Summary: We prefer full over empty! Jesus says He came that we might have abundant (full) life. Do we? Do we even know what we should be full of?
Pt. 1 - Pushing Past Empty
It is a new year. Usually a new year is filled with expectations, resolutions, big plans, and anticipation. But, I also wonder how many would be honest enough to admit that in the back of our minds there is also some fear? I was excited last New Year's Day too and look how it turned out. I was making these same plans last year at this time and look where I still am 365 days later. So, try as you might your excitement is measured with past pain and disappointment. As we step onto the pages of unwritten 2017, I want to challenge you examine your own life and determine whether or not you are full. You "fullness" will determine what overflows to every area of your life. But why should we even expect to live a life of fullness? I take you back to the last verse that I began the last night we shared together in worship in 2016.
Text: Isaiah 53:10
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. (Message)
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance - to the full, till it overflows. (Amplified Version)
You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.
It is prophesied and then Jesus Himself owns up to His divine appointment. We say He came to save us and He did. We say He came to make a way for us to get to Heaven and He did. We say He came to bridge the gap to the Father and He did. But that is an incomplete understanding of His goal and role! The accurate and mature understanding is knowing that salvation was only part of the picture. He came to save but He also came to enable us to experience fullness in life! Paul says, "in Christ we have been brought to fullness!" And yet, in our first step into 2017 some of us are empty and so the idea of fullness seems like a fantasy and a fairytale.
So let's take a moment and examine an instance in Jesus' life that I think speaks to where most of us are on this first day of a new year.
Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus’ mother told him, “They’re just about out of wine.” Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, “Fill the pots with water.” And they filled them to the brim. “Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host,” Jesus said, and they did.When the host tasted the water that had become wine he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew, he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”
Being empty is embarrassing!
It is embarrassing not because we have lack but because we are told we should be full. It is embarrassing because we didn't expect it. By now in your journey you should have this figured out! You grew up in a powerful home. You have graduated from Bible College. So we fake fullness. We become empty because we leak and we don't want anyone to know it.
How many of us are running on empty in spite of the promise that we are supposed to be full?
So, the question is if we are empty is that our fault or God's? Perhaps we are empty because we are trying to become full of the wrong things? We are becoming stuffed with substitutes that do nothing but take up space but don't fill. They simply clutter. They may provide momentary satisfaction but no long term solution. Too many of us have lives full of filler but not fullness.