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Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul.
Read: 1 Peter 2:11
The instant a person is truly born again this world ceases to be their home. Now they have within them a vision of a place far more beautiful than this valley of sorrows. Inside their body of flesh is a spirit which comes from that other place and radiates the light of that other place.
It's not a matter of guessing,
or imagining what Heaven is like.
Heaven has come to dwell in us. We have a foretaste of it within, and it is so beautiful we can hardly stand to look at it directly.
Already we have a vision of the Glorious One who sits on the throne and our ears pick up the distant strains of music so wonderful it would break our hearts if we could hear it clearly now. There are creatures coming and going before that throne that seem to be made of sheer light. Their form is so majestic the very sight of them makes us tremble. There is a sea of glass mingled with fire and a river that gives life to everything it touches.
All these glorious things, though they are far away, are already in us through the Spirit who now possesses us.
When Jesus tells us that we are not of this world, it is only because He has made us part of another world - a better world. And we don't wait to enter that better world until after we die - or until the resurrection – we are in that better world now.
This is why things which are absolutely impossible in this world are happening in our lives and in our ministries. Because even while we walk this earth we are somehow already in Heaven.
Any follower of Jesus who is not, in fact, living right now in the dimension of Heaven is missing the boat.
If Heaven is just something you hope you're going to get to someday -
if Heaven is nothing but a vague wish while you go on living an earthbound life, something is wrong.
To experience Heaven now there are two things you have to do:
1. You have to live in continuous unbroken communion with the heavenly Christ.
2. You have to live in continuous unbroken separation from the god of this world.
Union with Jesus.
Separation from everything that would put you under subjection to Satan and his kingdom:
And don't fall into the trap of thinking that this is a road that can only be travelled by the super-saints - that you have to be abnormal, deficient in the lust appetites of flesh and ego that normal people have.... that you have to have an emaciated body or an iron will to be a saint of God.
The road of continuous communion with Christ and continuous separation from the spirit of this world can be walked by the weakest soul who ever tried to follow Jesus.
Jesus once said a strange thing:
"No one has ascended into Heaven but he who descended from Heaven, even the Son of Man who is in Heaven." John 3:13
He was on the earth when He said that! How could he be in Heaven and on the earth at the same time?
While Jesus walked this earth as a real human being He was in such direct communion with His Father that He was, by that communion, still in Heaven.
So the Father in Heaven with whom Jesus dwelt in perfect trust and perfect obedience, kept pouring heavenly gifts out upon the earth through His Son. So wherever Jesus went on earth, Heaven was there - it was another world breaking into this world.
Sick people suddenly became well. Blind eyes suddenly began to see. Five loaves and two fish grow as fast as they're broken until a multitude is fed.
The dead come back to life.
Sons of Adam are suddenly transformed into sons of God.
There was another reason why these beautiful, heavenly things happened wherever Jesus was: Jesus lived a life of separation.
He never got caught up in the spirit of this world.
He was in the world. He was out there with the tax collectors and sinners. And He really cared about us – cared so much that He died for us – took our sins upon Himself and carried them to a grave. But Jesus never became a citizen of this world – never conformed to its ways.
"I am not of this world", He kept saying.
All the way through, from beginning to end, Jesus was a man of Heaven.
The first man (Adam) was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man (Christ) is from Heaven. As was the man of dust so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of Heaven, so are those who are of Heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust let us also bear the image of the man of Heaven. I Corinthians 15
We are to be, and we can be, like Him - now in this life!
Just as Jesus conveyed Heaven to this world by remaining in continuous communion with His Father, so we are to convey Heaven to this world by remaining in continuous communion with Jesus.
And just as Jesus was the light of the world because He never submitted to the ways of darkness, so we are the light of the world by remaining aliens and exiles in Babylon as long as we're here.
1. When we are in true communion with Jesus, every heavenly thing that Jesus did when He was here in flesh and blood we do in His name.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Mark 16:17-18
- Heaven will break forth from their lives.
- They will radiate a light, from a world where demons can't exist - where death and disease are swallowed up in Life.
What do you think Jesus means when He says to us,
"You are the salt of the earth……
You are the light of the world. ……
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." Matthew 5
Let people see Heaven!
Let them see God's grace!
"Give people evidence of God's fathomless love! Touch those lives that are crying out for help and they will experience healing in My Name!"
2. Ah, but if we want to be in that kind of communion with Jesus - so powerful that the life of Heaven flows out from us and heals,
- we have to be out of communion with this world.
- We have to be out of communion with its covetous, adulterous, pompous ways.
- We live in Babylon but we are citizens of the New Jerusalem.
- We live on earth but we dwell in Heaven.
Heaven, not earth, rules our hearts - and this means separation.
"Behold, I beseech you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh (fleshly lusts) that wage war against your soul."
Fleshly lusts - watch out for them.
Not just sexual lust,
or lust for food, or alcohol, or drugs,
but also ego lust, lust for attention, lust for recognition, lust to be on top, lust to dominate. Lust - passion. The craving to have this thing I want and to have it now!
This warning comes from a man who knows all about lust. Peter was as driven by passion and as self-assertive as any of the apostles. He knew how these things could drain heaven right out of you.
But Peter also knew that these fleshly lusts could be abstained from. He knew that you could eat to the glory of God instead of Satan. That the roving eye and the wandering mind can be brought under the authority of Heaven. That the union between a husband and wife can be transformed by Jesus Christ into a living sign of His love for His Bride, the Church.
That you can serve other believers without ego-tripping.
Take the lust out of anything you're doing, submit to God, and your earth-bondage is over.
On the other hand, if you fail to abstain from lust then you will soon be messed up by:
murder, or any other form of spiritual killing.
If there is some child of Adam reading these words whose life is all tangled up,
- you're caught up in an addiction.
- or you're caught up in a sex thing that you're clinging to because it's your only pleasure left, we're not saying to you, "abstain from lust" - you couldn't if you tried. The message to you is "Come to Jesus and find the real satisfaction, and He will set you free".
But to believers, disciples, people who have come to Jesus and have tasted the glory of Heaven yet who are still hanging on to earth, to you the message is;
- Abstain from lust of every kind.
- Do not be conformed to the way of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world……
And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. I John 2
All through scripture we hear the call to come out of Babylon. ''Come out from among them and be separate. Touch not the unclean thing.'' And people think that if they leave a certain church they've come out of Babylon, or if they withdraw from society, or change their mode of dress, they've come out of Babylon. But beneath these external changes the spirit of Babylon is still with them and still controls them.
To come out of Babylon you have to come out of lust even if you have to cut off your right hand, or pluck out your right eye.
And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut if off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter into life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. Mark 9:45-47
And the time for us to enter into life is not after we die, but now. If you have seen Jesus and you want what He offers - let go of this world. You cannot enter into life with a roving eye,
or a deceitful heart,
or a double mind,
or a covetous hand.
If you want Heaven, then go all the way - surrender to Jesus all the way;
- separate yourself from this world and its lusts,
- bind yourself with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind to Jesus,
and you will have Heaven now,
and everything you touch will be touched by Heaven.