Summary: Abundant living is an exciting existence because it places us in the center of God’s will. We give him our all and hold nothing back.
Transformed Lives; Transformed Churches
A. What does commitment to God look like?
1. Attending church-once, twice or three times a week?
2. Teaching a class, serving on a committee, being morally good?
3. Nor cursing, smoking, drinking or doing drugs?
4. Making good choices, being a good parent, giving.
5. Taking up the offering, being nice?
B. Commitment-loving Christ with all my being until it changes my attitudes, actions and thoughts.
C. Example of how a swimming pool mimics a church:
1. Imagine a pool surrounded by a fence with a major road in front.
2. There are people outside the fence who have never been in; some don’t even know there’s a pool behind the fence.
3. Some have been in before but the actions of those on the inside keep them from returning.
4. Others come in but stop and sit or lay in the lounge chairs outside the pool. They are afraid of the water.
5. There’s a great number of people in the shallow end but few in the deep end.
6. Very few in the shallow end ever venture into the deep end. They’re afraid of drowning.
7. A lifeguard oversees the entire scene.
8. The only ones who really enjoy the pool are those in the deep end.
D. What are the applications for us personally and for our churches:
1. Those outside are unsaved or saved and disgruntled.
2. Those in the chairs represent those who attend a few times a year; usually on special occasions.
3. The lifeguard is the pastor or head of a particular department or ministry.
4. Those in the shallow end represent most people in the church. They are faithful in attending and perhaps in working but haven’t grasped the real purpose of Christianity or the church.
5. Those in the deep end understand. They get it. They know authentic and abundant living is about the relationship. Christ controls their life, and they rearrange priorities to give him their all. They are growing in their walk with him and are spiritual parents or at least moving in that direction.
6. They are disciples and interested in making more.
E. What does commitment look like to you?
1. It’s important to define it correctly because only transformed lives lead to transformed churches.
2. Mission and vision statements, goals, and strategies will mean nothing if we don’t get this right.
I. Transformed Lives Are More Than Motion
A. The rich young ruler who approached Jesus.
1. He wanted to know what he could do to gain assurance he possessed eternal life.
2. Jesus rattled off the commands relating to our relationship with others.
3. He maintained he had obeyed them all.
B. The rich young ruler went through the motions but there was still a void; he needed reassurance.
1. Have you ever felt the same? You come to church, pray, read your Bible, give, serve in the church and still there’s a void.
2. You’re a good parent, faithful at work, involved in community service and still you feel there is something missing.
3. You’re going through the motions of being a good person but are still asking, “Is this all there is to life?”
C. When this is us, we need to examine whether the motions are coming from a relationship.
1. Good things-apart from this, are as filthy rags in God’s sight.
2. They may have merit, but they won’t fulfill nor will they have a bearing on our eternal abode.
D. If we’re sure of the relationship and still aren’t fulfilled, we must do further examination.
1. The rich young ruler appeared to have things in order, but he wasn’t sure of eternal life, he may have had a misconception of how it was attained, and he obviously wasn’t happy. He wanted more.
2. Jesus went to the core of his problem; there were things in his life that needed to go or at least be thought about differently.
3. Jesus told him to sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow him.
E. Rote motions cannot substitute for a relationship; nor can they bring happiness or replace attitudes that need changing.
1. The rich young ruler did all the right things, but the one wrong thing was stealing his joy.
2. His wealth was his god and got in the way of a fulfilling relationship with God.
F. Motions can be carried out with the wrong motives or from misunderstanding of their purpose. They can also disguise what keeps the motion from bringing fulfillment.
1. The young ruler was motion oriented but unfulfilled.
2. Jesus revealed the problem; he had something in the way he depended on more than God.
3. Only God can reveal what’s keeping us from living transformed lives.