Friday, March 25, 2011

CITIZENS OF HEAVEN AND THE BRIDE

Let us now turn our attention to the true Church as being CITIZENS OF HEAVEN, which INDEED, is part of our POSITION in Jesus.  Let’s read Philippians 3:20-21.

“For our conversation (which means CITIZENSHIP) is IN HEAVEN; from WHERE we also LOOK for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall CHANGE our vile body, that we may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.”

We are NOT the EARTH DWELLERS--who we read about in the book of Revelation, time after time, as God’s judgments fall upon a rebellious and wicked world.  Instead, true Church, our CITIZENSHIP is IN HEAVEN!

And FROM HEAVEN, we LOOK FOR (anticipate, expect, and hope for--the soon arrival) of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.  When Jesus appears in the sky to call us up in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, He will CHANGE (translate and transform) our vile (sin-defiled) bodies.  At the Rapture, we’ll receive bodies that are like Jesus’ GLORIOUS BODY.

I don’t know about you, but I’m SO EAGER for this transformation.  I’m watching and waiting, with earnest anticipation, for Jesus to descend into the sky and call me up!  In this, I describe the “blessed hope” of the true Church (Titus 2:13)!  We’re waiting for JESUS to appear--NOT the Antichrist!

Let’s look at some other wonderful promises, which I quote below:

Galatians 1:3-4--“GRACE be to you and PEACE from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who GAVE Himself for our sins, that He might DELIVER us from this PRESENT EVIL WORLD, according to THE WILL of God and our Father.”

Luke 21:36--“Watch ye therefore, and PRAY ALWAYS, that you may be accounted worthy TO ESCAPE all these things that shall come to pass (the events of the Tribulation), and to stand BEFORE the Son of Man.”  (What makes us WORTHY--our faith in Jesus!)

1 John 2:28--“And now, little children, ABIDE IN HIM, that, WHEN He shall APPEAR, we may have CONFIDENCE, and NOT be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

1 John 3:2-3--“Beloved, NOW are we THE SONS OF GOD, and it does NOT yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, WHEN He (Jesus) shall APPEAR, we shall BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that has this HOPE IN HIM purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

I must comment upon the above scripture.  One of the most wonderful BENEFITS of believing in the Pre-Trib Rapture is that our earnest expectation CAUSES us TO LIVE in a way that’s pleasing to God.  We APPLY our faith and USE God’s word, so that we may PURIFY ourselves--and EVEN our PURIFICATION is accomplished by FAITH in Jesus Who works inside us, through the POWER of His Holy Spirit!  (Nothing is of ourselves--we must LOOK TO HIM for ALL our blessings!)  When we REALLY BELIEVE that the NEXT SOUND we hear WILL BE the voice of Jesus, we’re CAREFUL in HOW we fill our days.

We certainly don’t want to be caught in some sin, or in a questionable practice, therefore, we GUARD ourselves--confess, pray and repent of anything that might NOT please Jesus, and which would bring SHAME to us at His coming.  The IMMINENCY of His coming (that He could appear in ANY twinkling of the eye), keeps us on our toes, spiritually.

However, if we think we MUST SEE certain events BEFORE the Rapture can happen, we might NOT be so quick to walk in earnest expectation.  “Oh,” we might say, “He can’t come until the middle of the Tribulation.  He can’t come until the Antichrist desecrates the Jewish Temple, so therefore, the TEMPLE must be BUILT first.”  Anything that we think MUST HAPPEN FIRST, might STOP us from keeping a close watch on how we conduct our lives--and we might find ourselves being caught unaware.

John’s epistle rings like a clarion bell-- “And every man who has this HOPE IN HIM (Jesus--in the soon coming Pre-Tribulation Rapture), PURIFIES himself, even as He is pure.”

What is our “hope” in Him?  It’s CLEARLY and JOYFULLY declared in Titus 2:13--“Looking for that BLESSED HOPE, and the GLORIOUS APPEARING of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

We’re NOT looking for the Tribulation.  We’re NOT waiting to see the Antichrist sign a seven-year treaty with Israel.  We’re NOT waiting to see MASS persecutions--the treading under of multitudes by a wicked One World Order.  Instead, we LOOK FOR Jesus to appear at any moment!  Oh, the joy!


TRANSLATED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD’S DEAR SON


The most awesome understanding is this--that the true Church is DELIVERED from the POWERS of darkness.  Let’s look at Colossians 1:12-15.

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of THE INHERITANCE of the saints in light:  Who has DELIVERED us from the POWER OF DARKNESS, and has TRANSLATED us into the KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON, in Whom we have REDEMPTION through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

We have the INHERITANCE of saints in the light.  We’re HEIRS of God, and JOINT-HEIRS with Jesus.

