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Summary: "The glory of God is man fully alive" St Ireneaus

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“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

“The glory of God is man fully alive.” - Saint Irenaeus

I had gone off to a quiet place to relax for a little while and read. I was sitting in the shade, a view of the mountains in front of me. It was not quite mid-morning and on this day the temperature hung around 75 degrees.

I picked up my new book, “Waking the Dead”, by John Eldredge, and began to read. I wasn’t very far into it when I came upon this quote by Saint Irenaeus. Mr. Eldredge used it as an introduction to a new section of his first chapter. As I continued on, what I read inspired me. So I want to share this short excerpt from his book with you as introduction to my sermon today.

“When I first stumbled upon this quote, my initial reaction was… You’re kidding me. Really? I mean, is that what you’ve been told? That the purpose of God – the very thing he’s staked his reputation on – is your coming fully alive? Huh. Well, that’s a different take on things. It made me wonder, What are God’s intentions toward me? What is it I’ve come to believe about that? Yes, we’ve been told any number of times that God does care, and there are some pretty glowing promises given to us in Scripture along those lines. But on the other hand, we have the days of our lives, and they have a way of casting a rather long shadow over our hearts when it comes to God’s intentions toward us in particular. I read the quote again. ‘The glory of God is man fully alive,’ and something began to stir in me. Could it be?”

(“Waking the Dead” – John Eldredge, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003, pg 10)

As I read on I found in the author a kindred spirit. He said things I’ve been feeling and saying for a long time. Just a little better and more colorful. Which is why he now has a successful book on the market and I do not.

But as he began inserting illustrations using heroes of mythology, and quoting C. S. Lewis, I knew I had found a friend.

I knew that if I read too closely though, I’d be tempted to just copy his book and preach it to you. So after I typed the excerpt that I read to you a minute ago, I closed his book and opened the Bible.

I encourage you to get Eldredge’s book and read it. For today, I want to take a slightly different path; almost parallel but not quite to the one he took.

We’ve started in the same place, but will take a different route, asking virtually the same question, “Could it be, that the glory of God is in me coming fully alive?” and another, “What is ‘fully alive’? and yet another, ‘Do I have this life?’

JESUS’ WORDS IN CONTEXT

“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”

Jesus has given sight to a man born blind. Chapter 9 of John’s gospel is one of my favorite chapters of scripture. In it we witness a beggar, and by man’s reckoning worthless; one to be pitied or scorned, but certainly not respected. This beggar is seeing for the first time in his life because Jesus touched him.

He says so. “The man who is called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam, and wash’. So I went away and washed, and I received sight’.”

For that brief bit of honest testimony the man is brought before the religious leaders, drilled with questions, maligned as a liar, and finally excommunicated.

In the process though, this humble man proclaims Jesus to be a prophet, preaches a sermon to these Pharisees that, if they had any conscience at all should have shamed them miserably, and in the end we see him bowing before Jesus and calling Him ‘Lord’.

Now lest we move on too quickly and miss an important side point here, I want you to look with me at verses 39 and 40 of chapter 9.

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.’ Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, ‘We are not blind too, are we?’”

Friends, don’t ask questions of Jesus, unless you’re certain in your own heart that you really want to hear the truth. Because that’s what you’re going to get.

These guys set themselves up and Jesus used this, probably very disingenuous question, as an invitation to deliver His discourse on the Good Shepherd.

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