Welcome to NoLimits Church! Today we are continuing our series called, “God Privilege.” But before we get into that, I want to say how thankful I am that you are here. You are a great blessing to me and this church.
If you are joining us online, thanks for being with us! It’s always great to hear the Word of God over the internet. But if you ever have the opportunity to be with us in person, come and join us.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kade and I’m the lead pastor alongside my wife Beth. At NoLimits, we’re here to help you know God, find freedom and discover purpose.
This series is all about living in God Privilege. We’re learning how to live in the promises of God and focusing on three of them: wealth, health, and protection.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been talking about God’s promise of wealth. And we’ve discovered that it is about more than generosity. We’ve got to learn how to see money from God’s perspective.
God wants YOU to prosper.
The bottom line is, God wants you to prosper. I’ll prove it in scripture, but first, let me give you my definition of godly prosperity:
Godly Prosperity – More than enough for my family plus an overflow to accomplish everything God asks me to do.
Now, let me show you in scripture:
II Corinthians 9:8 NKJV – God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Not only do you always have sufficiency in the necessities of life, but you have an abundance for every good work! You have way more than you need to take care of yourself so that you have the extra needed to help others.
That’s how you know if you are living in the promises of God. If this scripture doesn’t describe your life, then all you have to do is apply what you learn from this series. Don’t reject it. Apply it to your life.
It works. I’m not teaching you anything that I haven’t put to the test already. I’ve applied these things to my life. I’ve seen the results of it and I want you to experience the same.
My expectation is for this series to send all of you on a trajectory to godly wealth. I’m talking about where we all eliminate debt and have more than enough plus an overflow for every good work.
Say this: God wants ME to prosper.
He really does. I understand that you may not believe it just yet. That’s why I am going to keep saying it until you do. God wants you to prosper. He wants you to have more than enough.
Why Christians Struggle with Prosperity
In week one, I explained why most Christians struggle with prosperity and it all boils down to this: Satan does not want you to prosper.
Everything in your life that has caused you to believe that God wants you to be poor, that was all the work of the devil. He’s been stealing from you this whole time.
Don’t forget this. God wants you to prosper. Satan wants to steal it from you. So quit blaming God for your financial struggles and start kicking Satan where it hurts for stealing from you.
One of the ways he steals from you is by convincing you that money is evil. But that’s not true. Money is not evil. Money is neutral. It takes on the personality of whoever has the money.
What’s evil is the love of money. But we don’t even understand this because most people think that the only people that love money are those who have lots of money.
But that’s not true either. You don’t have to have money to love money. Actually, most of the people who love money don’t have very much money at all.
Let me put it to you this way. If you get upset about someone else having nicer things than you, it only reveals that you love money. And this love for money is expressing itself through jealousy.
The Truth of Poverty
Did you know that poverty is just as evil as greed? They both spend all they have on themselves.
Poverty might just be worse because not only do you spend all you have on yourself, but you think you have a right to what others have.
Because of this, we should be just as passionate about eliminating poverty as we are about eliminating greed. They are both evil.
How do you know if you love money? It’s when money replaces God in your life. It’s when your identity is tied up in how much money you have or don’t have.
Some people pride themselves on being poor. Some people pride themselves on being rich. Both of these reveal a love of money.
God’s Secret to Wealth
Last week, I revealed God’s secret to wealth. Most would assume its generosity. And generosity is a required ingredient to participate in God’s financial system. But God’s secret to wealth is serving others.
The amount of money you earn is in relation to the amount of value you add to those around you.
If you do the bare minimum at your job, you’ll never prosper. If you gripe about your job, you’ll never prosper.
But if you show up every day honored to serve your boss and the business you work for, eventually, you are going to prosper.
This isn’t something you can do once and expect a raise the next day. No, first, you have to learn to serve without expecting a raise. You are going to do your best simply because Jesus asked you to serve others well.
