“Firm Foundation: Building a Bountiful Life” Transcript for Podcast Episode 3 July 18, 2022 Unprecedented. A word that only begins to describe the collaborative struggle we have endured over the last few years. Every time we think things might be turned back to “normal suddenly” something pulls the carpet out from under us: food shortages, gas prices that have tripled in a few short months, businesses having to shut their doors unable to keep up with this new economic climate.
This world we’ve inherited is not what any of us desire… We want reliability. We want to be secure. We want our lives to be a success. But if the last few years have taught us one thing… safety and security in the world will disappoint, crumble and fade like a vapor. James 4:14 says, “But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes.” The Passion Translation (TPT) So….what do we do with all of this heaviness? Is there anything trustworthy and dependable?
YES! COME TO JESUS “Are you weary, carry a heavy burden? (Jesus says,) ‘Come to me, I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I am gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear*’.” Matthew 11:28-20, TPT (*Other versions of the Bible describe the last part of verse 20 as saying, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”)
At first glance, this all seems too good to be true!
But, it’s not…throughout the Gospels, Jesus is always trying to get people to understand who He is and why He’s here. Some figure it out right away like the Apostle Peter and the woman at the well.
Others are a tough sell, like the Pharisees. [The Pharisees are a group of Jewish leaders who lived in strict observance of the Law of Moses or the Torah, they were self-righteous but less hostile than the Sadducees. They believed temple worship was unnecessary and instead worshipped God in synagogues.] John 10:22-23 later in the chapter describes the scene, “it was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon during the ‘Feast of Dedication’ (which Jews still celebrate today, as Hanukkah). In John chapter 10 Jesus implores the Pharisees to “Listen to this eternal truth: I am the Gate," Jesus said. “To enter through Me is to experience life, freedom, and satisfaction. The thief has only one thing in mind – he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow! I am the Good Shepherd who lays down my life as a sacrifice for the sheep.” John 10:7-11 (TPT)
Christ is a stark contrast to the enemy and thief of this world.
Anyone who has spent more than five minutes in this world knows that it is harsh, full of injustice, strife, and striving. It is because we have an enemy, Satan, a thief who set out to steal, destroy and oppose everything Christ came to give.
Satan's tactics show up in many ways. It can look like abandonment, despair, fear, and all the hate spewed on social media.
In contrast, Christ is good, kind, faithful, our protector, and He wants our freedom. Just so we are clear, knowing Jesus and choosing life in Him is not some magic pill to make the bad things go away or trials disappear entirely.
Rather, the Bible tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12 When we give our life and heart to Christ, He becomes a pathway through suffering and trials.
“Life in Christ is not something we have to imagine. It is real, tangible, and available. In Him, we are unified. In Him, there is no greed or selfish motive. In Him, we have peace and security. In Him, we never hunger or thirst. In Him is life; life eternal and life today.” <3 Katie
So, how do we get this bountiful life in Christ?
God was faithful and led me back to my study in the Gospel of John. I recalled Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. I have read and heard this story countless times, but only in this deep dive did I understand that Jesus, Himself was telling all of us what it means to be saved, how to be born again, and inherit eternal life.
I can imagine their discussion late one night as this Pharisee, ruler of the Jews who were well versed in Torah and strictly observed the Law of Moses came to talk to Jesus, knowing Jesus has come from God because “…no one can do these signs and miracles unless God is with him.” John 1:2, TPT
This is a fascinating exchange! Jesus tells Nicodemus plainly in John 3:15 “the Son of Man [referring to Christ], is ready to be lifted up so that those who truly believe in Him will not perish, but be given eternal life.” This verse is followed by the famous John 3:16, “For here is the way God loved the world He gave His only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish, but experience everlasting life.”
Over and over again throughout scripture, it says for us to BELIEVE… I could sit here and quote verse after verse, but to simplify the Apostle Paul offers a straightforward message to the Romans on what it means to be saved.
“And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you experience salvation." Romans 10:9, TPT
We hear verse 9 quoted often, but it is in verse 10 where we gain an essential understanding of the work completed in us when we “confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.” Romans 10:10, TPT “The heart that believes in Him receives the gift of the righteousness of God - and THEN the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.” TPT
Therefore, through faith – when we believe in Jesus – that He is the Son of God and He died on the cross for us, His blood makes us right with God. This is how we are made righteous; it isn’t something we can do. Jesus does this work! We cannot do this with our work. We cannot earn our salvation.
Christ is the antidote. He is the alternative to the harshness of this world. He came to restore what was broken. He is our hope and peace.
Some who are listening today made this confession long ago and this message is to remind you who Christ is and remind you to stay connected to Him.
In John 15 - He is described as the vine, “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with Me (Jesus) as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you- but when you live separated from me you are powerless.” John 15:5, TPT
For those of you not sure about this Christ, let me tell you a parable from the Book of Luke. “Let me describe the one who truly follows me and does what I say: He is like a man who chooses the right place to build a house and then lays a deep and secure foundation. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it continues to stand strong and unshaken through the tempest, for he built it wisely on the right foundation. But the one who has heard my teaching and does not obey it is like a man who builds a house without laying any foundation at all. When the storms and floods rage against that house, it will immediately collapse and become a total loss. Which of these two builders will you be?” Luke 6:46-49, TPT
So, I ask, “Which one of these two builders will you be?”
Have you built your life safely and securely on Christ, a firm foundation? Or are you the one that built without any foundation at all and life is crumbling from beneath?
Because it is not if the storms of life come, but rather when they come. Life will be turned upside down when they come. Will you weather the storm and stand firm?
Let’s take a moment for a personal inventory. How has your life fared these last few years? Did you put your faith in the world or faith in Jesus?
If you have not built a strong foundation in Him, you can do that today. Pray with me. Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to show me how to live and have life in His name. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord and because I call on Your name, I am saved. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead, which makes me right with You and free from guilt and sin. In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen.
You probably have a lot of questions. I am working on a New Believer's packet that will help you on your journey. For now, check out the blog and podcast, but most importantly read your Bible. Within its pages is the life and freedom you are searching for. If you do not have a Bible, check out the free You Version Bible app. Tell someone about your decision to follow Christ. Tell your best friend, your neighbor, tell someone you've decided to believe in Jesus. I would love to hear that you’re a believer. Contact me at https://www.bountifulliving.net/
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