Abundant Life

September 27, 2015   John 10: 7 – 18    Life Abundant and Full

 

     Run Ministries was founded in 1990 by Eric Watt and is a 501C organization.   They have been working in the Middle East with the refugees.  This is a recent story from RUN ministries.   Our RUN teams found Sharooq and 70-plus families from his tribe in the mountains of Iraq last October. We provided them with food, water and shelter, caring for their every need.   During that time, RUN leaders taught them a song from Psalm 108:3-5, "I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, let your glory be over all the earth" (NIV).  

    After months of struggle and anguish, Sharooq decided to leave his family and head for Syria or Turkey.   The rest of the family agreed to come into our Community of Hope Refugee Camps for safe refuge and care.   Everyone thought Sharooq was dead because no one had any contact with him.   But last week, our rescue teams heard a man singing the same song in the mountains!   We brought him into the camp and hundreds of people joined Sharooq in song!   It turns out he was captured by ISIS fighters and sang this miracle song of deliverance in their prison. They stopped beating him and torturing him because of the strength of this song.   Soon other prisoners, along with Sharooq, sang this song and started following Jesus. Thankfully, he was able to escape and flee into the mountains. Today, Sharooq is reunited with his family!   God works in the most difficult situations and to God be the glory.   God can do a lot with just a couple of verses of the bible and a person. 

    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. 

    Jesus came so we could have life and have life abundantly.  Or you could say Jesus came so we could have a good life.     I looked good life up on web just to see what kind of things I would find.  The first thing on the list was good life bar.   There are good life fitness centers.  Here are some other good life things; good life vapor, good life realty, good life programs, good life catering, good life clothing, good life festival.   There was also good life, good death and good grief welcome.  There is a good life comedy show and a good life revolving door agency.   I did not look to see what they were selling.   What is your idea of a good life or an abundant life?   I challenge you this week to ask someone anyone what is their idea of a good life or abundant life.  And if they are unsaved and they ask you to share what you think is a good life or abundant life you have an open door to share Jesus.   Do you think you can do that?   

    I suppose a lot of folks would say well I want to have good health, a good job so I can pay my bills, well behaved children.  Some would say I want to go to church.  Some would say I want God to use my life.  I want to build the kingdom of God.  I want to share the gospel. lead people to Jesus and disciple others.  I want my money and my time to count for eternity.  Few would say I want to sacrifice. 

    Abundant or a good life for many folks would be other things.  I suppose for many folks their life would be just be the things of the world.  For some it would be more drink, more drugs, and more wild parties.  For many the drive is for more money, more business, more sales, more power and influence.  Some aspire to political power. 

    Two weeks ago I shared on Deuteronomy 30 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

     Moses makes it plain to God’s children that blessing and curses are before them and they have a choice to make on how they are going to live their life.  In the last verse of the chapter Moses tells them that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.   Moses is telling them your life is not in the things of this world.  You are going into the land of milk and honey but that is not your life.  Your life is God.  In John 14:6 Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life.  Jesus said I am the bread of life.  Jesus said I am the light of the world.  Colossians 3:4 when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  The bible says Christ who is your life.  What does that mean to you today?   There are many Christians in America right now sitting in church thinking that they would like to be home having dinner and thinking about their job and their children and their problems while God’s word is being shared with them.   

    The Jews at times thought their life was in idols and in the land flowing with milk and honey but God showed them that life real life is in Him. I believe that God will bring many in America to the same conclusion. What happens when the milk and honey does not flow anymore?  Full life abundant life is not found in money and possessions but in a relationship with God.   I Timothy 6 says some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  They exchanged a life walking with God for the world and they pierced them self with many grief’s. 

    I remember reading about a survey that someone took years ago and they ask people what do you want in life?  The people responded on the survey that we want love, joy, and peace.   I am sure that we all know that the world’s love is pretty shallow.  The world’s joy or some would say their happiness is found in things that do not satisfy and certainly there is no peace in the world. 

     Does this 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 time praying?   Does a person live a better life that spends time reading the bible?    How about a person who shares the gospel and goes to church and is generous with their finances?  Our lives and our actions sometimes speak louder than with what we say.   At times we think life would be easier if we could side step something that we know the Lord wants us to do.  Sometimes it is not easy to pray or pick up that bible and study.  Sometimes we do not want to love that unlovable person or pray for that person who seems to be going in the wrong directions that we have tried to help over and over again.  Yes it can be frustrating.    I know at times I get tired of the spiritual warfare.  It can wear a person down.  It is not fun to have the enemy poking in your life. 

    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. 

    It is better for us to walk in his love.  The person who walks in His love is not focused on the things of the world. I see a lot of brokenness in the world.  I see folks trying to fill up their life with many things that just do not satisfy.  There is a lot of fear, there is anger, and there is bitterness.  Those things do not satisfy and they do not create abundant an abundant life.  It may bring a full life but not a good abundant advantageous life.  Solomon tried to fill his life with the things of this world.  He was certainly rich and powerful.  Solomon was also wise but it seems the further he drifted from God the less wisdom was displayed in his life.  He had a lot of knowledge but his life spun out of control as he departed from God.  One person said if you step out of God’s will you step into nothing.    

       Leo Tolstoy, known for his classic work War and Peace, also wrote A Confession, which tells the story of his search for meaning and purpose in life. Tolstoy rejected Christianity as a child and went to a university seeking pleasure.  In Moscow and St. Petersburg he drank heavily, lived promiscuously, and gambled frequently.  His ambition was to become wealthy and famous, but nothing satisfied him.  In 1862, he married a wonderful woman, and they had thirteen children. He had everything, yet he was so unhappy that he was on the verge of suicide.  “Is there any meaning in my life which will not be annihilated by the inevitability of death, which awaits me?” he said.   Tolstoy searched for the answer in every field of science and philosophy.    As he looked around, he saw that people were not facing up to the basic questions of life, such as: Where did I come from?   Where am I going?   Who am I?   What is life all about?   Eventually he found that the peasant people of Russia answered these questions through their Christian faith, and he, too, came to realize that only in Jesus Christ do we find the true meaning of life.

   This verse says the thief comes to steal kill and destroy.  If 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.  Jesus came to give you abundance, fullness, an advantage.  If your purpose in life is to do his purpose then you will experience purpose, fullness, abundance, and meaning.