Let me put it to you this way. If you think you can believe God for something and then sit on your fanny while He takes care of it, you are deceiving yourself.
You have to put action to your faith. Faith without works is dead. So, when you believe something, you do things that show you believe.
And you don’t stop when the results don’t come immediately. Because you understand this scripture:
Galatians 6:9 NLT – So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
The Servant’s Attitude
It all comes down to this:
Either you believe that others are worth being served, or you don’t.
If you do, then it’s no problem to clean the restroom. It’s no problem to get on your knees to help a customer try on a new pair of shoes or to do what your boss asks you to do.
It’s no problem to serve here at church. I get to make coffee for people? Awesome! I get to serve in kids ministry? Awesome! I’m here to serve.
If you don’t think much of others, then you are never going to prosper, and you’ll likely find other shortcomings in your life, too.
Isn’t it fun to talk about these things? For more spankings, listen to the full message from last week online.
The Source of Wealth
We’ve been talking a lot about the part you play in God’s promise of prosperity. So today we need to take some time to remind ourselves where prosperity comes from.
If we’re not careful, we start looking to ourselves as the source of prosperity. It becomes all about how hard we work and how many hours we put in and how perfect we are.
But that’s the world’s system. That’s how the world attains wealth, or at least tries to. We’re not looking to the world’s system. It sucks. Instead, we look to God as the source of our wealth.
Jesus was the pro at this. So let’s learn from Him today.
Feeding Five Thousand People
In John chapter five, you’ll read about a time when Jesus had a debacle with the religious people. This was an ongoing thing for Jesus, and I’ve learned over the last year, it is quite exhausting to argue with religious people.
After the debacle, Jesus went into the wilderness to unplug a bit. But people followed Him. Not just a few people, but thousands of people followed Him into the wilderness. Can you imagine?
Of course, Jesus was moved with compassion and postponed His alone time so He could teach and heal the people. Then Jesus realized the people were probably getting hangry.
But what do you do when Chick-fil-a is too far away? Well, here’s what Jesus does:
John 6:5 NLT – Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?”
Can you imagine being Philip? You are looking at 5,000 men plus women and children and Jesus asks you to go get them all some bread.
I can see it now, rolling up to the Chick-fil-a drive through, “Yeah, I need 5,000 12-count meals.” Their response would be, “My pleasure. We can have that ready for you in a few days. Your total is $46,800.”
We find out in the next verse that Jesus did not expect Philip to have the solution. He was actually testing Philip because Jesus already had a plan.
You know, I think Jesus likes to have fun. I mean, He saw the opportunity to ask Philip an outrageous question, so He took it for the sheer entertainment of his response:
John 6:7 NLT – Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”
There’s a hidden gem in this part of the story.
Jesus will point out an impossible situation to move us towards faith.
It seems cruel, it feels cruel in the moment, but it’s actually really helpful.
I mean, how many of you hit up WebMD when you’re sick instead of asking God? That’s why WebMD always leads you to find out you are going to die. Now it’s impossible, so you can trust God.
Only when we come to the end of ourselves, only when we gain full awareness that we are completely incapable of solving the problem do we turn to God and ask for His help.
Jesus draws attention to the impossible not to discourage us, but to get us ready for a miracle.
What WE Bring to the Table
Next in the story, another one of the disciples speaks up:
John 6:9 NLT – “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
This brings clarity to the attitude we should have about impossible situations. We still have a responsibility to figure out what we can do. It’s going to seem really small and insignificant, but you have a part to play in this.
You do the small thing and let God work the miracle.
But you have to take action. You can’t just sit there and be lazy. Look around, see what you can do, and then partner with God to bring forth a miracle.
The Lord is My Shepherd
In this story, they had five loaves and two fish. So great, everyone gets a crumb. How in the world is Jesus going to make this work? Well, here’s the instruction He gives next:
John 6:10 NKJV – Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Once again, there is significance here. Normally this is one of those scriptures that you just read over real quick to get to the good stuff.
