Pastor Shim’s sermon from November 7, 2010
The best example that shows the abundant life that Jesus gives is what Jesus did for people who were disabled but enabled – transformed with a new outlook on life, such as in John 5.
For 38 years a man was trying to get healed, but nothing happened until Jesus came by and surprised him with the question, “Do you want to get well?"
The man explained why he was not healed after all these years. Jesus was moved with compassion and simply commanded the man to "Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.” The man did.
Can you imagine his joy, his transformation, his possibilities, his new lease on life? This man could proclaim, “When I met Jesus I started to live the abundant life.”
Without Jesus there is no abundant life—a life of quality and joy forever, and it doesn’t depend on material stuff. Jesus claims that He came that you might have life and might have it more abundantly. The Greek phrase used for having life more abundantly means to have a superabundance of a thing. To be a follower of Jesus, to know who He is and what He means, gives you that a superabundance of life.
A Roman soldier came to Julius Caesar with a request for permission to commit suicide. He was a wretched, despair-tied creature with no vitality. Caesar looked at him. "Man," he said, "were you ever really alive?" When we try to live our own lives, life is a dull, dispirited thing. When we walk with Jesus, there comes a new vitality, a superabundance of life. It is only when we live with Christ that life becomes real worth living and we begin to live in the real sense of the word. --William Barclay
Commenting about Jesus, Albert Einstein said, “No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual person of Jesus. His personality is in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” That’s why everyone who follows Christ, talks about his transforming power. Pastor Shim shared his own experience with Jesus:
In 1968, a missionary from England invited me to go to a meeting with him. I had been weak and anemic and tried to fix that with a lot of pills and working out. The missionary told me to read Isaiah 53, then invited me to go to a conference attended by 700 people. While there, I felt inspired by the Lord to go to my room and dispose of all of the pills, so I flushed all of them down the toilet. I was completely healed, and have had abundant health ever since. Yes, I’ve had some other problems since then; life doesn’t always run smoothly. But I have the assurance that God loves me, and I will serve him for the rest of my days. I know that Jesus is with me no matter what happens. He will guide me through any darkness.
A) The Abundant Life Jesus gives can be observed in the life of Christians. Here is a powerful example of common Christians influencing the most powerful author, Tolstoy.
The "abundant life" can be observed when we are free from negative and self destructive life styles.
Some are listed in Galatians 5:19-21: sexual immorality, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
John Mayes says such practices dishonor Christ and his church. No excuse can justify it. It doesn't matter that you are hot-tempered, for example. God can change that in you! It's no longer a good excuse to say, "This is who I am, and I can't change. You must accept me as I am!" No, we don't. People who are living the abundant life do not walk around like a warm can of soda pop that is about to explode at any minute. Everybody can be free from their personal weaknesses that cause pain and embarrassment to themselves, by submitting to the Holy Spirit Who produces the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. “Against such things there is no law.” – Thanks be to our God!
B) The "abundant life" becomes evident in those who are born again by the spirit of God. Let’s Christ who makes us spiritually alive. God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ (even when we were dead.) (Eph 2:4) Once you have the abundant life in Christ nothing can change it.
Zig Ziegler in his book "Over the Top” told a story is about Charlie Wed Meyer who was a high school football coach. He led them to the only state championship they'd ever won and continued to coach with assistance even when he suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. The only part of his body that moved was his eyes and mouth. With his wife Lucy as his interpreter, his message was communicated. Yet Charlie had the most remarkable attitude and the greatest sense of humor. Not only did Charlie coach football, but he traveled and spoke regularly to people in churches, schools, businesses, and prisons. He and Lucy communicated a powerful message of faith, hope, courage, love and a never-give-up spirit, which are all ingredients of the abundant life, aren't they? On May of 1992, Charlie was honored as the Disabled American of the Year by President Bush. Charlie, who was once Hawaii's Athlete of the Decade for the 1960's, wrote an inspirational book called “Charlie’s Victory". He might be the only speaker in America who can’t speak. Charlie lives the abundant life despite his circumstances. As you look around this world, you will notice many who have far less than you or I but have overcome their situations of poverty, physical limitations, child abuse, or other difficulties and discovered the abundant Life that Jesus has promised.
Jesus' abundant life is available for the asking. May it be evident in your life and mine for God's glory! Amen! Lord Jesus, we invite you to come into our lives to be our Abundant Life!
Pastor Shim Habte
Willows United Methodist Church
544 North Shasta
Willows, ID 95988