TEEN TREE          OF LIFE

Our Heavenly Citizenship

Part 2

March 1, 2020

 

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

Our second heavenly privilege is predestination which is also call the Pre-Designed Plan of God. This is God’s unique plan which He designed in eternity past for each Church Age believer. The apostle Paul refers to The Pre-Designed Plan Of God as a race: You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one [a medal] that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. (1 COR 9:24-27 The Message Bible)

 

Paul had a very good reason for likening God’s Pre-Designed Plan to a race because in the first century, the Romans celebrated both the Olympic Games and the Isthmian Games. Competitors would spend up to ten months in grueling physical training. Because the Corinthians were very familiar with these events, Paul used the games as an analogy for a believer’s life of faithfulness. And he compared the prize to a medal which is “gold eternally!” But aren’t you curious to know what The Bible teaches us about that prize?

 

The prize which we are striving for is actually five Crowns: The Crown of Life; The Imperishable or Incorruptible Crown; The Crown of Rejoicing; The Crown of Righteousness and the Crown of Glory. The “crown of life” was written about by James in JAM 1:12: Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved [passed the test], he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

 

The Imperishable or Incorruptible Crown was covered by the apostle Paul in 1 COR 9. As you read above, in The Message Bible, the translators called it a “gold medal.” In The New American Standard Bible, it’s translated as a wreath: Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 COR 9:25) The Greek word translated “crown” is “stephanos” and means “a badge of royalty or a prize in the public games.” Used during the ancient Greek games, it referred to a wreath or garland of leaves placed on a victor’s head as a reward for winning an athletic contest. So, it makes sense that a wreath on your head could also be a crown.

 

The Crown of Rejoicing is mentioned in 1 THESS 2:19 (The New King James Version): For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? The apostle Paul writes about the “crown of righteousness” in 2 TIM 4:8 (New international Version): Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. The “crown of glory” is found in 1PET 5:4: And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown [wreath] of glory. As you can see, Peter also called it a wreath.

 

Now think about how much time we spend during our lives, striving so earnestly and suffering so much for the corruptible? By corruptible, I mean money, designer clothes, jewelry, new cars, and better jobs. Think about your own life. Are you working after school to buy a car or to have extra money to spend on better clothes? There’s nothing wrong that. But, think about how much more we should endure and strive in order to obtain the incorruptible! That’s the way you should live in God’s Pre-Designed Plan for your life. That is how to walk your Christian Walk. That’s how to run the race!!

 

But don’t forget, as you run the race, you’re going to fail by sinning, from time to time. We’re all going to fail but we have to get right back up again. We have to keep pressing on towards the prize. In the Christian race, everyone who pays the price to train hard is going to win. But we have to remember that we aren’t competing against one other, like we would in athletic games. We’re competing against the physical and spiritual struggles that stand in the way of our reaching the prize. Paul wrote about this in PHIL 3:12-14 (The Message Bible): I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. We have to keep pressing on to run the race set before us. As Christians, our goal is, not only to run the race, but to finish it. We run the race to win it!! The race is the Pre-Designed Plan of God. And He pre-designed and personalized a plan for each one of us.

 

When you get frustrated by your failures or what life throws at you, don’t get overwhelmed. Rebound by naming your sins to God in His Son’s name and go forward. Keep studying Bible doctrine and apply it during these times. Think about the heroes in the Bible who are there as examples for us. If you read our study on The Doctrine of Compassion (January 5 – February 16, 2020), you’ll remember the mess David got himself into. Yet, The Holy Spirit, through His Divine Inspiration of scripture, used him as a great example for us on how to live our lives: … David had lived an exemplary life before God all his days, not going off on his own in willful defiance of God’s clear directions (except for that time with Uriah the Hittite). (1KI 15:5-6 The Message Bible) Notice that David did not go off “on his own in willful defiance of God’s clear directions” but that he did sin big time, when he arranged Uriah’s murder in order to marry Bathsheba. David sinned but kept going forward in God’s Plan for his life.

 

And God recognized that in David. In fact, look at what God said about David in ACTS 13:20-22 (The Message Bible): “Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’” And God will recognize it in you, if you keep working hard studying His Word and applying it to your life! Although he failed by sinning (just as we all will, throughout our lives), David got back up and continued the race. He continued on in God’s Pre-Designed Plan for his life. That’s what we’re supposed to do, too. The writer of Hebrews wrote: Do you see what this means—all these pioneers [like David] who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (HEB 12:1-3 The Message Bible)

 

All believers belong to a spiritual dynasty, founded by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in which His Standard of Living sets the pattern on how to run the race. The exactness of His Standard of Living, for the Royal Family of God, expresses His Own Perfection. And in Christ, we too are perfect and holy! Predestination (God’s Pre-Designed Plan) is based on accuracy and precision. The right way to live God’s Pre-Designed Plan for your life is done following three rules:

 

  1. Operate under The Power of God The Holy Spirit by rebounding often.
  2. Operate according to God’s Word, studied (metabolized) under The Filling of The Spirit.
  3. Apply God’s Word to your life – with special emphasis on The Ten Problem Solving Devices (Tools).

 

The basic function of the Christian life is learning how to reside, function, and execute God’s Perfect Plan for our lives (predestination). This is one of our privileges as part of our Heavenly Citizenship. God’s Plan was designed for imperfect people. God promises that if we live in His Accurate Plan, He will bless us; but if we don’t learn and remember the rules, we won’t advance toward Spiritual maturity. Instead, we’ll remain spiritual losers, still saved but never attaining the status God has pre-designed for us. So, first God makes us perfectly righteous like His Son through The Baptism of The Spirit and then He gives us predestination which is the rules and power by which to execute His Perfect Plan.

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