Peninsula Community Church
May 27, 2012
Displaying the Life of Christ – An immeasurable Full Life
God desires for us to have an immeasurably full life. And, as a passionate follower of Christ we must seek to live out that immeasurably full life. When we read the Apostle Peter’s (2 Peter 1:3-4) writings we see that He, God, has already given us all that we need to live this life to the fullest. God will also supply your every need according to his riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19) and there is nothing beyond our ability to accomplish because He gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13). He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to teach us and to equip us in the areas that we fall short. We must also remember that God sets the stage for us to fulfill our purpose and that He opens doors and connects us with people that only He can do.
As we think about these gifts and blessings we have received, we are reminded that we have been created by God for a purpose and our purpose is specific to us. We have been given specific gifts and talents to fulfill this work and purpose. He speaks into our hearts promises, visions and dreams that can only be fulfilled in obedience to Christ. While this is a wonderful thought and an amazing prospect, there is a problem. It is a problem that John details here in this passage. Let us read this together.
1John 2:15 -17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
I want to present to you four observations from this passage that will lead us to a full life in Christ
The first observation is that this passage has been used too many times as an attempt to control sin and manage the actions we don’t like in others. This concept is certainly not drawn from the context of the scripture but by way of a translation of the passage. Let me illustrate this idea in this way. I was with a group of pastors this week. IN the meeting one of the pastors related a story about how he had been called to pastor this church that was in decline. As he spoke with the church he asked them about what the church stood for. The leadership team began to detail a long list of things that they were against but could not detail what they stood far. The reality was that they had a firm grip on what they could not do but were not sure what they could do. The pastor and the church set out on a year adventure to study the world to see what God has given them and the ‘yes’s of the Bible. You see while the goal was pure, as there was a desire to keep us from any harm or negative influences, this particular interpretation of the Scripture I believed missed the mark. The emphasis was on controlling sin and managing sin and not on a change of heart that brings eternal change into one’s life. Instead of allowing God to bring change to one’s heart, we established a long list of Pharisaical rules that were intended to prohibit certain actions but did little to disciple one to stand strong in the face of temptation.
The second observation is that this passage challenges us as to where we will place our allegiance. Will you be fully committed to Christ or will you allow the world’s mindsets to dictate your actions and your life. It should be noted here that the word used for “love” in this passage is the word “agape.” There is a temptation and pull for us to love the mindsets of the world but if we love the world’s ways more than we love God’s ways we fall short of what He desires. The result is confusion and despair and a lack of hope.
You have heard me say before that what we focus our emotions on we will follow. What we give our hearts to we will serve that thing.
To comprehend this we must understand that the world’s views or paradigms are:
- Self-reliance and independency
- Never being satisfied or fulfilled
- Getting all we can at any cost
- Using others to gain what we want
The grass is greener syndrome
And that brings me to the third observation. And that is that the desire for more can be a hindrance to our growth in Christ. The idea presented in the “lust of the flesh”,” the lust of the eyes” and “the pride of life” is that there is a desire to want more but it is usually the more that we cannot have. Most of the time, it is the things that are beyond our grasp and our ability to obtain. We want these things because we belief that our success will be achieved in obtaining things. We compare ourselves to others who possess such things, we want to be like them so we covet and struggle to get want we do not need and we know we cannot have.
The fourth observation made from this passage is that as believers we walk to a different beat. We do not succumb to the temptation of the world but we are free to walk as God would desire us to walk. We need to fall in love with God all over again. It is here that we will find a contentment and satisfaction that does not send us looking for things but for Him. We will want to build a relationship with him and not with others.