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WHAT  A  GIFT!  AN  ABUNDANT  LIFE!

Scripture Text: John 10:10,11-"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."

The text which I'm using for today's message is one which I'm sure most of you have probably heard, or read, many times in the past.  However, it is one which only a true child of God can vouch for, and really appreciate.  Yes, and we who were once spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins", can rejoice in the knowledge that we have passed from spiritual death unto spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Furthermore, only He can give spiritual life to those who are spiritually dead.  

This can not be truthfully said of any other so-called "religious leader" of the past, be it Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, or anyone else.  And the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ can provide the abundant life is simply because He, Himself, is life personified.  In John 14:6, He declares, "I am the way, the truth, and THE  LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father BUT  BY  ME."  So Friend, at the outset I want you to know that the abundant life is not the result of your culture, education, religious activity, reformation, or even your wealth and possessions.  In Luke 12:15, the Lord said, "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."  He then follows up with the parable of the rich man who died and woke up in Hell.  Friend, the truly abundant life is possible only through communion and fellowship with God.  And this relationship with God can only come about by a sinner placing his trust in the finished work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at Calvary's cross.

Now I'd like to tell you, very briefly, some scriptural facts concerning the believer's relationship to the abundant life, to which the Lord Jesus Christ is referring.  And you true Christians reading this message should also pay close attention too, because I'm sure that it will make you appreciate, even more, the salvation you possess through faith in the sacrifice of your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

First of all, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ receives the gift of life, yes, the gift of life!  Over in Romans 6:23, we read that "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Again we read in Ephesians 2:8,9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."  Yes, my friend, the abundant life, both here and hereafter, is a gift from God.  You and I can't buy it; we can't work for it; and there's one thing sure, we don't deserve it!  But thank God, Who is rich in mercy, love, and grace, He gives it to anyone, and everyone, who will accept His Son as their Lord and personal Saviour.

And furthermore, this life which God freely gives, goes right on into eternity, because it is eternal life!  In John 10:28-30, the Lord Jesus Christ says, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.  My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand.  I and My Father are One."  Friend, God's gift of life is an eternal gift!  But I want you to know, that if you reject this gift of eternal life, then you'll have to suffer the sad, solemn, and serious consequences.  In Proverbs 15:24, we're told, "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from Hell beneath."  Again we read in Deuteronomy 32:29, "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"  Friend, are you going to be wise, or are you going to remain foolish?  Neutral, you cannot be!

In John 3:36, we're told, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."  So that's how it is, sinner friend, it's either eternal life, or death and eternal wrath.  The decision is entirely up to you, that is, if the Holy Spirit of God is speaking to your soul today.  In Deuteronomy 30:19, God says, "I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."  Yes, and how true that is!  Friend, if you don't accept "life and blessing", then the likelihood is that your "seed", or children, may never hear and believe the true Gospel, either.  Are you willing to accept this God-given fact of responsibility? Please give it serious thought!

Now the second relationship which the believer has with life, is the fact that by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they have drunk the water of life, yes, the water of life!  In Revelation 22:17, we read the last invitation given in the Bible to the lost and rebel sinner, "Let him that is athirst, come, and whosoever will, let him drink the water of life freely."  Friend, every true Christian in the world today has had to acknowledge their thirst for God's salvation, before they would come to the Fountain of life, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, many people these days, refuse to admit that they are spiritually thirsty.  And even if they do, they try to quench that thirst by any means other than that which is scriptural.  They usually try reformation, church membership, religious rituals, and so-called "good works"; but none of these, nor all of these, can meet the need of quenching the spiritual thirst.  If they could, then why did the Lord Jesus Christ die that cruel, agonizing, cursed, and shameful death of Calvary's cross? 

