Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand how we live the heavenly life while in the flesh.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Living the Heavenly Life
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”” Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 5
Good morning, brothers and sisters. In today’’s broadcast we examine such questions as: What is the heavenly life? Can it be lived here while we still live the life in the flesh, and if so how do we do it? What changes are necessary for us to be able to live the heavenly life while still living the life in the flesh? What is the role of faith in living the heavenly life, and what role does Jesus play? How does the heavenly life differ from the earthly life?
Before we define what the heavenly life is, let us briefly summarize the earthly life. No detailed description is necessary since that is our natural state on earth. We are born of woman into this world; therefore we are material beings, and we proceed through this life in a material fashion. We engage in the essential functions of self maintenance, self-perpetuation, and self-gratification. The satisfaction of these three great drives consist in human happiness, material happiness. We also have a lot of other drives and emotions that accompany these functions.
The primary attitude that we have as material beings is selfishness. This is derived from our animal nature, and we share all the other animal traits as well, such as violence and qualities that are designed aid us in surviving on the planet for as long as possible. Though material, the human race has a moral and potential spiritual nature. And this is disclosed by the Father sending his spirit to live in us.
This spirit in conjunction with our material mind when it makes it first moral choice create a soul capable of responding to divine urges and leading. This new soul creates the capacity for us to live the heavenly life while still living the material life. Yes, we must still render to Caesar the things that are Caesar, but we become endowed with the capacity to superimposed a new quality into our moral decisions. This heavenly life has a different set of values than the earthly life. In the earthly life, the individual is primarily concerned with itself; in the heavenly life, the individual becomes concerned with other selves in a, unselfish and loving way. Thus the heavenly life allows us to live a material life with the quality that Jesus lived when he lived the life in the flesh. It allows us to live the life of another existence, a spiritual existence, with all the values and meanings of that existence now.
Jesus is the Son of God, the creator and ruler of our universe. He is a purely spiritual being; he came to earth to show us how to live in his universe. He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly, that we may enjoy the heavenly life while still in the flesh. His Spirit of Truth enveloping our souls imparts new prerogatives and powers. It empowers the soul to live the heavenly life while still living the life in the flesh. This life is eternal and is far, far superior to the life in the flesh. The life in the flesh is one of quantity and material values; the heavenly life is one of quality and spiritual values. This life in addition to being eternal also brings real joy, peace and righteousness to our souls. It is an antidote to the vicissitudes of earthly existence. It gives hope and assurance. It gives the assurance of spiritual invincibility. It elevates us from the status of a material temporal creature to spiritual and eternal creatures. We become the sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.
And the heavenly life is ours for the taking. All we need to do is believe Jesus and submit our will to the Father’’s will by faith. By having the faith of a mustard seed, we enter the kingdom of heaven. By doing this we accelerate the growth of our souls so that we become born again. We must be born again to comprehend the divine values and meanings of the kingdom. We are first born of woman, but then our souls must be born of the spirit. And since this is a spiritual transaction involving a shift in purpose, in values, it occurs deep within us. This new birth is signaled not by outward changes but by inward changes. And everyone who is born of the spirit recognizes the Spirit of Truth and the heavenly Father. Everyone born of the spirit pursues the Father’’s will. Everyone born of the spirit immediately begins to show forth the character fruit of the spirit which is love, faith, goodness, gentleness, temperance, meekness, long suffering, peace and joy.
There are many individuals who try to achieve this new birth by emotional methods and intellectual methods, but they fail every time. The emotional method--while producing a certain excitement in the emotions--have no deep penetrating roots, and as soon as the emotions subside, the individual returns to his usual state of being. The soul is still hibernating; and the same is true for the intellectual approach to the new birth. The understanding of the intellectual factors of being born again does not cause the new birth, and the character of the individual does not change. It is an experience of the mind but not of the soul. No fruit of the spirit is forthcoming. These failures account for the individual going through the so-called born again experience again and again. The individual may have never been born again. The fruit of the spirit may not have appeared in his soul. While highly satisfying emotionally, the emotional experience is very similar to the screaming and emotional reaction one sees at a rock concert or some other vivifying emotional experience. It is not the new birth experience.
The born again experience requires none of the emotional and intellectual exhortation that are given as an inducement to be born again. It only requires faith and a commitment to dedicate the life to doing the Father’’s will. This commitment--which Jesus phrased as loving God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your might, and loving your neighbor as yourself--is all that is required. If we are sincere with this commitment, we forthwith become born again, born of the spirit, and the fruit of the spirit will show forth daily in our lives with ever increasing quality. As Jesus said, He is the vine, and we are the branches that produce the spiritual fruit. The spiritual fruits signify the "born again experience." And once we are born again, our supreme purpose becomes the bearing of the spiritual fruit, to love one another the way that Jesus loves us.
As we live the heavenly life while living the life in the flesh, we become filled with the consciousness of the heavenly Father, who is love. Our characters undergo tremendous changes as a result of doing the Father’’s will. We are well on the way to obeying the Father’’s eternal command: To be perfect even as he is perfect.
This concludes today's message on understanding how we live the heavenly life while still living the earthly life. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry