The principle of glorifying Christ.
Jesus said “I came that they might have (eternal) life and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.
The only way a person can obtain “eternal life” is through faith in Jesus Christ. Many of God’s dear children do not progress beyond this experience. They are saved and no more. To have eternal life is great—but there is more to our faith than this.
Christ came not only to give us “eternal life,” but also to give us “abundant life.” While all believers have “eternal life,” all believers do not have “abundant life.”
The Scriptural meaning of abundant life is as follows. Something above the ordinary—superior in quality—life that is not constricted but overflowing. John 3 The Infilling—John 4 The upspringing—John 7 The outflowing.
Believers are living beneath their privilege and God’s fullness for them, if they are not enjoying this superior and overflowing life in Christ. For a believer’s life to be above the ordinary it must have inexhaustible resources. These unlimited resources can only be found in Christ. John 14:6 “I AM the Way—the Truth—and the Life.” My God shall supply all your needs.”
To enjoy abundant life we must walk in fellowship with Christ. Abundant life depends on our going in and out and finding rich pasture. In feeding upon Christ He will impart life which is rich in unfailing exuberance and quality unsurpassed. (Mary of Bethany.)
To continue to enjoy this blessedness we must “abide in Christ” John 15:1-5. Dynamic—vigorous—abundant life is not for a few, it is God’s criterion for all His people. Fruit—more fruit—much fruit.
This abundant life in Christ, is spiritual life in depth. Richness and quality. Without it Christian life becomes meaningless—purposeless—hollow and empty. See Jeremiah 8:13. Two evils—forsaken Me—hewn out cisterns, broken cisterns etc.
The fleshly life is circumstance-controlled.
The abundant life is spirit-controlled.
The fleshly life which momentarily appears to be satisfactory, leads to defeat—disappointment—and frustration.
The abundant life leads to victory in Christ. It is conquering—triumphant—exultant and vibrant. From this very moment, may we each determine not to be satisfied with anything less than God’s best.
(1) The abundant life is a yielded life.
Surrendered—relinquished—delivered up life. We can glorify Christ in a yielded life. How to live an abundant life in Christ is an open secret. See Verse 10. Christ is our example. “For in that He died, He died unto sin once; in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.” When the Lord died—He died to sin—the world—the flesh—and the devil. See also Verse 2.
According to Verse 11 every believer should consider himself to be dead unto sin.” This is an unequivocal biblical truth which is misunderstood and sadly neglected.
Our old man is crucified with Christ. Verse 6. See also Colossians 3. Dead.
The body of sin is rendered inoperative. See also Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified.”
Being dead to it we are freed from it. Verse 7.
It is when a believer enters this truth experientially, realizing that the death of Christ, has severed the link that bound him to the world and has freed him from the dominion of sin, that he is liberated to walk in newness of life, and express spiritual life in its fullness. The second part of Verse 11 says: “We are alive unto God, Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are dead to sin—but alive unto God—Resurrection power at our disposal. Immeasurable—unlimited—surpassing. Philippians 3:10.
The victorious life comes when we heed the injunction of Verse 12. “Let not sin reign in your mortal body.” Sin expresses itself through the members of the body; through this channel it controls the natural man and the carnal Christian. A believer in whose body sin reigns, cannot live the abundant life and cannot glorify Christ. Only those who are set free from sin can enjoy the blessedness of unrestricted life in Christ. See Verse 2 “Dead to sin.”
Verse 13 exhorts us to withdraw the members of our body from being instruments of unrighteousness. Eyes—ears—lips—hands—feet—mind—heart—everything. This is an act of the will.
Next, we are admonished to yield ourselves to God, as those who are alive, from the dead. This yielding is a once for all decision. E B Meyer “Take all the keys Lord.” It is a surrender and a complete abandonment of one’s self. (Livingston’s last birthday—Jim Elliot’s prayer.) As we surrender we swing wide the door of our life to receive and distribute the outpouring of God’s power. It is faith that yields the body—the total man. Daniel 3:16-18. This faith identifies us with the risen Christ, and ensures the abundant life.
Beloved, it is a good thing to have eternal life. It is another thing to have abundant life by faith, here and now, life that is vibrant and vigorous—filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
It is one thing for you to live in Christ. It is another thing for Christ to live His life in you. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If any man be in” etc. Colossians 1:27 “Christ in you” etc.
Verse 13 leaves the believer with a choice. The yielded life. You may yield your life to God, and allow Him to live His life in you. Think for a moment of the possibilities of such a choice. Preceding each yielding there is a revelation of the glory of Christ.
· Isaiah said—“Here am I send me.”
· Paul said—“What wilt Thou have me to do.”
· The Lord said—“Not My will but Thine be done.” “As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.”
God wants each of His children to know the joy and power of a yielded life. This power will lift you above the circumstances that would ordinarily hinder abundant life in Christ. This life which is superior in quality and overflowing begins when you yield your life to Christ as Lord and Master. I love my Master—wife—children etc.
(2) The abundant life is a dedicated life; unrestricted and overflowing.
