To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.…
I. CHRIST IS THE GIVER OF LIFE.
1. Life in New Testament language has a special fulness of meaning. It is more than mere existence. There is a death in life, in which the great end of existence is ignored, to which life's true blessedness is impossible, and in which its higher powers are dormant or polluted. The true life is pure and free; it is the life of reason, conscience, will, and affections. It is not inherent in human nature, acquired by human means, possible to human strength, but is found only in Christ the Lifegiver.
2. In this our Lord is not a subordinate agent, but the primal source of life. The gift to men is out of the fulness of His own eternal Being. In Him was life essentially, and of His fulness we receive life.
3. Life is His gift.
(1) As it is possessed by men.
(a) In all states of being. In its dawn of religious infancy; its meridian of manhood; its evening radiancy, when its sun is setting; it is given, sustained, and perfected by Christ.
(b) In all the dispensations. In its paradisaical innocency; its patriarchal simplicity; its Mosaic complexity; its latter-day glory.
(2) As He has made good man's lost title to its possession. He has redeemed man from sin and death, bestowed the quickening and sanctifying Spirit, and thus resolved the forfeited creative life.
II. THE LIFE BESTOWED BY CHRIST HAS ITS MORE ABUNDANT MEASURES, as compared with —
1. The life of the former dispensation. Life and light are closely related. The dimness of Judaism was necessarily connected with limited and imperfect life.
2. Present or future measures of its possession. It is like a river whose channel broadens and deepens as it flows onward. In its progress sterility and death vanish: all other life lives anew. To its necessities and enlargement all other life becomes serviceable.
3. The primal gift. The life of redemption is more abundant than that of Creation, as it involves the more perfect manifestation of Him, in the knowledge of whom standeth eternal life.
4. Present or future Christian attainments. It is not a succession of labours, to end in the rest of heaven; it is growth in knowledge, purity, power, grace. In the freshness and beauty of newborn life, in the expansion and maturity of its full age, in its ripe and mellow eventide, it is still capable of increase; and when at length it escapes from earthly limitations, there will still remain the more abundant life of progress and blessedness. Conclusion: This life is in Christ, and is attained by faith. Let, therefore, faith rest on Him who is "able to do exceeding abundantly," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.