THE ABUNDANT CHRISITAN LIFE
Intro: I read
a story of two mountain villages.
One of these villages got its water from a mountain spring. In the summer months when the weather
was dry, that spring would dwindle down until there was barely a trickle of
water coming into that little village.
There is just barely enough water to keep the village alive until wetter
weather comes in.
In the center of
the other village, there is a fountain that is always flowing with a seemingly
endless supple of thirst-quenching, life-sustaining water. It is an artesian well that continues to
gush regardless of how dry the summer months may become. This village always has an abundance of
water for its own needs and for the needs of others.
These two towns
stand as a parable for you and me this evening. They picture to two kinds of Christian
life that are available to each of us.
Some believers live a life that is like a dwindling, trickling little
stream that barely gives evidence of its existence. Others live a life that is overflowing
with the spiritual blessings of the redeemed: peace, joy and power. When Jesus was here on this earth, He
said that He came to give us “abundant life”, John
10:10. This is a life that is
overflowing with all the blessings of the Spirit of God. He tells us that when we trust Him, we
will be like that artesian well.
Our life will literally gush with the overflow of His work within us,
John 4:14. Which scene more
accurately pictures the kind of life you are living? The dead, dry Christian is a
contradiction by his very nature.
Jesus did not save us to be listless, dry, dull and barely clinging to
spiritual life. He saved us to be
filled with His glory, His peace and His joy. He saved us to overflow with a spiritual
bounty, Eph. 1:3. According
to that verse He has already given all we need to enjoy the abundant Christian
life. What we need to do is learn
how to appropriate what the Lord has already given to us.
Some examples of
this kind of living are the Apostles of our Lord. Before they were filled with the Spirit,
they were prone to failures, petty jealousy and other sins of the flesh. However, after Pentecost, they were
changed men! They were filled with
power and joy. Even in the darkest
hours, they were able to rest in their faith in the Lord, Ill. Peter – Acts
12:6. These were men who had
joy in spite of persecution. They
lived a life of overflowing spiritual blessings. This is a life that is available to
every single one of God’s children.
Yes, even you! These verses
tell us something about how to receive it.
We are told that there are two ministries performed on our behalf that
make the abundant life possible. I
want to share them with you this evening.
I. v. 8-12
THE GLORY OF THE SAVIOR’S MINISTRY FOR
(Ill. Verse 8 tells us that Jesus is a
“minister”. That is,
He has a work that He does on behalf of others. When He was here, He spoke about His
role as a minister, Matt. 20:28.)
A. v. 8 God’s Promises To The Jewish
People – The Bible is very clear when it teaches
us that Jesus Christ came to this world to be the
Savior of the Jews, Rom. 1:16.
His primary goal in coming was to be the Jewish Messiah. This is made clear by the events of
Matthew 15:21-28. He came to
the Jews! He came to fulfill the
promises and the prophecies that God had made to the Jews down through the
years. In fact, in every area of
His life and in everything He did, Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled every aspect
of the Jewish Law and the prophets.
Jesus proved in every detail that He was the Messiah. Yet, the Jews stumbled over the fact
that He came as a suffering Messiah.
They could not understand that His ministry was to be carried out in two
parts. In His first coming He was
to die for the sins of the people.
In His second, He would restore the Jewish kingdom. He came to His own and His own received
Him not, John 1:11, because they stumbled over His cross, 1 Cor.
In that day, the
nation as a whole rejected Him, but there were individuals who received
Him. That is how is works
today. There are Jews saved here
and there. However, the day will
come when the whole nation of Israel will come to faith in Christ! Jesus is the
minister to every Jew who will receive Him today.
B. v. 9-12 God’s Prophecies To The Gentile
People – In these next four verses, Paul
gives us four quotes from the Old Testament. He quotes once from the Pentateuch, the
Law, twice from the Psalms and once from the Prophets. He is using the Jewish Scriptures to
show the Jews that God has opened the door of salvation wide for the Gentiles to
enter. Thank God that salvation is
not just for the nation of Israel!
