Summary: One of the greatest Christmas promises given to us is the promise of a full or abundant life. What hinders and what helps us be abundant? You'll have to unwrap this message and find out!
: A woman was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before.
Her arms were full of bulky packages when an elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load.
As the doors closed, she blurted out, "Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!"
A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement.
Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator, came a single voice that said: "Don't worry. They already crucified him."
Homiletics (November/December 2006), Volume 18; submitted by Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky
The closer we get to December 25th the closer our lives mirror this ladies. The chaos of parties, presents and people. The commercialized and advertised Christmas becomes the more empty it seems for so many. The expectations and expense of it all don’t seem to measure up to the promise that Jesus gave.
Listen very closely to John 10
Before we go any further we have to ask the question what frustrates our full life that Jesus promised? Misunderstanding. The woman in the story misunderstood the meaning of Christmas, even the people Jesus was talking to couldn’t understand what He was talking about. (John 10:6)
The promise Jesus makes is the promise of life abundant.
I. The door to the full life is a person – I am the door
A) Misunderstanding about abundance.
Conversation with Rik Desoto, he’s anti-theistic – He misunderstands what Jesus promises
Christians misunderstand what Jesus promises.
Jesus didn’t come to change politics to fit our preferences. Jesus didn’t come to make our circumstances comfortable.
Daniel was taken captive, taken serious, taken for granted. He was in a culture and political climate that was opposed to Him. Jesus didn’t make it comfortable for Him but made it possible for His character to shine as a light in the darkness of the Babylonian country and culture.
B) Misunderstanding about entrance
The entrance into full life isn’t something we do. It is a person who invites us to fullness. The word that Jesus uses for abundance or fullness is a life that goes beyond what is expected a life of super abundance. In fact it is the emptiness of our lives that reveal a need for a savior.
Jesus didn’t simply come to save us from the punishment of sin! He came to save us from sin so that we could be satisfied with His presence.
We are called to be sanctified by Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification.” Another translation of sanctification is holy.
If we enter the door it is a door to salvation and sanctification.
II. The depth of the full life is protected – come in and go out
There are so many things that seek to steal from us today. In 10:10 it clearly says the thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy. Coming in and going out is a picture of safety and freedom. We no longer have to be bound to the fears and cares of the world.
Isis, Syrian refugees, crazed shooters no longer overwhelm us because our freedom comes from our trust in Christ. Finances, economy, family etc. . . we no longer seek to control them because Jesus is the Good shepherd. He leads us and guides us to decisions that highlight His leadership and kingdom. This is the secret not so secret of abundance. All of the burden and load are carried by Jesus the Good shepherd!!
What is it that diminishes our fears and develops our faith? It is time spent in close fellowship with Jesus! We are invited by Him as the door to have a deep fellowship with God that will deepen our trust and dependence on Him. Why does the devil use business? Because when we are busy with things of this world we often forget that the true source of our strength is closeness to Jesus. In my life as a pastor, husband, dad, friend, bus driver etc what I need most is wisdom and strength from God to love and lead, serve and lead those I am responsible for. I will not have that if my fellowship with God is neglected.
Guard you heart with all diligence proverbs says, if that is to happen guard you time with God.
III. The desire of the full life is provided – and find pasture
A) Feeds us sufficiently
What we need He provides. He is the good shepherd. He will provide our daily bread to meet the physical needs we have. He provides mana spiritual bread if we are willing to sit at the table and have an adequate diet of God’s word.