But why did Jesus have everyone sit? Why does it mention they were sitting on luscious grass? Psalm 23 has the answer:
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
The Order of Operation
Jesus was showing us that He is our shepherd. He wants us to rest while we trust Him for provision.
So, Jesus brought attention to the impossible. He asked them what they could do. And then asked them to sit and rest in Him.
This miracle is all about rest and provision. Jesus is showing us that we don’t have to do this on our own. We don’t have to strive and hustle and wear ourselves out. Nope. He wants us seated with Him. Just like it says in Ephesians:
Ephesians 2:6 NLT – For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
So here’s what we’ve learned so far:
To have God’s wealth, I must rest in His provision.
This really goes against our American culture. We celebrate people who work long hours. We honor those who hustle. We think it’s great to be busy. But none of this aligns with the way of Jesus.
When all we do is worry about the next house, the next car, the next raise, or even where the next meal will come from, do we ever hear the voice of God in the frenzy?
This would be like going on a hike with my wife. I take off running because I am obsessed with getting to the end of the trail. She takes her time and enjoys her surroundings.
While I’m running off, she tries to talk to me. At first, I could faintly hear her but couldn’t understand what she was saying. It doesn’t take long and I have no idea she is talking to me at all.
This is most of us with God. Our pace is running. His pace is walking. Take a look:
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV – For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
So God is on a walk. Most of us are running. Occasionally we will catch a glimpse of Him when we lap Him on the trail. He can only get a few words in because you’re moving so fast and He says, “Rest in me.”
There’s a quote out there that relates to what we’re talking about:
“If the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy.”
This seems accurate, but it is actually a cop-out. The devil doesn’t make you do anything. Sure, he will tempt you. But you’re the one that chooses to sin, just like you choose to be busy.
Don’t pin this one off on the devil. The only one in charge of your time is you. So if you are moving at the wrong pace, go look in the mirror when you get home and have a talk with yourself.
If you are looking for a place to start, I recommend implementing one day of complete rest every week. It’s what the Bible calls the Sabbath.
Beth and I started practicing Sabbath for a year and a half now. We don’t look at our phones the entire day. We don’t have a schedule or an agenda. We just wake up, relax, and go with the flow.
Our Sabbath is on Monday. The first few weeks, the people I work with would call me on Sabbath. I didn’t know. I wasn’t looking at my phone. So I called them back and explained the delay.
The first time people say, “Really? Like you are really not going to look at your phone for an entire day every week?” And I just reply, “Really. You should try it sometime.”
It took some time and some explaining, but now most everyone respects the fact that I am going to be honoring Sabbath every Monday whether they like it or not.
And you know how many times this has ruined a work project, the fact that I didn’t respond until the next day? It never has. Turns out, what feels like an emergency rarely is.
So here we are in a culture that doesn’t understand Sabbath and it’s easy to see the results of it. We’re exhausted, overworked, and spiritually malnourished. We’re slaves to the unsustainable rhythms of our success-obsessed culture.
God knew we would struggle with this. So He gave us a gift – the Sabbath.
Just don’t turn it into religious nonsense like the Pharisees did. They would fuss at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. If you are using Sabbath as an excuse not to do good, you got the wrong idea.
I’ve heard some of y’all say it, “Oh, I can’t serve at church today because it’s my Sabbath.” That’s when I realize, I’ve got to cover all my bases when I teach you things.
Sabbath is a day to say no to work. Say no to achievement. Forget about the pile of tasks and emails and texts you’ll face tomorrow and spend one day every week unplugged and focused on God and family, including your church family.’
A Multiplied Miracle
So Jesus had the people rest on the grass so He could demonstrate His divine provision. The food they had available wasn’t even close to enough, but that didn’t bother Jesus at all.
He took the five loaves of bread and two fish and gave thanks to God. He then gave the food to the disciples and they distributed it to the crowd. Everyone ate as much as they wanted and there were even leftovers. More than enough.
