INTRO: During His years of teaching and ministering on earth, Jesus once said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (Jno 10:10). It is obvious that Jesus did not promise economic prosperity or a life free from pain and trouble. Still, His purpose, at least in part, in leaving heaven to come to earth ... and to die a sacrificial death ... was to make possible an abundant life. I recognize that we would likely think in terms of heaven and eternal life. I am convinced, however, that Jesus was also promising something very special about the here and now life ... real life, abundant life. This morning I want to look at a section of scripture which gives us some very important keys to living abundantly. At Ps 119:17 the psalmist prayed, Deal bountifully with they servant. To live bountifully
I WE MUST OPEN OUR EYES - PS 119:18
A. We close our eyes to so many things ... to our hurt
1. we close our eyes to the consequences of our behavior
2. we close our eyes to the opportunities for good
3. we close our eyes to truth which may contradict desire
B. We must open our eyes, specifically, to the wonders of Gods word
1. Gods word reveals consequences which we need to understand
2. Gods word reveals truths which are not generally accepted
3. Gods word reveals the way to heaven
II WE MUST RECOGNIZE & ACCEPT OUR PILGRIM STATUS - PS 119:19
A. It is so easy to become rooted in an earthly existence
1. we get caught up in education, jobs, families, diversions, etc.
2. we probably think very little about death and dying
3. its just hard to see beyond the horizon of this earth
B. Pilgrim status must be understood for people seeking bountiful life
1. 1 Pet 2:11 - ...as strangers and pilgrims...
2. pilgrim status determines the manner of our lives and behavior
3. 1 Cor 7:31 - we must grow to accept this reality if we are to live the bountiful life, the abundant life
III WE MUST LONG FOR SPIRITUAL THINGS - PS 119:20
A. Failing to accept pilgrim status will war against this longing!
1. our longings are usually very earthly and material
2. we long (deeply desire) for success, for pleasure, for happiness, for wealth, for health, etc.
3. and not all such longings are detrimental ... unless they consume
B. Could this be one of our hindrances to abundant living?
1. where is our deep desire for things of the spirit?
2. Ps 42:1,2 - ...my soul thirsteth for God...
3. Ps 119:174 - I have longed for thy salvation...
IV WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE FATE OF THE PROUD - PS 119:21
A. Why is pride noted with such negativism here?
1. are there not other sins which are problematic to abundant living?
2. what about lying, cheating, sexual sins, etc.
3. yes, all of those things are seriously harmful to the life God wants for us
B. The reason pride is mentioned here, however, is explained
1. pride leads to ones leaving the commandments of God!
2. Deut 17:20 - ...that his heart be not lifted up...that he turn not aside...
3. so, Prov 16:18 - so, in humility listen to, observe the word of God
V WE MUST FIND CONFIDENCE IN DOING RIGHT - PS 119:22
A. Is doing right not always our desired choice?
1. this may have something to do with peers, environment, etc.
2. can doing right cause us some discomfort? do we let the world set the standards, the norms, the agenda ... and rob us of confidence?
B. Can we say with joy, I have kept thy testimonies?
1. yes, there will be times when this is swimming against the tide
2. but I contend that the habit of doing right leads to wholesome self confidence - Ps 40:8
VI WE MUST MAKE THE HARD CHOICES - PS 119:23
A. We will have occasion to have to make moral, spiritual choices
1. this will be made difficult by the fact that we may be alone in them
2. it would have been easier for the psalmist to go along with the princes
B. Ex 32:26 - Who is on the Lords side?
1. do you ever choose for convenience? for desire? for popularity?
2. you are ultimately the poorer for such choices, decisions
CLOSE: Finally, we must choose wise counselors (Ps 119:24). There are so many people who will tell us what we want to hear. There are too few people who will lovingly tell us what we need to hear. And Gods word is the very best counselor of all!
Cecil A. Hutson
18 April 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)