- Sermon Notes
Living Life to the Full
As we pick up our study in John chapter 10, Jesus is speaking to the crowd, but also to the Jewish leaders. He accuses the Jewish leaders of being thieves and robbers, but then explains that he is the Good Shepherd and that His sheep hear His voice.
Last week we were looking at that relationship of a shepherd to the sheep as a picture of the relationship God has with us through his Son, Jesus Christ. The sheep hear his voice; he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them. He goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
But the theme of the verses of the rest of this message are really centered on verse 10 where He says, “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
This is really one of the main themes of the gospel. The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. This is a picture of our Lord laying down His life so that we might have eternal life. Look at verses 26 to 28. Jesus says, “I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
But from John 10 we know that God’s heart is not only to give us eternal life, but to give us life to the full even now.
We all want a life that’s worth living and there’s something deep in the soul of every man that longs for and searches for the meaning of life. Someone once said, “The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”
A pastor was talking to a man who had recently committed his life to Christ and said, “This means you don’t have to fear death anymore.” The man responded, “I have not feared death. What I have been afraid of is wasting my life.”
Many of you know my story, that what turned my alcoholic father around was when he came to the point, at 75 years old, when he realized that he had wasted almost all of his life.
Many people just go through the motions of living. They had hopes and dreams, but the struggles and defeats of life beat them down and they consign themselves to living in a rut, without purpose and without meaning. By all appearances it may even seem that they have everything together; but there’s something missing, they are empty and longing for life.
To quote from the famous American philosopher, Jackson Browne, “I’m going to rent myself a house in the shade of the freeway. Going to pack my lunch in the morning and go to work each day; and when the evening rolls around, I’ll go on home and lay my body down. And when the morning light comes streaming in, I’ll get up and do it again. Amen.
“I’m going to be a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender. Where the ads take aim and lay their claim to the heart and the soul of the spender. And believe in whatever may lie in those things that money can buy, though true love could’ve been a contender. Are you there? Say a prayer for the pretender, who started out so young and strong, only to surrender.”
This is why the words of Jesus here are so important for us, He promises to give us life and life abundantly - life to the full. Let’s look at these verses and understand what it means and what it doesn’t mean to have life to the full.
I. What Life to the Full is Not
- Jesus begins this message by saying that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.
- In scripture God lays out a contrast between the choices we have in life. When Israel first entered into the holy land, God had the people assemble in the valley between two mountains.
- Leaders would stand on one mountain and shout the tragedy that would come on their lives if they chose the way of evil. Other leaders would stand on the other mountain and shout out the blessings that would come with following the Lord.
- At the end of his life, Joshua gathered the people together again to follow the path of their choosing, saying, “Choose you this day whom you shall serve, but as for me and my house, we serve the Lord.”
- Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way his broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
- This is plainly stated by Jesus in verse 10, but the enemy won’t tell you that upfront. The key to his plan is deception. He has to make death look like life.
Illus - There is a pamphlet put out by Campus Crusade called the Four Spiritual Laws which begins, “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.” If the enemy had a pamphlet it would begin, “The devil hates you and has a destructive plan for your life.” No, it’s not that plain, he uses lies.
Isaiah 5:20, Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
- Anyone who has lived on both sides of the fence will add their own testimony. The whole point of deception is to make that lifestyle look fun, all the while hiding the fact that it destroys.
Illus - The example we’ve been looking at recently is the prodigal son. The world looked exciting, exhilarating, full of laughter, but the enemy stole all that he had and his life was destroyed.
Proverbs 7:25-26, Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths. For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.
B. Don’t follow the wrong voice
- Jesus said to the Jewish leaders, “You do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.”
- The enemy knows that there is a longing in everyone for life so he would try to appeal to that desire with things that do not satisfied the soul.
Isaiah 55:2, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.”
- If the prodigal son could tell you what he learned, he would tell you that life is not found in worldly living
- Life to the full is also not found in having everything look perfect. It’s just an image without substance.
Illus - Let’s talk about Facebook. One of the things that make people defeated and discouraged is when they compare their ordinary life to the highlight reels of everyone else. Isn’t that what Facebook is, a highlight reel? But fullness of life does not mean that you are free from troubles or heartache.
- Living life to the full also doesn’t mean that you have constant euphoria and are always up.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, There is an appointed time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Illus - Someone saw my wife and me shopping and later commented anonymously that I wasn’t smiling. Apparently the expectation is for Christians to always be up while shopping for oranges.
II. He is the Way and the Life
- In verse 9, Jesus said that He is the door; if anyone enters through Him, he shall be saved and shall find pasture. He is the Way.
- Then he says in verse 11 that He is the good shepherd that lays down His life for the sheep. The good Shepherd brings that which is good to the sheep. He is the Life.
A. Abundant life is found in being content
- Sheep are skittish and fearful, but they will rest peacefully when they come to trust the shepherd.
- Paul said that he found the secret of being content, whether he had much or little; but he also revealed that it was an aspect of faith - of trusting God.
Philippians 4:11-13, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need; I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” is the key; that’s faith.
- The problem for many people is that they focus on what they lack. If I was just smarter, thinner, better looking, had more money, had a better job, or an easier job, or someone to support me and I didn’t have to work, then I would be content. The focus is on what they lack.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” … I am well content with weaknesses, with distresses, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Hebrews 13:5, Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
- David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” David has found the key. In another place he also said, “You have been my confidence from my youth.”
- One of the things you see in this chapter and throughout the Gospels is the relationship of Jesus to His Father.
- In verse 3, Jesus spoke of His Father as the doorkeeper and He as the shepherd. The doorkeeper here is the one who opens for the shepherd to come and call his sheep to lead them out.
- But then notice in verse 14-15 He compares the relationship between shepherd and sheep to that of His Father to Him.
- That relationship is also seen in the sense that Jesus is about His Father’s business. He is sent by His Father to bring God’s heart to the world.
John 5:19, Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
- Here’s the point, Jesus leads and we follow in the same purpose for our lives. We need the meaning and value of having godly purpose in our lives.
Illus - Many people have won the lottery only to find themselves empty and without purpose or meaning in their lives. Be about your Father’s business and you will find purpose and meaning in your life.
C. The Shepherd brings abundant life
- The theme of this chapter is that Jesus is our Shepherd; if we can only apply that it would radically change our lives.
Psalm 23:1-3, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; he guides me in the paths of righteousness.
- David also wrote that the Lord guides in the paths of righteousness. When you follow God, He will lead you in paths that are right and good for your life.
Illus - Frank Sinatra and then later Elvis Presley used to sing the song, My Way. “I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way.”
- Our way is what gets us into trouble. But He leads us in the paths of righteousness. Sometimes the shepherd stands in the way to stop us. God is trying to keep us from destroying our lives.
- Finally, be thankful to God for what you have.
Philippians 4:6, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart…
John 10:9-18 NASB