porter barrington bible study
Life – Lesson 11
“… I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly”
The only way into eternal life is through faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior (John 3:15) But do not stop here; to have eternal life is great-but there is more. Christ came that you might have life abundantly. All believers have life, but not all have abundant life. You are living beneath your privilege if you are a believer and not enjoying the abundant life
For life to be abundant, it must have abundant resources, and the only unlimited source of life is in the person Jesus Christ, the son of God (John 14:6) To possess this fuller life, the believer must abide in Him (John 15:1-5). Dynamic, abundant living is not for just a few, it is God’s norm for all believers. It is spiritual life in depth, and without it, the Christian life becomes inane and meaningless.
If you do not have abundant life within you, you will soon yield to the carnal (fleshly) life around you (1 Cor. 3:1-4) The carnal life is circumstance-controlled; the abundant life is Holy Spirit-controlled. The carnal Christian life leads to defeat; the abundant life leads to victory in Christ. Man seems to know everything about life except how to live it abundantly. From this moment on, determine not to be satisfied with anything less than God’s best: living life abundantly.
1. The Abundant Life is a Yielded Life Rom. 6:10-13 (10) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
How to live the abundant life is no secret; it is revealed in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (above verse 10). Faith that saves identifies you with Christ in His death-this is eternal life. Faith that yields identifies you with Christ in His resurrection-this is abundant life (Col. 3:1-4)
a) It is one thing to have eternal life by faith. It is quite another thing to have abundant life by faith.
b) It is one thing for you to “… become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21); it is another thing for you to realize His righteous life is in you (1 John 3:7). c) It is one thing for you to live in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); It is another thing for Christ to live His life through you (Col. 1:27).
In the above verse (verse 13), the believer has a choice. He may yield to God by faith and enjoy abundant life or he may yield to sin and endure a defeated life (Rev. 3:1). God would have you know the power of a yielded life; it will lift you above circumstances that circumvent abundant living. The abundant life begins when you yield to Him as Master, allowing Him to live His life through you by faith.
2. The Abundant Life is a Service Life (Rom. 12:1, 2) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
To live abundantly, you must serve the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself became our example. He served all the way to Calvary, and there He was the obedient servant,” …obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:7, 8). In the verses 1 and 2 the believer is urged to take the necessary steps for abundant living.
a) You are to “present“. This is volitional surrender to the perfect will of God, even though you may not know God’s perfect will for your life; it is, on your part, an act of faith (John 7:17
b) You are to “present your bodies“. God must control and use the whole man. “And may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Your whole man was redeemed on the cross and sanctified (set apart for service) (1 Thess. 5:23).
c) You are to “… present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.” This is exemplified in the life of the Apostle Paul; he was a “living sacrifice”. In life, he was “a servant of Christ Jesus” (Rom. 1:1). In battle, he was a warrior (Eph. 6:10-18). In the will of God, he was a “prisoner of Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:1). These words were spoken from a Roman prison; he never referred to himself as a prisoner of Rome. To the Apostle, prison was a part of the perfect will of God. With this conviction, he lived abundantly (Phil. 1:12) In death, he was victorious (2 Tim. 4:7, 8).
d) You have been “transformed”, changed by the power of God, and no longer “conformed to this world” but now you can be conformed to the “good and acceptable and perfect” will of God, and live abundantly!Faith is important because it honors God, and God always honors faith.
3. The Abundant Life is a Separated Life. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God. Notes: Separation is both positive and negative. You are to be “… set apart for the gospel of God”, this is positive (Rom. 1:1). You are to come out from anything that is contrary to the perfect will of God (2 Cor. 6:17) this is negative.
