Be Bereans - Acts 17:11
I just learned a whole lot from a teaching I got and I wanted to pass on the info to you in a condensed form. So much of the Bible has opened up for me in a way it never has before when I received this knowledge. I hope it changes your life like it has mine.
There are 3 stages of Salvation.
When you accept Christ into your heart and believe in His sacrifice on the Cross and that He died and rose again - that's Justification. You are saved. No one can EVER take that from you. No matter how you act or what you do you will not be condemned or go to hell. You belong to Jesus and He has given you a new spirit. Justification changes the spirit.
Sanctification is a moment by moment choice. It means you choose to be holy, to do good, to resist the devil, to kill off your self, evil thoughts, anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness. Faith is sanctification. Faith comes in the form of a choice. You choose to trust God and His Word and His promises no matter how you feel or whether you emotionally believe Him or not. If you choose through faith to do what is right, then God will cause your emotions to follow your choice. He will make you genuine. This sanctification is so vitally important. It is the change that occurs in your soul - your self - and it is NOT automatic. We must labor day by day and run the race. Remember Paul? He was terrified of having run the race only to be a castaway. What does that mean?? I'll explain in a bit. But if Paul had cause to worry then how much more do we? Scary thought!!!!!!
Glorification is the change to our bodies. We all will receive glorified bodies with Christ. This too is automatic and happens all at once to the entire body of Christ at the rapture. If you are saved - Justification saved - you WILL go up in the rapture. It is automatic. Phew!!
Ok so why is Sanctification so important? That means that the Holy Spirit is allowed by our self to come in and change us, to come and cleanse us. 1 John 1:9 (The Christian's bar of soap.) We choose to do right. It is a struggle. To be sanctified means that we will suffer. It means you're not back-slidden, luke-warm, living in sin. You know how over and over the bible says that liars, thieves, idolaters, fornicators, adulterers, murderers and the like will not enter the "Kingdom of Heaven?"
So what is the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it the same as the Kingdom of God?
No. It is not the same as the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is what we automatically enter into through Justification. We are considered one of God's children and we will enter Heaven based on that alone. Our sins are forgiven and our destiny is secure. We are already part of the Kingdom of God. We have not yet entered or inherited the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of Heaven is the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth. Here's the timeline of what's about to go down:
Rapture, Judgement seat of Christ (we all will answer for our deeds but all will enter heaven), 7 years in heaven and the Wedding of the Lamb, then Jesus returns to earth at the end of the tribulation with all His angels and saints and He defeats Israel's/His enemies and the Antichrist, False Prophet, and Satan. They (the AC and FP) are cast into the lake of fire right then and there. Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for 1000 years, The wedding supper takes place on earth (like the reception), Jesus builds the Millennial Temple, and a select few will enter into His rest with Him. This is not a privilege brought about by Justification.
All throughout the New Testament Jesus warns that "many are called, few are chosen" There are parables where believers are cast into "the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" (this is NOT hell), there are believers who are excluded from the Wedding of the Lamb because they have not made themselves ready. They have no wedding garment, or no oil. (Matthew 25)
What is the wedding garment? Sanctification - righteous deeds done by the Holy Spirit through us after the point of being saved through Justification. With me?
Example: Someone you know begins pushing your buttons to make you angry, sad, hurt, depressed, and vindictive. You have 2 choices. 1- You can explode like you have every reason to and tear them a new one, or 2- You can do the following 4 steps: A. Acknowledge to God what is happening and how you feel. "God, this person is ticking me off right now and I feel unappreciated, attacked, angry, bitter, and vindictive." B. Choose to forgive "God I don't feel like forgiving. I cannot do this on my own. I choose to forgive them by releasing them and their behavior into your hands as well as the emotions and reactions they are trying to start in me. C. Repent and reset. "God I repent of these feelings and my evil thoughts and I request that you please fill me with more of the Holy Spirit so that I can shine the light of Christ through my behavior, attitude, and emotions to them and everyone else. D. Trust God to do it, step forward with your faith choice, and let God take over. Basically die to self, live for Christ. And most importantly, replace self with scripture. Fill yourself with the Word of God so that you can battle the enemy more effectively next time.
Ok so this is just one example. Another would be driving on the highway, rude people, the checker gives you too much change, you feel like you should give someone a hug, God tells you to do something, you know what you should do and be from the Bible but it's difficult, someone at work ticks you off and you want to let them have it. Those are all moment by moment choices to make Faith your choice. These are opportunities to choose Holiness, to choose Christ, to choose to be an example to the lost thorough the power of the Holy Spirit in your heart. These choices, when made over and over again increase your faith, enhance your walk, and clothes you with the wedding garment of righteousness.