We’re DELIVERED from the POWERS of DARKNESS.  What a strong statement!

The wicked one, the adversary, Satan, has no POWER over us, because Jesus (by His resurrection) has STRIPPED that enemy of his power, and RENDERED him impotent (Colossians 2:15).  If we stand firm in our CONFIDENCE in Jesus, and in the POWER of His RIGHTEOUSNESS (which is IN us)--the devil can’t harm us.  Since we have Jesus IN US--that’s the MOST POTENT REASON why we CANNOT be in the Tribulation.  We’re NOT overcome by the power of the devil in wicked men, or by the power of the devil, himself.  Instead, we are the OVERCOMERS by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!  The gates of hell shall NOT prevail against us!  (Matthew 16:18.)

We’re TRANSLATED (transferred, carried away) from those powers of darkness and the ravages of sin.  We’ve ALREADY ENTERED the KINGDOM of God’s dear Son, where we’re CALLED to be KINGS and PRIESTS with Him--IN THIS PRESENT LIFE, in the future Millennium, and on into the new world to come.

We have REDEMPTION, by the precious blood of Jesus, which gives us THE FORGIVENESS of sins.  We are SET FREE!  Our completed REDEMPTION includes receiving our GLORIFIED bodies--at THE TIME Jesus calls His true Church to Himself in the Pre-Trib Rapture.

These truths--our POSITION--given to us by Jesus (where we’re MADE so ONE with Him), circle about, repeat themselves, and continually assures us.  We are HIS, we are UNITED to Him, ETERNALLY--from THE MOMENT we became BORN-AGAIN.  The promises are SURE!  Jesus will NEVER send us into the seven years of Tribulation (that WRATH which falls from the throne of God BY WAY OF the seven-sealed scroll, the trumpets and the bowls).  That’s simply NOT our appointment!

There’s even more!


WE’RE CALLED THE BRIDE OF CHRIST


We find the idea of the Church as the Bride of Jesus introduced in 2 Corinthians 11:2, where the Apostle Paul writes:

“For I am jealous over you with a Godly jealousy:  for I have ESPOUSED you to ONE HUSBAND, that I might present you as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ.”

That passage clearly shows true Church as likened to a CHASTE VIRGIN--the BRIDE of Jesus.

We see a much larger picture of that concept in Ephesians 5:29-32.  Although this scripture describes an earthly marriage, the bigger spiritual picture is RESPRESENTATIVE of the Church and Jesus Christ.

“For no man ever yet hated HIS OWN FLESH; but NOURISHES and CHERISHES it, EVEN AS THE LORD (does with His) Church:  for we are MEMBERS of HIS BODY, of HIS FLESH, and of HIS BONES.  For THIS CAUSE shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be JOINED UNTO his wife, and they TWO shall be ONE FLESH.  This is a GREAT MYSTERY:  but I SPEAK concerning CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.  Nevertheless. Let every one of you in particular so LOVE his wife EVEN AS HIMSELF, and the wife see that she REVERENCE her husband.”

That passage carries RICH and DEEP MEANING.  Paul is NOT JUST speaking about an earthly marriage relationship.  He’s using the earthly picture to DEFINE a TRUTH about the Church and Jesus.

We have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.  We see in this passage that Christianity is NOT JUST another RELIGION among many.  Instead, when we are BORN-AGAIN, we are VITALLY JOINED to Jesus in a LOVING, TENDER and INTIMATE bond.  We are ONE FLESH, made ONE with Him.  We are so UNITED, that there will NEVER be a separation!  Jesus is IN US, and we are IN HIM!

We’re MADE ONE with Jesus in the same way a man and wife are JOINED.  We talk, we communicate, we NOURISH and CHERISH each other.  Jesus loves us with a LOVE too deep and profound to fully comprehend--He was willing to GIVE UP His life for HIS BRIDE, and He DID so.  He died to make us His!  We, in turn, are the DEVOTED BRIDE; we give Jesus our REVERENCE.

There’s much more concerning the picture of the Church as the Bride of Jesus Christ.  In the next blog, I’ll expand upon that concept.

I pray that you are abundantly blessed by these teachings.  We, true Church, have such a wealth of promises and attributes--given to us through Jesus.  All glory be to Him forever!

As the end time world grows darker and more chaotic, we look to Jesus and have absolute confidence and security.  He died to grant us many good things.  Chief among them is the wonderful knowledge that we are NOT appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation (deliverance) through our beautiful Savior.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post Sharon. We are members of the Church of the First Born. Hebrews 12:22-23 " But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."

    Our names are written in heaven!!!
    Praise God.

    ReplyDelete