The More Abundant Life

Pursuing an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ

Dan Augsburger

Part 2 of 5 on the More Abundant Life

1. The Promise of a More Abundant Life
2. Understanding the More Abundant Life
Understanding the More Abundant Life: If so, what is it? Part A
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Ian Thomas
“If your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you—your personality, your will-power, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything. Then although you have the Christian life, you are not yet living it. If the way you live … can be explained in terms of you, what (do you) have to offer to the man who lives next door? The way he lives his life can be explained in terms of him, and so far as he is concerned, you happen to be religious—but he is not! Christianity may be your hobby, but it is not his.”

Nicholas of Basel speaking to John Tauler, 1340
“You are sincere, but you are a sincere Pharisee. If you practiced what you preached, one sermon would have the power of 100 sermons before!”

How do we experience More Abundant Living?

Psalms 24:3,4
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his heart to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, this is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.”

Is such a life possible? If so, what is it?

Ephesians 1: 4
“…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love….”

1 Peter 1: 15
“As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct….”

Youth Instructor, October 28, 1897
“God has made every provision whereby our thoughts may become purified, elevated, refined, and ennobled. He has not only promised to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, but he has made an actual provision for the supply of the grace that will lift our thoughts toward him, and enable us to appreciate his holiness.

What is the too common reality?
Mead MacGuire
“Why is it that many who really love God and desire earnestly to walk with Him, manifest and confess an utter lack of power to do it?” The Life of Victory, p, 5.

Unknown Christian
“To most Christians the Victorious Life is a beautiful mirage which vanishes into thin air, or recedes into the distance as we try to approach it. And so we look forward to finding it in heaven!” The Victorious Life

Hudson Taylor
He “prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation—but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off of Him for a moment, but pressure of duties…caused me to forget Him. How could I preach with sincerity that, to those who receive Jesus, ‘to them gave He power to become the sons of God’ when it was not so in my own experience?” Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, p.158.

Rosalind Goforth
“Yes, she is a hard worker, a zealous preacher, and—yes, she dearly loves us; but, oh, what a temper she has! If she would only live more as she preaches!” How I Know God Answers Prayer, p. 119.

Ian Thomas
“It is not difficult for man to live the Christian life, it is a sheer impossibility—a sheer impossibility, that is without Christ!” Mystery of Godliness, p. 27

John 15:5
“Without Me you can do nothing.”

Peter’s Counsel to Parents, p. 58
“Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God's word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.”

“The part of the Christian
is to persevere in overcoming
every fault.”

What does it mean to persevere in the context of this quotation? It is like taking a trip where the individual has to make plans, purchase tickets, travel to the airport, get on the right airplane, trust the pilot and the airplane to get to the desired destination. During the trip lots of persevering goes on, but the traveler would never say, “I took myself to such and such destination.” He obviously went to the place, but the airplane actually took him. So in Christianity, we continually make choices and keep pointing our lives in the direction of God’s will, choosing to make use of all of his remedies, but through it all, God is the one who wills and does.

We Persevere, Acknowledging Our…

Romans 3:10
“There is none righteous, no, not one….”

Ephesians 2:1
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins….”

Jeremiah 13:23
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.”

Signs of the Times, January 4, 1883
“Our condition is helpless and hopeless ….”

Mount of Blessing p. 8
“…if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing….”

Steps to Christ, p. 18
“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’ ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ.”

Satan’s Trap #1
The Lie
I can change my behavior.

The Truth
Only Christ can change my behavior

We Persevere, Acknowledging Our

1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

John 8:34
“Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Romans 7:23
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Temperance, p. 276
“There are but two powers that control the minds of men—the power of God and the power of Satan.”

Matthew 6:24
“No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Testimonies to Ministers, p. 79
“Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.”

Messages to Young People, p. 154.
“This will, that forms so important a factor in the character of man, was at the fall given into the control of Satan; and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure, but to the utter ruin and misery of man.”

Satan’s Trap #2
The Lie
I’m in charge of my life. I don’t have to obey Satan or God. I can do my own thing.

The Truth
I serve God or I serve Satan; there is no third alternative!

We Persevere, Acknowledging Our…
…Need of Pardon

Romans 3:23
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Isaiah 64:6
“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

Mead MacGuire
“To learn that I am all bad and that there is no good thing in me, is one of the greatest steps toward appreciation of the atonement of Christ.” The Life of Victory, p. 17

Steps To Christ, p. 62.
“It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God's law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”

Satan’s Trap #3
The Lie
I’m not good enough.

The Truth
I’m never good enough; only Jesus is good enough,
and He freely pardons me when I seek pardon.

We Persevere, Acknowledging Our…
…Need of Pardon
…Need of Righteousness

Romans 5:1
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:19
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, p. 62
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.”

God’s Amazing Grace, p. 62
“Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace upon every one who hungers for it. To every one He presents terms of mercy, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive this gift.”

F. B. Meyer
“God loves us, not because we are good, but in order to make us good.”

Some Experiences
John Bunyan, the writer of Pilgrim’s Progress struggled for a long time in his quest to find the Lord Jesus. At one point, in fact, his stated desire was to experience the pleasures of sin just as rapidly as possible. At some point he began reading his Bible as the result of his godly wife encouraging him, and sought a close relationship with God. But his efforts seemed to fail and he was discouraged. Then one day, while walking, he seemed to hear words that changed everything: “Your Righteousness is in heaven.”

I experienced a similar thing the summer prior to my senior year in college. In the process of preparing a sermon on victory that was to be delivered to the students the first Friday evening of the school year, I began wondering if I would never make it to heaven, considering how bad I was. While praying, God reminded me that Jesus came and lived a perfect life, offered the virtue of His life to me, and offered to take my sins upon Himself. I arose from that prayer a happy Christian, for Jesus had finally become my Savior. Having come to the end of my rope, I grabbed on to Jesus and I have been rejoicing in Him ever since!

Satan’s Trap #4
The Lie
I have to do something to earn salvation.

The Truth
Christ’s righteousness is a gift, given,
not because I am worthy, but because He is worthy.

Some Conclusions

If I can’t change my behavior, then I don’t have to worry over trying to do what the Bible says I can’t do. But I can invited Christ to change me, and rest assured that He will do what He has promised!

“I can rest from struggles”

I can surrender my life to Christ, taking control from Satan and transferring it to Christ.

“I can enjoy true freedom”

I can quickly seek Christ’s pardon when I make mistakes, because He knows my condition and freely offers pardon if I ask for it. I don’t need to be on probation before I come to him.

“I no longer need to experience guilt!”

I can receive Christ’s righteousness and go through each day knowing that God treats me as if I had never made a mistake.

“I am treated each day as if I never made any mistakes.”

Revelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me”
Have you accepted Him
as your Savior?

A Transition

Justification: Brings forgiveness and a new standing with God.
Sanctification: Brings new freedom from the power of sin.

Justification is about gaining salvation;
Sanctification is about enjoying salvation.

Next: Understanding the More Abundant Life: What is it? - B