HYMN: TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
CENTRAL THOUGHT: Life is Christ’s gift and He is “the life”.
TEXT: John 10:1-30
We live in a world where people’s cravings are for the original, the genuine; the real thing. Everyone wants to prove that he is real. The Lord Jesus Christ, in our study text, compares the real with the fake, and the thief with the provider (supplier). If the world ever needed the comparison, it is now!
The thief is pretentious; he puts up an appearance that he does not want to deceive. He is not what you see; he is a hypocrite; his interest is in himself. A vital companion characteristic of stealing is lying. Thus, the devil is a thief and a liar, and everyone with either trait or both belongs to the father of lies, the devil (John 8:44, 10:10). The Lord is our father, our dearly beloved creator who holds us in honor and value. He is the embodiment of truth. The truth opens the way, and the way leads to life.
Sin has separated man from the truth, the way and the life (John 14:6), who is reality! Man is now faced with darkness, lies and death. He lost real life to the devil at Eden and since then has remained in touch with the evil master of sin (Gen. 3:11, 22-24) who keeps stealing every bit of truth that comes man’s way. The devil presents worldly goods as real life, worth craving, working for and even dying for (see 1 John 2:15-17). He makes acquisition of wealth and/or a show of it to look like the reason why God made man. The devil deceives further, by making people believe that some people are better than others, i.e. because of their skin color, etc. By these and more, he robs man of real life. He provides these temporal issues to steal away the real, permanent issue; eternity. Funeral services are common services, yet man has not learned to face eternity. In our lesson today, the Lord Jesus Christ invites us to embrace the truth rather than darkness, and life rather than death. Anyone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior does not have life in him (1 John 1:5-7, 3:7-17, 5:11, 12,20). This life he lacks is life to the full!
The objectives of this study are:
1. To understand abundant life
2. To know which class of people possess life to the fullest.
3. To know how to live life in abundance
4. To show some hindrances to possessing life in abundance.
Q1. WHAT IS “ABUNDANT LIFE”?
To have abundant life is to have life in fullness; it means life in plentiful supply. This is the type of life that meets the purpose of creation; a fulfilled life.
Deceits of the devil…
…That a fulfilled life is:
- • Lived by having plenty of women (wives and concubines)
- • A popular life
- • One that everyone praises and accepts
- • Plenty of cars, houses, clothes and children
- • Being beautiful
- • Always having one’s way in everything
The way to identify a fulfilled life, however is obedience to the giver of life. A fulfilled life is the life that has direct access to God Almighty; a life that is in the light as He is in the light (living in the truth, denouncing
sin and the appearances of it) 1 John 5:1-12.
Abundant life showed forth in the lifestyle of our Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who has this level of life lives like He lived (1 John 1:5-7, John 14:12). Abundant life means living in the full confidence of the future. It means faith (not fear). It means divine health and security. Innocence and humility characterize this lifestyle. The man who possesses abundant life does the will of God without question because he does not fear what might happen. This lifestyle is hinged on God, and it’s from God.
What it is not…
It is not:
- • Money or any other thing that means worldly riches
- • Luxury in the sense of pleasing the flesh, the sensual human feeling
- • Abundance of fine things, clothes,
- jewelry, electronics, or even knowledge
- • Plenty of food
Abundant life is favor with God. It is spiritual luxury; a way of life characterized by great peace, comfort and pleasure in the spirit. It means life with all its additives! These issues which the thief (the devil) makes major, which are minor (the additives) are only physical accomplishments of life which in themselves do not constitute life. For instance, it is wonderful to be knowledgeable, but without the life of Christ, knowledge is vexation of the spirit (Eccl 12:12). Similarly, it feels good to be said to be beautiful; to be praised and even to be rich, but all these are the things that the people of the world crave for – they are not life. Abundant life does not require them for completion, but has them (including abundant peace, abundant joy…) as additives, which things money cannot buy!
Not too many people find abundant life, but we can confidently point out three sound examples (Mt. 7:14).
1. Elijah (James 5:17,18,
1 Kings 18:16-46,
2 Kings 2:1-12)
He lived the abundant life! He could speak and it pleased the Lord to honor it. People were at his mercy (not for wickedness, but for righteousness); heaven and earth knew and respected him. He went to heaven alive.
2. Moses (Ex 33:11-23,
Deut. 34:1-12, Num. 12:3)
He obeyed and humbled himself before the Lord so much that the Lord testified to his humility. He performed wondrous signs by God’s direct instructions. He asked to have a physical fellowship with the God of the Universe. He knew exactly when and where to die.
3. The Lord Jesus Christ
(Acts 2:22-25, John 15:13,
The Lord is life in its abundance. He healed at will, forgave at will; He loved all peoples. He loved so much, He laid aside His sovereignty as God of the Universe, took the form of man and died for man. He knew what was going on at any time in the heart of men.
He also knew and directed tomorrow. He laid down His life and took it again, and now, His will is done, He now has people who have real life. He’s gone back to heaven and would come again.
These are but samples of what absolute, real, or abundant life is. This is what it means to be alive; to live and be in control.
These people made the difference in the heavens and on earth.
Note that physical riches were not the criteria for their successes in life. Physical provisions came as a result of their being in control.
