TEEN TREE              OF LIFE

A Person’s Toolbox for Successful Living

Part 2

July 4, 2021

 

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 1 JOH 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.”

 

In last week’s Teen Tree, we ended with an analogy between choosing God to be Our Architect and allowing Him to build our house and our living in God’s Plan for our life. In this analogy, God takes over the property and has us remove only those things on it that will interfere with Him constructing a new building according to His Own Design.

 

The Foundation

With the land prepared for construction, the next step is laying the foundation. Cinder block and rebar will represent the materials needed for a solid foundation. The Lord Jesus Christ made it very clear in MATT 7:24–27 (New International Reader’s Version) that a solid foundation is critical for the structural integrity of the building. He stated: “So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man. He builds his house on the rock. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. But it does not fall. It is built on the rock. But everyone who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man. He builds his house on sand. The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. And it falls with a loud crash.”

 

Our Lord and Savior describes the foundation in this passage as the action taken based on what a person believes. Hearing His Words and putting them into practice create the foundation. In other words, the Bible is the blueprint, and belief (along with obedience to it) is the foundation. The foundation is created by becoming a believer and following The Lord Jesus Christ Who will then direct your life by The Power of The Holy Spirit. Those who are wise believe God’s Word and they build on it. This results in lives that successfully fulfill God’s Pre-Designed Plan.

 

Now, contrary to popular ideas that religious men are weak, the most masculine men are those that walk closest with God – those who live in God’s Plan for their lives. Strength of character is much more important to being masculine than physical strength is. According to NUM 12:3 (New International Reader’s Version), Moses was the meekest man in all the earth: Moses was a very humble man. In fact, he was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. But despite being so humble, he faced down Pharaoh who was the most powerful political leader of that time.

 

Remember the amazing story of David and Goliath? He was only a teen when he killed the huge giant in battle. His amazing defeat over that frightening Philistine is told in 1 SAM 17:48-50 (The Message Bible): That roused the Philistine, and he started toward David. David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine hard in the forehead, embedding the stone deeply. The Philistine crashed, facedown in the dirt. That’s how David beat the Philistine—with a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. No sword for David!

 

Countless missionaries have followed in the footsteps of the prophets of old to proclaim the Truth of God to people who were hostile to it. Countless Christians endure persecution today because they value Truth and integrity more than an easy life. Martyrs have stood firm even when facing death because loving Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was more important to them than life. The apostles Paul and Peter were both martyred in Rome during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified, upside down (at his request, because he did not feel worthy enough to die in the same manner as his Lord.)

 

The life of a believer can sometimes have its difficulties, but it will always be successful if its purpose transcends life on this earth. Look at what Paul wrote about this in 2 COR 5:1–10 (The Message Bible): For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less. That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming. But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.

Through belief in Jesus Christ, we’re given an Eternal Hope that goes beyond our present life. This Eternal Hope is a strong foundation that will not shift when we face difficulties and trials in our lives. Confidence in Christ’s Promise of Eternal Life enables us to stand firm in our present life because it gives proper perspective and value to what we must face while on earth.

 

The foolish reject God’s Word for lies and build lives that will collapse and end in God’s Judgment and Condemnation. Their buildings are shaky because the foundation shifts with ever-changing thoughts. Look at 1 PET 2:4–8 (New International Reader’s Version): Christ is the living Stone. People did not accept him, but God chose him. God places the highest value on him. You also are like living stones. As you come to Christ, you are being built into a house for worship. There you will be holy priests. You will offer spiritual sacrifices. God will accept them because of what Jesus Christ has done. In Scripture it says, “Look! I am placing a stone in Zion. It is a chosen and very valuable stone. It is the most important stone in the building. The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16) This stone is very valuable to you who believe. But to people who do not believe, “The stone the builders did not accept has become the most important stone of all.” (Psalm 118:22) And, “It is a stone that causes people to trip. It is a rock that makes them fall.” (Isaiah 8:14) They trip and fall because they do not obey the message. That is also what God planned for them.

 

The Framing

Look at what the apostle Paul wrote about The Lord Jesus Christ’s role in the buildings we are creating by living in God’s Plan for our lives: So you are no longer outsiders and strangers. You are citizens together with God’s people. You are also members of God’s family. You are a building that is built on the apostles and prophets. They are the foundation. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in the building. The whole building is held together by him. It rises to become a holy temple because it belongs to the Lord. And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit. (EPH 2:19–22 New International Reader’s Version)

 

Paul explains more detail about the structure of the church in EPH 4:7-16 (The Message Bible): But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the plunder, He handed it all out in gifts to the people. Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are easy prey for predators. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. Paul gives us a very good description of how the framing of the structure is put together to build the church. Each piece of wood used in framing a building is part of the structure, and each part adds both form and strength to the structure.

 

Each piece of wood is measured and then cut to match the blueprints. Each piece is then held in place with something like dowels or screws as the next piece is added and secured into place, giving the whole structure increased strength. Each person in the church is part of the structure and each part adds both form and strength to the structure. God fits each part into the structure where He wants it to be, in order to give shape to what He’s building. This encompasses the spiritual gifts, ministries and the empowerment God gives to each individual, so that all of them, working together, form the complete structure.

 

A wall is made of studs which sit between plates and headers, and it will sit on a floor of some kind. It will be covered by sheathing on the outside and have some sort of interior covering such as wall board or paneling. The walls will hold up the rafters and beams on which the roof will be built. Windows and doors will need sills. In other words, there are many parts in a building just as there are many parts that make up a church, and every part is needed. A header can only function when it’s joined to studs and plates. Without walls, rafters and beams have nothing to hold them up. Without a roof, the whole structure is subject to weather damage.

 

The message to focus on here is to rejoice in whatever spiritual gift, ministry and empowerment God grants to you and then serve Him to the best of your ability.

 

{to be continued}

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