Abundant Life

November 15, 2015John 10:10Abundant Life 

    It is considered one of the greatest American victories in the history of the Olympics.   The United States hockey team was not supposed to have a chance in 1980.  The Soviet Union seemed invincible and unbeatable.  Their team included elite professionals who had played together for years.   The Americans on the other hand had teammates who had never played together.   None of them were professionals they had come from colleges and universities across America.  The American victory over the Soviets in the medal round seemed improbable if not impossible.   According to the movie based on these unlikely heroes the turning point for the Americans came in the practice led by coach Herb Brooks. 

   The coach was demanding perhaps driven to a fault.  Brooks was not happy with the play of the team so he had the players skating sprints to the point of exhaustion.  Some of the assistant coaches were worried that the players would either pass out or quit.  Brooks pressed forward.    During the 4 practices Brooks would ask a player who he played for.   The player would respond proudly with the name of his college.  Brooks was asking the same question during the practice when he was having them sprint.  The coach was pushing them.  One of the hockey players recalling Brooks’ persistent question looked up from his prostrate position after his last sprint.  Gasping for breath he declared I play for the United States of America.  It was the defining moment – they got it.  They were no longer representing their colleges they were playing for the United States of America.  As I remember that game or movie the Russians shot and shot and shot and our goalie blocked and blocked and blocked.  These men were unbeatable.  They took the gold.  Nobody could stop them.  It is an amazing story of an impossible victory. 

    I think we can forget whose team we are on.  We can forget who we represent.  I think that many Churches do not know which team they are on.  We represent Jesus.  The Christian should represent Jesus.   I think we can forget that we come to church for Jesus.  We can do things out of a sense of duty or because it is our schedule.  We tithe for Jesus.  Some of us may not buy that cup of coffee so we can give something to Jesus.   We serve because of Jesus.  We represent Jesus.  We represent the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  We do it for Him.  We teach for Jesus.  We preach for Jesus.  We come to church to worship Jesus.  It is about Jesus and not about us.  Jesus died for souls for people.  We do not quit and we do not give up because of Jesus. 

    This verse talks about 2 sides or 2 forces in the world.  It starts out with the thief who represents Satan and his demons.  So let’s start there.  The thief comes to kill steal and destroy.   No one likes to be ripped off, or be destroyed or killed but that is exactly what Satan does.  He is one bad dude.  This verse says the thief comes to steal kill and destroy.  If we do not put Jesus first in our life Satan will steal our peace, he will steal our joy and he will steal away our abundant life in Jesus.  The greatest thing going in life is Jesus and if Jesus is not first in your life you have been robbed and you have been cheated.  Robbers are not liked.  Robbers typically end up in jail and so the enemy of our soul will be jailed so to speak.  Hell was made for Satan.   Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He comes to wreck lives.  He wants to redefine marriage.  Satan has been defeated but not yet destroyed

     Satan hates it when you love your spouse.  Satan hates it when you love your children.  Satan hates it when you pray.  Satan hates it when you read your bible.  Satan hates it when you give your tithe to God.  Satan hates it when you worship.  Satan hates it when you go to church and to life groups.    He is against everything you are for in Jesus.  Satan hates it when you are successful in business and in your life.  Satan hates it when you get ahead.  Basically everything we love in life as Christians Satan hates. 

   We see the destructive power of Satan in Job chapter 1 and 2.   Satan caused the death of Job’s children.  Satan created a wind that destroyed their home.  Satan caused fire to fall from the sky to burn servants and sheep.  Satan caused Sabeans and Chaldeans to attack and carry off cattle and kill servants.  That is not nice.  He attacked God’s servant Job.  Job was an upright God fearing man.  Then Satan was allowed to afflict Job physically.  Satan delights in doing that.  Jesus tells us that he is a liar and the father of lies.  He certainly can speak through people.  In the parable of the sower he is the one who snatches away the word of God.  He does not want the word of God in your life.  Satan likes to rob.   He is a robber.  He wants to steal your devotion to God and to your family.   No one loves a thief.  He can masquerade as an angel of light.  Satan can look pretty good and he likes to make sin look really good.  He likes to deceive the Christian.  We need wisdom today.  We need to see truth.   We need to walk in the Holy Spirit and hear God’s voice.     Satan afflicted Paul and he tempted Jesus.  He tormented the man from Gadera giving him such power that chains could not bind him. That poor man would cry out and cut himself with stones.  He is a good example of a life that is controlled or influenced by Satan or Demons.

