Monday, August 20, 2018

Abundant Life

In John 10 Christ teaches about the Good Shepherd and His sheep. As you read through the passage please keep in mind that in His earthly ministry Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 15:24). That is why He instructed His apostles to “go not in the way of the Gentiles.” The psalmist called the Lord the “Shepherd of Israel” (Ps. 80:1). Nearly all references in the Bible that liken God’s people to sheep concern His earthly people, the nation of Israel.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)

The celebrity preachers love to use this verse to support their prosperity gospel. They preach that Christ came not only to give us eternal life, but an abundant life of physical health and material wealth. They handle the word of God deceitfully (2 Cor. 4:2) because they try to steal the earthly promises of Israel. Plus, they don't give the whole truth. To enter the kingdom, the little flock of believing Israel first had to sell all and follow Christ through the valley of the shadow of death. They had to take up their cross and follow Him, but they will be greatly rewarded in the kingdom (Matt. 19:27-29). What Christ promises in v.10 is the fulfillment of prophecies like Ps. 23 and Isa. 61:4-7.

The church today is not required to sell all, but we should be cheerful givers (2 Cor. 9:7). We have not been given earthly promises, but we do have a great inheritance awaiting us in glory. We will reign eternally in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1), and we have the opportunity to receive eternal rewards for faithful service in this life. We do not have to wait for the rapture to enjoy an abundant life!

The apostle Paul said more about the abundant life than all other writers combined:
"abundantly" 8 times
"abundant" 9 times
"abound" 16 times
"abounded" 5 times
"abounding" 2 times
"aboundeth" 2 times
Total = 42 references

ABUND'ANT, a. Plentiful; in great quantity; fully sufficient; as an abundant supply. In scripture, abounding; having in great quantity; overflowing with. (Webster's 1828 Dictionary)

The apostle Paul talks about believers abounding in spiritual things. We are God’s heavenly people (Eph. 2:6; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-4). God has abounded toward us that we might abound in our walk with Him (Eph. 1:7-8; 3:20-21; Titus 3:4-7). What word better describes your Christian walk: barely or abundantly? Are we abounding more and more in our Christian walk (1 Thess. 4:1)?

The three major characteristics of the Christian life are faith, hope, and charity (1 Cor. 13:13). Paul mentions these three together many times in his epistles. We should abound in faith (Col. 2:6-7), hope (Rom. 15:13), and love (Phil. 1:9; 1 Thess. 3:12; 2 Thess. 1:3). There are other things we are to abound in, such as labor (1 Cor. 15:10, 58) and giving (2 Cor. 8:7; 9:8).

Christ has delivered us from the bondage of the law and religion. The grace life is an abundant life (Gal. 5:22-23)!

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