Yesterday we talked about how we are in a battle. That there are forces that are against us that WE should stand against. Jesus has defeated the enemy and we are enforcing his victory as we take up the Armor of God and walk in it. Today I want to continue on that thought– that Jesus has won, has provided the victory, and has provided us with everything we need. You belong to a Kingdom, and all of Heaven is behind you!
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
We need to change our view of heaven. We need to change our view of many things! But this was literally Jesus' very first message:
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
Whenever people hear the word "Repent" they cringe. They think of those doomsday preachers in farmer's markets with scary signs. They think repent only means "stop sinning". Many of them need to repent too! Repent means a changing of the mind. It means untwist your thinking. Align it with the truth. We need to change our thinking on heaven and hell, what really happened with sin and the cross, we need to change our thinking on Spiritual Warfare and remove all the spookiness about it. But first– let's talk about Heaven.
Heaven is a Kingdom. The Kingdom is now.
Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is here. Paul said we now have been given every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Heaven is here and now. It is where "every spiritual blessing" is stored. It is where everything we need has been provided for:
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue 2 Peter 1:3
Jesus has provided everything we need for this life, it is kept safely in the spiritual realm and it is made manifest through the knowledge of Him and his finished work. We cannot walk in what we don't know we have and the first and most important thing you need to know about the Armor of God is that you already have it. Each and every one of these things are given to you– in the heavenly places in Christ. That's where you are seated in your spirit. Far above every principality (Ephesians 1:21). If the Lord has called you to a fight, you best believe he will resource you for it.
We need to stop thinking of heaven as only a place we go to when we die. It is a present reality. We can start walking in heaven right now. In fact that's what we're called to do– usher in heaven on earth. Jesus taught us to pray: "Your kingdom come!". He has given us authority to destroy the works of the enemy.
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
Similarly, Hell is a present reality. We don't need to scare people about hell. Many of them are experiencing pieces of hell right now. Every time someone is sick, those are the fingerprints of the devil. Evidence of his work. Sickness, poverty, bondage, death– these were never part of God's plan. They entered the world through sin. Jesus ended the reign of sin. The reality we're called to live in is one of freedom from sin and all its effects.
People experience bits and pieces of heaven and hell every day. This is why Paul says we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). We need to get a picture of how heaven is because what we see here on earth is not "as it is in heaven". The more we renew our mind, the more we can walk in the reality of who we are in Christ and what we have in the Spirit. All the pieces of this Armor that we are going to talk about are spiritual blessings Christ obtained for us by his life, death and resurrection.
This is why repentance is such a key message. Every time I open my bible, I am ready to repent. Again, remove the stigma of the word. When you are ready to change anything in the way you think to align it to the word, what's when you are most ready for transformation. More and more you walk according to the pattern of heaven which is a kingdom advancing here on earth. You are a big part of this advance.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Jesus is the King. He has given you authority.
Heaven is a kingdom. Jesus is the king. Heaven is where we belong, and Jesus is who we belong to. Let me take you to a moment in the bible where Jesus asked his disciples if they understood who he was:
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
The rock that Jesus will build his church on is the revelation that he is the Messiah. The Son of the living God. Peter didn't figure this out on his own. The Father helped him. But when he realized Jesus' true identity, he also discovered his own. This is where he received a new name.
Jesus also highlighted the authority given to the church. This is authority we have as people of the Kingdom. To tie up the enemy at work in someone's life, and to loose a person in bondage. We need to see if anything here on earth doesn't line up with heaven, and do something about it. We have authority, our words have power, and our actions are mighty. We don't have to live it it. We're equipped to bring change.
The last point is that the gates of hell will not prevail. Note that it wasn't talking about the gates of heaven. Hell is not advancing against heaven. Heaven is advancing. And I don't view the gates of hell as some tall gate around a dark evil castle. The gates of hell describes a prison. Heaven is about setting people free.
Think of it. Jesus Christ is called the "firstborn from the dead" (Colossians 1:18). He was the first to taste death, descend into hell, and break free. He was the first to break free from prison, and now we are breaking free too.
That's my prayer for this series, that not only will it build a biblical foundation on key spiritual truths, it will set you free. People are in bondage! There are parts of our own lives where we need freedom! Stuck in a kingdom that it doesn't belong in. But the truth– it advances. It goes ahead. It doesn't return to the Lord void, it sets people free. The gates of hell cannot prevail against it.
Truth sets people free. Truth has a name– his name is Jesus. He said he is the Way the Truth and the Life. He said you shall know the Truth– himself– and he will set you free. He whom the son sets free is free indeed.
Let's recognize we belong to a Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is here and now. A present reality where everything we need has been provided for. We just draw from it by faith. It is a Kingdom where Jesus is King and the King has given us his authority. We can use his name. So we walk in our authority. Be set free. Set others free. Jesus is where we build our lives.