broken grain produces meal. Broken hearts produce love. Broken lives produce churches. It's often when a marriage is broken the miracle we've prayed for in our marriage happens. It's often when finances are broken the miracle we prayed for happens. Sometimes, it's when our children are broken the miracle parents asked for happens. Breaking is painful and definitely not desired, but breaking can bring a miracle in the hands of Jesus.

Luke 9:16 Then he gave them to the disciples TO SET BEFORE THE PEOPLE.

We give what we have to God and then he gives it back to us expecting us to share with needful people. The disciples ran to the people with food and ran back for more. There were at least 100 groups of 50 people. Why did Jesus have them sit in groups of fifty? We're not told. My thought is first to bring hope and anticipation. You can imagine the energy and anticipation as the miracle progressed. Also, when the food began to multiply, certainly things went chaotic. The disciples set before each group the miracle. Imagine 5,000 hungry people trying to get food at one time. We don't understand why he does what he does sometimes, but it always brings order to our chaos.

Luke 9:17 They all ate AND WERE SATISFIED...

The word satisfied is chortazo {khor-tad'-zo} - to fill, satisfy with food, to fatten, satisfy the desire of any one. They didn't have a snack. They were fattened, satisfied - gorged. Have you ever eaten until you couldn't eat anything more? What a supper! Ahhhh! Imagine how delicious GOD'S FISH AND CHIPS would be. God's pure, undefiled, and perfect food must taste amazing. Remember, God made manna and it was delicious enough to eat 40 years. (This crowd thought about that - John 6:29-31). They gorged and gorged. I imagine husbands looked at their wives saying, "Ask him for the recipe."

Isn't that how it should be when we come to church and God cooks us up a good sermon? I've gotten the recipe from a lot of preachers. We gorge on his miraculous word and get so fattened. But, he doesn't just want us to get fat. He wants us to believe (John 6:36) and minister.

Luke 9:17 They all ate and were satisfied, and THE DISCIPLES PICKED UP TWELVE BASKETFULS of broken pieces that were left over.

There was more than they could eat. Twelve baskets remained for the twelve disciples. The disciples came away blessed more than anyone. You can risk serving others. Jesus makes certain you are well rewarded for serving. Jesus has a whole basket full of blessings just for you.

This section is about ministering to people 24/7. It's about finding a way to bless and minister to people even when we seem inadequate and what we believe God is asking us to do is impossible. I want to say, many of you are such blessings. You so unselfishly do the most amazing miraculous things. I'm so proud for you to call me pastor, but in reality, some of you pastor me. I've said, "Send them home." You said, "You feed them." Then you showed me how to do a miracle. You fed me God's amazing FISH N' CHIPS!

 

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