John 10: 8-11
8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
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".
Many professing Christians believe that…the 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."
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.” (John 16:33)
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 10:8-9 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will 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 this new life, however, not every Christian enjoys the abundant life. The problem is not that Jesus fails to give them an abundant life, the problem is that we fail to receive what He is offering! The fact is, that “An Abundant life” is available for you and I today.
Let us look at the contrast of “An Abundant Life”. V10-The thief does not come except 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". What does Jesus mean by this statement?
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, false teachings and false religious systems.
For example, the works to earn salvation, you have to be good in order to be saved. The prosperity teachings of give all you can, so that you can be a blessing to others. There are churches that require you to give a certain amount of your earnings…will ask for your paycheck stub, so that they can keep track of your giving. Sure…the church building gets bigger, nicer stuff inside, the best money can buy. While, the Christian is having a hard time making ends meet.
These are not the “Abundant Life”, that Jesus is offering. These are all from the thief. "thief comes to steal, kill and destroy". The "thief" comes for his own selfish purposes. (Again, false teachers, false teachings, and false religious system.) 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 through you! Are you starting to see the contrast between the “thief, and the Good Shepherd”?
The Good Shepherd…Jesus truly wants what is best for each and every one of us. In the here and now. Notice if you will, Whereas the thief comes to "steal, kill and destroy" the Good Shepherd comes to bring life. Jesus is the source of that life. He states this to be His purpose for coming to this world. Jesus said "I am come that they might have life"
Jesus doesn't just come so that we can have life. He makes it perfectly clear that He desires for us to have "an abundant life”. The Good shepherd wants the sheep to experience a life that is immeasurably better. The Good Shepherd knows His flock, He leads them to green pastures... and He protects you and I from harm and danger.
Whereas the thief only seeks destruction, the Good shepherd is willing to lay down His life for the sheep! V11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep”.
Because of His sacrifice, we have the opportunity to live life eternal. I find it very encouraging that there is an abundant life available here and now! But I must warn you, there are some conditions concerning this abundant Christian Life. Notice if you will…
Jesus says that "I come that they might have life". Who are the "they" that He is referencing? In the context Jesus is referring to His people. The Good Shepherd is speaking of His sheep. This means that in order to live the “An Abundant Life”, you must be... A CHRISTIAN! One has to belong to the Good Shepherd!
Here is where I give you some really good news. If you are not a Christian, you can become one today! If you are here today, you are hearing this message…cry out to God and be drawn to His Son. Be the sheep that belongs to the Good Shepherd. And if you are a Christian, let scripture remind you to live “an abundant life”! If you are somewhat struggling with your walk, then now is a good time to examine your life. Maybe, sin has a hold on your life, or you have ones again, let the “thief”, take control of your life? Remember, the thief comes only to "steal, kill and destroy".
It is Jesus' desire that all of His followers live an abundant life. The abundant life is not a life that is reserved for a few super saints! It is the life that Jesus expects each of His followers to live. Every church should be filled with people living the abundant life. But, if you have looked around lately, it seems that there are very few who have any real experience living this kind of life! Jesus paid a high price for us to be able to live the abundant life. Let’s seize this amazing opportunity and live the Christian life to the fullest. As God has meant it to be.
Eternal life does not begin when you die, eternal life begins, at the moment of your conversion. Too many Christians are living their lives focused on the after life and in the process, they are missing the life that God has planned for them here. Yes… we have some amazing things waiting for us in Heaven. But don't let this life pass you by. God has a plan for you to live a great life now. This abundant life is to be enjoyed here and now.
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
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.
There is visible evidence in the lives of those who are actively living the Christian life. The abundant life that God desires that we live is a life that mirrors the life that Jesus lived while here on earth. Yes…we will never achieve sinless perfection in this life. We will never live the way Jesus lived as long as we wear this sinful flesh. But we should strive to be like our Master. When we do, the characteristics that were seen in His life, will be evident in our lives.
When we look at Jesus’ life, we see a life of surrender. He willingly left the glories of Heaven and surrendered to the Father's will. He was fully in submission to God's plan. Let us never forget the agony of our Savoir in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was coming the next day. He knew the pain that He was about to endure.
