Summary: Jesus gives us the only way to fullness of life. All other paths are empty.
Today’s lesson is the final in our series on How Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
To start off our lesson let’s look at two questions and consider some scriptures that center around two key words: empty and full.
What are some things that promise fullness, but deliver only emptiness and ruin instead?
Ephesians 5: 5 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater —has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
There are a lot of empty things listed in that passage that many people turn to for fullness. The real fullness is found in the first two verses and the very end of verse four: imitating God as a child imitates his father, living a life of sacrificial love like Jesus did, and giving thanks in all things. These may not be popular, but they deliver on fullness. We must be careful what we try to fill our emptiness with. If we choose foolishly we will find ourselves in disobedience that leads to ruin and God’s wrath. God’s word tells us not to be partners with those who choose the emptiness of disobedience.
Here’s a second passage that is instructive in this:
1 Peter 1: 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
NIV translates the end of verse 18 as “the empty way of life.” NKJV calls it “aimless conduct.” NAS says: “futile way of life.” Empty, aimless, and futile… not very good ways to live.
I remember a Mayonnaise commercial where the guy gets up at night and goes to the fridge to gather all the goodies to make a big sandwich. He gets it all together, his mouth is watering, he’s all excited and then he picks up his favorite spread Kraft Mayonnaise. He opens the Mayonnaise jar, looks inside and his whole face falls. It’s… EMPTY! Noooooo! Oh, man, he is totally bummed out! So he sadly puts everything back and goes back to bed. The commentator says, “A sandwich without Kraft Mayo is just not a sandwich! “
Imagine living your life, gathering up all the goodies for the life you want to build. You go to the top schools, you hang with the in crowd, you buy all the cool toys and wear the right clothes, and you work really hard to put it all together just the way you think it has to go… but somehow it just doesn’t do it. Somehow, even though you set it up so well, so carefully, you’re still running on empty. Why?
That’s what Solomon experienced. Vanity of vanity, all is vanity and striving after the wind. That’s what the rich young ruler experienced. Only he got a up front and personal chance to have real life that is full and lasts. Only he couldn’t let go of his empty way of life. It was just too important, too hard to give up. Emptiness! That’s the ultimate reality of every human being who doesn’t let go and let Jesus.
Here’s the second question:
What fills your life today?
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.”
Colossians 2: 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.