Summary: A Sermon examining the kind of life Jesus wants us to live.
The Abundant Christian Life
In the western panhandle of Texas is a small town named Texline. It had an ostentatious beginning in the late 1800s as a thriving center along a new railroad line. Within a few years, though, most of the shops had closed and the town’s population shrivelled to about 400. In 2000, the population was still just over 500. One online description of Texline says that it has “a city limits sign at one end, another at the other end, and not much in between.” (Source: https://odb.org/2008/10/06/not-much-in-between/)
Unfortunately, many professing Christians live lives that could be described in a similar way. Their Christian experience begins with a conversion and will end when they take their last breath, and there is not much in between! Jesus did not intend for it to be this way. Jesus said that He came so that we could "have life and have it more abundantly."
We often focus on the fact that Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our sins. Praise God He is the ultimate sacrifice! By His precious blood we have been set free! But Jesus did not just come to deliver us from the consequences of our sin. He did not just come to provide us with eternal life...He came so that we could live an abundant life here and now!
Before we go any further, let me say that the abundant life is not a promise of health and wealth. John MacArthur said "Abundant life is not about having stuff. It’s about having peace, having Joy, (it's about) having God".
The abundant life is not a life void of troubles and trials. Jesus never promised that the abundant life would be an easy life. In fact, He warned us of the opposite - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.”
The word “abundant” in the original Greek means “exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, exceptionally more. Abundant speaks of "a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than one would ever expect or anticipate.”
The abundant life is only possible through Jesus Christ. - John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
When someone meets Jesus, everything changes! When one puts their faith in Christ they are "born again", this marks the beginning of the "new life". Every born again Christian has life, however, not every Christian enjoys the abundant life. The problem is not that Jesus fails to give abundant life, the problem is that we fail to receive what He is offering us! The fact is, that abundant Christian life is available to you today.
- I want to take some time and examine "The Abundant Christian Life".
- Let's begin by considering:
I. THE CONTRAST OF THE ABUNDANT CHRISTIAN LIFE - v10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...
Before mentioning the abundant life that He desires for His followers, Jesus speaks of the type of life that the enemy brings. He says that the "thief comes to steal, kill and destroy".
When we hear this description, we automatically think of Satan. This is not necessarily the case. In the context of these verses, Jesus identifies Himself as "The Good Shepherd". He draws a contrast between the Good Shepherd and "the thief". The "thief" represents all false teachers and false religious systems. The "thief" is one who falsely claims to be the Christ. In the past, these individuals had come in His name seeking to steal His glory. There were many who had come before Jesus claiming to be the Promised One. There have been many to come after Jesus' time on earth, and there will be more to come in the future.
The "thief" comes for his own selfish purposes. He comes with the intention of destroying the flock. Jesus makes it clear that the thief is a threat to the sheep. When he enters the fold, he seeks to use the sheep for his own personal gain. The thief is not the least bit concerned about the welfare of the sheep.
The "thief" in John 10:10 may not be a direct reference to Satan himself, but you can rest assured that false prophets, false messiahs and false religions all work under Satan's direction! Satan does not want what is best for you... he only seeks what will benefit his evil schemes. That is not the case for Jesus, The Good Shepherd. Jesus truly wants what is best for each and every one of us.