So many of us are living in our own provision. We’re working hard and we’re struggling because what we do is never enough. You get a raise, but it never seems to make a difference because your expenses get a raise too.
What if we rested in God’s provision? What if we brought before God the small, insignificant things we can do and then trusted Him to multiply it?
It really doesn’t matter what kind of job you have. The truth is, in light of eternity, it’s small and insignificant.
I’m not trying to discourage you. I’m simply pointing out that we are all up against an impossible situation. And it’s not until we realize that we can’t do it on our own that we finally turn to God for a miracle.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
This next story in the book of John is going to blow your mind. It’s going to describe so many of you and then show you what happens when you invite Jesus into the situation.
So they had just fed the five thousand and the miracle was so incredible that the crowd was determined to make Jesus king. It wasn’t yet time for that, so Jesus took the opportunity to escape and finally have His alone time.
The disciples waited until dark, but Jesus never came back, so they got in their boat and left Him behind. They were in such a hurry to get to their next destination that they left behind the person they were following.
While they were on the sea, a great wind started blowing so the waves were fighting against them. They were rowing, struggling, fighting the wind, fighting the waves, and not getting anywhere.
Am I telling anyone’s story yet? Anyone putting forth a bunch of effort day in and day out and struggling to make progress?
When the disciples had made it about halfway to their destination, they saw Jesus walking on the water heading towards them. Here’s what happened next:
John 6:21 NKJV – Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
You mean to tell me as soon as they invited Jesus into the boat, they immediately arrived at their destination? They struggled to get to the halfway point and then Jesus suddenly transported them the rest of the way?
Yes. That’s what it looks like when you rest in His provision. When you stop trying to do it by yourself and you invite him into the boat.
When you stop running and instead walk side-by-side with Him, When you say no to non-stop hustle every day and take a full day every week to rest.
Let me put it to you another way:
To have God’s wealth, I must move at His pace.
Just in case you are still not getting this, Jesus is about to go vulgar. He’s about to say something very distasteful. It even causes many of his followers to turn away. But you guys can handle it.
We’re now at the day after the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus and His disciples had made it across the sea. And guess what? The crowd got in boats and followed them!
I’m starting to feel sorry for Jesus at this point. Can you imagine a crowd of thousands of people following you wherever you go?
Once again, they track Him down and He calls them out because their motivation for following Him is whack. Take a look:
John 6:26-27 NLT – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.
In other words, they were only following Jesus because of what He could do for them. This still happens today. There are people who come to church only because they want to extract something out of it.
Here’s what Jesus has to say about it:
John 6:26-27 NLT – But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you.”
Rest in God’s Provision
Jesus wants us to get to a place where we don’t spend our energy striving and hustling and trying to make things happen. Instead, we trust Him with our basic necessities while we focus on His kingdom.
In other words, you can spend your energy building your own kingdom, which will die when you die. Or you can spend your energy building God’s kingdom that will last forever.
Here’s another way Jesus explains this to us:
Matthew 6:31-33 NLT – “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
You mean I don’t have to worry about my basic needs? I can follow what God asks me to do and He will make sure all the other stuff is taken care of?
But notice there is a condition. There are lots of people who think God will take care of them regardless. But the truth is, you have to seek the kingdom of God and live righteously, and then you will have everything you need.
Come on somebody – this is a good life! Yet, we struggle with it. I mean, how do you envision this kind of life?
Quitting your job and sitting at home all day while trusting God to put food on the table? Living a nomadic lifestyle where you bum off other people for the basic necessities of life?
No. Sorry to break it to you, but this is not a license to be lazy. Here’s what it means:
To have God’s wealth, I must seek God first.
I’ll share my journey with you to help you understand.
I like to work. I thrive off of accomplishment. If I didn’t have a family, I would work all day, every day, and would even skip at least one meal a day to get more work done.
There have been times in my life where I literally worked that hard. The problem was, the harder I worked, the more I had to do. I never got caught up. I was always behind.
