HOW TO LIVE IN PRAISE, EVEN IN TRIALS (Part two)

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HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

In Order to Live in Praise,

Believers Must Focus on Their New Home

The Heavenly Realms

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Interpretation Question: What does the term “heavenly realms” refer to, and how are believers related to it?

The first aspect of Paul’s praise that must stand out is the believers’ new home. He says that we have been blessed in the heavenly realms; this can be literally translated as “the heavenlies.” This is the first of five times this term is used in Ephesians, and it is not used anywhere else in Paul’s letters. What does he mean by the heavenlies?

In Ephesians 1:20, he says Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, In Ephesians 2:6, he says we are seated with Him in the heavenlies.

In Ephesians 6:12, he says For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This is the paradox of the believer’s existence. Even as we are right now literally on the earth, we are also literally in heaven. This is because of our position in Christ

(Ephesians 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 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.” (Philippians 3:20-21).

While in prison, Paul contemplated this reality and worshipped God the Father because of it. How this positional reality really works, I don’t think we can be sure. However, if we are going to worship as Paul did, we must first believe it. We must accept it as true. It’s not figurative; it’s not metaphorical. Not only is Christ there, but we are there with him. Hebrews 12:22-24 says this:

“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”

The writer of Hebrews says this is our position and company now, not sometime in the future. We are seated in the heavenly realms with the angels, the church, the saints of the Old Testament, God and Christ.

Secondly, we must focus on it. Colossians 3:1-2 says,

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.

Our hearts must be set on things above. Sadly, most Christians have shallow worship because their hearts are set on money, on the treasures of this world, on the trials that distract them, etc. If we are going to worship,

  • We must be consumed with heaven and the King of heaven—God (Matthew 6:9-11).
  • We must be consumed with the agenda of heaven, building the kingdom on this earth (Matthew 20:18-19).
  • We must be consumed with the law of heaven—God’s Word.
  • We must be consumed with developing the character of heaven. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
  • We must be consumed with the coming Saviour from heaven. Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Is your mind consumed with the heavenlies? Have you set your mind on things above and not on earthly things? Or are you consumed with the things of this world? If you’re consumed with the things of this world, your praise will be weak.

If we are going to live in praise even while going through trials, we must be consumed with our heavenly home.

This is the Application Questions: How can we focus more on our heavenly citizenship instead of our earthly home? What disciplines will help us with this endeavour?

TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW ….

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Author: Godfrey Gregg

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