If that were the case than you and I would be left out. But, the Bible tells us that any lost
person in the world who will trust Jesus can and will be saved! That is the essence of the Great
Commission – Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15. When Saul of Tarsus was saved by the
grace of God, he was given a commission to take the Gospel to “the
Gentiles”, Acts 9:15; Rom. 11:13.
Thank God that
wherever sinners are found, regardless of their nationality, their skin color,
their background, etc, they can be saved by grace and brought into a
relationship with the Lord God. He
broke down the wall of partition that separated sinners from God and has
reconciled us to the father by the blood of His cross, Eph. 2:11-22 –
(Note: That is what Jesus did for humanity! He came as a minister of salvation for
will receive Him
II. v. 13
OF THE SPIRIT’S MINISTRY FOR US
(Ill. This verse
is one that overflows with the glory of God. Notice the words “fill”
“abound”. These words refer to that which is
filled to the top and is overflowing.
The Lord wants us to know that as His children, not only as He redeemed
us and given us a relationship with Himself, but He has also fixed it so that
life doesn’t have to be dull, dry and boring. He wants us to know that we can live
lives that are overflowing the best of His blessings every single day! This verse shares with us some truths
related to that glorious fact.)
A. The Author Of The Abundant
Life – The Bible tells us here that God is the giver of
Many people live a life that is in a rut. They do the same things in the same way
every day of their lives. There is
no excitement. There is no
overflowing joy. They never see
anything out of the ordinary. That
is not the kind of life Jesus saved us to live! He saved us to live a life that is
filled with His presence, power and glory, a life that extraordinary and
overflowing in the unusual. When a
person is walking with the Lord, as they should be, they will be constantly
seeing the Lord working in them and around them in wonderful, supernatural
ways. Do you want a life that is
different? Do you want a life that
is filled with the wonder of God’s work in and around you? Paul says the way to have that kind of
life is to get to God. He alone can
give that kind of life to His children.
The secret lies in being saved and in living close to the Father! Jesus promised His children that their
lives would be different if they came to Him, John
(Note: You can be saved and still live
a life that is as dry as a corn shuck.
If you do not live as close to Him as you should, you will probably think
the Christian life is boring, the church is dead and that your life is no
different than that pagan who lives next door. If you want to abundant life that Jesus
can give, it will require you to walk in close communion with Him. This might mean you will have to start
praying. Maybe you will have to
read you Bible. You might have to
find your way to the church house with a little more regularity. You might even have to stop doing some
of those things that hinder God from moving in your life like He wants to. Before we decide that the Christian life
is dull and boring, let’s make sure we have lives as close to the Lord as we can
first. If you can get close to Him,
your life will be anything but boring!)
B. The Attributes Of The Abundant
Life – Paul uses three words in this verse to
describe the characteristics of the abundant
life. These three things – Joy,
Peace and Hope, are what all men are seeking. If men were honest, they would have to
say that they spend their entire lives wanting these three things. Men have exhausted fortunes, and spent
countless years seeking these things.
But, they cannot be bought.
They can only be found in Jesus.
He is the source of joy, peace and hope. Yet, these things are the personal
possession of every person who has the abundant Christian life. Let’s take a few minutes to examine each
of these words this evening.
Joy – When we think of joy, we immediately think of
happiness. But, real joy is more
It isn’t slapping a silly grin on your face and walking around like that
all the time. It isn’t pleasure
either. All of these things are
affected by our circumstances. When
all the situations in life please us, we are happy. When there are problems, then we are
unhappy. No! Real joy cannot be touched by the
circumstances of life! Real joy is
a sovereign gift of God! It is part
of the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22. It cannot be shaken, but endures all
things with a confident glory that nothing can rattle! You and I will not always be happy as we
go through life, but we can always have joy! Listen to what Paul said, “Rejoice
in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice”, Phil. 4:4. Paul isn’t saying that we should always
be happy, he is saying that there should always be the joy of the Lord in our
hearts that is real and vital because of our relationship with Him. By the way, Paul was in a Roman prison
when he wrote those precious words!
