- God wants you to enjoy an abundant life!
- Your purpose and fulfillment is found in Christ
- See Jesus and His love for you every day
- Find strength for your life journey in the Church
God wants you to enjoy an abundant life!
- Our heavenly Father’s heart is for us to enjoy eternal life. To live an eternal life is not just about living forever; it’s about the quality of life that God Himself lives by. In Greek, “eternal life” is “aiōnios zōē.” And “zōē” refers to a life of fullness and vitality, the resurrected life.
- Today, through the finished work of our Lord Jesus, we get to enjoy and walk in this zōē life. God does not want us to be limited to a life where we only depend on our own human strength, a life where we are subject to the natural laws of nature. Instead, His desire is for us to partake of the tree of life, which is a picture of our Lord Jesus, and walk in the abundant life He came to give us (John 10:10)
- Continuing from last week’s sermon, Pastor Prince once again shows us the paradox of the Christian life that is found in 1 Peter 1:6. As citizens of heaven living on earth, we will face various trials. But because we are in Christ, we can greatly rejoice! We can rejoice in our spirits, hearts, and minds, even in the midst of trials, and not just that, we can also still see beauty all around us. This is the kind of life that God wants us to enjoy!
- It is when people focus too much on the imperfections and darkness around them and in themselves that they end up in a place of emptiness and depression. They see only the ugliness, pretentiousness, hatred, and anger, and they cannot see the light. But God has a better way for us. He doesn’t want us consumed by the troubles, darkness, and emptiness in the world. He wants us to live the abundant life, the zōē life, by setting our eyes on things above, heavenward, on our Lord Jesus.
Your purpose and fulfillment is found in Christ
- In last week’s sermon, we’ve seen how a life consumed by earthly cares, a life “under the sun,” can lead to despair and hopelessness.
- Some of us might think that the goals and pursuits that we have can bring us comfort and joy . . . whether it’s in the form of riches, knowledge, or fame . . . But can they really?
- Let’s look at what Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, said about this life under the sun:
- “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. ‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?”
—Ecclesiastes 1:1–3 NKJV
- Here, Solomon stressed that he was the king in Jerusalem, a man of power and in a position to attain almost anything that he wanted. But what was Solomon’s conclusion at the end of his life? That the pursuit of these things under the sun was the vanity of vanities . . . a futile grasping and chasing after the wind (Eccles. 1:4 AMP).
- Perhaps some of us might be thinking . . . But I’ve not tasted all the pleasures available in the world . . . Just give me the money and . . .
- Well, Solomon tried everything. Let’s look at the extent of what he had access to!
- “I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.”
—Ecclesiastes 2:8–11 NKJV
- Solomon was a man who did not restrain himself from anything his eyes desired. He tasted all that the world could offer, and yet, he tells us that these are just nothing but fleeting moments of pleasure. Beloved, nothing under the sun can truly fulfill your heart. Your heart’s too big for this world!
- Yes, there are practical needs to be met. And there is nothing wrong with having dreams and goals you might have set for yourself. But God does not want you to live a life “under the sun,” consumed and overwhelmed by the cares of this world. He does not want you buried in the world and barren in your soul. Beloved, God wants you to live a victorious and abundant life.
- Where does this leave us, then? How can we live fulfilled in this dissatisfied world? Where can we find the true meaning of life?
- What if the search isn’t just for comfort, achievements, or accolades? Our hearts are too big for the world, but our souls are crying out for something or . . . Someone.
- “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
—1 Peter 1:8 NIV
- Here, we see that a life of inexpressible joy and glory is found in the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. So the answer to our search for meaning, the answer to our dissatisfaction, and the answer to living an abundant life is found in our Lord Jesus alone. He is the only One who can truly satisfy our hearts, the only One in whom we can find true purpose and fulfillment in life.
See Jesus and His love for you every day
- In the book of Ecclesiastes, we’re told of the futility of living a life under the sun. So how can we live a life above the vanity line, a life that’s about the Son?
- We find out in the book that follows, the Song of Songs, which is a beautiful depiction of the love between our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, and us, the Church.
- “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
Draw me away!
We will run after you.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will be glad and rejoice in you.
We will remember your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.”
—Song of Songs 1:1–4 NKJV
- “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”—Look at how the book begins! It opens with the affection the Bridegroom shows toward His bride. Here, we see His deep desire to be with His bride—He doesn’t just give her a small peck, He smothers her with kisses, showering her over and over again with His love. This is a picture of what life with the Son looks like: a life of deep intimacy and love. And this love, this intimacy with our Lord Jesus, is what will truly satisfy us.
- Notice also how it’s not about the bride’s love for the Bridegroom? Likewise, it’s not about our imperfect love for the Lord but His perfect and everlasting love for us!
- This is how the revelation of our Lord Jesus can produce in us inexpressible joy and glory (1 Pet. 1:7)! The more we see our Lord Jesus in the Word, the more we see, believe in, experience, and receive His love toward us. So keep reading the Word, praying in the Spirit, and keeping yourself in God’s love (Jude 1:20–21)!