It is a Christ glorifying life. To live this abundant life you must serve the Lord Jesus. Hands filled this day for the Lord—consecration. John 4:32-34. John 17:4. Psalms—Hebrews. The Lord Himself is our example—as the Perfect Servant He served even to the death of the Cross. “I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” etc. In consequence of this, no sacrifice should be too great to make for our Lord and Master. Note Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 11.
In Verse 1 each believer is urged to present or yield his body in an unbridled—unblemished—and unbiased sacrifice, to serve the Lord. This is a volitional surrender to the will and service of God.
“Make me a captive Lord—And then I shall be free—Help me to render up my sword—And I shall conqueror be.”
Quote part of “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.” “Take my love, my God I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee.” (Consecration of Priests.)
This yielding is an act of faith—for you may not know what God’s will is for you. Describe some of the spheres of service. To serve fruitfully and live victoriously the Lord must be in control of the total man. Spirit—Soul—and Body.
Paul yielded his body and presented Himself as a living sacrifice. During his life he was constantly being poured out as a drink offering. He describes himself as a “bond-slave of Jesus Christ” Romans 1:1. As a slave he had no right—he belonged to the Lord. His ear had been bored through with Gods awl. He was branded for Christ, “I bear in my body the Master.”
In the will of God he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ—Never of Rome. His prison experiences were part of God’s perfect will for him. “What he must suffer.” With firm conviction that the circumstances that sought to overwhelm him, was the will of God for him, he lived abundantly and triumphantly. He used his circumstances to serve God and preach the Gospel, Philippians 1:13. He experienced the all-sufficient grace of God, day by day. He wrote
· “For me to live is Christ.” “I believe God.”
· “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
· “I have fought a good fight.”
· “I have finished my course.”
· “I have kept the faith.”
Pain—suffering—disappointment—imprisonment did not deter him from a life of dedicated service. Thorn in the flesh.
Even death to Paul, was not defeat—but Victory. It was a release from physical pain—it was a finishing of the course. It was the glorious entrance into the presence of his Lord and Master.
Paul was in life triumphant—in service fruitful—in death victorious. We hear him say: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Stephen’s example, Acts. It should be the desire of every believer to be transformed into the Lords image. To be totally yielded to a life of devoted service. To live victoriously in the midst of declension and departure.
Appeal here for a metamorphosis experience. “Be ye transformed” Verse 2.
Tell of the young missionary in Laos.
(3) The abundant life is a separated life and a Christ glorifying life.
This separation is both positive and negative.
To experience the joy and fulfillment of the abundant life of Christ:
1. We must be separated unto the Gospel of God. This is the positive aspect. Taking Paul as an example we find that his life was dominated by Christ. All the boundaries of his life were determined by Him.
· Paul was separated by God before his conversion. Galatians 1:15
· He was separated by Christ at his conversion. Acts 9:15
· He was separated by the Holy Spirit after his conversion. Acts 13:2
· Paul was really separated to God. (John the Baptist.)
This is the experience of every believer who is living and enjoying the abundant life.
2. Secondly, the negative aspect of this truth, is that we must come out from everything that is contrary to the will of God. 2 Corinthians 6:17
Note the two aspects of the death of Christ.
1. It was to save our souls.
2. It was to save us from the world. Titus 2:14
“The Lord gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness. To purify unto Himself a people of His own, zealous of good works.”
As Soldiers—Athletes, Runners—and Farmers, we are to be totally abandoned to Christ. To be separated means to be sanctified—set apart for service.
1. The Word of God has the power to separate the believer from sin. John 17:17, Psalms 119:11.
2. God the Father has power to separate the believer to the coming of the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
3. God the Son has the power to separate us to righteousness and sanctify us by the washing of water by the Word—having no spot or wrinkle. Ephesians 5:24-27
4. God the Holy Spirit has the power to separate us unto salvation and service. 2 Thessalonians 2:13. It is the desire of God that we should be separated from the world. Ephesians 4 and 5.
A believer may, without being separated, have a relationship with God. But there can be no real fellowship with him. 2 Corinthians 6. See also 1 John 1.
A believer is united to Christ in Calvary—but can be separated from Him in sin. Isaiah 59:2. Hebrews 12 “Without holiness no man can see the Lord.”
Without this separation to God a believer may have influence—but no power. He may have movement—but no achievement. (The artificial bird on the glass of water.) He may serve—but will not succeed. Beloved, without the Scriptural separation to God, and from sin, our whole Christian life will be wood—hay—stubble. 1 Corinthians 3.
Every believer can be a John or a Judas—a Paul or a Pilate. Boundless possibilities for good or evil—for fruitfulness or worthlessness.
(4) The abundant life is a Spirit-filled life and a Christ glorifying life.
Ephesians 5:18-21. 1 Corinthians 6:19. Romans 8:9.
It is elementary for me to remind you that the Holy Spirit dwells in you. It is one thing for you to have the Holy Spirit. It is another thing for the Holy Spirit to have you. (D.L. Moody’s experience “I’ve got all daddy” etc.)
The abundant life is not found in environment or circumstances, nor in the things we possess. It is only found in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s desire that every believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with the Word of Christ, and filled with the fullness of God. “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.”
