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HOW YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF ETERNAL LIFE (PART 1)

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

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HOW YOU CAN EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF ETERNAL LIFE (PART 1)

 In the Garden of Eden, it was not only Adam and Eve’s rebellion at work, they were

deceived by the devil who appeared in the form of a serpent.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God

had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in

the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

He was the one who tempted them to disobey God, and because they obeyed his voice

instead of God’s they came under his authority. When you are born again, you come out

from under Satan’s authority, and are completely under the power of God:

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his

beloved Son (Colossians 1:13)

You are no longer subject to Satan. You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. This is

both an event and a process. Even though we are citizens of God’s Kingdom, we must

walk out of Satan’s Kingdom and fully into God’s.

 

Separation

Before you were born again, you were separated from God. Being reunited with God

changes your relationship to the world:

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever

wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

The world around us is caught up in the pursuit of material security, success, and

pleasure. For the worldly person, this is the “meaning of life.” This is what

animates their decision making process. However, it is all a big chase after the wind,

because “you can’t take it with you.” At the end of life, you will lose all of your

possessions. You will be separated from all your friends, and your pleasures will not

matter. Honestly, if there is no life after death, it makes perfect sense to live for today,

but the Christian is looking forward to an eternity with God. Even an extraordinarily

long life of 100 years is short when you consider eternity, which goes on forever and

never ends. We have to live our lives in view of eternity, and the things that matter for

eternity. For this reason, we have fundamentally nothing in common with the world.

And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains

forever. (1 John 2:17)

These things do not mean that you need to go live in monastery. It means that you needto separate from the pleasures, pursuits, and alliances of the world. Many Christians are

confused, frustrated, and tempted because they have not understood this basic point.

You need to view your life and the lives of others in the light of eternal destiny.

 

Telling Others About Your New Identity

Because you have been brought out of the world, and into God’s Kingdom, the

fundamental dynamics of every relationship in your life change when you are born

again. Being a Christian is not a secret, it is a public, and sometimes a difficult fact.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God

raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Go and tell your friends and family about the change that has happened in your life.

When you do this, there will be a change. Some will reject you right out. Do not be

ashamed.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,

of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father

with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)     

Jesus has done something awesome for you. What he asks in return, is that you tell

others about Him. This is because he loves them too. You now have the keys to their

eternal destiny. Being their “friend” but keeping the truth about Jesus from them is not

being friends at all. You are denying them the only hope of salvation. Even if they reject

it, you have shown them true love. While this can be very painful, it is part of following Christ.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil

against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in

heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

You can be consoled by the fact that even though you are being rejected by friends and

sometimes family that Jesus sees your pain and holds out a great reward for it. This is,

in fact, the exact difficulty that He faced on earth.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the

world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I

chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)

You are walking in the footsteps of Jesus when you are rejected or persecuted on account

of your faith. Many try to be Christians but avoid this rejection. It does not work. It’s

pretending to be something you are not. Eventually you will either become compromised

and go back to the world, or you will be exhausted by the act of pretending to be of the

world. If you truly belong to God, according to the Scripture, the world will hate you.

 

Relationships with the World

Not all of your friends or family will reject you when you tell them the truth. Some will

use every effort to try to convert you back. The devil himself will use every effort. Do

not be surprised if your old girlfriend or boyfriend calls you up right when you get saved

and wants to go out again, or if the person you’ve been chasing for a year suddenly shows

interest. Be prepared to take a stand for God. You will keep being tempted until both

you, all of your friends, and the devil himself know that you are not turning back from

your life with Christ.

Some may watch you, even for years, to see if what has happened to you is real or just

some religious thing. If you have rejected your former life and its pursuits, and are being

open about your walk with God, and they still want to be friends, continue to hold out the

words of eternal life to them, until God brings them into the Kingdom.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness

with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ

with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement

has the temple of God with idols? (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

What is important is that you view them with an eternal perspective. They are lost and

in fellowship with the world, which God hates. God loves them and wants them to repent

just like you did. But until they do, it is dangerous to be “yoked” together with them.

This includes business partnerships, romantic relationships, and intimate friendships.

You are now reaching out to them, not fellowshipping with them.

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