Posts Tagged ‘abundant life’

Why Christ Came

January 11, 2016

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ.  Jesus did not come to earth so that the American retailers can make money, He had a much greater purpose.

I.  To Save, Not Destroy:  Luke 9:51-56

 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village.

I sometimes have conversations with atheists who are very angry.  In many of these cases the atheist has had an exposure to Christianity that either over emphasized the punishment of sins with a resulting legalistic, works oriented attitude; or people were hypocritical, saying one thing, but doing another.  These people have left the church, bitter, angry, and filled with hatred for the church.

I feel very sorry for these people.  They have had an exposure to a Christianity that very poorly represented what Christ intended for His church.

Christ did not come to spread hatred, punishment and death.  He came to spread forgiveness, love and life.

II.  Abundant Life: John 10:10

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.

The life that God offers to us is not simply eternal life, it is abundant life.  An abundant life is filled with all sorts of good gifts that come from God.  Much of that comes from our growing ability to appreciate what God has done for us.  It is our ability to appreciate what God has given us in this world, but  even more important, is our ability to appreciate the relationship that we have with Him through Jesus Christ.

The abundant life does not begin when we physically die.  The abundant life begins when we are born again in Christ. (John 3: 3-6)

III.  On Our Side:  Luke 9:49-50

Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”

50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

Our society has such a competitive atmosphere that it has had an impact on the church.  We sometimes view people from other churches as if they were members of an opposing team, or even sometimes, an actual enemy.  We need to be able to recognize our allies and work together for the kingdom of God.  We need to be careful that we are not tearing down the work of God, just because it is not our work.  We especially need to be helpful to those who have been wounded in the battle.  Ministry can be very hard and sometimes people fail and sometimes people fall.  We should look to restore people to health and wholeness in Christ, not finish them off.

Christ came to love, to forgive, and to bring life.

So should we.

These are the sermon notes from 12/20/15.  All quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

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God Offers Abundant Life

June 24, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 6/23/13.

I. The Bread of Life: John 6:35

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

As I read this verse, I am reminded also of Mathew 5:6:

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

In Christ, we find life.  In Christ, we find fulfillment.  It is only through Christ that our lives can be made whole.  It is only in Christ that we are made complete.  Christ, and Christ alone, is the source of true, spiritual, life.

II.  His Words are Life:  John 6:63

 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

We recognize that true life is found in the spirit.  The physical realm is secondary.  The Word of God brings life to our spirits.  We should regularly be reading the Word of God, the Bible, to bring life into our spirits.  Sometimes we will sense the life coming into us, other times it may not be so obvious, but in the spirit-realm, the Word of God always has an impact on our lives.  I am reminded that even Christ said in Luke 4:4:

But Jesus answered him, saying,“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”

III.  Abundant Life: John 10:10

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.

God offers us abundant life.  That does not mean simply a life that will last forever, it means a life that is full and complete.  It also is important to realize that the abundant life that God offers to us can begin now.  It is not something that begins only after we have died and gone to be with the Lord.  Abundant life begins the moment that our new life in Christ begins.  We were dead in our trespasses and sins, but now we are made alive in Christ, and the life that we have in Christ today, is an abundant life.

IV.  Exchanging Lives:  John 12:24-25

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

In order to experience the abundant life that God has for us, we need to let go of the life that we have in ourselves.  We are beings that are composed of both flesh and spirit.  For many people, the fleshly part rules our lives.  We, as Christians, need to place God first; and the flesh must take the secondary role in our lives.  Only then can we experience all that God has for us.

V.  A Life of Love: John 15:9-11

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

We are to abide in the love of God.  God loves us first.  We are to love God in return.  We are also to love one another with the same love that God has given us.  By living a life filled with the love of God, it will be easy to keep the commands of God, all of which are grounded in love.  As we live this kind of life we will truly find that our joy is complete.

A life that is filled with the love of God, and the Joy of the Spirit, truly is a life that is abundant.

Out of Death Comes Life

April 4, 2013

Here are the sermon notes  from Easter Sunday March 31, 2013.

I.  Resurrection:  Matthew 28:1-10

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Rejoice!  The first word of Jesus to the women in this gospel account is to  rejoice.  Christians ever since that first Easter morning truly have rejoiced that Christ has risen!  It has made all the difference in the world.  It confirms the message that Jesus preached, and gives us a hope that goes beyond the grave.

Our church does not have Holy Week services.  We do not have a Maunday Thursday, or a Good Friday service.  We celebrate the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, and the resurrection on Easter.  This gives the impression that the season is only that of celebration.

We must remember that you do not have a resurrection, without first having a death.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We will never be able to fully comprehend the true suffering of Christ on the cross.  We cannot understand what it means to take the sins of the world.  Jesus knew what it was going to be like, and He asked three times that “this cup might pass from me”.  However, the Father, and Jesus also, knew there was no other way so “may thy will be done”.

II.  Out of Death Comes Life:  Matthew 16:21-27

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

I am concerned that we want to skip an important step.  We do not get to have the new life that Christ has for us unless we are willing to lay down the old one.  It seems as though many people want the promise of God’s help in this life and the promise of life to come, but they want to remain the masters of their own lives.  They  do not want to give their lives to Christ, they want to keep them for themselves.  Not everyone seems willing to say “not my will, but thine be done”.

Romans 6:1-4:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

I am concerned that many of us are so busy telling God what we want Him to do, that we forget to ask God what He wants us to do.

Years ago the Imperials recorded a song titled Water Grave.  It contains the words:

I’m going down to the river.

I’m going to be buried alive.

I’m going to show my heavenly Father

the man I used to be has finally died.

I have a 1983 Yamaha Venture motorcycle.  It runs good, but cosmetically it is in pretty rough shape.  If someday I get a different motorcycle I will have to choose which one I ride.  I can’t ride two bikes at the same time.

We cannot live our lives for ourselves, and live for God at the same time.

If we die to self, only then can we live for Christ.

Christ came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  Let’s trust God enough to give up the lives that we had, so that we might live the life He has for us.

Obviously, I am not talking about a physical death.  I am talking about telling God “not my will, but Thine be done”.

The Best Gift Ever

December 27, 2012

These are the sermon notes from 12/23/12.

We probably all have gifts that we have received in the past that stand out from all the other gifts that we have received.  God himself, has given us the very best gift.

I.  Make the Right Choice Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

It is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of material things.  Material things, however, will not satisfy the longing in our soul.  We have been created to live in a relationship with God and unless that relationship is healthy, we will not be content.  We must remember to “seek first, the kingdom of God”.

II.  Restoration Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

God offers us forgiveness for our sins.  He longs for us to return to Him.  Remember the story of the prodigal son.  God, our heavenly father, is waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him.

III.  The Word Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Once we have been restored in our relationship with God we need to make spending time in the Bible a priority in our lives.   God’s Word will have a lasting, favorable impact on our lives.

IV.  Blessings Isaiah 55:12-13

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

As we live our lives in a relationship with God we will experience the blessings of the Lord.  These blessings come in a whole variety of different forms, but we can be assured that God is good to His people.

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  That is the best gift ever!

Resurrection

April 25, 2011

I believe in the new life that God has for us.  I don’t just mean the life in heaven that follows this life.  I believe that when we are saved we are reborn.  I also believe that God restores life to people whose hopes and dreams have been crushed by the circumstances they have endured.  God is able to give new dreams, new strength, new wisdom, and new hope to the lives of those who trust in Him.  We need to let go of the old, dead dreams, so that we can grasp the new vision that God has for our lives.

It is a good life that God has for us, you might say, an abundant life.