On top of this, when you fill yourself with accomplishment, you keep needing a bigger hit. So the accomplishment that used to fulfill you no longer does. You just need more and bigger accomplishments.
I would cycle. There would be a few weeks where I would feel great about what I was accomplishing, only to be followed by a few weeks where I felt like I was on the verge of losing everything. Success, fear of failure. Success, fear of failure.
My wife appreciates that I work hard, but she doesn’t appreciate overworking. What’s the point of working hard for money that we can’t even enjoy together because I am always working?
Thankfully, I found my way out. And it was when I started paying attention to how Jesus lived His life.
He was never in a hurry. There was a time when one of His best friends was dying, and instead of rushing to heal him, He waited a few days, let him die, and then raised him from the dead. You couldn’t hurry Jesus for anything.
Jesus took time for Himself when He needed it. You’d think He’d be always on, always available for whoever would need him. But nope. He often disappeared to where even the disciples couldn’t find Him.
Jesus didn’t worry about how much money was in the bank, or how popular He was, or where His next meal would come from. Because He knew that as long as He was about His Father’s business, He would be taken care of.
I discovered all of this and realized, “I want to follow Jesus. If the most important man to walk the earth could live from a place of rest, I can live from a place of rest.”
I started by implementing a hard stop to my workday. At 5pm, whether I am done or not, I walk away. Even if it means I have to miss a deadline, I walk away because there’s always more where that came from and there’s always tomorrow. I’m not in a hurry.
And then I implemented Sabbath. Every Monday, I completely unplug from work. I don’t check my email, I don’t respond to texts or calls, I don’t think about project deadlines, I just wake up and enjoy the day with my family.
Y’all, I’m not there yet. But I am taking steps towards the pace of life Jesus wants me to live. Most of the time I seek His Kingdom and trust that my family’s needs will be taken care of. But sometimes I still get caught up in trying to take care of it all myself.
Then I get frustrated and burnt out and suddenly remember where I got off track. And I go back to waking up every morning, asking God for my daily bread, and move at a pace where I can listen to His assignment for me today.
Relax in God’s Provision
This is what Jesus is trying to get across to us. He wants you to sit down in the luscious, green grass and trust Him with the things of life. That’s why He says this:
John 6:35 NLT – Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
We like to over-spiritualize this scripture. But it isn’t just spiritual. It’s also natural. Yes, the most important thing Jesus gives you is eternal life. But He also cares for you in this earthly life. But He can only care for you if you come to Him.
And just like we struggle with this today, they struggled with it back then. So Jesus pulled out all the stops to help them understand. I told you Jesus was about to get vulgar. He was about to say something very distasteful. Here it is:
John 6:53 NLT – So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.”
Say what? Thankfully this is symbolic. Otherwise, we’d all be sunk. I mean, not only do none of us want to be cannibals but it’s been two thousand years since Jesus was here in the flesh. I’m pretty sure His flesh and blood would be long gone by now.
By eating His flesh, Jesus was referring to our daily relationship with Him. Just like you eat every day, you walk with Jesus every day. This can’t just be a Sunday thing. No, this is every day.
By drinking His blood, Jesus was referring to salvation. He sacrificed Himself so that you could be forgiven and saved from eternal death. And you receive salvation by believing in Jesus.
You know, when Jesus said these things about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, many of Jesus’ followers walked away. They stopped following Him. Why?
They Were Following Him for the Wrong Reason
Well, remember when Jesus called them out because they were only following Him for another free meal? Now you see that it was true. Jesus starts talking about cannibalism and all of a sudden, they are no longer interested in His food.
Jesus isn’t your sugar daddy. If you are only following Him because you want something for free, it isn’t going to work out.
Jesus is your savior. He’s your teacher. He’s your leader. He wants you to believe in Him and receive eternal life. He also wants you to get with Him every day, do what He’s called you to do, and trust Him to take care of your basic needs along the way.