A major theme for us this year at Antioch is “multiplication.” We want to continue to multiply Community Groups as well as leaders. We want to multiply ways to engage the city around us with the love of Jesus and the good news of his gospel. Multiplication is part of living out the mission Jesus gave his church to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:16-20). We also are working to multiply a new church this fall. We’re convinced starting new churches is the overflow of a culture of healthy multiplication at every level.
But, where does our passion for multiplication come from biblically? The Bible is a unified story, with an unfolding storyline of MULTIPLICATION. The brief survey of biblical passages below illustrates how central multiplying is to the purposes of God.
The first command to humanity is a mandate focused on MULTIPLICATION.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
“Be fruitful and multiply” is more than having babies! It involved reflecting the image and glory of God throughout creation as God’s representatives.
God’s promise to Abraham was a promise of MULTIPLICATION.
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,
God gave his law to Israel that they might MULTIPLY in the promised land.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Jesus commissioned his disciples to MULTIPLY followers among all nations and peoples, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The early church MULTIPLIED as they worshiped God and enjoyed the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Paul told his disciple Timothy to MULTIPLY leaders who will MULTIPLY leaders.
2 Timothy 2:1-2
2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Revelation envisions a diverse MULTITUDE of people who have been redeemed through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”