Our circumstances change, but the Lord does not! The relationships of life wax and wane,
but our relationship with God never waivers. He gives us “joy unspeakable and
full of glory.”, 1 Pet. 1:8. May we learn to be like Job, whom, when
attacked by the devil, never lost his cool; he just worshipped the Lord, Job
1:20-21. Job knew a truth that
many of us never grasp. It is found
in Neh. 8:10, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Do you have joy in your heart this
Peace – The abundant life is one characterized by
“peace.” This is a
means “to join together.” It is the exact opposite of the word
worry which means “to pull apart.” The life that is filled with the Lord’s
best is a life that is not pulled apart by worry, but it is one that rests in
the promises and power of God. It
is a life that knows true peace of heart.
It knows that whatever may come in life, it is all in the hand of the
Lord to either allow it or to stop it.
It does not concern itself with which may happen, it merely leaves the
choice in the hand of God knowing God will take care of all matters, Rom.
8:28. Jesus promised us that He
would give us peace, John 14:27.
He gave us peace with God when He died for our sins and we received Him,
Rom. 5:1. But, there is a
daily peace that we can experience in every situation of life, Phil.
4:7. Do you have peace this
evening? Regardless of what is
happening in your life, do you know that the Lord is in control and that He will
take care of you? That is the peace
of the abundant life!
Hope – A third characteristic of this abundant life is
“hope”. This is not
thinking that word hope has come to mean in our
society. No, this is a deep settled
conviction based on a clear word from God.
You see, the redeemed have the promises of God to rest upon. These promises give us hope! If you are
lost this evening you have no hope.
If you are lost, regardless of what happens to you tomorrow it is a bad
thing. No matter how good it may
appear on the surface, it might serve to drive a wedge between you and the Lord,
(Ill. Money, marriage, death, rapture).
However, if you are saved, no matter hat happens, you have hope! Thank God, if you are saved, you serve a
God Who is in control of the situation!
Whatever happens in life, He will take care of you, Phil.
C. The Appropriation Of The Abundant
Life – How do you get this kind of life? Anybody
in their right mind would want it! The answer is found in two words in
verse 13. Those words are
“in believing”. Paul
says that the abundant Christian life is appropriated by faith! That may be a problem for some. There are people who may think that they
have no faith. However, the Bible
says that you do, Rom. 12:3!
And, friend, it doesn’t take much faith to get the job done, Matt.
17:20. In fact, you have more
faith than you realize! I dare you
to try and live one day without faith!
You would not be able to walk, drive your car, sit in your chair, turn on
the lights, go through a door, believe the newspaper, use the television, trust
anybody, love your children, love your spouse, etc. Faith is essential to our very
existence. If we exercise such
faith in earthly matters, surely we can learn to transfer that faith to the
Lord, 1 John 5:9.
We obtain the
abundant Christian life by faith in God and by the work of the Holy Spirit
within us. We cannot do it
ourselves, but we can stop it from being a reality! When the Lord saved us, He placed His
Spirit within each of us. The Holy
Spirit has the power to fill us and give the abundant life we all want to
have. It will come from Him and Him
of us are just like the disciples.
There was Simon Peter the loudmouth, James and John the hot heads, Thomas
the skeptic and Nathaniel the pessimist.
They were all full of themselves and living anything but an abundant
life. However, on the day of
Pentecost, they received by faith that which Jesus had for them and when they
did, they were forever changed.
They each received a life that clearly bubbled over with power, authority
and glory. How do they get it? By faith!
What about you my
friend? Would you describe your
life as abundant? Would you say
that you are living large in Jesus?
Is your life like that struggling little stream that is on the verge of
drying up, are is it like that artesian well that flows up from an abundant
supply in the heart? If there is a
lack in your life, the help you need is found in Jesus. Get to Him and get fixed