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                     "SECRETS OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE"


INTRODUCTION

1. Suppose I could offer you a life that is guaranteed to give you...
   a. A "joy" that is greater than any other
   b. A "blessedness" that is happiness in its fullest measure
   c. An "assurance" of entering the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
   d. A "peace" that surpasses understanding
   -- Would you be interested?

2. I cannot, but Jesus does...!
   a. He came to provide the way to an abundant life - Jn 10:10
   b. He shares with us the "secrets" to this life through His teaching
      - Jn 15:11

3. Through His teachings, then, we can learn the "Secrets Of The
   Abundant Life"...
   a. Many of which are found in this very chapter (Jn 15)
   b. Where Jesus pictures Himself as the Vine and His disciples as the
      branches - cf. Jn 15:1-5

[As branches we are to bear fruit, and this leads us to the first secret
of the abundant life...]

I. THE SECRET OF LIVING IS BEARING FRUIT

   A. DIFFERENT KINDS OF FRUIT WE CAN BEAR...
      1. Winning souls to Christ and helping them to grow - Ro 1:13
      2. Sharing with those in need - Ro 15:28
      3. Developing a Christ-like character - 2Pe 1:5-8; Ga 5:22-23
      4. Praising God and giving thanks - He 13:15
      -- These are "fruits" that we can bear as branches of the Vine

   B. THE BENEFITS OF BEARING SUCH FRUIT...
      1. Joy for those who win souls - 3Jn 4; 1Th 2:19-20
      2. Happiness for those who share with others - Ac 20:35
      3. Assurance for those who develop a Christ-like character - 2 Pe
         1:8-11; Ga 5:23b
      4. Peace for those given to thanksgiving - Php 4:6-7
      -- Such are the "benefits" of the abundant life Jesus offers

[And what is the secret?  Being a branch of the True Vine (Jesus) and
bearing fruit!  But Jesus also shares the secret to bearing fruit...]

II. THE SECRET OF BEARING FRUIT IS ABIDING

   A. NOTE THE USE OF THE WORD "ABIDE"....
      1. Jesus uses the word "abide" ten times - Jn 15:4-10
      2. We must abide in Him, and He in us, to bear fruit
      3. Without Him, we can do nothing
      -- The secret to bearing fruit is abiding in Christ! - Jn 15:5

   B. ABIDING IN CHRIST EMPOWERS THE CHRISTIAN....
      1. Paul wrote what the power in Christ meant in his own life - Ph
         4:13
      2. He wanted others to know of the power available to them - Ep 1:
         18-20; 3:20
      3. He gave examples of how this power could transform people
         - e.g., 1Co 6:9-11
      -- Abiding in Christ empowers us to bear fruit, and thereby
         experience the abundant life!

[But does Jesus also reveal the secret to abiding in Him?  Yes...]

III. THE SECRET OF ABIDING IS OBEYING

   A. OBEYING THE COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS...
      1. By keeping His commands we abide in His love - Jn 15:10a
      2. By keeping His commands we will be His friends - Jn 15:14
      3. By keeping His commandments we abide in Him - 1Jn 3:24a
      -- Obedience is the key to abiding in Christ!

   B. THE PRINCIPLE OF ABIDING THROUGH OBEYING...
      1. Governed Jesus' relationship with His Father while on earth
         a. He kept His Father's commandments, and so abided in His love
            - Jn 15:10b
         b. Passages which illustrate Jesus' desire to keep His Father's
            Will - Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38
      2. And should govern our conduct as Christians as well
         a. We abide in Christ by keeping His commandments - 1Jn 2:3-6
         b. Otherwise we are liars if we profess to know Him and do not
            keep His word!
      -- One cannot abide in Christ without obeying His commands!

[To be successful in obeying His commands requires the right motivation.
From Jesus we learn...]

IV. THE SECRET OF OBEYING IS LOVING

   A. THREE DIFFERENT REASONS TO OBEY...
      1. We can obey because we have to (the level of fear)
         a. In order to avoid punishment
         b. Like a child who obeys his parents to avoid a spanking
      2. We can obey because we need to (the level of selfishness)
         a. In order to get what we want
         b. Like a teenager who obeys his parents to gain favors
      3. We can obey because we want to (the level of love)
         a. Because we love the person we are obeying
         b. Like mature children who obey their parents out of love
      -- People often obey Jesus they feel like they have to or need to

   B. JESUS DESIRES OBEDIENCE OUT OF LOVE...
      1. He appeals to our sense of love - Jn 14:15,23
      2. He knows that without love our obedience will falter - Jn 14:24
      3. The secret to consistent obedience is loving!
         a. Those who obey because they have to or need to will never be
            consistent
         b. Once they meet their feeling of necessity, they cease to be
            obedient
         c. As an example, take the command to assemble - cf. He 10:25
            1) Those who obey only because they feel they have to or
               need to will assemble as little as it takes to salve
               their conscience
            2) Those who obey because they want to, out of love for
               Jesus and their brethren, will assemble at every
               opportunity
      -- Why do we obey Jesus?  Have we matured to obeying Jesus out of
         love?

[When true love moves us to obey, we will abide in Jesus and bear fruit
through our union with Him, resulting in the abundant life He offers.
But what is the secret to having a true love for Jesus...?]

V. THE SECRET OF LOVING IS KNOWING

   A. THIS SHOULD BE SELF-EVIDENT...
      1. Love between husband and wife is based upon knowledge and
         understanding
      2. Strong friendships are also based upon knowing each other well
      3. Brethren who love one another are those who have made the
         effort to know each other
      -- Should we expect it to be any different with Jesus?

   B. THE MORE WE KNOW JESUS, THE MORE WE LOVE HIM...
      1. Especially as we grow in understanding His love for us - cf. Jn
         15:13; 1Jn 3:16
      2. We are more likely to walk in love, if we know His love for us
         - Ep 5:2
      -- Increase our knowledge of Jesus, then, and our love for Jesus
         will increase!

[This leads us to the final secret we shall consider in this study...]

VI. THE SECRET OF KNOWING IS READING

   A. THIS IS ALSO SELF-EVIDENT...
      1. As seen in our humanly relationships
         a. Where there is communication, relationships grow
         b. Where there is none, relationships flounder
      2. Even more so with our relationship with God and Jesus
         a. The more we communicate, the better we know
         b. And how does Jesus communicate with us?  Through His Word!
      -- The only reliable source for Jesus' words is the Bible

   B. THE MORE WE READ, THE BETTER WE KNOW JESUS...
      1. As simple as it sounds, Bible reading is the catalyst to the
         abundant life
         a. By reading we come to know
         b. By knowing we come to love
         c. By loving we come to obey
         d. By obeying we come to abide
         e. By abiding we come to bear fruit
         f. By bearing fruit we experience the abundant life
      2. Yet many Christians neglect the Word of God
         a. Even though its value in bearing fruit is seen even in Psa
            1:1-3
         b. How sad when we now have the full revelation of the New
            Testament
      -- Neglecting the Word of God is why many do not experience the
         abundant life!

CONCLUSION

1. In Jn 15:11, we find Jesus saying...

   "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you,
   and that your joy may be full."

2. My purpose for sharing these "secrets" has been the same...
   a. Every person ought to be filled with the joy of Christ
   b. Every person ought to experience the abundant life He offers

Let the words that Jesus spoke, revealed only in the Word of God, the
Bible, be the catalyst that begins the chain reaction leading one to a
truly abundant life!

Note:  The general idea for this lesson was taken from "Five Secrets Of
Living", a small booklet written by Warren W. Wiersbe.  I also have a
five lesson series based on this theme which you can view here.
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