Pastor Timothy Corder discusses what is really means to be blessed in his most recent sermon "An Alternative Life Style." Christians are required to live differently in order to be rewarded differently, Living alternatively is the best way to know the difference between heaven and hell. John 10:1-11 expands on these thoughts.
For the past couple of weeks we have been comparing and contrasting two kingdoms: Heaven and Hell. This week I would like us to look at two life styles.
Let’s begin this morning with a brief definition of Shepherd: a person, who guides, cares for and protects a flock. This passage of scripture is introducing “The Good Shepherd”, but first Jesus debunks the false shepherds that he refers to as thieves. John 10-1-11
Vs 10 “The thief comes only ONLY to steal and kill and destroy;...” how many of you have ever had something stolen from you? Did you come home to find items missing, or did you come into direct contact with the thief; like a pick pocket, or maybe you a mugger? Even more prevalent today is identity thief! STEAL: to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong. Many people live a life where things are constantly being stolen from them. To live in such a way that, that which should be yours is never realized or once realized is removed. How does this happen, thieves break in and steal? Not fair, what can I do about this? I need protection! Satin wants to steal a our joy!
The thief even works his way into the church. This thief has come into the church and stolen a lot of people’s praise, he has stolen a lot of people’s salvation, and he has stolen a lot of people’s joy. And we wonder why church services seem dead and why we can’t feel anything, b/c the devil has worked his way in the church and robbed the saints, and deadened their since of awe and wonder.
The thief come to steal, if that wasn’t bad enough, some come to kill- don’t let the thief in, he want more than just your stuff. Satin is our enemy and he has evil intentions toward humanity. From the beginning he has had it out for God’s creation as a whole but human, made in the image of God especially. Then finally even wants to destroy- anything left of our rep, our heritage that we leave even- but Jesus make us anew and gives us a legacy. What does one look like that has been stolen from; like a depressed; blue, unhappy, dejected and miserable individual? This is catching too, it show itself in grumpiness, bitterness backbiting and gossip. Always living like they had taken from them what should have been theirs. (symptoms of a person who has been stolen from).
Spiritual death; while there may be a lump of flesh there, it is always in a state of decay, rotting, and contaminated. And destroyed, all hope removed and not only for you but it leaves one with the hopelessness for future generation or the whole of humanity. This is the state that these false shepherd, thieve wish to leave us in.
The other half of vs. 10 talks about a life that is to be lived to its fullest. The cost for life is a life-but that life that was given was so costly that it affords all of us abundance. “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” If you have come to the place where you feel your life is not what you want, and your willing to lay down your life, trade it in on another, you may find you won’t get much for your life. It’s worth- less, but when we substitute JC’s for our we not only get a new life but a full one!!!!
If you’re not actively pursuing Loving Jesus with all your heart, mind soul and strength and you’re not pursuing loving others, especially those of the household of faith as yourself you may not be living the abundant life. The joy of the Lord is my strength! (Neh. 8:10)“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Many of us would have to confess we may not know what this abundant life- life to the full looks like. Vs 9 sheds some light: 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (We see a beautiful illustration of protection and provision)
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 81:1Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
What does fullness (ampleness, completeness) and abundance (lavishness) look like? First let me assure you it is not getting everything you want; Jesus is not providing for any of us that which is harmful, or ungodly.
Let’s start by looking at to be full starts with the Spirit: to be spirit filled, spirit lead, or spirit like. Well the spinoff of the spirit Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love (you will have love in your life, you will love others), joy (a giver and receiver of Joy), peace (you should have a peace that passes understanding, truly rising above your circumstances) and (you should be a peace maker), Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Forbearance (: the quality of someone who is patient and able to deal with a difficult person or situation), kindness, goodness (godliness), faithfulness (authenticity-not perfection, but truthfulness), gentleness and self-control (not giving in to self-saying “that’s just who I am, but rather controlling oneself).
How does this life play out: blessed: Psalm 32 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Psalm 119:2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Joel 2:25 (its more than joy in the moment- its restoration of what has been stolen too!
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
john 10: 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He paid a debt, he did not owe!