1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
There is no doubt that Jesus will return to catch away those who are ready. Jesus said to watch and pray, to be ready. He taught a parable of 10 virgins that relates to His return to catch away those who are wise. Five were wise virgins and five were foolish. To become a virgin (pure), you must be born again. The wise virgins not only had their lamps lit (which represents one who is saved) but they also had an extra jar full of oil.
The foolish had their lamps lit, but their jars were not full. This jar being full means they remained active in pursuing God, and pursuing the things of God. The foolish were instead consuming their time with worldly things and not actively pursuing God. Jesus called such believers lukewarm, for the things of God were no longer a priority to them. These foolish virgins tried to get the wise virgins to give them some of their oil, but you can only get it by pursuing God for yourself.
The wise were ready for Christ’s return and were caught up with Him when He came back, but the foolish were left behind. Don’t be a foolish virgin who has accepted Christ but is not walking with God, and is instead chasing after this world. Be a wise believer who is actively pursuing their relationship with the Lord for Jesus is coming soon!
Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
The word “perfect” means complete. It is not other people, things you own, nor your status in life that makes you complete. It is Jesus Christ and Him alone that makes your life complete, and that is why they preached Christ to everyone. Ever since the fall of man in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned and turned away from God, man has been incomplete without God and always will be. The Creator Himself who brought us into existence is the only One who can make us complete.
When we try to find our worth in what we do, what other people think of us, or in what we have in this world, we are always going to feel incomplete, because in doing so we are trying to find our worth in the creation and not our Creator. It’s not a selfie you take that everyone likes, nor getting compliments on something you’ve accomplished that gives you value and worth.
Our value and worth comes from the One who loves you and gave His life for you so that you could be reunited with your heavenly Father, that is where true value and worth are found. It is through Jesus Christ that we can regain our worth by finding our identity in our Creator once we are born again, for we become a new creation. So look to Jesus and Him alone, not the world, not other people, nor the things in this world, and you will have all that completes you.
So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
God’s Word will only help you to the degree that you hear, receive, and act upon it. God’s Word spoken brought into existence everything we see. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God. His Word is a prevailing force. The word prevail means to prove more powerful than any opposing force, to be victorious.
Think about how powerful God’s Word is. It brought all things into existence. In the scripture above we see that the Word continued to grow mightily and prevail over whatever they came up against. This was a result of the disciples teaching the people what God’s Word said. The more that Word grew and came alive in the hearts of those who heard it, the more that Word prevailed in and through their lives.
To get God’s Word in our hearts we must hear it, speak it, meditate on it, and live it. For those who do this prevailing force, the Word of God, will work in and through your life proving itself more powerful than any opposing force. It will help you to live a victorious life, for you shall know the truth, and that truth shall set you free.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
A key to moving forward into all God has for your life is to forget what is behind. If you hold on to your past you will remain there. In the Old Testament the first generation of the children of Israel once delivered out of Egypt kept looking back to Egypt and they did not go forward into the promise land God had for them. Only Joshua and Caleb let go of the past and went forward into what God had awaiting them.
Stop thinking about, talking about, and focusing on your past and what is behind you. Stop seeing the person you used to be and start seeing in scripture who God has made you to be. Leave the past, yours and others where it belongs, behind you. Don’t allow past hurts and failures to get your attention. Forgive everyone and release them from any wrong they may have done. Don’t beat yourself up for wrongs you have done, just repent and move forward.
Paul knew this all to well for his past life was one in which his faith was in his own righteousness and not God’s. He also had been a major player in persecuting the church until Jesus revealed Himself to Paul. If you hold on to the past, you will only hinder your ability to enter into what God has ahead for you. When you let go of the past you can then move forward by faith into all God has planned and waiting for you.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
No believer should ever feel like God is far from them, for we have been reunited with God through Christ Jesus. We are one spirit with the Lord and He will never leave you nor forsake you. The sin nature that stood between us and God has been washed away by the blood of Jesus. It was this sin nature that separated us from God, and all that God is.
Jesus said for those who put their faith in Him, that He and the Father would come and abide in them. He has done so by sending the Holy Spirit to come and live in us. This is one of the reasons we no longer have any reason to live in fear, for greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. The devil and all his demons are no match for God, and God lives within every born again believer.
So there is no reason to live in fear of the powers of darkness, nor should you ever feel alone. So don’t fall for these deceptive lies, for all who have received salvation have the Spirit of God living in them. God is with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. Walk in the realty of the truth by declaring to yourself that the greater One lives in you, for you are one spirit with the Lord, and therefore you are never alone.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
God has already prepared a good plan for you to walk in. To walk in God’s plan all we have to do is follow the pattern we have in Jesus. Jesus thought, spoke, and acted like the Father. We need to look to God’s Word and begin to think like God thinks. We need to see ourselves as God sees us, as revealed through the Word of God. We need to recognize who we have now become in Christ Jesus, meditating on and seeing ourselves in the light of His Word.
