INTRO:As I read and study more in the New Testament, I am more convinced than ever that in the very nature of discipleship a disciple of Christ is totally different from those about him. He is a transformed person(Rom 12:2). He now has Christ living in him (Gal 2:20). He has a new mind(I Pet 4:1). He loves in deed and in truth (I Jno 3:18). He truly put on the new man (Eph 4:24). How many are the sections of the New Testament which compare the old life with the new one in Christ. In the text we have read we discover that Christians are Citizens of Heaven ... that explains something of the difference.
I THINK OF THIS CITIZENSHIP (3:20a)
A. Begin with Philippi a Roman colony
1. such colonies were little Romes in far flung places
2. often settled by Roman soldiers who had served their time
(21 years) and who gained full Roman citizenship as reward
3. Roman law - Latin language - Roman loyalty - lifestyle
4. these people never forgot they were Romans their indebtedness to Rome their love for Rome understood about being citizens isolated from home country
5. such is the background of the Philippian church
B. Our citizenship is in heaven
1. law of this kingdom Mt 28:18 with Gal 6:2
a. the authoritative law of Christ
b. a law which calls us to obedience even in circumstances when it would be far easier on us not to obey
c. Mt 6:10 the kingdom of heaven is one in which the Lords will is done as perfectly, completely on earth as in heaven
2. language of this kingdom Col 4:6
a. it is free of carnal, profane things filthy, foolish talking are not heard (Eph 5:4) evil speaking of wrath, anger are put behind (Eph 4:31)
b. it is gracious, uplifting language (Eph 4:29)
c. its language is similar in nationality ... different in its content!
3. loyalty to this kingdom Rev 2:10
a. do we love the church? are we truly impressed by what God has done is doing for us?
b. do we feel hurt when someone speaks evil of the church?
c. are we willing - no matter what others choose - to be loyal to the church, to the Lord? Loyalty does not swerve aside according to whims, fancies (Roman soldier would rather die than be disloyal)
4. lifestyle of this kingdom Eph 5:8
a. I Pet 2:11 a lifestyle conscious of the sorts of things which damage the spiritual life
b. lifestyle so attractive in its honesty, purity, caringness, devotion that others have no difficulty knowing you are different with reason (I Pet 2:12)
c. a lifestyle unmistakably Christian
5. with such as this how can we forget we are citizens?
6. though living on / in earth we are rightnow citizens of heaven....
II. YET, THE LONGING IS OR SHOULD BE FOR BEING IN THE HOME COUNTRY
A. We look for the Savior (3:20b)
1. look for is that hopeful anticipation, expectancy of one who loves deeply awaiting the one he / she loves faces of love doves searching the lined railings of ships or soldiers coming home
2. wait for (ASV) verb form implies a waiting full of attention, perseverance, desire (comment)
3. here is some of the great motive power of the life of citizenship in heaven were just pilgrims here were really looking forward to home country with Jesus (Heb 11:13-16)
4. There is tremendous energy in the present power of a future hope - Jas 5:8
B. And then - the changed body made for heaven (3:21)
1. our physical bodies serve us perfectly for earthly living and we should use our bodies to Gods glory (I Cor 6:20)
2. but there must be a change for heavenly abiding
3. thus, I Cor 15:49-53
4. lest we be caused to wonder how we need to remember that the Lord who created (by His power) the whole material creation is the Lord who - by His power - will effect this change
CLOSE: Are we living as citizens of heaven should? Are we really looking forward to finally going home? I shall never forget the feeling of arriving home (in the U.S.A.) after several years away!
Cecil A. Hutson
27 August 2000
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)