Summary: This sermon looks at where is Jesus leading us when He invites us to come follow Him.
What Is This Life That Is Being Offered.
John 1:1-9 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
John 17:2-3 (NIV) 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
The world life appears 50 times in the book of John, and it is usually associated with something that Jesus wants to give to his followers. We all know that Jesus offers us eternal life. Perhaps one of the more famous and quoted passages of John outside of John 3:16 which also has the word life in it, is John 10: John 10:10 (NIV) 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. The King James says that I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
Now we have taken this word life and baptized it in the American way of thinking and equated abundant life with a higher standard of living. There are many who teach that Jesus came to make us all healthy, wealthy and wise. What else could having life more abundantly be about? Some have heard the teaching we are king’s kids and that means we should have the best of everything.
Most of us know that there is little connection between having an abundance of things and truly enjoying life. Some of us have had nice homes, with nice cars, and beautiful furniture and we did not want to go home. Or else we did not want others who lived in the home to come home, because our lives would go downhill the moment they entered the house. And abundance of things allows us to stand in front of a closet full of clothes some of them almost new and say, “I don’t have a thing to wear.”
We can even be deceived into thinking an abundance in the church will mean an abundance of spiritual life. If we ever got to have 200 members, everything in this church would be perfect. No, 200 members will make your church larger, but it will not necessarily bring about the abundant life that Jesus was talking about or the eternal life he wants to give.
I remember seeing a cartoon of two pastors who were running out of the door of their former churches and going to their new church. One was running from the large church to the small one and the other one was running from the small church to the large one. Both of them were shouting to themselves as they left out running toward their new church, “free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.” Something tells me that both of them were in for a rude awakening if they thought the size of the church would determine the life Jesus had for them.
In my last message I emphasized that John pointed out that as the Word, Jesus was God and was with God, and always was God before there was anything else. Jesus was before the before. I also quoted a verse from Isaiah that said, God says of Himself in Isaiah 46:9-10 (NIV) . 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
God is going to complete God’s purpose for creation. Part of that purpose involves engaging us so that we can have life. I mentioned that the Word, or the Son, became incarnate and came and dwelt among us to show us who God was and what it would take to have life with God.
Jesus prays a very interesting prayer on our behalf. He says in John 17:20-21 (NIV) 20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” We can see how intimately the Father and the Son are interconnected by the words and in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jesus is praying, that we can be inside of the Trinity, in the same way as He and the Father are in each other. He prays that all of us may be one, just as the Father is in him and he is in the father, and we can be in them both, so that the world may believe that the Father sent him.