    We are in a war and we have a powerful smart enemy.  He comes to steal, kill and destroy.   He has been around a lot longer than we have and he has lots of experience.   He has been at his craft for many years.  He is powerful and we cannot fight him in our own strength.  He is smarter than we are.   He is more powerful than you are.  He does not get tired and he does not sleep.  He is a worthy opponent and you cannot beat him.  You and I cannot use physical tools and resources to beat him.  We have spiritual resources to beat him.  We have the word of God, the blood of Jesus, and we have prayer.   He has been defeated.  Jesus defeated him and Jesus is greater than Satan.  When you pray he trembles because our Father is all powerful and he loves us.  Jesus is not only a lamb but a lion.  He can and does war.  We need a message on that.  God can war.  He speaks and it is done.   

    We do not want to focus too much on the enemy Satan. Worship is focus in a sense.  We need to be careful what we focus on. The person who spends all of their time and thoughts on making money ends up worshiping money.  Money becomes a point of worship.  As Christians we should desire to keep God in the center of our life and worship God.    But we do need to know Satan can attack us.  You can’t be asleep all the time when you are in a war.  Being aware of him should push us closer to the Father.     If you have known sin in your life you are a target for Satan.  Our only protection is in Jesus.   You have protection as you walk in the Holy Spirit and turn our life over to Jesus. 

    Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy and Jesus comes to give life and to bless us.   Jesus came to give you abundance, fullness, an advantage.  If your purpose in life is to do his purpose then you will experience fullness, abundance, and meaning.   The last part of that verse is a lot better than the first part.   Some folks are motivated by Satan and some folks are motivated by God.   Some folks live their life to destroy and other people seek to build.  Some folks will oppose you and others want to bless you.  It is good to be around God’s people.  I like to bless people.  Some folks drag you down with constant complaining and negativity.  I do not spend lots of time with folks like that. Yes we do minister to folks like that.    Some folks in the world today are into cursing and Satan is into cursing.  God is into blessing and God’s people are into blessing. .  Jesus came so we can have an abundant life.  There are 2 path ways of life and this verse points out 2 main paths to follow.  This passage points out 2 powerful forces in this world, one for evil and one for good.  We see the results of taking either path.  One path is filled with the robber, killer and the thief and other path is filled with a blessed life. 

   I memorized this verse in the King James Version which says I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.   Jesus said in this passage that we read today that He came so that we may have life and have life abundantly or the NIV to the full.   Jesus wants you and me to have an abundant life.  Here is what Strong’s Concordance says about the word abundant.  It means in the sense beyond, super abundant in quantity or superior in quality, excessive, exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more and etc.

    The Greek word perissos which the translators translated with the word abundant is only used in one other place in the bible and that is Ephesians 3:20 now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.  I put that verse on the top of my prayer list.  We do not think or meditate on that enough.   God is into great and mighty things.  Bless his name.  The Greek word perissos the same Greek word that is translated as abundant has also been translated as advantage and that is used in other places in the scriptures.  An example is Romans 3:1 which says what advantage then is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?  Much in every way!  I would say you could also translate this that Jesus is saying I have come to give people an advantage.   Life is better with Jesus then without Jesus. 

        Does this full life only apply to the people of Jesus day?    Perhaps some might think that yes for the people of that time frame Jesus would certainly enable them to live a better life a more abundant life.  Some might think or ask but what about for me today?   Do we really believe these words of Jesus?   Is the person better off and living a better life that spends their time praying and studying the bible?   Does a person live a better life that spends time sharing the gospel?      How about a person who goes to church and is generous with their finances?  Sometimes our actions speak louder than with what we say.

   What is an abundant life or full life?   I do not believe that the abundant life is always easy.   Did Jesus live an abundant life?   Did Paul live an abundant life?    I believe Jesus experienced abundant life and the point can be made that Jesus had challenges.  Hebrews tells us that Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered.  Jesus experienced hunger and thirst.   Jesus experienced physical and spiritual suffering.    Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights and then Satan tempted him.  After fasting 40 days and night the angels came and ministered unto him.   We do not know how many times the angels ministered to us.   Is suffering part of the abundant life?    We do struggle and that is good for us. 

   But Jesus lived a simple life.   Jesus said I always do what the Father tells me.  I do not see Jesus life as stressed nor filled with fear.  There was a blessed atmosphere around Jesus.   Jesus did all things well the people said.  There was healing and forgiveness around him.   Jesus saw everything in the Fathers hand and his life was under the Fathers control.  There is a rest and peace and abundance in that kind of life.   Paul the apostle had a blessed life but he also suffered.

