THE RED CARPET WE WALK,
DRESSED IN THESE FASHIONABLE GARMENTS, IS IN ENEMY TERRITORY...
"I PRAY NOT THAT THOU SHOULDEST TAKE THEM OUT OF THE WORLD, BUT THAT THOU SHOULDEST KEEP THEM FROM EVIL. THEY ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, EVEN AS I AM NOT OF THIS WORLD. SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH; THY WORD IS TRUTH. AS THOU HAST SENT ME INTO THE WORLD, EVEN SO HAVE I SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD."
God created this earth. However, the devil is trying to claim ownership of this planet. This planet is the battleground. Heaven has invaded this planet in the person of Jesus Christ. Anyone who accepts Him as Savior is transformed into citizens of another world. This experience is called being "born again."
"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN."
I Peter 1:23
"BEING BORN AGAIN, NOT OF CORRUPTIBLE SEED, BUT OF INCORRUPTIBLE."
So, we Christians, are "not of this world." (John 17:16) Suddenly, at conversion, we found ourselves in enemy territory. The atmosphere of this earth is hostile to us. The inhabitants of this planet, suddenly treat us as aliens.
As followers of Christ, we have an assigned mission to carry out. We, as soldiers, must first learn to survive, if we are succeed in carrying out our mission. Many do not survive. The common terminology for this is "backsliding." Many will backslide, and lose their citizenship in heaven. To survive, we are totally dependent upon heaven's supplies, equipment, and instruction.
OUR LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM
Like the astronauts do in space, we also need equipment. Without equipment, the astronauts would be dead in 15 seconds. so, with us, if we don't have equipment, we die from the hazardous environment to our newly alive spirits. Without a special suit in space, one side toward the sun, would melt. The other side of the astronaut would freeze solid. The astronauts need special equipment to work, to move about, to eat, etc.
Those of us in this world's hostile environment are not called "astronauts", but the Lord called us "sheep."
"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME; AND I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. MY FATHER WHICH GAVE THEM ME IS GREATER THAN ALL, AND NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER'S HAND."
The equipment that we, as the Lord's sheep, need - includes a fold, as sheep are gathered into at night. This fold is a gathering place of safety and where care is received from the Shepherd. We have churches as our "folds." We are told not to forsake "assembling" together there (Hebrews 10:25). There in the fold, the Sheep are to "exhort" one another. The Shepherd is at the door to anoint our wounds with oil and wine. He will there give us the water of life freely. Our bodies can find a special kind of rest within the fold.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
When God made mankind, He gave them a soul. (Genesis 2:7) This soul needs a special kind of atmosphere to exist. Just as astronauts need a supply of oxygen in outer space, we need a special atmosphere for our souls. At salvation, Jesus restores the atmosphere of the breath of God to the soul.
"AND YOU HATH HE QUICKENED, WHO WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS...EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN SINS, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, (BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED)."
This atmosphere is the life of God that came into us at salvation. As we follow Jesus, we continue to share in this eternal life.
THE BREAD OF LIFE
Not only a special atmosphere is necessary for we, the aliens,; but we also need special food. Scientists have developed special foods for the astronauts. What has God given us for our food?
"I AM THE LIVING BREAD, WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, IF ANY MAN EAT OF THIS BREAD, HE SHALL LIVE FOREVER."
We cannot live by the food of this world alone.
"MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE..."
Too many Christians feed only the physical body. We must feed the spiritual body, as well. If we don't, we will die spiritually. People spend hours preparing meals, and spend much time consuming them. Then, often, more time is spent resting, while digestion takes place. Jesus is the food of the soul, and if we would spend time, effort, and meditation on our spiritual food, i.e. Jesus, then we would be much stronger for the spiritual battles in this battleground.
WATER OF LIFE
For the physical body, we have the water of this earth. It is vital to sustain life. Physicians say man can hardly go without water for 3 days. Many try to go for weeks, months, etc. without spiritual refreshing. (I doubt their Christianity, if they go that long without the refreshing of the Spirit.) There is no need for the Christian to go without the water of life.
"THE WATER THAT I GIVE SHALL IN HIM BE A WELL OF WATER SPRINGING UP INTO ETERNAL LIFE."
This water is the refreshing of the Spirit, Who comes to us , and flows from us as living, saving water.
CLEANSING FROM HOSTILE GERMS
After the trip to the moon, the astronauts were put into decontamination, to isolate and cleanse from possible germs. We know this world is contaminated. We know that even as saints, we need occasional cleansing. It is the Word of God that is the cleansing agent for we, the Christians. Christ sanctifies and cleanses us "WITH THE WASHING OF THE WATER BY THE WORD." (Ephesians 5:26).
The Bible is desperately needed to convict, inform, and warn us of sin. It is light a "lamp" (Psalms 119) to enlighten us as we travel in this alien world. We can see (by the Word) the contamination that we must avoid. It is our guide, and helps us discern evil. The Author of the Bible is the Spirit, and He is the One sent to keep us from sin, to purify, to sanctify, and to cleanse.
OUR COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
Astronauts keep in touch with earth. Jesus keeps in touch with us.
"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE..."
We have a direct line to God, to Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit. This direct line is called PRAYER.
Jesus is trying to commune with us about His Father.
"I HAVE DECLARED UNTO THEM THY NAME, AND WILL DECLARE IT..."
Jesus wants to direct us through our communication with Him.
"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME."
The Bible is the Written communication that we carry with us, but as we open up the Word of God, and in prayer begin to talk to the Lord, we will hear directly from heaven. Too many Christians lack this kind of communication with headquarters. They are like the Japanese soldiers left on islands after WWII. Without any direct link to their commanders, they quietly waited, not knowing what to do.
We are not saved to simply survive until the Lord comes. We have a mission to carry out. We have tasks to perform.
First, we must demonstrate abundant life to a dying world. Jesus said that He came to give "life." (John 10:10) If the world sees nothing different in the Christians, they are not doing their task for their Commander.
Secondly, we are to enlist the lost onto the side of the Lord. We are invading the devil's stronghold, and we should build up our troop strength by enlisting many more onto our side. They world may hate us, because we seem so alien. But we can demonstrate that we have abundant life, we have the Answer to every problem, and we have the power of God to overcome every trial. They have a Wicked Master who is bringing them to eternal doom and punishment. We can battle this Wicked One, and win over the ones he has duped into following him.
One blessed truth for us to consider, is that we will soon be returning to our heavenly home.
"FATHER, I WILL THAT THEY ALSO, WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, BE WITH ME, WHERE I AM, THAT THEY MAY BEHOLD MY GLORY, WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME."
It will be wonderful to arrive home in heaven. There we will hear: "Mission accomplished. Well done." There in heaven the atmosphere is not hostile. The Lord will be there and communion with Him will be frequent and wonderful. Are you ready, should he recall His troops today???
"LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, YE BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN ME. IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS, IF IT WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU. AND IF I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF, THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO."