Summary: Live life to the full by listening to Jesus and following him.
“You put your right arm in, you put your right arm out, you put your right arm in and you shake it all about. You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about!”
Nothing will get people out on a wedding reception dance floor like the Hokey-Pokey. It’s a fun little jig but what if the last line of that ditty is true? What if the Hokey-Pokey is really what it is all about? In a way life often feels like one unending Hokey-Pokey dance. “You put yourself in the car, you take yourself out of the car, you put yourself in school or work, and you shake yourself about. You do the Hokey-Pokey and you turn yourself around (to do it all over again the next morning, and the morning after that). Is that what it’s all about?!?” Are you tired of your Hokey-Pokey existence? If so, listen closely to our sermon text because it’s going to tell you how to live life to the full!
There is, of course, no shortage of people who will tell you how to live life to the full. Their voices are only a computer click away. One website I checked suggested going for a daily walk. Another said to learn a new skill. Most said to do whatever you want, whenever you want. These “experts” were certain that you can’t live life to the full if you’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. But what does our Savior say? Listen: “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out… 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:1-3, 10).
Jesus compares us to sheep and teaches that the way to a full life is by listening to him, the Good Shepherd. “Well of course Jesus would say that! He wants to keep you penned up with his commands while everyone else is out there having a good time and really enjoying life!” That’s what Satan retorts, doesn’t he? He’s been throwing out that line ever since it worked on Adam and Eve. “What do you mean God doesn’t want you to eat from this tree? This is where the good stuff is, Eve. You take a bite of this fruit and you’ll feel things you’ve never dreamed of. Go on. Take it. God’s been holding out on you. Oh sure. He’s given you this beautiful garden to live in and a husband who adores you but there’s so much more to life than this paradise!” Like the thief Jesus described who is only interested in stealing, killing, and destroying, Satan used his slick words to rob Adam and Eve of their innocence. And he’s always trying to do the same thing to you too.
But that isn’t how you live life to the full. Do you want a lasting relationship with the one you love? Then follow God’s plan for marriage. Husbands, love your wives by serving them. Wives, respect your husbands and encourage them in their work and support their leadership in your family. Want to enjoy your youth? Don’t ruin it by experimenting with drugs or seeing how far you can get on a date. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, not a nightclub you own where anything goes.
Listening to Jesus is what leads to a full life and why wouldn’t it? Look at how much he loves you. He compares himself to a shepherd who calls his sheep by name. How does he do it? I only have four kids but get their names mixed up all the time and sometimes even call them by the cat’s name! Even though billions of sheep are in Jesus’ flock, he knows each one of our names. He also knows our fears. He knows our needs. And like a good shepherd he will provide for those needs. You know he will because this Good Shepherd gave up his life to save you from your rebellious ways.
A few months ago an Edmonton grandmother died when she saved her granddaughter from being run over by a truck. I can’t imagine that woman would have done the same thing for her dog. She certainly wouldn’t have thrown herself in the way of a truck to save some punk who had just snatched her purse…and yet that’s what Jesus did when he died for you and me. He threw himself in the path of God’s speeding wrath to save sinners. Do you want to live life to the full? Then listen to Jesus your Good Shepherd. He’s already proven his love for you.