Let us hear the word. Second Corinthian chapter 12, verses 1 to 10. It is necessary to boast. Nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a person in Christ who 14 years ago was caught up to the third heaven whether in the body or out of the body I did not know. God knows, and I know that such a person, whether in the body or out of the body, I did not know God knows, was caught up into paradise and heard things that are not to be told that no mortal is permitted to repeat. Actually, he’s talking about himself, on behalf of such a one hour boast.
But on my own behalf I will not boast except of my weaknesses, but if I wished to boast, I will not be a fool for I will be speaking the truth, but I refrained from it so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me. Even considering the exceptional character of the revelations, they offer to keep me from being too elated. A thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this three times, doesn’t mean actually counting three times probably it meant he was praying as much as possible. Three is perfect number, so three times I appeal to the Lord about this that you leave me, but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Therefore, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities for the sake of Christ, for whenever I’m weak, then I’m strong.” And there’s another passage taken from John Chapter one. This is John’s testimony. It’s not what Jesus says is what John Says in the gospel of John, “but to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God who were born not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory, the glory as a father, son, only son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out. “This was he, of whom I said he who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me from his fullness. We have all received grace upon grace.” That’s important: “from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” This is the word of the Lord.
Are we Really Living Abundant Lives?
Today I would like to talk about what it means to live a life that is full, abundance life. I do believe that a life has got to be abundant. I mean Jesus Christ came to give us abundant lives. Our life should be full of joy, full of laughter, full of life and full of everything. The life it’s got to be abundant. Life has got to be full, and that was his purpose. Today, John said, “from Jesus’ fullness the grace upon grace came to us Jesus’ fullness” and in John Chapter 10 he said, “I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus came to give us the abundant life, but I don’t think abundant life is just about having a lot. That’s what I thought before. If you have a lot, then you’re abundant I thought. If you have a lot of degrees, if you have a lot of money, if you have a lot of everything, then your life is abundant and I realized how wrong that is. I don’t think an abundant life comes from having a lot. I think we should be awake from that illusion. Look at our lives. We have so much in the modern world, probably in history we never had this much. We have so much. We have abundance, and yet when I look around, can we say that people really appreciate their abundance? Do they really think that they are living an abundant life? Do people say that, “hey, I have enough. I’m content. I have enough.” How many people really say that? Still, people say I don’t have enough. I’m not enough. I mean we have abundance and yet we don’t experience the abundance. It is a very strange phenomenon. You have a lot, and yet you don’t feel abundant at all. We always live with the sense that we don’t have enough.
Advertisements Tell us our Lives are Still Lacking Abundance
Some people say that is because of commercials, that we watch everyday. They always tell you that unless you have this thing, your life is not full, your life is not good enough. You have to have this. So even a commercial on the gum, if you buy this gum and chew it, a lot of women will come to you, you know, abundance, whatever. They continuously say that you don’t have enough, you are not enough until you have this thing. They create false cravings.
The More you Have, the more Thirsty you Become
Whatever the cause may be, I see that many people live with this dissatisfaction much more than ever before. People are not simply satisfied, it’s like having a huge hole within you, deep, dark, huge empty hole, and you feel that that deep dark space and you can never fill it. That hole sucks up all the energy within you and you feel that it sucks the life out of you and it stares at you, but you don’t know what to do with this deep dark space. What John said was very different from this modern life, from his fullness, we have all received grace upon grace. When you hear the expression grace upon grace, what image comes to your mind? To me, grace upon grace is an image of flowing, overflowing.
It is not the dark empty space that can never be filled up, but the life of abundance, life of overflowing, the image of grace upon grace is not the image of squeezing, life out of you. It is image of life overflowing from you. So abundance life is not possible by having more. It is not about having more. The more you have, the more thirsty you become. Did you realize that? The more you have, the more thirsty you become. That’s what human beings are like.
Materialism is Flawed
So there is a flaw in materialism. Materialism tells you, tells you that if you have this, then you will be full, satisfied. That’s not true. That’s a lie. If you have this, your life will be full? No, that’s what materialism says so there’s a flaw in the materialism, so don’t be fooled by the materialism in that way. If you have this, you want to have more, a bigger, better all the time. If you have the best phone right now, you have next year you are waiting for iPhone 7 or 8, 9 or 10, and as soon as 8 comes iPhone 7 doesn’t look that great. You got to have an 8 or 9 or 10.