Not only do we need to think like God thinks as scripture reveals to us this new man within, we also need to begin to talk like God talks, declaring who we now are in Christ Jesus, and declaring what we have in Christ as well. Scripture teaches us our words are a major part of determining the outcome of our future here on earth, for our Words James says are like a rudder on a ship, directing us to our destination.
We also need to act like our Heavenly Father acts. His Word reveals to us how we as born again children of God should live. Ephesians 5:1 tells us as dear children, imitate your Heavenly Father. When we start thinking, talking, and acting like God does, we can learn of and walk in the plan He has already prepared for us, and I can assure you, it is a good plan.
… and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Every believer has been seated together with Christ at the right hand of the Father. This is recognized as a position of authority over all the powers of darkness. It is the same position of authority Adam had before he sinned. Adam was given authority over all the earth and God told Adam to use that authority to walk in dominion upon the earth.
You have been seated with Christ far above all principalities, powers, might, dominion, and every name that is named. Not a little above, FAR above! Through Christ we have been restored back to the place of dominion God had given Adam. This authority means you have been given delegated power, God’s power. You exercise your authority over satan and all his works by faith in the name of Jesus, the name above all names.
We need to fully understand our position in Christ, the authority that has been given to us, and exercise that authority through faith in the name of Jesus. We are to trample on all the power of the enemy as Jesus declared in Luke 10:19. Romans 5:17 tells us we are to reign in this life through Jesus Christ. So don’t allow the powers of darkness to rule over you. By faith from your position in Christ, use the name of Jesus and keep them under your feet where they belong.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, …
The spiritual blessings of heaven, the presence of God, the authority of God, the gifts of the Spirit, the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, the healing of God, etc, are all a part of the born again believer. Don’t ask God to bless you, He already has. All that you need in the natural comes out of the spirit realm through your spirit man on the inside by way of the Holy Spirit. That is why faith sees things as already so, because it is already so in the spirit realm.
Before Adam sinned, God after bringing forth the earth and all that was in the earth said it was good. Then God made man in His very image and said it was very good. When Adam sinned he provided satan an avenue to manifest evil in the earth. All that was good and all that was evil came from the spirit realm into the natural realm. We receive what God has provided for us from out of our spirit man by faith in His Word. We believe with our heart (our spirit man) that what God has said belongs to us is already ours. That is how faith works.
He has already blessed us, healed us, and has given us victory over our adversary. We have to take hold of the things of God within our spirit before we will see them manifest. Start seeing things from God’s perspective as already so. Start declaring by faith that you are blessed, you are healed, you have the victory, for God Himself calls those things which do not yet exist in the natural as though they did (Rom. 4:17). Keep doing so until His Word becomes real to your inner man, your spirit man, the real you. Once it does it will change things in natural realm around you.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Man has always tired to change his behavior from the outside. When addressing wrong actions and lifestyle, the focus has always been outward. But the problem of man’s sinful actions originated from a sinful fallen nature that lives on the inside. This sinful nature came as a result of Adam’s fall and is the source of why man sins. This is also the reason man has been separated from God, for our God is a holy God.
Trying to change your actions outwardly is putting the cart before the horse. As the scripture above reveals it is not circumcision nor uncircumcision that really matters to God, but becoming a new creation on the inside. This is what being “born again” is all about. Once that has taken place, God does want us to change outwardly, and to live in the “newness of life” we have been given. To do so we need to focus on the inward man, this new creation, not the outward man.
This is where renewing of the mind comes in. Romans 12:1-2 tells us we are to present our bodies as a holy sacrifice unto God, and verse two tells us we go through this outward transformation by the renewing of the mind. You need to focus on the new man within by renewing your mind through the Word of God in the New Testament to this new you on the inside. Take note of all the “in Christ” scriptures and confess that is who you are. As you do your life will be transformed outwardly to the perfect and acceptable will of God. Look to the new you on the inside through God’s Word, for once you are born again you are a new creation.
…the only thing that matters is faith working through love.
It is true faith, a faith that believes, speaks, and acts; united with the knowledge of God’s love for you, compelling you to love, that means everything. Love, the God-kind of love, is a choice. God’s love is not based on feelings, but on actions. God’s love is not lip service, but is revealed through our deeds, how we live. Never forget, for your faith in God’s Word to work for you, you must walk in love. If your faith is not working the first place you should check is your love walk.
If you have gotten out of love, said something you shouldn’t have said or done something you should not have done, go to that person and repent and get right back in love. Jesus gave us the formula for walking in the love of God. We are to treat others the same way we would want them to treat us, no matter how they treat us. So when you think about how you are treating other people you should ask yourself, is this how I would want them to treat me. Are these the words, actions, and attitudes I would want from them.
It doesn’t matter how others have treated you, for God’s love is unconditional. It does not place a condition on others to love you before you love them. On the cross Jesus gave us the greatest example of love, asking the Father to forgive those who had crucified Him. So if you want your faith in God to work for you, walk in love, for your faith depends on it.