- “For your love is better than wine”—Wine is a picture of earthly joy. It could be a relationship, a child, or anything that brings us joy. Yet, Solomon tells us that to experience the Lord’s love is better than any earthly joy we can have! Life above the sun is about knowing our Lord Jesus. To know Him is to find yourself because you are now in Him. And it is in knowing Him that we get to enjoy the eternal life He has already obtained for us (John 17:3)!
- This is how God wants us to live—to see Jesus and His love for us every single day!
Find strength for your life journey in the Church
- Some of us might wonder, “Knowing the Lord’s love for me is great . . . but how would this help me practically in my life?”
“She: Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?
“He: If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds' tents.”
—Song of Songs 1:7–8 ESV
“where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon”—Here, the bride inquires of the Bridegroom where He pastures His flock so that she can find green pastures, a picture of food and rest.
- The Bridegroom’s response to her was to “follow in the tracks of the flock.” The flock refers to the Church! We can find the provision that we need in the house of God. In the Father’s house, there is abundance, more than enough and to spare.
- God’s heart is for us to be planted in church. We cannot live a solo Christian life. Chapter 1 of Song of Songs starts with a personal relationship between the bride and the Bridegroom. But it ends off with the bride following the tracks of the flock and dwelling with them.
- Likewise, in our pursuit of the Lord, we should not forget where He’s found: in the Church! And the Church is not a building but a gathering of believers. While our Christian walk is first about our personal relationship with the Lord, we need to be planted in the Church with the rest of the Lord’s people. It’s where we will experience His commanded blessings and life forevermore (Ps. 133:3)!
- To follow in the tracks of the flock is to follow and glean from the believers who have gone before us so that we can learn from and tread on the path that has been proven and tried for us. Let’s look at what they did:
- “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the (1) apostles' teaching and the (2) fellowship, to the (3) breaking of bread and (4) the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”
—Acts 2:41–43 ESV
Whenever the early church gathered, they devoted themselves to these four pillars of the church:
- The apostles’ doctrine
- Fellowship among believers
- The breaking of bread (the holy Communion)
- *The prayers
*Notice how the definite article “the” is used when referring to prayer? This means that the Apostle Paul was referring to a specific and unique type of prayer: praying in tongues!
These activities, which take place corporately in the local church, are very important for our Christian walk and development, and they will lead to “many wonders and signs.”“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
—Acts 2:46–47 NKJV “And the Lord added to the church daily”—As the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, breaking of bread, fellowship, and praying in the Spirit, the Lord added to them daily. Likewise, when we prioritize these activities in our lives, we will also experience God’s wisdom, favor, and provision in our lives. Not only that, when we gather in the house of God, Psalm 84:5–7 (NASB) tells us that we will grow in strength:“Blessed is the person whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the roads to Zion! Passing through the Valley of Baca (Weeping) they make it a spring; the early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, every one of them appears before God in Zion.”
Zion is the mountain where God dwells, and also where God’s house (the Church) stands. In our life journeys, it’s inevitable that we will face trials. But as we set our hearts on the Church and gather with fellow believers, new strength is imparted to us! And for those of us who might be going through a valley season, know that even though there might be weeping, God will make it a fountain of blessing. He will pour out His early rain and cover your wilderness with blessings as you set your heart on Him. Everyone who makes their way to Zion gets there and “appears before God in Zion”! There is an enlivening, an uplifting, encouragement, and an impartation of strength when you gather with fellow believers in the house of God, so continue to look toward the Lord, and to be planted in a local church!
1 Peter 1:6,8
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 2:8-11
8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. 9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Ecclesiastes 2:8-11
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Ecclesiastes 2:8-11
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. Song of Songs 1:1-4
1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. 2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— For your love is better than wine. 3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you. Song of Songs 1:1-4 4 Draw me away! We will run after you. The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you. Song of Songs 1:7-8 (ESV) 7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions? 8 If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds' tents. Psalm 133:3 3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore. Acts 2:41-43 (ESV)
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 1 42 And they devoted themselves to the 2 apostles' teaching and the fellowship, 3 to the breaking of bread and 4 the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. Acts 2:46-47 (ESV)
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46 (NLT)
46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— Psalm 84:5-7 (NASB)
5 Blessed is the person whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the roads to Zion! 6 Passing through the Valley of Baca (Weeping) they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion. John 1:11 (KJV)
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. CHURCHGOERS APPEAR TO LIVE LONGER; HAVE LESS STRESS Analyzing population data from NHANES III, a team from the UCLA and Vanderbilt CTSAs found a significant association between church attendance and mortality among adults 40-65 years. People who attended church more than once a week had a 55% reduction in all-cause mortality compared to non-churchgoers. On one measure of stress, allostatic load, churchgoers tended to fare better than non-churchgoers. Source: UCLA CTSI Connections | UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute
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