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Living as a citizen of heaven

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Green Pastures By Pastor T. O. Banso

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In this message, I want to share with you how to live your life as a citizen of heaven rather than an indigene of this earth, as strangers and pilgrims on the earth and not a permanent resident. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb 11:13-16 NKJV)
How to live your life?
·        Be born again. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 KJV) You need to give your life to Jesus Christ thereby becoming a new creature. “Wherefore if any man is in Christ, (he is) a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.” (2 Cor 5:17 ASV) Towards the end of this message, I will show you how to be born again.
·        Be renewed in your mind. This comes by the help of the Spirit of God as you continuously study and meditate in the word of God. Eph 4:23-24 says, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (NKJV) You cannot put on the new man and live a life of righteousness and holiness unless you daily renew your mind in the word of God. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2 KJV) The key to life transformation is the renewal of mind via the word of God. Such transformation helps you to view life from God’s perspective contained in the word of God.
It takes a renewed mind to do what Eph 4:25-32 says and that’s what God wants you to do. “Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.  Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (NKJV) Doing what this scripture says is a mark of a truly transformed life. May you experience this in Jesus’ name.
· Make the most of your time here on earth. Don’t live as if you won’t die or you’ll live forever on earth as it is at present. Ps 90:12 says, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT) Grow in wisdom; don’t live as a fool. Be wise.  (Eph 5:15-20)
Those who live their lives as strangers and pilgrims on the earth no longer live the rest of their time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2)
·Lay up your treasures in heaven. Those who see themselves as permanent residents of the earth don’t lay their treasures in heaven. They heap up wealth, live for themselves alone and delude themselves that they can continue to enjoy forever like that rich fool. But death will put an end to that when they least expect. The story of the rich fool is told in Luke 12:18-21. Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21 NKJV)
How do you lay up your treasures in heaven? By being generous to God and His causes on the earth such as paying your tithes, giving offerings and contributing financially and materially to God related projects and programmes like gospel advancement, church building etc.
The other way of storing your treasures in heaven is by being generous to fellow human beings especially the needy, orphans and widows. “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD — and he will repay you!” (Prov 19:17 NLT) James 1:27 says, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.” (NLT)
Those who don’t store their treasures in heaven are not involved in these types of giving. All their treasures are here on earth, and though they are rich while alive are poor after death for they have no treasures stored ahead in heaven.
·        Don’t be attached to this world. That means you don’t get carried away by the activities of this world, your success, your progress and all that this world offers because you know that it won’t last. “Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.” (1 Cor 7:30-31 NLT) It’s not all that glitters that is gold. What this world offers is deceptive, and you have to be careful that you’re not deceived. That’s why the Bible warns about the deceitfulness of riches. (Matt 13:22)
·        Set your mind on the things that are above. Carnal Christians and unbelievers focus their minds on the things of this earth. They are concerned about earthly things. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Col 3:1-4 NKJV) Serious Christians set their minds on things above, and not on things on the earth. They know that they in this world but they are not of this world just as Jesus told the Jewish leaders, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not.” (John 8:23 NLT)
I pray that you will live as a citizen of heaven. May you live as a stranger and pilgrim on this earth, and not live to pursue vanity, and lose your soul. “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mark 8:36-37 NLT)
If you are not born again, kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.

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