Life By His Plans
Make all of life an adventure by letting God live through you.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Oh, I’m fine, thank you, nice of you to ask. I’ve just been waiting on the Lord and asking Him to get my own heart ready to talk with you as we look at God’s inerrant, infallible Word, the Bible. I always ask Him to put the truth in my heart and love in my voice. That’s a pretty good combination, I guess, always, isn’t it? And I try to be informal with you and low-key; you get yelled at enough, I guess, in life, don’t you? [chuckle]
People write to me and say, “Why, it’s just as though you were seated beside me in the car as I drive to work,” or they say, “It’s just as though you were sitting across the table from me at breakfast.” Well, that’s just exactly the way I want it to be.
We’re looking at the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, and we’ve come to that wonderful tenth verse, one that I memorized as a small boy. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,” Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So many abundant things there are in God’s dealing with us. I turned, just a moment ago, to the heading under the title of ‘Abundance’ in the back of my Thompson Chain-Reference Bible. That’s the one I use for these broadcasts. I’ve got a dozen Bibles of different kinds that I use all the time, but the one that I speak from when I’m on the radio is this old Thompson Chain-Reference, same thing my father had years ago. He just loved it, and I do too, I guess.
But under the heading of ‘Abundance,’ it has these following verses, abundant joys, “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” “In thy presence,” the Psalmist said in another place, “Is fullness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Real joy, real fulfillment, real satisfaction comes only from spiritual rightness, and spiritual rightness comes only from a right relationship with God, and a right relationship with God comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the logic of it. So the Lord Jesus came to provide abundant joy and abundant life. That’s the one we have here, before us. “I am come that they might have life more abundantly.”
And there’s abundant grace listed here, 2 Corinthians 9:8, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” That’s a great verse in that the word ‘abound’ means full and running over, just spilling over more than enough, in other words, more than enough. And he says, “So you, because you’ve got all sufficiency in all things, are gonna have more than enough ability to do every good thing that God asks you to do.” Abundant grace. Then there’s abundant power, Ephesians 3:20, God is able, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, world without end.” He’s able to do exceeding abundantly. That word ‘able’ comes from the root from which we get our word ‘dynamic’ or ‘dynamite.’ He’s got the power, and He can do it.
And then there’s abundant supply, “My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches and glory by Christ Jesus… He that spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely with Him also give us all things.” Abundant supply. And then there’s an abundant entrance, not just coming through the side door, but coming through the front door wide open. It says, “So an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Well, that’s the listing that they have there in the old Thompson Chain-Reference, and it’s a good one, isn’t it? Abundant life.
I suppose, really, the essence of it all is that when the Lord Jesus Christ fills your life, the spillover of your life is God. Now, you take a glass of water and put some coal dust in it, and then jostle the glass, and what spills over is coal dust water. But you rinse that out, clean it out now, and fill it with clear, pure, spring water and jostle the glass, as you and I are jostled in everyday life, and what spills out from it now, is the clear, pure, spring water. And so under stress, your life will spill over, that which is within it, and which controls it. And so if the blessed Holy Spirit of God is revealing the Lord Jesus in you and to you and through you, then the blessed spillover of your life will be the very presence and touch of God.
That’s why Christians are enthusiastic, because they know that they don’t have to try to put on an act. We can live our lives in sincerity and in truth and in wholeheartedness and in honesty; we can be ourselves, in other words, but under the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. And that makes every day’s living an adventure. Have you learned that yet, my friend? Are you just dragging through life or have you learned that every day you wake up, it’s a new adventure with God because He’s living His plans out through you? He said, “I know the thoughts I think toward you, thoughts of good, not of evil, to give you a desired end.” God has plans for you, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” God wouldn’t direct them if He didn’t know what He was doing, would He? And so God has plans for you, and He knows what He’s doing. John 6:4 says, “He Himself knew what He would do.” Jesus knew ahead of time what was going to happen, and He operated according to a divine plan.
