The Abundant Life
Recently a neighbor of ours decided to end his life. It is not known the reason why, and that is not the important thing here. What is important is that his quality of life was not good enough that he decided to go ahead and end it.
There are people who would say, “I would never allow myself to get to that point of despair.” To that person I would say, beware. 1Cor. 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” This of course is speaking of our salvation, but is adequate to use in this context this morning.
Let’s look at and consider the following verses in 2 Peter 1-11 with particular attention to verses 10 and 11.
Vs.10 The primary concern of every believer should be to make sure of their calling and election of God… verse 10 says, “To give diligence to.” That means give a persistent and hard working effort lest you fall yourself back into sin. If you thought that was not possible, this verse proves that it is. It is when you don’t put that persistent effort into your faith, that you can become victims of Satan’s devices and you yourself will fall. The verse goes on to say that if you do these things you shall never fail.
Since we cannot look into God’s Book of Life, how do we know that we are chosen to life in Christ? The bible states:
• Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
• Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
So how then can we find out if we have been called to Christ by God’s Spirit? Are we chosen to salvation? According to 2 Cor. 13:5 we are supposed to do a close examination of ourselves. I challenge each of you here today, to make this a daily habit as much as it is to look in the mirror of the morning. I am asking you to look within yourself each and every day.
• “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” In other words, test yourself. We need to give ourselves a hard look every day.
Have we been called out of sin and the darkness of ceremony, tradition, and self-righteousness to the light of God in Christ Jesus?
2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Ask yourself the question is Jesus your life, your all, your Lord? If you answer yes to that question you can know that you are chosen to life in Christ by your calling.
You can also know that you are chosen to life by the presence of the graces mentioned in verses 5-8 in your life. Does your life reflect the characteristics of God – faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity? If you are without the graces in your spiritual life, you have reason to doubt your election or salvation of God. Think hard about these things, your life depends upon it.
Verse 10 is telling us that if we:
• Seek first the Kingdom of God.
• If we are determined to win Christ and be found in him,
• If to be called of God and be found in him is our diligent concern,
• If to grow in the grace an knowledge of Jesus Christ is our primary focus,
• WE SHALL NEVER FALL.
However, if we are slack in these things a fall is certain, you can be certain of that. Do you want to fall from the mercy and grace of God?
I firmly believe and have experienced the reality of failure if you are not diligent concerning these things.
I have a desire to do what is right in life; I have a desire to be a part of God’s plan of salvation, but just having a desire without putting the effort in can leave you lacking in spiritual graces and in your relationship with God.
I am saying these things because we need to give diligence (persistent effort) into our faith if we expect to thrive while here on this earth and enjoy that abundant and glorious entrance into the Kingdom of God. If we remain diligent in these things our lives would be in so much more harmony with God and others that despair and depression could not rule the lives of so many.
I believe that given the right set of circumstances, any one of us here this morning is capable of that very thing. Marital or financial problems; the death of a very close loved one; betrayal; guilt; sickness; any of these could and has driven people over the edge. This is where a keen relationship with the Lord would prevent these things from happening.
Thinking along these lines, the Lord began speaking to me using a verse that Ronnie brought out in our lesson Wednesday night. 2 Peter 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I began thinking of the word abundant. Abundant means – plentiful, well supplied, or found in large quantities. So what then can we make of this verse?
Those who are dedicated and diligent in the faith of Jesus Christ shall have an abundant supply of his grace and strength to carry them through the duties and trials of this life; and when this life is ended, those faithful will have a triumphant and glorious entrance into the everlasting kingdom of or Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I believe that there are certain things that we can do while here to guarantee that abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God in addition to what I have already mentioned.
There are 10 things I would like to list from the reading today. If you want to guarantee that abundant entrance and live a fulfilled life while here, then:
1. Obtain a like precious faith. The saving faith of Christ is more precious than ten-thousand worlds. Why? Because through faith, we are justified (declared free of guilt) and made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Where the righteousness of Christ is imputed (attributed) then faith is also given of God to receive it.
2. Increase in grace and peace vs.2 - The grace and peace of God has no boundaries other than the ones we place upon ourselves. Because of these self-imposed limitations we can increase in our grace and peace. I challenge you to truly discover the word of God and find that favor of God to your soul. It is there you will find:
a. Growth in graces of love, joy, humility and faith.
b. There you will also find spiritual peace to help in trials and afflictions. 1 Pet 2:1-2.
3. Live a Godly life by God’s power vs.3 – By God’s divine purpose and power, God has given us all things that are necessary pertaining to our spiritual life. 1 Cor. 1:30-31; 1 Pet 1:5-11.
4. Partake of the divine nature vs. 4 – By his glory, power and righteousness, Christ has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises. The new and everlasting covenant is forgiveness, sanctification, justification, unity with Christ and eternal life… What more do we need to maintain an attitude of abundant living now?! Gal 2:20.
5. Escape the corruption of the world and the lust of the flesh vs.4 – We escape as we put on the new nature; the new man; which makes us want to inwardly seek holiness and outwardly avoid the corruption of the times. 2 Cor 5:17.
6. Add the graces of vs. 5-7 - faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity.
7. Then let these graces abound in your life vs.8 – These qualities are yours in Christ and they can abound in you and make you fruitful. Remember #3, we are capable of these things by his power, not our own. Too long we have settled for an empty, unfulfilled and unfruitful life. We should stop ignoring what God has done for us and start proclaiming it for all that it is.
8. Be fruitful in knowledge – The only way to get there is to let the character and nature of Christ become your nature.
9. Live free from past sins vs. 9 – I am so thankful that I serve a forgiving God. If the creator of all things can forgive me, I must be able to forgive myself and allow healing to take place. Let him that steals, steal no more. We need to start living in victory rather than the defeat of past failures.
10. Give diligence – since we have already covered this, let me sum it up by saying persistent and hard working effort.
What is the purpose of this message? Too many people are living in defeat based upon failures and it can take you to the point of no return. Let us start living the abundant life by practicing all of the things the Lord is telling us and in doing so, live a fulfilling and fruitful life.
2 Cor 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
Rom 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Does that sound like a defeated, hopeless, and unfruitful people? No! We are called and chosen. Be diligent in your responsibilities to God in Christ and you shall not fall.