Abundant life is taking charge of life. It means directing the physical and spiritual affairs around one. This is why we were made in the first place (Gen. 1:26). It means being like God in purity, truth, and spirit.
What it is not:
- • Witchcraft, or secret society or fraternities with the devil
- • Pride and self-exaltation
- • Oppression or cheating
- • Preoccupation of abundant life.
Evangelism is a lifestyle. Speeches are consciously salted with wise talks of Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom. People living the full life speak to everyone in every way about their joy, peace, comfort, and pleasure. Power is on their side. Life in abundance appropriates the finished work at Calvary, lives in victory over sin and the devil. Their flesh is subject to their spirit man.
Honesty is their way of life. Humility is their standard. They struggle to out-do one another in love. They neither keep grudges nor malice. They are children enough to be corrected by anyone and would learn the least opportunity from every circumstance.
Sin is hated from within and not merely feared. The grace to fall on the Lord and receive strength is available. It is freedom to do right without consciousness of sin but of righteousness. It is not a normal worldly style of life. It is strange to the people of this worldly system. Thus, they generally do not approve of it. It does not conform to this world, rather it reproves the world of sin and of judgement. It is a lifestyle busy for the Lord and not for man (not even for self). It gives and does not count, assists without pride, gives and gives again, expecting nothing in return.
Q2. WHO HAS ABUNDANT LIFE?
As sinners, no one has abundant life. Everyone, rich or poor, popular or remote; all persons are living in bondage to sin and Satan, a borrowed life without hope or a future. The Lord Jesus Christ said that he came to give abundant life to His sheep. There is a group of people who are led; a people who, like sheep resemble goats, they resemble ordinary men, but they are Christ’s Sheep. They hear His voice; they are able to identify it and they have both the willingness and strength (power) to obey (follow) Him. They have a good Shepherd (a leader; protector, instructor, teacher, master) who loves them and would lay down His life for them (John 10:8-18). They trust their trustworthy Master.
Apostle John, in John 1:4-5, 10-13, 20:31, further explains who these people are. They are different from the world. The world is darkness and has not understood to overcome the true light that is real, abundant, full of life; meanwhile they have rejected it. But these people have received and believed in the life that is the light of men. Therefore, they have been given power to become God’s children. They are born of man and woman, they are God’s sons born again by His indwelling Spirit.
Who gives Abundant life?
There are no two ways of receiving abundant life; a perfect and good life. It comes from our dear father and Master, Jesus Christ (James 1:17-18). It is because of this (to give us life) that the Lord Jesus Christ came.
How do people, and the devil fake abundant life today? What is the difference between this faked life and the real life from the Lord?
Who they are not….
- The sheep are not necessarily regular church men or women
- They are not necessarily people with sonorous or even cracked voices
- They are not necessarily pastors or deacons or men with titles
- They are not men of a particular color
- They are not the kind of people who can defend themselves well
Q3. DO ALL FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST LIVE ABUNDANT LIVES?
Anyone who has not received the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior cannot even understand Him or the life we are talking about. However, a person who has received and believed in Him may fail to manifest Christ’s given, real and abundant life for many reasons.
2 Peter 1:10 admonishes that we should be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. By cultivating the qualities listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7, we can be assured that God has chosen and called us. The genuineness of our profession would be demonstrated as we express these virtues (see also Gal. 5:6, James 2:18). Those who in this way give evidence of their faith would not fail to manifest the abundant life.
But the sinful in mind, who is not yielding to the Lord would not please God. The pretender and compromiser with the world would not be able to enjoy the pleasure of knowing his or her end like Moses. The drunkard and the glutton cannot love! The selfish, proud, and title-crazy fellow would not be able to know the mind of Christ. The religious hypocrite would neither hear Christ’s voice nor follow Him. With malice and hatred, one cannot speak on behalf of the Holy, Loving, God of the universe. With unconfessed, plaguing sins, one would not be what God intended for him to be. One cannot resemble the world and be Christ’s Ambassador. For these and many other new reasons, many are called but few are chosen: the called, chosen and faithful ones exhibit abundant life (Matt. 22:14, Rev. 17:14).
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Abundant life is not close to what the ordinary man knows about. John bull has very wealthy parents. Although he could score enough marks to gain admission to study his desired course in the University, his parents paid and secured him the admission. They secured him through his University education with their wealth. At graduation, they used their influence to secure him an enviable job abroad. They arranged a wedding between him and one of his numerous girlfriends. He lives in affluence and has all that he wants.
Compare this life with abundant life according to the Lord’s teaching. In what other practical ways do men mistake temporal, minor issues for abundant life?
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
Monday: Eternal life is in Christ Jesus
1 John 5:11
Tuesday: Believing Christ gives abundant life
Wednesday: Abundant life is demonstrated by the virtues we show.
James 2:18, Gal. 5:6
Thursday: If we continue in sin, we are not living life in abundance.
1 John 3:5-6
Friday: We will have a fulfilled life by the complete obedience to the giver of life.
1 John 5:1-12
Saturday: Whoever does not have God’s Son, Jesus, does not have life, the devil is his father.
1 John 5:12, John 8:44