You too may have that blessed access to divine supervision and make all of life an adventure with God living through you. It is God in you, Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s the very secret of the Christian life, Paul tells us in Colossians 1, “The secret, the open secret, the revealed mystery which we now preach among the nations,” he said, “Is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He told the people at Philippi, “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” So there you have the blessed network of divine provision for a life that is one of a spillover of blessing. When you’re jostled, when you’re under pressure, and you think you just can’t take it, just remember, God is allowing the jostling, and He’s allowing the pressure to reveal Himself through you.
Paul said as he wrote to the Galatians, “It pleased God, who called me, to reveal His Son in me.” And he said to the folk in Corinth in his second letter, 2:14, “Now, thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” You don’t get perfume without crushing. You crush the petals and that produces the essence from which the expensive perfume is made, you know that. And so the pressure and the crushing and the jostling and the pushing and the shoving through which you and I have to go day by day is calculated to produce the divine spill-out of blessing. God’s own life spilling over from yours as He lives through you. It’s a blessed truth, isn’t it? That’s the essence, it seems to me, of this whole concept of abundant life.
Well, we go on to verse 11, He said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Someone has said that Psalm 22, in its prophetic description of Calvary and all that happened as the Lord Jesus died there on the cross, that is the description of the Good Shepherd that gives his life for the sheep. Psalm 22, that’s the one that tells about what the sufferings of Christ were. “All that see me laugh me to scorn. They shoot out the lip, they shake their heads saying, ‘He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him, let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in me,'” and so on. “They gaped upon me with their mouths as a ravening lion and poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue cleaveth to my jaws, thou has brought me into the dust of death.”
That’s Psalm 22, what happened when the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gave His life for the sheep. In chapter 23 of Psalms, the familiar 23rd Psalm, is the Great Shepherd, “The Lord is my shepherd.” And the New Testament, of course, speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, “That great shepherd of the sheep.” And then the 24th Psalm speaks of the Chief Shepherd, “The earth is the Lord’s. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory.” That’s the Chief Shepherd. When you read those three Psalms, 22, 23 and 24, you have an idea then of the shepherd work of our Lord Jesus Christ. But as the Good Shepherd, it says, “The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. He that’s an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth. The wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, he doesn’t care for the sheep. I’m the good shepherd, I know my sheep. I am known by my sheep. And the Father knows me, and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Now, what’s He saying there? Number one, I know my sheep, they know me, I take care of them, I give my life for them, and all of this is part of the Father’s plan. That’s what He was saying. Then He added one other element. He said, “Other sheep I have,” that’s the Gentiles, “Which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” That’s what He’s talking about, the fact that the Gospel was going to be extended to us Gentiles as well. A small thought here. Have you ever stopped to thank any of your Jewish friends for being Jewish and for giving to us the Old Testament and much of the New Testament, which was written, of course, by Jewish writers, most of them? Have you ever thanked them and told them that you owe a debt of gratitude? That your Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, came from the seed of David? Oh, yes, we owe a great deal, a great debt of gratitude to Israel, God’s chosen and ancient people, and let’s never forget that.
God blesses people who bless Israel. That’s His promise. And so, you want to create and cultivate in your heart that spirit of love and friendship and gratitude for all of those who come from that ancient and glorious race, the seed of Israel. Well, He said, “I’m the good shepherd. And the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” What did he say now about it? He said, “I’m the good shepherd,” and that means, “I give my life.” “I know my sheep.” That means, “I take care of them. I recognize them.” “I am known by my sheep.” That means, “They recognize me.” We talked a while ago about knowing the voice. “The sheep know my voice,” it says. The stranger will they not follow. They’ll flee from him. They know his voice. And so that means that the Lord Jesus knows you as an individual, and you can know Him as your precious, personal Savior. Well, we’ll go on considering verse 16 the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, may we stay close to the Shepherd, led by His tender care into fields of Thy will. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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