God Gave The Increase
Greetings in the name of Jesus! This is Rob Haymes. This is 15 Minutes With Jesus. Today’s program is called God Gave The Increase. It’s taken from 1Cor 3:1-23, Let’s go there, And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. This chapter tells us what is wrong with the church. Verse 9, For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Verse 6, I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Verse 7, So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. We are nothing! It is God who gives the increase.
Let’s go to Acts 2:1-4, When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. We see here, that on the Day of Pentecost, the Lord Jesus, as He promised, sent the Holy Spirit, and the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, and many people heard the sound and they were gathered together to see what was happening. Let’s go to verse 14-21, But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams, and on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out of my Spirit in those days. Peter preached the Gospel to the people. Let’s go to verse 32, Peter said, This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Amen! Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. God gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Peter planted; he preached the Gospel to the people, and then God gave the increase. Three thousand souls were added to the church that day. They were watered as they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine. In verse 47 we read, And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. The Lord added. He gave the increase.
Let’s go to Acts 10. Acts 10 talks about the centurion, Cornelius, who was a righteous man; feared God with all his household, gave alms generously, in verse 2, to the people and prayed to God always. Wow! He was a righteous man. And God sent an angel. The angel told him to go and send for Peter. Peter came, he preached the Gospel, he planted, and the Holy Spirit fell on all those that were gathered together at Cornelius’ house. God gave the increase. They were baptized. Peter stayed there certain days and taught them and they were watered.
Let’s go to Acts 11:19-26, Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, (Greek speaking Jews), preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. I want to read that again, verse 21, And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. We see in Antioch that the hand of the Lord was with them; God gave the increase. The gentile church started in Antioch. They were first called Christians there. The Apostle Paul was sent out from there. There were elders there. If we go to Acts 13:1-5, we see, Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So we see here that God had established the church. He gave the increase. And He established elders, and they fasted, and they prayed, and they laid hands on them and sent them away, verse 4, So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant. And you can read on and see how God moved. Paul planted and God gave the increase. This all started with those few men that went to Antioch; and the hand of the Lord was with them, and He gave the increase, and He established the church at Antioch, and much fruit came from it, including the Apostle Paul’s ministry, including all the churches that were established in Asia and in Greece.
Let’s go to Acts 16:13-15, And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." So she persuaded us. God opened Lydia’s heart that she attended to the things spoken by Paul. Immediately she believed and was baptized; she and her whole house. God gave the increase. Let’s go to verse 23-33, And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here." Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately, immediately, he and all his family were baptized. God sent the earthquake and the jailer heard the Gospel; Paul planted; and he and all his house were saved and baptized straightway. God gave the increase.
John 15:5, Jesus said that without me you can do nothing. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. He starts the work. He gives the increase as we plant and water in obedience to Him, being sent by the Holy Spirit. As we abide in Him and obey Him, He will move through us. We cannot do anything without Him! 1Cor 3:9-15, Let’s go back there. We see here that every man’s work will be tried, of what sort it is. There is no other foundation that can be laid but Jesus Christ. Verse 12, Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire. Every man’s work shall be tried by fire. If any man’s work abides, verse 14, makes it through the fire, he shall receive a reward. Verse 15, If any man’s work shall be burned he shall suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Every work through the flesh is worthless; it is not valuable, like gold, silver, precious stones, and it shall be burned up. Every work initiated by Jesus, our head, our Lord and Master, which we finish in faithful obedience, bearing fruit that remains to God’s Glory, is valuable and precious, and we shall be rewarded. Every man’s work shall be rewarded. 1 Pet 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. We should pass the time of our sojourning here in fear. Those that work iniquity shall be destroyed. Personal ambition is nothing but a hinderance. It causes us as ministers to work through our flesh which profits nothing, in pride and self glorification. The Bible talks about those who love the preeminence. So what can we do? We must allow the Lord to break us: Jesus said, whosoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; so that He can work through us by His Spirit; so that we know that we are nothing; as Paul said, in 1 Cor 3, so that we know that all Glory belongs to Him; so that we wouldn’t even dare try to do anything on our own, but we seek Him with prayer and fasting to obey Him as He leads us; He initiates the work; sends us to plant; and He gives the increase; and we water; and the fruit will come forth to His Glory. We truly seek to bring Glory and honor to our God; to His Holy Name, and not to ourselves any more. Then we will have gold, silver, and precious stones that will make it through the fire. The fire is coming, and all of us will be judged according to our works.