Heaven on Earth – Part 2

(Luke 2:1-14 NKJV)  And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  (2) This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. (3) So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  (4) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  (5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. (7) And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  (8) Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. (10) Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  (11) For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: (14) “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

(Luke 2:14 AMPC)  Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].

Peace – prosperity, quietness, rest

  • Jesus came to pour out the goodwill and favor of God on mankind.
  • Jesus came to make men pleasing to God once again!

Romans 5:17 NIV For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 

  • We were not sinners because we have sinned; we were sinners because Adam sinned.
  • Because of Adam’s sin, death began to reign in the earth.

Our lives are wrapped up in those of our ancestors. (Adam) 

Reign – to possess or exercise power and/or authority 

If you are living a life of defeat, of being defeated by sin, by perpetual guilt and condemnation, by sickness, by anxiety attacks, by financial lack and by broken relationships, you are not living the life that God intended for you. 

Based on the authority of God’s Word, you are destined to “reign in life” as a king, to have kingly dominion over all your challenges and circumstances. 

  • You are called to live above the circumstances of life and not be trampled by them.

(Romans 5:17 GNB) It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ. 

  1. The key to reigning in life through Jesus Christ is in receiving not achieving.

In the world, we are taught that if you want to achieve something you must work for it. The world’s system of success is based on the twin pillars of self-effort and diligence. 

God’s ways are contrary to man’s ways.

Man thinks that for God to bless him, he needs to deserve, earn and merit God’s favor and blessings by his own effort. Man thinks that God’s blessings are based on his performance and good works. 

Notice, He promised that when we receive God’s abundant grace, we will reign in life. He did not say when we achieve grace and our own righteousness, we will reign in life. But we are taught to live life based on a system of achievement. 

What we do is to take the world’s system of achievement and apply it to our Christian life. Instead of depending on God’s grace for His favor and blessings to flow, we depend on our self-efforts to try and deserve God’s favor and blessings. 

    • We are driven to “do, do, do”, forgetting that the basis for Christianity is actually “done, done, done”.

We are made righteous in the New Covenant not because we do righteous deeds, but because of Jesus’ single righteous deed on the Cross! 

There is nothing that you and I can do to deserve His blessings, for they are based entirely on receiving Jesus and through His finished work, the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. 

(Hebrews 10:11-14 NKJV) And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (12) But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (13) from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. (14) For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 

According to the law, the Priest who served in the Tabernacle or the Temple never sat down. They were always moving performing their priestly duties on behalf of the people. The reason this is so is because their work was never finished. 

The way that we can know that our sins are fully dealt with is because of the fact that Jesus sat down. It was a violation of the law for the High Priest to sit down at all. Only Jesus’ work is a finished work. 

Perfected – to make complete or make perfect by reaching the intended goal. 

  1.  The work is already finished, so get somewhere and sit down with Him!

(Ephesians 2:4-8 NKJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 

All of the work of Redemption has been completed for us and this means that we can stop depending on our self-efforts to earn and qualify for God’s blessings in our lives. 

  1. Stop depending on your own selfefforts to earn and qualify you for God’s blessings on your life.
    • We do not labor in life to be blessed; rather, we have the power to labor because we are blessed!

(Ephesians 1:3 NIV)  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

We can do everything in life diligently and work hard but here is the key: our trust cannot be in those things. It must be in what Jesus has done for you. 

For example, if you are a student, study hard. Make straight A’s to glorify God. But don’t trust in your intelligence or qualifications to bring you the blessings of God. 

God’s grace does not make us lazy and unproductive. On the contrary, it make you labor more abundantly for His glory. 

1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT (10) But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me–and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace. 

In the New Covenant, God’s way is to bless you first, and the knowledge of His blessing, gives you the power to labor more abundantly. 

Self-effort will rob you of reigning in life by His grace. You cannot earn your salvation, your healing, or your financial breakthrough by your own efforts. If the greatest miracle – being Born Again – comes by grace through faith, and not by your works, how much more the lesser miracles such as healing, prosperity and restored marriages. 

Colossians 2:13-15 NIV When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (14) having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (15) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 

Because of the cross, the price for sin has been paid, the judgment executed, the anger toward sin exhausted, the veil torn away and the way to intimacy with God opened. 

Our God came, died a cruel death on the cross and paid the full debt of sin with His own life so that you and I can reign in life today. 

  1. If the debt is paid, why are you still trying to send in payments? 

When you have fulfilled your debt to the bank for the mortgage of your house, you should stop sending payments because the debt has already been paid! 

In the same way, quit trying to pay the debt of sin to earn God’s favor because the debt has already been paid! Receive the abundance of God’s grace and the gift of righteousness and reign in life through Jesus Christ!