Friend, the only scriptural way to come to the Lord Jesus Christ is just as you are!  Yes, come to Him with all of your sins, yet with a repentant heart, and trust Him, alone, as your personal Saviour.  If you do, I'll guarantee you one thing, He will never turn you away!  Listen friend,  if you take one step of faith towards Him, you will find yourself in His loving arms.  And furthermore, you will never thirst again.  No, a sinner who takes one drink from the water of life, the Lord Jesus Christ, will never thirst again.  In John 6:35, He says, "He that cometh unto Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst."

Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ, the "Author and Finisher of our faith", is the One Who both satisfies and sustains.  And He promises in John 6:37, "him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."  But friend, again I remind you that you must have a thirst for God's salvation before you can drink of the life-giving water.  In other words, you must realize that you're spiritually lost, before you can possibly be saved.  In John 7:3, the Lord Jesus Christ declared, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink."  So we see then that the only condition required for drinking the water of life, is to admit your thirst for that Water.

As I've said many times before, the word "Gospel" means "glad tidings", or "good news", but it can only be "good news" when you realize the "bad news".  The "bad news" is the fact that you're spiritually lost, perishing in your sins, and going down to a place that Jesus Christ calls "Hell."  The "good news" is the fact that if you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you don't have to go to Hell, but rather, you'll have eternal life and you will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Now still another relationship which a believer has with life, is the fact that he eats the bread of life, yes, the bread of life!  In John 6:35, the Lord says, "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to Me shall never hunger."  In verse 51 of that same John chapter 6, He declares, "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Friend, in this verse, the Lord is not referring to the communion wafer, nor the bread at the Lord's Supper.  Ah No!  He is referring to the sinner being identified with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the atonement for sin.  He would pay the penalty that our sins had demanded.  Yes, at Calvary's cross, the Lord Jesus Christ paid a debt He didn't owe, for those who owed a debt they couldn't pay.  And this sacrifice by the Substitute would be sufficient to save anyone, and everyone, in the world, who would accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

I believe that we can truthfully say that the aforementioned words by the Lord Jesus in John chapter 6, refer to the spiritual digestion of the God-given fact expressed by His Son in John 12:24, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."  And friend, the Lord Jesus Christ was that grain, or kernel of wheat, that had to die in order to produce the fruit of salvation for "whosoever will".  Yes, He was that kernel of wheat that was cut down, then ground beneath the mill stones of God's wrath.  Then He was placed, just like a loaf of bread dough into an oven where, unseen by human eyes, the heat brings forth the life-sustaining bread.  So likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ, during those three hours of darkness on the cross, suffered at the hands of a Holy God.  And He could prophetically declare, as in Lamentations 1:13,  "From above hath He sent fire into My bones".

Friend, you'll never be saved until you, by faith alone, partake of "the bread of life", in the person of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And furthermore, if you do, you'll never hunger again.  No, He will be your satisfying portion.  And you'll be able to say like the songwriter, "Now none but Christ can satisfy, none other Name for me.  There's love and life and lasting joy, Lord Jesus found in Thee."  Listen, my friend, were it possible for us to go from the North Pole to the South Pole, and around the world from East to West, we would never find anyone who ever trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ who didn't find Him more satisfying than anyone, or anything else in the world.  So friend, please claim the truth of Psalms 34:8, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."  If you do, God guarantees you that you'll never be disappointed.

Well friend, in addition to receiving the gift of life; drinking the water of life; and eating the bread of life; the person who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour also has his name written in the book of life, yes, the book of life!  In Philippians 4:3, we read where the Apostle Paul is commending his fellow laborers and he reminds them, as well as all those who are saved, that their names are written in the book of life.  In Luke 10:20 the Lord told 70 of His followers, who were rejoicing at the powers they were given over the demons, "Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven."

Friend is your name written in Heaven?  Is your name written in the book of life?  Well, I hope it is, because if it isn't, then you're still unsaved and under the condemnational wrath of God.  Furthermore, if you die unsaved, you're going to someday stand before God and His Son at the Great White Throne Judgment, and friend, we read in Revelation 20:15, that "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire."  Is that going to be your eternal destiny?  I hope not!