Notice the contrast in the verse. Drunkenness with wine—and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
1. A person who is drunk is controlled by the alcohol. They say and do things that they would never say or do in their normal condition.
2. On the other hand it is God’s desire that the believer should be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Under the Spirit’s influence he is able to say and do things which he could not say and do under normal circumstances.
This blessed condition ought to be the ongoing experience of every believer. A believer should be habitually and continually filled with the Spirit.
What is the filling of the Holy Spirit?
The infilling - John 3. The upspringing - John 4. The outflowing - John 7. There is no Scriptural warrant for believing that when some strange—ecstatic—emotional feeling sweeps over us that we are necessarily filled with the Spirit.
One of the evidences of the filling of the Spirit is found in Acts 4:31. “Then were they all filled with the Spirit, and they spoke the Word with boldness.”
Notice the similarity between Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19. The results of being filled with the Word of Christ is similar to being filled with the Spirit of God. We deduct from this then, that the Word-filled believer is the Spirit-filled believer who enjoys the blessing of the fullness of God.
The result of this unbroken communion with the Father through the Word and in the Spirit is a deep-rooted joy that expresses itself in psalms—hymns—and spiritual songs. The Spirit-filled believer will be singing and making melody with all his heart unto the Lord. He will be giving thanks continually for all things. He will walk humbly before his brethren in the fear of God.
The Spirit-filled believer will be characterized by three things: Joyfulness—thankfulness—and lowliness.
Some examples of those who were filled with the Spirit.
· Martin Luther led the Reformation before he was thirty.
· At 25 years Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were princes among preachers.
· At 30 years Jesus Christ was sounding forth the Gospel which would revolutionize the world.
To maintain the joy—power—and victory of the abundant life we must be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:4. Acts 4:13. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be Spirit-possessed—Spirit empowered—Spirit led—and Spirit controlled. Acts 8:26-40.
(5) The abundant life is a mature life and a Christ glorifying life.
2 Peter 3:18.
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
A mature life is one which is fully developed—fully grown. The Christian should be continually growing—the Christian life is never static.
If we do not progress in divine things then there will be regression. We will be caught up in the tide of worldliness, and carried away in the stream of life, from the Lord. The example of the Lord. As a child He became strong in spirit-filled with wisdom. As a young man He increased in wisdom and stature. (Samuel.) The Scriptures reveal four stages of spiritual growth in the Christian life.
1. The baby stage.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4. Paul is addressing believers who have been saved for some time. New Christians are not involved here. He describes these believers as being carnal or fleshly and little babies. Their conduct is described in Verse 3 thru 5. Envying—strife—division—following man.
Here are some characteristics of a baby: It thinks only of self—if denied the things it wants it raises a rumpus—its feelings are easily hurt—it lives to be served—it cries but never sings—it tries to talk but never makes sense. These infant characteristics are prominent in all immature believers. These, unfortunately, have never developed spiritually. In this immature condition they do not enjoy abundant life.
2. The little child stage. 1 John 2:12.
Some believers progress a little and become little children spiritually. Having reached this stage, despite the passing of years, they do not develop.
Here are some characteristics of children: They are often untruthful—if rebuked they become martyrs—very often they make a scene—they are tale-bearers, repeating everything they hear—they are given to emotional outbursts—they seek the things that appeal to self—they are easily puffed up.
Beloved, is this a picture of you?
Any believer in this low spiritual state cannot enjoy nor experience the thrill of the abundant life. Why are there so many little children among us? Spiritual dwarfs. Thirty year old’s with three years of age mentality. Undeveloped.
3. The young man stage. 1 John 2:13 and 14.
John divides those to whom he wrote into three groups. Little children—young men and fathers. In doing this he had in mind their spiritual maturity, or their growth in grace.
The young men (spiritually) were engaged in a spiritual warfare, and had overcome the wicked one. The reason for their strength, success and overcoming abilities was because the Word of God abode in them. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path.”
This spiritual growth and maturing in grace and strength is not reached by many. Those who reach this stage are active, strong, virile, and well equipped to overcome all enemies. They have a vision for the future, and have faith and courage to tackle it in the Lord’s name. They have put away childish things and live abundantly in Christ, the joy of the Lord is their strength. “When I was a child I thought—understood—and spoke” etc. “When I became a man I put away childish things.” They are crucified with Christ, nevertheless they live, Christ lives in them. The glories of His person are so enthralling, that the tawdry things of the world are as nothing. They live abundantly.
4. The father stage. 1 John 2:13
This state of spiritual maturity can be reached by all—but so few ever attain to it.
The true spiritual fathers have known the Lord intimately over the years. They have walked with the Lord through life, and through the valley of the shadow. As they have grown spiritually they have been enveloped in the things of Christ.
The spiritual fathers have been active in the work of the Lord. They are men of the book, and walk daily with Christ. They have lived and labored for others. They know the Lord in His fullness. They live in fellowship with Him. They know Him and appreciate Him.
Consequently, the world has lost its attraction, and power, because Christ has filled their vision and satisfied their heart. They live abundantly. I have Christ, what want I more.