Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John10:10)
I. What is the abundant life which Jesus promised us?
Common myth: A Christian should have a life without problems or difficulties. He should enjoy all the riches and pleasure in the world. Everything he does should prosper, etc. But according to Jesus’ teaching, this is not the life he promised. The abundant life which Jesus promised:
1. It is a life walking with God and abiding in God, experiencing God’s presence, and obeying God’s will. (John 15:1-17)
2. It is a Christ-like life, a life with God’s holiness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal 5:22-23; Rom 8:28-30)
3. It is a life which will witness Christ and draw people to Christ (Jn 4: 28-30; 39-42; 1John 1:1-4)
II. How can we have the abundant life which Jesus promised?
1. We need to enter Jesus' gate and become Jesus' sheep(Jn10:9, 3:16; 1:12) = become his true disciples (= born again Christian) We need to enter his gate- truly repent from our sins, trust in what his has done for us on the cross, accept him into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior, and showing our faith in him through obeying him. (Rom 1:5).
a). His sheep listens his voice and knows his voice (Jn 3,4,27). How do we hear God’s voice, if we do not read the Bible, or if we do not quite down and open our hearts to listen to him? If we keep asking him for something, how can we hear his voice?
b). His sheep follows him (Jn.4-5) His sheep will not only listen to his voice but obey his voice. His sheep does not follow strangers. Do we follow all kinds of teaching which suit our itching ears and our own desires? Are we willing to follow God even when it is not convenient or not according to our way/ likings?
c). Jesus’ sheep (true Christians, or disciples) knows him(Jn.14-15). Jesus said: “I know my sheep and my sheep knows me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” God rebuked Israelites that they did not know him because they did not obey him. (Isa 1:3) Do we know God as who he is as he reveals in the Bible? Do we obey our God?
2. Loves God more than anyone and anything, including ourselves.
Hate: love Jesus more than anyone an anything. (Lk 14:.26, 33): There is no compromise. Jesus said clearly if we do not love him more than anyone and anything else, we cannot be his disciples, that means we are not Christians.
A. Do we love our parents or children or ourselves more than God? Do we allow our children to obey God’s calling and let God’s purpose be fulfilled in their lives? Do we love comfort more than God so we don’t want o obey God’s calling for our lives?
Do we try to please people instead of God? Do we value people’s approval more than God’s and forget God’s comment about us is ultimately important in eternity.
B. Do we love the world more than God? We cannot love the world and God at the same time. (1 Jon 2:15-17). Secular people chase after money, power, pleasure, comfortable life, etc. Are these biblical? Secular people value serving in IAS, IFS, or government job more than serving the King of kings and Lord of lords, is this biblical?
Do we love money more than God? Jesus said “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will devote to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt 6:24) Are we willing to give up everything and follow Jesus? (Lk 14:33) Is God the Lord of all what we have?
It is not easy to love God more than anything and anyone else. When life gets tough, we may want to give up and follow our old ways again. Apostle John said: “We love because God first loves us.” (1Jn 4:19). Paul preached gospel in spite of all the sufferings, because he said “Christ’s love compels us.” (2 Cor 5:14-15) We all have experienced God’s love. Don’t forget it. The love of God will continue to encourage us to love God more than anyone and anything else when life becomes tough.
3. Carry our cross and follow him everyday (Lk 14:27;)
God wants us to say “No” to sin (Titus 2:12), to our old unbiblical sinful nature/habit/ attitude/culture, etc. Sin blocks us from God. Old unbiblical sinful nature/ habit/ attitude, etc. stops us from becoming like Jesus and from experiencing his freedom and abundant life. We all have our own sinful nature to face. Maybe it is our love of money, pride, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, holding grudge, unforgiving heart, judgmental attitude, etc. We need to intentionally resist the sinful nature. We need to invite God to heal and transform us.
4. Be willing to pay the cost (v.28-32)
It costs a lot to love God more than anyone and anything else, to give up everything and to carry our cross and follow Jesus. We may be tempted to take a shortcut. Satan provided Jesus a shortcut to get the glory. (Matt4:8-9) But the eternal glory can only be obtained through paying the high cost to walk on the way of cross.
III. Reward: When we enter the gate of Jesus, love him more than anyone and anything else and are willing to pay the high cost and carry up our cross and follow him:
1. Then Jesus can start transforming us. We will start to experience the abundant life which Jesus promised.
2. We will be able to witness God’s powerful transforming work in our lives, and draw people to God.