Summary: Reveals three things we need to do to find the abundant life. Repent, Release, and Receive
October 21, 2015
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
“Abundant” – don’t you love that word? Jesus says that he has come to give LIFE – and not just life but ABUNDANT LIFE. I love words like that coming from God. In my favorite Psalm it promises that the Good Shepherd will make us lie down in green pastures and lead us to quiet waters. He promises to renew our souls and lead us on the right path. He promises to set a banquet table for us and to give us so abundantly that our cups run over.
Isn’t that awesome. Not only that- but he promises that goodness and mercy (or love) with be with us all our lives – and then we will live with Him FOREVER!
WOW! Doesn’t that make your heart fill with joy? Isn’t that thrilling? In my Scripture reading this morning I read where God’s people will BURST into ‘songs of joy’. Another verse says if we pursue love and what is right it will result in us finding “life, prosperity and honor” (Proverbs 21:21)
Sometime when you are discouraged or depressed go through the book of Psalms and highlight all the positive words. It begins in the first Psalm with the word picture that we will be like fruitful trees planted by the water and that whatever we do will prosper. Some of the picture phrases and words I have are highlighted in my Bible are:
“you will fill me with JOY and eternal pleasures” (16:11)
“He rescued me because he delighted in me” (18:19)
“God turns my darkness into light” (18:28)
“The man that fears the Lord will spend his days in prosperity” (25:13)
“God turns our wailing into dancing and clothes us with joy” (30:11)
“God surrounds us with songs of deliverance” (32:7)
“those that seek the Lord lack no good thing” (34:10)
“we can find refuge in the shadow of His wings” (36:7)
“we feast on abundance and drink from the river of delights” (36:8)
“At night His song is with me” (42:8)
“He anoints with the oil of joy” (45:7)
“the Lord daily bears our burdens –Selah” (68:19)
Those are just a few of the wonderful promises of God. ‘Selah’ – THINK about that! Our God is an awesome God! But more than that – He is a GOOD God. More than that – He is a LOVING God. More than that – He loves US and wants to bless us!
I guess that’s why they call the Gospel the “Good News”. It is good news! We can exchange our tears of sorrow for tears of joy. (126:5-6) He lifts us from the dust and the manure pile and seats us with royalty. (113:7-8)
We have all shed tears of sorrow for one thing or another. That is what life does to us. It brings us to tears through death, divorce, debt, discouragement, depression – and on and on it goes. Sin shoves our face in the dust and grinds away. We are broken to pieces and crushed and thrown on the manure pile of life. That is what sin does to us – and we all have sinned. We have all experienced the painful consequences of sin in our life.
The Good News is that the Good Shepherd wants to bring us life – and not just ‘life’ – but ABUNDANT life. He wants to fill our life with love and songs of joy and blessings. How does He do that? Let me tell you how. I have experienced most of it. I will tell you what I learned.
It is hard for people to believe the kind of person I once was. I was raised in the church thanks - to a godly mother. I went to all the meetings and sat through all kinds of Bible studies – because Mom made me. When Mom was no longer around, because I packed up to go my own way, I forgot the church and its teachings. I forgot about God. And sin dragged me down. I experienced sin and was enslaved by it. I won’t even tell you all that I did and the kind of sinful person I was. But that kind of sinful living leads to pain. And I was in pain. I felt alone, despised, hated, worthless and without purpose or direction in my life. In the midst of that darkness – Jesus saw me – and He pursued me. He spoke to me through His word and through the Holy Spirit. I believed. A spark of belief ignited in my heart and I knelt in prayer.