The Door to Abundant Life (Article 20-7)
We may understand the “American dream” to be the pursuit of what is called “the good life.” This usually means owning your own home, having a couple of cars, taking nice vacations, and retiring to a comfortable life. The rich and famous, who supposedly enjoy this good life, are splashed across the pages of magazines and television that we all can vicariously enter their lives and dream about striking it rich ourselves. But while many Americans who are financially comfortable may have achieved “the good life,” most of them have missed the abundant life. More specifically, they have missed the abundant life that Jesus promised to all who follow Him. But what is the abundant life?
It's Not About Worldly Riches. Many who follow the “prosperity gospel” attempt to baptize the materialistic American dream with some Christian labels. Except for their Christian jargon, the prosperity preachers may appear or sound like unbelieving Americans in their pursuit of stuff. It is not my intent to express an opinion regarding prosperity teachings. For doing so, is passing judgement, and my run contrary to God's will for such teachings. However, I'm confident in my views that the prosperity we should pursue, by way of the Gospels, is Christ's teachings on how to obtain an "abundant life." A life that is not of this world, but of the eternal. Why? Because the abundant life that Jesus promised has nothing to do with collecting more stuff. It has everything to do with being right with God through faith in Christ and with this relationship, having the hope of eternity spent in His presence.
The apostle Paul wasn’t rich in this world’s goods, but he enjoyed the abundant life that Christ offers. 1 Timothy 6:8, states that Paul was content with just food and covering, but he was rich toward God as referenced in the Luke 12:21 and Ephesians 2:7, Philippians 3:8 states that Paul gained those riches by coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Door. Jesus claims to be the door through which His sheep enter to experience the abundant life. This is one of seven “I am” statements Jesus makes in the Book of John. Christ's "I am" statements show us that Christianity is not primarily a bunch of rules or rituals, but rather Christianity is Christ Himself.
With the above understanding, learn that Jesus is the only door to abundant life for all who enter through Him. In John Chapter 10:7, Jesus says “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” To say the “words “most assuredly,” he’s saying “I am the solemn truth.” John goes on to say in 10:8 that all others claiming to be the door are thieves and robbers. In the above verse Jesus was not saying that godly men like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets were thieves and robbers. He is referring to those who preyed on the sheep and used them for their own selfish ends. In John 10:9, we’re taught that Jesus provides salvation, safety, and sustenance for any who will enter through him. Specifically, Jesus says, “I am the door.” If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Make the Right Choice. Years ago there was a TV game show called, “Let’s Make a Deal.” The contestants had to choose between a prize that was visible to them or another prize that was concealed behind a curtain or door. The visible prize was usually a nice item, like an expensive stereo or TV set. Sometimes the unseen prize turned out to be a joke, such as 10,000 boxes of toothpicks. Many times the person chose the visible gift and discovered to their horror that they had passed up, behind another curtain, a new car worth thousands of dollars. Whenever that happened, one felt the contestant's awful feeling that comes from making a major wrong choice.
Closing. It is my hope you do not choose the wrong door, spiritually. The visible prize is all the stuff you see in this world. 1 Corinthians 2:9, reminds us that when we enter through Jesus as the door, we gain things that the eye has not seen and ear has not heard. They are things which have not entered into the heart of man, and are things that God has prepared for those who love Him. Unlike the "Price is Right" contestant, we see the earthly visible prize, but we also know what's behind the other curtain - that being the prize of having an abundant and eternal life.