These are very solemn words.  Just imagine, being cast into a Lake of Fire, and all because your name is not found written in the book of life.  Well friend, you may be very religious, and you may have your name written on several church membership rolls, but unless you've been "saved", or "born again", through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and unless you have your spiritual birth certificate recorded in Heaven, then according to God's word, you're spiritually lost, and only a heartbeat from the flames of Hell.

Now friend, if you're a true child of God today, then you have not only received the gift of life; and have drunk the water of life, and have eaten the bread of life, and have your name written in the book of life, but you're also walking in the light of life, yes, the light of life!  In John 8:12, the Lord said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but he shall have the light of life."  Friend, God doesn't save us, then expect us to live in spiritual darkness.  No, He wants us to claim every privilege coming to us as His children, and joint heirs, with Jesus Christ. 

Furthermore, we're not expected to be downhearted, discouraged, or depressed.  Neither are we to be overanxious or overwhelmed with the problems of life, over which we have no control.  No, He wants us to enjoy our salvation by walking in the light of life.  He wants us to express our dependence upon Him by our speaking to Him in prayer.  He wants us to grow spiritually by feeding upon His Book, the Bible.  He wants us to have fellowship with other Christians of like precious faith.  And He wants us to tell those, who are yet unsaved, of our new-found Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Yes, sinner friend, there is more to salvation, and the abundant life, than just escaping the flames of Hell.  Along with salvation, and living the abundant life, comes both privilege and responsibility.  In II Corinthians 5:17 we read, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  In other words, salvation is not a license to sin.  If you're really saved, then you don't do what you used to do; you don't say what you used to say; and you don't go where you used to go.  And the reason is simply because you are not your own, but you've been bought with the price of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  If He is really your LORD, then you'll do what He wants you to do; you'll say what He wants you to say; and you'll go where He wants you to go.  Too many people just want a Saviour, but not a LORD!  He is either the Lord of all, or He is not the Lord at all!

In II Corinthians 5:20, we're told that if we are really saved, and walking in the light of life, we are "Ambassadors for Christ".  That means that we are representing our reigning Monarch, the Lord Jesus Christ; and our Homeland, which is Heaven.  Yes, and since we who are saved are Heaven-born and Heaven-bound, it won't be long till we see our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  And let us not forget, that those of us who are saved, must give an account of our life of service to Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Yes, we're to walk in the light of life, and our lives should be epistles, or books, read by all those with whom we come in contact.  People should be able to look at our lives and know that we are children of God.  Yes, let us walk in the light of God's word.  But what if we fail, or falter?  God knows that a Christian is not perfect, nor shall we be perfect, this side of Heaven.  So here is what He tells us in I John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."  Then in verse 9, He says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Friend, I sure thank God today for the ONE and ONLY Mediator between God and mankind, and that is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, I would direct your attention to a most precious truth as we find it in James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."  Friend, as you read these words today, can you honestly say that you love God?  Can you?  We know that God has expressed His love towards us by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for our sins at Calvary's cross; but have you, as an individual sinner, ever responded positively to the love of God?  Have you ever, during the life which God has given you, ever thanked Him for His Son?  If not, then you have no crown of life reserved for you.  No, only those who really love God, and who express that love by accepting His Son as their Lord and Saviour, will ever wear the crown of life.

Well friend, if you've never been saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, why not trust Him as your Saviour right now?  Yes, receive the gift of life; drink the water of life; eat the bread of life; and if you do, you'll have your name written in the book of life; you'll walk in the light of life; and you'll someday wear the crown of life. 

Friend, you can be "saved" or "born again" right now, and right where you are, by simply acknowledging in your repentant heart that you're a lost and Hell-bound sinner; that you can't do anything to save your own soul; and that you believe the Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins at Calvary's cross.  Yes, just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your own and personal Saviour.  And if you do, God, Who cannot lie, says that you'll be saved for time, and for all eternity.  And remember, my friend, this is for eternity.  YES,  THIS  IS  FOR  ETERNITY!

Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk