Our Citizenship

Philippians 3:20-21–For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

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Our citizenship is in heaven–Heaven is our home.  We are strangers and pilgrims here on the earth.  We are in the world but no longer of the world.  We are a part of the spiritual kingdom of God, born into it as we were born of the Spirit of God.

We look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ–He is in heaven but is coming back for us.  He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

He will change our vile body–He will give us a body like His glorious body.  He will change our natural, physical body into a spiritual body.  This body is in corruption and dishonor but will be changed into a body of incorruption and glory.  This body is weak but will be changed into a body of power. This mortal body will be changed into an immortal body.  As we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  See 1 Corinthians 15:42-53.

According to His unlimited power–The same power whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.

We are looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.  Lord, we love you and  praise you.

Focusing Our Minds And Lives

Philippians 4:8–Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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Sometimes we entertain thoughts that drag us down.  We focus our attention on negative things.  We need to stand guard over our minds.  Years ago in the computer industry there was a saying, “Garbage in and garbage out”.  We need to watch what we allow to enter our minds and then force the negative thoughts from our minds.

We as Christians have far too much positive things to think about.

Here in this scripture God gives us things that we should focus our minds on.  He said to think on these things:

Whatsoever is true–We are to focus on the word of God–spiritual truth. Jesus said, in praying to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”–John 17:17. We should think about and meditate on the word of God, carrying it in our hearts and in our minds.

Whatsoever things are honest–We are to focus on things that are fair, sincere, and genuine.

Whatsoever things are just–We are to focus on things that are righteous, accurate, proper and fair.

Whatsoever things are pure–We are to focus on things free from sin. Our minds are to be free from impure thoughts.

Whatsoever things are lovely–We are to focus on things that are pleasing, and agreeable.

Whatsoever things are of a good report–We are to focus on things that are positive and victorious.

Whatsoever things are of virtue–We are to focus on things of moral excellence and goodness.

Whatsoever things are praise worthy–We are to focus on things that we can offer praise for.

Our thoughts tend to guide our life, our words, and our actions.  Therefore these thoughts are to be characteristic of the way we live our lives.  Our lives should be true without hypocrisy.  We should be honest, fair, sincere, and genuine in our dealings with others.  We should live a righteous and pure life.  We should be pleasing and agreeable.  We should be positive and manifest moral excellence and goodness.  We should live a life that is praise worthy and a life that brings praise to God.

Thorns In The Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7-9–And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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Twice in these verses Paul says “lest I should be exalted above measure”.  Paul had just been talking of some great and glorious spiritual experiences that he had in the past.  God does not want us to be exalted above measure.  He does not want us to be puffed up with pride and to exalt our self above others and look down on them.  The Bible tells us that pride goes before a fall.  We are not to think more highly of our self than we ought to. If this condition becomes true it hinders our ability to be used by God.  To keep this from happening there was given to him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him.  We don’t know exactly what this was, however it is believed that it was something physical, painful, and humiliating.  The tense used in the Greek wording indicates that this was something that was repeatedly occurring.

Sometimes God might allow something to come into our lives to keep us from being exalted above measure, become filled with pride, and to think more highly of our self than we should.  He will allow things to happen that keep us humble.  Even when we pray for God to remove it, He doesn’t because it is for our best interest.

He wants us to know that if He does not remove it, His grace is sufficient for us to deal with it.  His grace will strengthen us and be everything we need to handle whatever it is.

Seek and Set Your Affections

Colossians 3:1-2–If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

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If you then be risen with Christ–We were once dead in trespasses and sin, but God has quickened us, given us spiritual life (Ephesians 2:1).  We therefore are raised from spiritual death by an act of God’s grace.

Seek those things which are above–Seek those things where Christ sits on the right hand of God.  These things are above all of the earthly, physical things.  These are heavenly, spiritual things. These are the important, superior things. These are the things that make for holiness and peace.  We are to seek after, look for, search for these things.  We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all our needs will be added to us (Mathew 6:33).

Set your affections on things above–We are not just to seek those things which are above, but we are to set our desires and the yearnings of our heart on things above.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Letters From God–Book of 1 Peter 2:2

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My child, newborn babies have a desire for and a need of milk.  From this they receive that which is essential for life and growth.  You have been born of My Spirit and have become a new spiritual creature with a spiritual connection with Jesus.  As babes in Christ you also must desire the truth of My word to receive strength and to grow spiritually.  My Spirit, who indwells you will teach you and guide you into all truth.  He will open the eyes of your understanding to see and know the truth. Failure to desire and  seek the truth contained in My word will cause you to be spiritually weak, vulnerable to temptation and false doctrine, and will hinder your growth.  So, My child, feed upon it regularly for I want you to be strong and grow.  1 Peter 2:2

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Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, and Accepted

Ephesians 1:3-6–Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

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Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings–God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings.  These blessings far exceed the earthly blessings we are so accustomed to.  These blessings are spiritual and are for a spiritual people; a people who have been born again, born of the Spirit of God.  In heavenly places speaks of the origin of these blessings and of our inheritance reserved for us in heaven.  These blessing are ours in connection with Jesus Christ.

He has chosen us in Christ–He chose us in Christ and for Himself before the world began.  In the fullness of time the Father draws us to Jesus (John 6:44).  He chose us that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.  For us to be holy and without blame we must be in Christ.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children–It is by Jesus Christ that we are adopted unto the Father according to the good pleasure of His will.  Being a work of God’s grace, we are to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved.  By an act of God’s grace we are made accepted in connection with Jesus.  We are to live therefore to the glory of our Father.

Walk In The Spirit

Galatians 5:16-17–Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts 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.

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Within the Christian there is a battle that takes place.  This battle is between the flesh and the Spirit, the old man and the new man, the old nature and the new nature.  The bible refers to the battle in these three ways.  The flesh, the old man, and the old nature, is what we were before we got saved.  The spirit, the new man, and the new nature, is what we have become as a result of God’s work of grace.

Walk in the Spirit–We are to walk in connection with the Spirit of God.  We are to walk in submission to the Spirit as He leads us.  If we do this we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh–The flesh and the Spirit are contrary the one to the other.  The flesh seeks to direct our lives in one way and the Spirit seeks to direct our lives in another way.  In this chapter we see the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.   If you examine the works of the flesh in verses 19-21 you will see what our lives are like when the flesh is in control.  If you examine the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23 you see what our lives are like when the Spirit is in control.

So that you cannot do the things that you would–What we would do according to the Spirit is often hindered by our flesh.  We must decide which we will follow.  “To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16).

A preacher saw a boy with two dogs one day and they were fighting.  The preacher asked, “Do they fight all the time”? And the boy said, “Yes”.  The preacher then said, “Well which one wins”?  To which the boy replied, “The one I feed the most”.  The same is true in our battle of the flesh and the Spirit.  The one we feed the most is the one that will reign in our life.  We must stay focused on the Spirit and the word of God.

Gifts, Ministries, and Operations

1 Corinthians 12:4-6–Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

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The body of Christ is made up of all born again Christians and has many different gifts, many different ministries, and many degrees of operations.

There are diversities of gifts–The word diversities is better translated distributions.  The spiritual gifts are distributed to each Christian according the Holy Spirits choosing (1 Corinthians 12:11).  In verses 7-10 you see a sampling of the spiritual gifts and the repeated phrase, “by the same Spirit”.  “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7).  Spiritual gifts are the outward evidence and operation of the Spirit within and through the Christian.

There are differences of administration–The word administration means ministry or service.  Here we get into the purpose of the gifts–ministry or service to others.  It is the Lord Jesus Christ who directs the variety of ministries and services done by the body of Christ.  He is the head over all things concerning the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22-23).  He makes the decisions related to ministries; who, what, when, where, how, and why.  The body follows the direction of its head (Jesus).

There are diversities of operations–The Greek word for operations is energema from which we get our word energy. God the Father determines the degree of spiritual, supernatural energy or power that will be at work. God the Father therefore determines what the effect produced by the workings will be.

It is the same God which works all in all–God is the one that does the work in all and through all.  God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Now Are You Light In The Lord

Ephesians 5:8-10–For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

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You were sometimes darkness–Our understanding was darkened.  We were alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in us, because of the blindness of our hearts (Ephesians 4:18).  This blindness was the work of the god of this world who blinded our minds.  We walked as men of this world.  We walked (lived our lives) in this blindness and without understanding.

Now are you light in the Lord–Our being light is in our connection with the Lord who is “the Light of the world”. Having received Jesus (the Light) we have become light.

Walk as children of light–We now shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).  Our light is to so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).  We walk in the light as we walk in the Spirit and in the power of God.  Our light is the fruit of the Spirit, the character of God.

The fruit of the Spirit–”The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).  The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness–moral excellence, and deeds of kindness and charitableness.  The fruit of the Spirit is in all righteousness–doing that which is right in God’s eyes.  The fruit of the Spirit is in all truth–reality, and real as opposed to all lying, deception, and hypocrisy.

Proving what is acceptable to the Lord–Our light and life is to be an open display of the kind of life that is acceptable to the Lord.  This life that was created in us and empowered in us is by God.

Health, Strength, Growth, And Stability

Colossians 2:6-7–As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

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We as Christians have received Christ Jesus the Lord.  This is not doctrine, nor words.  This is spiritual reality; He in us and us in Him (John 15:5).  Having received Christ Jesus we are to walk in connection with Him.  This is to be a sharing of life.  We are to be rooted in Him.  Being rooted provides two things; nourishment and stability.  Nourishment means we are to draw from Jesus, that which we need to be spiritually strong and healthy and to grow spiritually (built up).  Stability means ability to remain firm and not to be moved or shaken easily.  We are to be stable, and firm in our faith.  Our faith is not to be easily moved or shaken.

As we walk in connection with Christ and live our life in connection with Christ we shall receive spiritual health and strength.  We will grow spiritually and we will be strong and stable in our faith.  Let us work on our relationship with Jesus and remain close to Him.

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