Jump Start # 1914
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”
This summer we have been having a special series on Wednesday nights at the congregation I attend. We’ve invited a different preacher to come each Wednesday and have given them a specific topic that we wanted them to preach about. The overall theme is “A beautiful life.” That idea came from one of our hymns but also from this passage. What Jesus gives us is not just eternity in Heaven after we die, but a beautiful life now.
I want to focus upon the front part of this passage, the work of the thief. In the context Jesus has been talking about hirelings, sheep and shepherds. He describes Himself as the good shepherd. Those that came before Jesus are described as “thieves and robbers.” The sheep did not hear them. But now, in our verse, Jesus refers to “the thief.” Who is He talking about? The analogy of sheep and shepherds has shifted quickly from a real setting of animals to the work that Christ came to do. The thief is killing the sheep. The thief is doing the very opposite of what Jesus came to do. Our first thoughts might be of the Pharisees who opposed Jesus, but sooner or later, all fingers point to Satan. He is the ultimate thief. We do not belong to him. He has done nothing good for us. He is trying to steal people away from Christ.
He comes to steal, and kill, and destroy. There are multiple ways Satan does this.
First, he steals our peace of mind and hope. He generates fear. He causes people to mistrust. He creates doubt. He generates worry and suspicion. Just look at our nation this week. Hatred, anger and finger pointing. People are really upset. This anger has led to violence, name calling and wild accusations. Prejudice, racism, hatred are tools of Satan. This hasn’t been a good week for many people.
Second, he steals and kills our relationships with others. He does that through sin. Sin always kills. Sin never does anything worthwhile. The sin of selfishness ruins marriages. The sin of lying destroys the trust between friends or families. The sin of pride pushes people away. Satan doesn’t make anyone sin. It’s always our choice. But he paints a pretty picture and hides the consequences. Sin can seem so attractive and irresistible. All we think about is the fun and thrill of sin. The path of destruction that it leaves is always kept from our eyes.
Third, he destroys our minds by filling them with error, junk and violence. If a person goes looking for a fight, he will probably find one somewhere. I’ve seen folks lose their cool at ballgames. They are usually escorted out by security and they miss the end of the game. The books, the movies, the TV shows—thrive on sinful content. Sexual encounters that are nothing more than fornication. People taking the law into their own hands. Meanness. Ugliness. Nothing good. Nothing positive. Nothing uplifting. Like a sewer, that stuff flows into our minds and hearts. Profanity is common. A lack of respect is common. Where has all of this come from? Satan who has been destroying minds.
Fourth, he makes life miserable. Look at these three words from our passage: steal, kill, destroy. Those are not the words that you’d find cross stitched on grandma’s pillows. The work of Satan is to make life ugly. Unhappy people. Miserable people. Hopeless people. Angry people. Fighting people. Look around. Satan’s having a day with many people. Complaining rather than being thankful. Seeing what’s wrong rather than seeing what’s right. Demanding rather than being helpful. Hearts that are not at rest. Hearts that are not content.
Fifth, he destroys the soul. That’s where all of this leads to. Satan wants to kill our souls with sin, rebellion and ignoring God. He wants us to blaspheme God’s name. He wants us to ridicule righteousness. He wants us to champion wrong. Mock the athlete who bows and prays. Belittle the college student who believes. Chain the soul to an eternity in Hell by feeding temptation after temptation. Remove God from the heart and people will turn on each other. They will fight each other. They will accuse each other. Addicted to sin they will die that way and forever live in a Hell that was meant only for Satan.
Satan has gotten society so drunk on his plan that they truly believe all the dumb things that they are saying. They believe they are living the best life. They have fooled themselves into thinking that they are happy when they are really miserable. Their marriages stink. They do as they please. They are selfish to the core. And when this world is done, they will have wasted a lifetime dancing with the devil and will spend forever with him in a place so terrible that everyone ought to be afraid to even mention it. That’s what the thief does. We do not belong to him. He has stolen us from Christ. And, rather than make things better, he’s kidnapped our hope, future and heart.
Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t God stop Satan? God sent Jesus. That’s the answer. Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly. Real hope. Real forgiveness. Real purpose. Real outlook. What Jesus does changes us. It makes us thankful and helpful. It turns us into servants that lifts our fellow man. We don’t have to figure everything out, God’s on the throne and that’s enough for us. God will take care of us.
Life. Just the opposite of what Satan is doing. Instead of misery, Christ gives us real joy. Instead of taking away peace and hope, Christ fills our hearts with real peace and joy. Instead of killing relationships, Christ makes our relationships stronger and richer. Through Christ we become kind and gentle. Through Christ we forgive others. Through Christ we find real life, the abundant life. A beautiful life.
Satan is dangling trinklets before your eyes. He is trying to get you to take your eyes off of Christ. He is singing a song that he thinks you will want to dance with him. He is trying to steal you, kill you and destroy you. Will you let him? Will you walk blindly into his enticing arms and allow him to drag you to Hell? Or, will you be different and follow Christ? Will you believe the Gospel message? Will you make Jesus the Lord of your life? Will you say no to Satan? Will you refuse to open the door when temptation comes knocking?
He came…I came…they both want you. Who will you follow?