   Do you think that you are experiencing abundant life?   Is this life that Jesus talks about worth pursuing for you?  What is a key to experiencing abundant life?  I suppose we could say many things.  I like John 3:30 where John the Baptist said he must increase and I must decrease.  I think the abundant life is a moment by moment surrendering of our life to Jesus.  The person who is filled with him or herself will not experience abundant life.    God wants to bless us as we walk with him.  If we put him first then we can walk in his resources, his power and experience his life through us.  We die to our flesh our sinful desires and then we live.  We die to self and then we walk in Him.  Abundant life and a full life are found in Jesus.  How blessed is the life that is lived in Him.    God is a good father and he delights in his children.  God delights to bless his children.  He delights to bless you. 

   I think we might ask ourselves if we have asked God to bless us lately.  Do you ask God to bless your time in the bible?  Do you ask God to bless your day?   When you go to church ask God to bless you and to use your life to minister to others.  Have you asked God to bless your work and your business?  I believe God likes business and prosperity.  I do not think Satan likes prosperity unless evil is associated with it.  God wants to bless you.  God wants to bless his church.  Do you expect God to answer your prayers?   e is able to do exceeding abundantly He I want God to bless me abundantly.   Joyce Meyer said she wanted God to so bless her that she could give cars away and even houses.  Let’s think big.   We serve a big God.    I want God to bless my prayers.  I want God to prosper my family and my church.  Every good gift comes from God and his resources are limitless.  God wants to give you more blessings. I like to bless others.   I like to bless my children.  Man is not more giving than God.   Jesus desires to prosper his people.  We have been given all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Jesus.   Jesus can do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.  Satan would rob the church but Jesus can put 100 people here just as easily as he put you here.   It would be easy for God to fill this church.  What seems big to us is simple for him.  The big things you face are no big deal for him.  We have a big God and he is not a cheap God.  Is your God cheap?  Is your God stingy? 

 .  We are co-heirs with Jesus.  Have you thought about that?   Well what does that mean?  Well when you get married you gain the assets of the other person.  When Sally and I married I got what she had and she got what I had and it is the same today.  If something happens to me it is all in her name.  If something happens to her it is all in my name.  My inheritance and her inheritance are shared with each other.   You are co-heirs with Jesus.  In Matthew 28 Jesus said I have all authority in heaven and on earth.  The Christian shares that authority.  I share that authority.  Jesus told his disciples I have given you authority.  He has given us authority to drive out demons, to heal, to bless others.   Hebrews 1 God has appointed Jesus as heir of all things.  I am co-heir with the one who owns all things.  Jesus can bless us abundantly.  Let’s walk in that abundance.  We need to ask and believe.  Jesus has blessed us abundantly and Jesus will bless us in the future.  We need to ask for the blessings and we need to trust Him for the blessings.  I read that old saying this week prayer is the key to heaven and faith unlocks the door.  There are plenty of resources for us.  My father is unlimited.  We need to believe God for blessings.   We need to appropriate them and claim them.   We have to do our part.  Jesus came to give us abundant life.   Jesus is still doing miracles today.  Jesus is till blessing people today.  

        The world can offer a full life and a busy life but not an abundant life. The things that the world offers do not fill or satisfy us.   The world would say life is found in all the toys that we can collect.  The world would have you believe that true life is found in a can of beer or a bottle.    That real life is found in a better car, a better boat, a better camp, a better house, a bigger bank account, a different spouse etc.  Those things can fill a person’s life but never really satisfy.  So in a sense it does not fill a person’s life.   There is always the lust for more.  A rich man was asked once how much is enough?   He said 1 dollar more.  Abundant life is not found in a pill.  Abundant life is not found in the lies of the world and the devil.  Abundant life is not found in lust, hate, fear and anger.   Jesus said I have come that you may have life and have life to the full or more abundantly.  We have forgiveness, peace, strength, wisdom and joy in Jesus. God has not given us a spirit of fear.  Abundant life is not in this world system.   I want to walk in Jesus abundance.  I want to walk in faith every day.  I want to trust every day to Jesus.  I want to sleep in peace.  I want my life to count for more than just myself.  I believe that you do also and as we walk in Jesus we can have those things.     

    We have to come to Jesus and walk with Jesus to experience a full or abundant life.   Abundant life is in Jesus but we have to come to him.  Jesus told the Jews that were trying to persecute him in John 5 you study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.  These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.   Jesus longs and desires to give us life.  There is no lack of desire on Jesus part to have a close walk with us.  We were made to fellowship with Him. I Corinthians 1:9 we were called into fellowship with Jesus.   It is amazing that God wants to talk with us.  It is amazing that this great creator who is holy, holy, holy would desire to be involved in our life.   It certainly speaks of love.   God loves us.   God’s love is amazing.