There is a difference between entering the Kingdom and inheriting the Kingdom. When we are raptured or die the first stop on the tour of heaven will be the Bema Seat of Christ. He will open all of the books that have recorded every deed, every thought, every act, every tear, and will put our lives into the fire. There will be wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver, and precious jewels. Whatever is wood, hay or stubble will burn up. If there is anything left in the form of gold, silver, or precious jewels - that will be part of our reward. Even if there is nothing left after the fire, we ourselves will enter heaven but will have no reward. We will be poor. We won't have the garment of righteousness - won't be allowed to enter the Wedding of the Lamb and won't be allowed to rule and reign with Him in the 1000 year reign.
You notice that God doesn't wipe the tears from our eyes until after the 1000 years. That's when the new heaven and new earth and New Jerusalem begin and initiates eternity with God. From the end of the tribulation until then we are in the 1000 year reign of Christ. Not everyone will rule and reign.
Only those who have proven themselves worthy in this life will be close to Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven (1000 year reign/Millennium). The bible calls them OVERCOMERS. Some will be in the "outer darkness" which literally means "the darkness just beyond a lit palace." It will be like being at a concert sitting in the furthest balcony in the very last row. You're in the concert but you can't see anything. Get me?
So, everyone who accepts Christ and His blood is saved - Justified. They will all enter heaven and will all spend eternity with God. They will never go to hell.
But those who stop there - who are carnal Christians - who quench the Spirit of God and allow themselves to be in control instead of Jesus - they are not Sanctified. They will be found naked before the Lord and will be denied entrance into the 1000 year rest of Jesus. They will be poor for all eternity in heaven - though they are saved from hell - and they will suffer loss, profound regret, and will not be allowed intimacy with Christ as His bride for the 1000 years. What a terrifying thought!!!! This has really changed my life! I hope it will change yours too.
I see it as my responsibility to see that you, my friends, not only get into heaven, but have a reward there as well. I will have failed miserably if I did not share these truths with you. Please, rededicate yourself to Jesus every morning, be filled with the Holy Spirit always, forgive all who sin against you and confess your sins every night (or immediately is better) and listen for what God wants you to do. You don't have to be a missionary or a preacher to earn rewards. Simply loving on your family, friends and coworkers in the name of Jesus will be your opportunities to earn rewards. Use those gifts that God gave you to minister to all who come into your circle of influence. Don't fall away, don't lose hope, don't let Satan get control of your soul. He can't have your spirit, but he can and will see to it that the garment of righteousness will take some blood, sweat and tears. It’s Jesus' blood, but your sweat and tears.
Faith comes in the form of a choice. It isn't just believing once. It's daily choosing to trust God and His promises. It's choosing to resist temptation and forbidding sin in your life. Of course you will fall - we all do!!! The difference comes when we say "God, I've sinned. Please forgive me and help me to walk in Your ways." And then you step forward in faith and the power of the Spirit making right choices. We can never be perfect until Glorification occurs. That's coming soon. There's very little time and I want to make sure that from here on out you are earning rewards and inheritance in the Kingdom. I'm not saying you weren't before, but just that I had no idea why we needed rewards until yesterday.
I always thought, jeez I don't need a crown or gold, silver, or jewels. What need of them will we have in heaven? But now I know. It's not just those things, but rank and responsibility in the Kingdom as well. We cannot live like we want and take the easy road and expect to rule and reign with Jesus. Not all will be worthy to inherit, though all will be sons and daughters and therefore granted entrance. Entrance isn't earned. Inheritance is.
If you want to know more get "The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory" by Nancy Missler. It explains it all in depth. This was the source of my information - not the book but the audio sessions. I give her all the credit and my humble gratitude and heartfelt thanks for searching so diligently for these truths and sharing them with us, the Body.
I love you all as brothers and sisters and I want you to rule and reign with Christ! I sure hope I'm there too!!! I am working on it. I fall - A LOT - but I do desire to win the race. You and I will be in Heaven for all eternity - that's guaranteed! But our reward, inheritance, responsibilities, and proximity to God and His throne will be determined by our toils and strife here. Every opportunity must be seized and we must not lose sight of the prize. Now I know what the prize is, it's lit a fire under me and I am running!!! :)
I hope this has blessed you and opened up some truth for you. The New Testament is alive to me in a way that it never was before!! I hope it has the same effect for you!
If you want to check out these things just go to www.biblos.com and do a search for "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" and you'll see the difference between the two. Matthew focuses on the kingdom of heaven and you'll find quite a bit of your information there. Search the scriptures!!! Show yourselves approved! :) Be Berean. :)