Summary: A richer, fuller life comes by committing ourselves to Christ in certain ways.
A RICHER, FULLER LIFE
I Thess. 5:16-18
INTRO.- ILL.- A man by the name of George owned an apartment complex and had just completed the exterior brick work on the 2nd floor. He had some bricks left over and was trying to decide the best way to get the load of bricks back down to the ground level without breaking them.
He noticed a 55-gal. Barrel on the ground and thought, "I know what I’ll do. I’ll tie some rope around that barrel, hook a pulley to the 2nd floor eave and pull the barrel up to the 2nd floor. Then I can load the bricks into the barrel and let it back down to the ground."
So that’s what he began to do. He tied the rope around the barrel, ran it over the pulley on the 2nd floor and pulled the barrel up to the 2nd floor. Then he tied the rope to the root of a nearby tree. He went up to the 2nd floor balcony and loaded the bricks into the barrel. Then he went back downstairs, grabbed the rope and pulled it loose from the root.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT, HOWEVER, GEORGE HADN’T COUNTED ON! That 55-gal barrel full of bricks weighed about 4 times as much as George! So the barrel shot down like lightning and George shot up like a rocket! As George shot past the barrel, it hit his shoulder, slammed against his hip and hit his kneecap. The barrel crashed to the ground, and George’s head smashed into the pulley above, cracking his skull. THERE HE WAS, DANGLING BY THE ROPE FROM THE 2ND STORY.
When the barrel hit the ground, the bricks were so heavy they knocked the bottom out of the barrel. NOW GEORGE WAS HEAVIER THAN THE BARREL! What a predicament!
Down came George and up came the empty barrel. This time, however, the barrel caught him on the other side. It hit his other knee, scraped his hip, broke his nose and dumped him on top of the pile of bricks.
He turned both his ankles and scuffed up both his shins. George let out a yell and turned loosed of the rope. SINCE THE BARREL WAS HEAVIER THAN THE ROPE, DOWN CAME THE BARREL. And you guessed it, it hit George one more time. As George found himself in the hospital bed: bruised, broken, cut, and sprained, he kept saying to himself, "I DON’T KNOW WHETHER TO FILE ONE INSURANCE CLAIM OR FIVE."
George’s story reminds us that we are living in a terribly mixed up world! Our world is forever going up and down. And about the time we think we have the bucket filled, the bottom falls out of the bucket and we get cracked in the head.
We expect life to have a few bumps, BUT NOT ONE CONSTANT ROLLER-COASTER RIDE FULL OF PAIN, MISERY AND BRUISES!
Brethren, we all get "dumped on" in life! Rich and poor, saints and sinners alike. Some worse than others, of course.
How do we get "dumped on" in life? In all kinds of ways. A poor home life, a bad upbringing, family troubles, marital messes, financial struggles, work hassles, addictive practices, health problems, and the list goes on.
Life is not very good to us at times. And sometimes it seems downright rotten, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t experience a richer, fuller life! It is possible! But only in the Lord!
John 10:10 Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I HAVE COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND HAVE IT TO THE FULL."
"The thief." Who is that? Satan. Satan comes to steal life from us. He wants to steal the rich, full life from us. BUT JESUS CAME TO GIVE IT TO US!
I believe that the answer to a richer, fuller life is in Jesus Christ. It is found in a continual relationship to Him through commitment, surrender, and obedience. There are all kinds of things that we can do to bring about a richer, fuller in Christ.
PROP.- In I Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul gives us three simple acts to do that will help to bring about a richer, fuller life in Christ.
1- Be joyful
2- Pray constantly
3- Give thanks
I. BE JOYFUL
V. 16 "Be joyful always."
To have a richer, fuller life we must find our joy in the Lord!
ILL.- How did you like the Thanksgiving meal our ladies served last Thursday night? Great! Fantastic! Delicious! Yummy! Scrumptious! What did you like best about the dinner? The turkey? The ham? The side dishes? The desserts? They were all good.
I was looking over the desserts before the dinner (as most of you did) and found some delicious-looking peanut butter cream pie. At least, that’s what it looked like to me. But when I finally got to the dessert table it wasn’t there. SOMEBODY GOT THE GOOD PIE! Several somebodies. And I ain’t happy about it!