Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Sunday Sermon: Jesus’ gift of life (John 10)

Posted on 26 May 2013 in Bible, Discipleship, missional theology, Teaching | 2 comments

Today’s sermon is some reflection on the life of Jesus as promised in John 10.


Biologically, there are seven characteristics required for life:

  1. To be made up of cells
  2. Those cells must organize (tissue, bone, blood, etc…)
  3. Metabolism
  4. Growth
  5. Reproduction
  6. Change
  7. Adaptation

Scientists have determined that if you remove any one of these, an organism dies. All seven are vital to maintain life.

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts ...

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts of life exist because of the whole, but also to sustain it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Similarly, I think we can see that these seven are necessary for us to experience the “abundant life” that Jesus promises in John 10:10 (more on this point later).

For those are the seven characteristics for biological life, the seven characteristics for healthy spiritual life are:

  1. To be made of of ‘cells’, that is, other believers. The Christian faith cannot be done alone.
  2. The organization of ‘cells’, namely, that the fellowship of believers become a functioning body. This is less ‘church’ and more ‘mission’.
  3. Expenditure of energy (metabolism) into things that matter. At the end of the day, can you say that you have spent your energy on things that are eternal?
  4. Growth (in Jesus). Do you look more like Jesus than you did last year? Last week? Yesterday?
  5. Reproduction – are you making new followers of Jesus? Could you come up with a list of those that you have discipled?
  6. Change, biologically is something like ‘environmental crisis’. For the Christian, it is found when those around us are struggling. Do we stay the same or does that experience change and transform us into Kingdom bringers?
  7. Adaption is primarily understood (at least for the Christian) in terms of the ability to communicate. The need and method for Gospel delivery has changed in the last fifty years of American culture. Do we know contemporary ways to experience and share this with those around us?

Now, about the abundant life or full life that Jesus promises. More literally it is something like, “to make over-rich.”

A life in Jesus should be fundamentally described as being ‘over-rich’ with Kingdom-mindedness.

Not happy.

Not saved.

Not thankful.

Not, “I read my Bible and pray everyday.”

To be super, over-the-top, unnecessarily wealthy.

Not in terms of money, but in the joy, desire and excitement of serving Jesus.

The life that Jesus promises is, in his words, one that makes you ‘super rich.’

Life in the Kingdom is, at its core, so radically life giving that it can only be described as ‘life in over-abundance of goodness.’

And Jesus makes clear that the only way to find that life is to discern his voice in this world over all the other myriad of voices that are vying for our attention and efforts.

And the only way to experience that life is from a lesson in biology. All seven characteristics must be present. If you aren’t experiencing a life of ‘super-riches’ start by looking at that list and see what’s missing.


What do you think? How does this change your understanding of following Christ? How has it helped or challenged you? Please Enter the Discussion below.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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