In this passage below, Jesus states His purpose of coming to earth was to give life, but not just life - abundant life, a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.
7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The soul of man is thirsty for God. Man cannot find fulfillment in himself, others, or things.
Jesus came to fill man's life to overflowing!
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
1) The FOUNDATION of Fulfillment.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
God created man in His own IMAGE. Unlike the animals, He designed man with the ability to FELLOWSHIP with Himself. God created man as a physical (body), emotional (soul) and spiritual (spirit) creature. God made man with a place in his being to be filled with the presence of God.
2) The FORSAKING of Fulfillment.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
God created man as a FREE moral agent. Although he was made to walk with God, he was not FORCED.
Man's obedience to God would have to come as a voluntary act of the human WILL.
By his willful disobedience to God, man TURNED from pleasing God to doing what he pleased himself instead.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
God had warned man of the consequence of DEATH if he disobeyed His command. God said that man would die in the same DAY if he disobeyed. Sin brought death to the human SPIRIT, so there was no longer a place for God to dwell within man, and thus EMPTIED man of the presence of God.
It is obvious by the context of the passage that what this DEATH entailed: God's presence evacuating the human spirit. (A separation of fellowship with God).
Since Adam is the federal head of the human race, all men are now born lacking a LIVING human spirit. They are in essence, born spiritually DEAD.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The human spirit is there, but absent from Divine life, one remaining, although imperfect feature of the human spirit is the CONSCIENCE.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
2 Cor. 5:11
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Through the physical BIRTH, man is merely a natural creature, possessing a body, soul and dormant human spirit (God's presence being absent). Therefore, the driving elements of his life are physical and emotional in nature, being limited only by the dictates of a conscience that is in a constant state of being desensitized by SIN.
1 Tim. 4:1-2
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Now man is now naturally being FILLED with evil instead of God.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Since Adam, all men are born as natural human beings. Were it not for sin, they would have been born as spiritual human beings. It now requires a special work of grace by the Spirit of God to awaken human beings to spiritual truths, which they have no capacity to understand without His intervention.
I Cor. 2:14
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
3) The FAILURE of Fulfillment.
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Because man's spirit is not filled with the presence of God, but is indeed empty, he is continually trying to fill the void of his heart. He wants to find fulfillment. Without Divine leadership, he only seeks it in the realm of the natural, and is therefor never truly satisfied.
Solomon tried everything. He had all of the wealth and power he needed to do so. He had determined to know or experience THINGS, but none of them satisfied him. His conclusion: it was utter VANITY to try and fill one's life with anything other than God.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
The natural man has three driving desires. They are identified in the Bible as the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The word lust means "compelling urge".
- The lust of the flesh is the compelling urge for PLEASURE, or the urge to do something.
- The lust of the eyes is the compelling urge for POSSESSIONS, or the urge to have something.
- The pride of life is the compelling urge for POWER or the urge to be somebody.
The Israelites had forsaken God and gone after IDOLS. God called it vanity, and vanity means "empty." Someone has said that man is "incurably religious".
God created man to worship and serve Himself, but if he will not worship and serve the living and true God, he will seek a false God of some type. This universal desire of men that are separated from their God is the seedbed for all sorts of false religions and idolatry.
Anything that you seek to fill your life, to give you purpose, or fill you with joy other than God has become your IDOL.
Solomon sought for fulfillment in EVERYTHING and found it in NOTHING.
He tried to fill his waning heart with ENTERTAINMENT and RECREATION. (Eccl. 2:1)
- COMEDY (Eccl. 2:2)
- ALCOHOL [a Drug] (Eccl. 2:3)
- POSSESSIONS (Eccl. 2:4-6)
- POWER (Eccl. 2:7)
- RICHES AND MUSIC (Eccl. 2:8)
- TOYS (Eccl. 2:9-10)
- WORK (Eccl. 2:11)
- INTELLECTUALISM (Eccl. 2:11)
All total there are 62 personal pronouns in Ecclesiastes chapter two. Solomon is confessing his own FOLLY of a life consumed with SELF. The result? You will find it in Ecclesiastes 2:17.
17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
And what about SEX? (I Kings 11:1-8) He had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Fulfillment will not be found in MONEY.
10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
Fulfillment will not be found in THINGS.
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Fulfillment will not be found in DRUGS.
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Fulfillment will not be found in SEX. (Eccl. 5:10; Prov. 27:20)
I Cor. 6:13
13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
4) The FINDING of Fulfillment.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
An exhausted and frustrated man (Solomon) gives us some real wisdom concerning the essence of life,
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
The Lord PLEADED with His people to return to Him, the FOUNTAIN of fulfillment.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead.
FELLOWSHIP with God is the only way to fulfillment.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
First, we must come to LIFE in the Spirit.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Second, we must learn to WALK in the Spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
A life that is filled to overflowing is possible when God is in residence and in control.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.