Jesus cried out to His Father saying “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
In order to live an abundant life, we must reach that place of full surrender. We must come to a place where we say Father, not my will but yours be done. we must be willing to say "Lord, I'll go where you want me to go!" "Lord, I'll do what you would have me to do!" "Lord, I'll stay as long as you would have me to stay!" When we reach this point, we are well on our way to an abundant life! Do you know what hinders the believer from total surrender? The thief, aka false teachers, false teachings, and false religions! Its hard to say, “YES LORD”, when the thief stands in between.
Intertwined with surrender is obedience. This leads us to another truth about this abundant life. When we are fully surrendered to the Lord, we will obey His will, and it will not be burdensome. We will follow His directions… Jesus' life was a life of obedience. Paul illustrates this so well in…
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; 7 rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself
by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Jesus was God, but He laid aside some of His divine attributes. He humbled Himself as a slave. He took on a robe of human flesh and was born as a human being. He did this in obedience unto God. His obedience led Him to a criminals death on a cruel cross.
We may face some difficult times in this life, following God will cost us, there will be pain and sacrifice, but there is no greater place to be than in the center of God's will. When we are in the center of God's will... when we are surrendered and obedient, we can live an enjoy an abundant life that Jesus promised!
Moving on we will see another evidence of “An Abundant life”. Notice that, it is a life marked by fellowship. There were multiple times where we see Jesus get away from the crowds and even separate Himself from His disciples, in order to spend time with His Heavenly Father. This is an action that is missing in the lives of many Christians today, but it is a vital element in an abundant life. The fact is, we cannot have an abundant life, if we do not commune with God.
Fellowship with God requires communication! This means that God's Word and prayer must be part of our lives. We must get alone with God. We must talk to Him and we must listen to Him and when we listen to Him, He will tell us what He would have us to do for Him.
This leads me to another evidence of how one can enjoy an abundant life, and this is a life of serving God, and serving others. The life of Jesus!
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus' life was a life of service. All throughout the Gospels we see Him serving others. One of the greatest pictures of His humble service was when He washed the feet of His disciples. Within a few hours, Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him, and the rest would abandon Him. He knew this would happen, but He served them anyway.
We should do no less. We have been saved to serve, we have been saved for His purpose. There is work to be done and the abundant Christian life is a life of service. The abundant life is a life that is marked by surrender, obedience, fellowship, service!
Jesus came to this earth to seek and save the lost. And as we have seen today, He came so that we "might have life and have it more abundantly". - He did not stop until His mission was complete.
An abundant life is one of determination and consistency. If you are up one day and down the next, you are not living the abundant life. If you are on fire for a time and then back in the world a few weeks later, you are not living the abundant life.
We must stand firm, plant our feet and remain surrendered and obedient to the Lord. We must remain committed to our area of service to the Lord. If we will do these things, we can abide and enjoy the promise of an abundant life that Jesus desires for us to have. Again… like I have mentioned earlier, if you are not living “An Abundant Life”, then there is a “thief” in between you and God!
From a Devotion:
Matthew Henry, the well-known pastor and Bible commentator, was on his deathbed in 1714, at age 52. He had suffered the loss of his first wife and of his three children. He was relatively young and could have complained about his early death. But, he said to a friend, “You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men. This is mine--that a life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that one can live in the present world”
He was a man who truly understood the meaning of an abundant life! What about us, are we thriving in the Christian life or are we merely surviving? Are we making an impact for God or are we still living life for ourselves?
Do you have it in your mind that you have to wait until you get to Heaven to really enjoy the Christian life? If so, you are missing out on a wonderful, abundant life. Jesus came to ensure that you could have this abundant life. Don't neglect such a great opportunity!
Maybe you are not living an abundant life because you are not saved. There must be birth before there is life, and in this case, there must be new birth before there can be spiritual life. I invite you to cry out to Jesus. There’s got to be something that is keeping you from this promise? But, whatever it is, is it worth it?
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.
Pastor Richard Santos
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