God’s Grace Fills us up Abundantly
The abundant life is a sense that you have more than enough. If you have that sense, your life is abundant. If you ever sense that, “what I have is more than enough.” Think about the attitude of people who say that what I have is more than enough and also about the attitude of people who always say “never enough”, who’s more abundant? I believe that the former, the person who has the sense that I have more than enough. When you have that sense, then your life is abundant, but the sense that you have more than enough can never come by having more, then what do we do? Are we stuck? We cannot live abundant life? Because by having more you can never fill it. You can never have that sense. I do believe that is a work of the overflowing grace.
Only when grace comes into you and touches you, when grace overflows within you, then you have this new sense that what I have is more than enough. Grace always overflows. Grace always makes your life full, it gives you the sense that your life is more than enough. The only way that you can fill up that empty dark hole space is with grace of God. In exactly the same condition, when grace touches you, you realize that it’s all right. My life is more than enough. What I have is more than enough. I am more than enough.
Abundance is Sharing
St. Paul in today’s scripture that we read, he had a thorn in his flesh and he felt he felt that he’d be better off without this thorn, so he prayed three times as much as he could, but god didn’t think so God did not grant him what he wanted, but instead God gave this. “My grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, it’s enough. My grace is enough. He was exactly in the same position, St. Paul, externally, he still had a thorn in his flesh. Before he received that message or after he received the message, he was exactly the same. He had a thorn in his flesh, but this time he could say, “hmm, it’s all right. I have more than enough and I am more than enough.” He discovered the secret of the life of grace, so my friends. One more thing about grace, abundance and blessings. I said overflowing. It always overflows to other people. That is the nature of grace.
Abundant people always make other people abundant. You become abundant, not by having more. You become abundant by making other people abundant, instead of taking away the spotlight to yourself by giving away the spotlight to other people you become abundant. By just enjoying what you have by sharing, not by having it, but by sharing it with others your life becomes abundant. And blessing, when God called Abraham, this is what he said. When God called Abraham God said to him, “I’ll bless you so that you’ll be a blessing to other people.” That’s what blessing is. That’s what abundance is. That’s what grace is.
True blessings don’t stay where you are. They always overflow to others. Abundance in life is not in what you have. Only when you share what you have, you experience the abundance of life.
Generosity Begets Generosity
Some people went to women’s gathering and some of you came to me and told me, my goodness, I live in a small well, I didn’t know the world. There are so many noble holy people who are really working to live their lives for other people. They just give everything. They just give their whole life for other people and some people who took pictures and all that. They were blessed and they donated a $2000, $3,000 for the woman’s gathering because they saw how God is working.
Abundance is in sharing. There’s a church on Spadina and Harbord I told you. That Church owns the land. One generous person gave a donation and from the rent that church received millions of dollars and they do mission with that money. Generosity begets generosity.
Serving is Living
The other day I got a call from one of my ESM members and he told me: “Moxanim I’m applying to Moxies and then he asked me if I could be his reference. So I said: “sure, yeah, I’ll be your reference” And then a few days later a manager from Moxies called me and he asked me about this guy and I said, “he’s a really, really nice guy. He serves our church, is a good member of our church and he goes to Evangel Hall” and the manager asked, “what is the Evangel Hall? “So, uh, that is, uh, every month we give hot food to the people in the street and and then he goes to Teasdale, what is Teasdale? Teasdale is a food bank. We hand out food and, and we started talking. He said, “every year I take my children and during Christmas time I make sandwiches and go out and give out a of food to them.” And he and I were talking about, “yeah, that’s what life is supposed to be. That’s what human beings should live like.” And we’re still talking about that but we didn’t talk about this guy at all. We were just talking about what life should be and how we should live and all that. So I called her and said, did you get a job? “Yeah, I got the job.” Generosity begets generosity. Abundance does not come from having it, but from sharing it, serving is living. When you serve, you will live.
When you are selfish, you will die. Serving is living, every small cup of water that you gave to a stranger, God knows God knows, let us live a life of abundance.