Pastor Shim’s sermon for October 31 was continued on November 1; I’ll post the first part today and the continuation tomorrow, okay?
What Is Jesus the Abundant Life Jesus Gives?
The scripture passage for today tells us that a thief comes to steal, kill, destroy. Has anyone ever stolen from you? How did you feel? Confused, angry, lost, frightened?
Who in this scripture is the thief? Some people don’t believe there’s a devil, but Pastor Shim says he does. There is evil in this world beyond the evil in some people. Jesus said He was the Gate across the sheepfold to protect the sheep—He is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Jesus said he came to give abundant life. What is abundant life? Lots of money? Excellent eyesight? Perfect Health?
Joni Eareckson Tada was injured when she was 17 in a swimming accident that left her a quadriplegic for life after she had asked Jesus how she could have a closer walk with Him. Years later, Joni and her husband visited the Pool of Bethsaida, but she wasn’t healed there. She said she could have been angry that she wasn’t healed, but instead she made peace with God and surrendered her will. For the past 30 years, she has a world-wide ministry to other quadriplegics.
What is abundant life, then? Is it Jesus himself? He came to bring us abundant life, but sometimes we think in terms of the material gains in life as being the abundant life. Instead, it’s our spiritual life that becomes abundant with Him.
Pastor Shim visited Brenda Fuller’s mother, Martha Cole, who told him she is 97 years old. That seems like a long life, doesn’t it? But that’s short compared to eternity. Now that’s an abundant life!
Some people think about how rich other folks are and ask, “Why doesn’t He bless me?” Wait—don’t you have air to breathe, food to eat, a warm bed at night in a dry house? Aren’t those blessings? Everything can be a blessing, depending on how we look at it. A peaceful heart is a great blessing, joy and hope in the midst of pain and suffering.
Should we make this our priority, to communicate this to others? Jesus said He is the light of the world and that if we would follow Him we wouldn’t walk in darkness. Light exposes the evil, so darkness doesn’t like the light. If we walk with Him (the Light), we won’t stumble in the darkness.
The song that we sang immediately before the sermon, “Blessed Assurance,” was written by Fannie Cosby, the music by Phoebe Knap. Fannie was blind and very poor; Phoebe was rich. They were apparently good friends. Once when Fannie was visiting Phoebe, Phoebe began playing the piano, improvising. Fannie exclaimed, this is the music for “Blessed Assurance.” Fannie never felt angry that they could not see, but blessed. One of the verses says, “perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight.” She who had no sight could yet see the rapture in her imagination.
A lady once asked a pastor if there was a gospel for people who were already happy. She had a happy life, a good marriage, plenty of money. What more could a relationship with Jesus give her? He told her life would be even happier with Jesus. Her marriage would be better with Jesus. And her wealth would give her more pleasure when shared with the Lord’s needy.
An evangelist named Jones was weary, worn down. The Lord asked if he was ready to go on for him. Jones said no, he was too tired. The Lord said that if Jones would go to do His will, He would take care of the tiredness. Jones surrendered and felt touched by God. He said he felt like a new person, and he continued for the next nine years serving God and never felt tired again. Now, that’s the abundant life.
Pastor Shim Habte
Willows United Methodist Church
544 N. Shasta
Willows, CA 95988