To be separated means to be sanctified (set apart) for salvation and service.
a) The word of God has the power to separate the believer from sin (John 17:17) and (Ps. 119:11 OT)
b) God the Father has the power to separate the believer to the “… coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).
c) God the Son has the power to separate the believer to righteousness, “… having no spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:24-27)
d) God the Holy Spirit has the power to separate the believer unto salvation and service (2 Thess. 2:13)You need a faith that is bigger than the elements that would drag you down to defeat. You can have big faith “prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:20-21)
Without being separated, you can have relationship with God; but, you cannot have fellowship with Him. You may be united to Him in Calvary, but separated from Him in sin (Is. 59:1,2 OT). Without separation, you can have influence without power, movement without achievement; you may try, but not trust; serve, but not succeed; war, but not win. Without separation to God from sin, your whole Christian life will be “wood, hay, straw”. The abundant life is made possible by death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and made a reality by being separated to Him.
4. The Abundant Life is a Spirit Filled Life. (Eph. 5:18-20) 18 ) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20) giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. You may be immature, weak and imperfect; but, if you have been “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) He dwells in you (1 Cor. 6:19 and Rom. 8:9). It is one thing for you to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, but does the Holy Spirit have you, that He may fill you with abundant life? The abundant life is not found in environment or circumstances, or in the things you may possess. It is found in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. “But filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18 ) is a command. You may be filled many, many times (Acts 2:4 and Acts 4:31) The apostles that were filled in Acts chapter 2, were filled again in Acts chapter 4. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be: Spirit-possessed, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-led and Spirit-controlled (Acts 8:26-40).
a) You are filled with the Spirit that you might have joy (Eph. 5:19, 20).
b) You are filled with the Spirit for service (Acts 6:3 and Acts 11:22-24).
c) You are filled with the Spirit for power to be a witness (Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:4-7).
d) You are filled with the Spirit for the hour of persecution (Acts 7:54-60).
e) You are filled with the Spirit that you may “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16-26).
f) You are filled with the Spirit that you may be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14).
g) How can you be filled with the Holy Spirit? First, You must desire Him to fill you. Second, you must ask Him to fill you. Third, you must believe that He does fill you (John 4:14 and John 7:37, 38).
5. The Abundant Life is a Mature Life (2 Pet. 3:18 ) 18 ) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Notes: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). The scriptures reveal four stages of spiritual growth in the Christian life:
a) The baby stage (1 Cor. 3:1-4) A baby thinks only of self; and, if denied the things desired, it will raise a rumpus. It seeks its own; its feelings are easily hurt and it is often jealous. A baby lives to be served-it never serves. It drinks milk, and cannot eat strong meat. It cries, but never sings. It tries to talk, but never makes sense. These infant characteristics are so prominent in the lives of many church members. They have been born into the family of God, but have failed to develop spiritually. They are spiritual babies-carnal Christians.
b) The little child stage (1 John 2:12) Some Christians grow to be little children spiritually, but stop there. Here are some of the characteristics of children: they are often untruthful, envious, and cruel. If rebuked, they become martyrs; if crossed, they are resentful and often make a scene. They are talebearers, repeating everything they hear (in adults, it is called gossip). They are given to emotional outbursts, and are easily puffed up. They love praise, and will accept it from any source. They seek only the things that appeal to self. Are you a spiritual child?
c) The young man stage (1 John 2:13) Spiritual growth to that of a young man is not reached by many. He is strong and virile and is well able to overcome his enemy. He has a vision for the future and the faith and courage to tackle it. He is preparing for his productive years. You, too, can become a young man spiritually by doing “away with childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11)
d) The father stage (1 John 2:13) This stage of spiritual development can be reached by all, but so few ever attain it. The spiritual father has peace with God (Rom. 5:1) He knows the peace of God (Phil. 4:7). He rejoices in his spiritual children (1 Thess. 2:19 and 1 Tim. 1:2) He has learned contentment under all circumstances (Phil. 4:11) He knows the only source of true strength (Phil. 4:13) He does not brood over the past, but looks to the future (Phil. 3:13, 14) He knows that all things work together in his life for his eternal good (Rom. 8:28 ) He enjoys abundant life now and will enjoy it in the life to come (Eph. 2:7)