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The Abundant Life

 

The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.  John 10: 10

What is your idea of Christianity?  What picture comes to your mind?  Does it lead to a constant inhibition?  Forbidden to do that which everyone wishes to do. Cowering in fear before an angry God, making demands you really don’t want to hear or do.  Do you want life on your own terms?  Jesus on the other hand says life is the meant to be happy , free, without regret, abundant and overflowing.  Which would you choose?

Obviously the abundant life is not merely physical existence and needs.  We have that without Jesus coming,  But make no mistake, that too is from God.  When Paul was speaking to the Athenians, he said, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, neither is he served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things.  (Acts 17: 24, 25)

 

What is the abundant life?

Plain Talk suggest that the abundant life is in Christ not about accumulating wealth and influence; You hear the televangelist talking about seed “money” and wealth. Oh the “seed money” really works; it makes the televangelist very rich and wealthy.  The abundant life is about another kind of blessedness, the joy of being chosen by God to be one of his people.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,

Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs id the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kind of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

Rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Matthew 5: 3- 12)

Neither is the abundant life to insulate us from the vicissitudes of life.  My friends, Christians still get sick, suffer loss, endure pain and sorrow and experiences the pangs of physical death just as others do.  We live in a fallen world which groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until a new heaven and a new earth appear.  Does God care?  Of course He does.  Does God heal?  I believe He does, but not all are healed, not all are relieved.  Our privilege and honor is to glorify God as best we can irregardless of the lot that has been given us to bearLet us glorify God in our life and in our death.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  (Matthew 5: 16)

 

What then is the abundant life?

Plain Talk suggests that the abundant life has to do with the spiritual aspect of man and his greatest problem, sin.  As a result of missing the mark, failing to live as we should, we have died spiritually, been alienated from God and await eternal judgment.

First we should note that the abundant life is life in Christ our Lord.  He is the vine, the source of Life.  Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son to have life in Himself.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  The life He has and gives to us is eternal.  The first goal then is to enter into a relationship with the Son.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  (Galatians 3: 26, 27)

The abundant life is about forgiveness.  The Scriptures tell us that we have all missed the mark; we have all failed to live as we should.  I can tell you from my own experience that is true.  But I can also tell you that there is forgiveness.  Jesus paid the debt for my sins and for yours.  He graciously calls out to us to come to Him.  And Peter said to them, “Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2: 38)

The abundant life is about righteousness.  When by faith we are cleansed from our sins, God does not leave us naked, on our own. We have already demonstrated that we cannot live a righteous life.  Those that have been baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ; that is we are clothed with His righteousness.  God no longer looks at us as we are but He sees us as His Son, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 5: 1)

The abundant life is about freedom--- freedom- from sin, law, fear of death, condemnation an guilt and the law of sin and death.  We have been freed not to live as we please, not to live life on our terms, but to live life on God’s terms.

And having been freed from sin, you became servants of righteousness.  (Romans 6: 18)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8: 2)

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.  (Roman 6: 14)

And might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.  (Hebrews 2: 15)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  (Romans 8: 1)

The abundant life is about receiving the Holy Spirit as a gift.  God promised that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit upon all mankind.  This great promise was fulfilled on that first Pentecost after the resurrection.  Christ having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, poured forth the Spirit upon the apostles, baptizing them with the Spirit.  He continues today, pouring forth the Spirit, richly and abundantly, without measure, baptizing in the Spirit all who believe and obey.  The Spirit remains with us to give us life to lead and fill us.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.  (Romans 8: 11)

The abundant life is about salvation. Salvation is a gift of God, given by grace to those that believe.  Salvation is deliverance from the righteous wrath of God, which is to be poured out on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast,  (Ephesians 2: 8, 9)

The abundant life involves receiving a  new spirit and a new perspective.  Instead of a spirit of timidity The Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of power and love and discipline.  The commandments are no longer obligations imposed by an unyielding God but instruction by a loving Father for our own good, to bring us to faith and love. Assembling with the saints is not an unwanted obligation but an opportunity to encourage and edify the fellow saints.  The trials and problems we  encounter are viewed as an opportunity for God bring about something good and positive in our lives.  Moreover , I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove your heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh,  (Ezekiel 36: 26)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,  (Romans 8: 28)

For the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.  (Ephesians 1: 17)

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline,

(2 Timothy 1 : 7)

 

The abundant life is about joy, not the joy of this world but a joy that transcends this life. It is the joy and peace  in believing.  It is the joy that was ser before Christ enabling Him to endure the cross.  It is the joy we experience when suffering trials knowing the testing of our faith produces endurance.  It is the joy of persecution, knowing our reward is great and the prophets were similarly persecuted.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I will say rejoice.  (Philippians 4: 4)

The abundant life is about peace.  Before, when we lived life according to our own desires, we were estranged from God, dead in our trespasses and sins. As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,  (Philippians 4: 7_

The abundant life is a life of faith, not merely mental assent, of the mind, but of the heart and soul when the word of God is implanted in the heart and we are begotten by God.  This faith is a “perfected faith;” that is when it is combined with love, it produces the obedience of faith.  It is a faith of assurance of things hoped for and  conviction of things not seen.  It is a faith of trust in God and reliance on Him for our salvation.   And without faith it is impossible to please Him; for He who comes to God must believe that He is; and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  (Hebrews 11: 6)

 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.  (Galatians 5: 6)

The abundant life is a life of hope in the world to come.  This is the hope of expectation, we earnestly and eagerly expect to receive the promises of God.  This hope is the anchor of the soul that keeps us going in times of difficulty and trial.  It is steadfast and sure, based upon His promise and confirmed by an oath.  It reaches into heaven itself to provide us with stability and endurance and ultimately salvation.  Thank God for this hope!  For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.  (Romans 8: 24, 25)

The abundant life is a life of love.  God has revealed the secret of a contented life to us.  Love much!  Love you family and your children.  They are His gift to us.  Love God and keep His commandments, they were given  to us for our benefit and betterment.  Love our neighbors and seek their best.  If we do, we will not lie to them, or cheat them or harm them.  But now abide faith, hope, love, the3se three; but the greatest of these is love1  (! Corinthians 13: 13)

God bless.

Arland Pafford,

 

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Last Update   09/26/12