Christians’ Citizenship Is In Heaven

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I’m really glad that God had mercy on me and I’m feeling better. And I pray and trust that the same will be true for Christian in due time. Where are you from? Why do we ask people this? Usually it’s just small talk or we’re trying to pass the time. But I think that question really gets at something about who that person is usually where somebody from,

where they’re a citizen of where they live, says something about who they are, maybe their culture, maybe their interests. For example, if you ask somebody where they’re from and they say, Alabama, then you might ask them while you’re an Auburn fan or you’re a Crimson tide fan. And at the salmon, an Auburn fan, you say, I’m sorry,

that was for Joshua. I’m sorry, man. I had to, I had to throw that out there. Right? So where are you from? Can say a lot about who you are, but even more than where you’re from, where you’re going, it says something about who you are. And here in Philippians, chapter three, Paul, the inspired apostle is doing just that.

He’s drawing a contrast between two groups of people based on where they’re going. There are those who are citizens of heaven. And there are those who are enemies of the cross. And in this section of scripture, Philippians three 17 through four one will see this contrast and really tune in on those who are citizens of heaven by the power of Christ’s resurrection. And hopefully see what that means for us as Christians.

So if you have your Bible, I hope to return to Philippians chapter three and notice in verse 17 beginning, I’m going to see five things about those who have their citizenship in heaven. The first one there in verse number 17 is citizens of heaven. We’re going to see citizens of heaven, follow good examples. Look at what the text says there. Brothers join in imitating me and keep your eyes on those who walk.

According to the example you have in us, Paul’s saying if you’re going to be a successful citizen of heaven and matters, whose footsteps you walk in is if you’re going to be a successful citizen of heaven, there’s some people you should allow to be your role models. And there’s some people you should look at and model your life. After he says, you have to join in my imitating.

Me, Paul often talked about that, but he also said to keep your eyes set on those who walk, according to that same example, that Greek word translated in the English standard as to keep your eyes on really means to notice carefully, to watch out for, to keep thinking about to contemplate. It’s not just man, I got my eyes peeled on this individual and it’s,

I’m going to model my life based on the example I see in them. And when I see their faithfulness and I see what they do and I see how they serve the Lord. That’s who I’m looking at. That’s who I’m thinking about. That’s the example I’m trying to follow. I think, I mean, it goes without saying the things we dwell on really impact our life and the examples we look to and who we model our life after can really impact our life.

I don’t tell a lot of people this, but I peaked in the second grade, I got an award at my elementary school. I want to give you a shout out to Southmore elementary in Denver, Colorado, once a moose, always a moose. They had this award called the model citizen award and it was sponsored by the optimist club of south Denver and every grade level,

they chose a person for each class to get that award. And the second grade, Ms. Everett, God bless her, gave me that award. I don’t know why, but I was thankful. And I started thinking now, why did they give that award out? It’s not just to make people feel good. It’s to tell the student body, Hey, here are your peers that are worth looking up to here are your peers,

follow their example. Look at what they did. Look at how they were awarded because they’re a model citizen and try to be like them. God has blessed us with some model citizens in the church. Thank God. The, the easy examples are in scripture. You’ve got Paul who says imitate me as I imitate Christ. First Corinthians chapter 11, verse one.

He says, if you put into practice the things that I’ve done, Philippians four, verse nine, the things you’ve seen and heard and seen the example in me, the God of peace will be with you. We’ve got individuals that God has blessed us by Providence around us here in this auditorium that we can look to. As an example, I don’t want to make anybody feel bad.

There are people in this room who’ve been faithful to the Lord, faithful to their spouses longer than I’ve been alive. It would be foolish for me to ignore that and to say, I’m not going to look to them as an example, I’m going to tread my own way. That’s not what God wants us to do. And the citizens of heaven know who their good examples are.

God forbid that our younger generation growing up in the church, their ultimate role model is somebody in popular culture, an athlete, a pop star, an influence on Instagram or some guy with a podcast and not the men and women who for years, day in and day out have served Jesus Christ as citizens of heaven. That’s who we need to be looking up to.

That’s who we need to be following. And those of us who can set a good example, need to pull people under our wings. And the second place notice that those who have their citizenship in heaven notice that they serve something greater than themselves. If your citizenship really isn’t heaven, you serve something greater than yourself. Notice verses 18 and 19. There are Philippians chapter three for many.

So why do we need to look out for those who set a good example? Paul’s going to say cause many set, a bad example, for many of whom I have often told you, and now tell you, even with tears, you can hear pause. Tears hit the parchment. As he writes many walk, his enemies of the cross of Christ.

Their end is destruction. Their God is their belly. And they glory in their shame with minds set on earthly things. You see those who don’t have a citizenship in heaven. Those who aren’t worth looking up to they walk, they live. They go about their life a certain way. Paul says here they’re enemies of the cross. I think, especially if you look in the context of Philippians three and a Philippians four,

these are probably individuals who thought they were Christians, but they were boasting in their own flesh and their own accomplishment accomplishments instead of what Christ had accomplished for them. And though they might look like they’re friends of the cross. Really they’re enemies of the cross though. They might look like citizens of heaven. They’re really citizens of another place. Why? Because their minds are set on earthly things because they serve their own bellies.

It says they’re in a VSV at Elise. I think it’s interesting there in verse 18 verse 19, their God is their belly. That’s not to say that they look down at their stomach and think that their stomach is literally like a DD who created things, right? And they’re not down there when they pray. They don’t look down at their stomach to pray.

But when they live, their top concern is themselves. Their top concern is what they want. Their top concern is their own appetites. Those who are citizens of heaven, don’t live like that. What does apatite worship really look like? I think if you go throughout the Bible, you can see some examples of this. It looks like covetousness. When you look at Colossians three,

five, somebody who’s never satisfied. I just need this next thing. I want this next thing. I’m not going to be satisfied until I get this next thing. Paul tells us covetousness is idolatry. The Hebrews author gives us the solution to covetousness. What is it? Contentment, trusting that the Lord will not leave us nor forsake us. If we’re worship our appetite,

it means that we will refuse to do anything that would require discomfort, pain, or self denial. These enemies of the cross. They’re not citizens of heaven because they don’t follow Jesus’s words in Luke 9 23 through 25. We remember what our savior said. If anybody would come after me, what does he have to do? Deny himself and take up his cross.

How often daily and follow after me, I can not be a citizen of that. Man’s kingdom. While living for myself, it looks like somebody. Who’s the flip of Moses. When we worship our own appetites, when our God is our belly, we would rather experience the fleeting pleasures of sin than be mistreated with the people of God. Moses was the opposite.

You read about that. And Hebrews chapter 11, verse 25, when a Christian would rather make a decision based on how they feel about something, then what God says about something. We began worshiping our own appetite. When we would rather experience what we might call sinful comfort than righteous pain. Then our belly has become our God. A citizen of heaven.

There’s a certain conduct by which they live. There’s certain things they avoid. There’s certain things they do. But first and foremost, they live SAF, self sacrificial lives. The one who is waiting for us in heaven to come back for us, the one who purchased our citizenship in heaven, he denied everything denied himself, denied himself, comfort, denied himself,

ease the Knight himself. Everything you could deny yourself so that we could be there with him as citizens of that place. We must do. Likewise notice in the third place. Those with heavenly citizenship await their savior. Look at verse number 20. Let us what the Bible says here. This is the verse that this whole lesson is based off of, but those with heavenly citizenship await their savior verse 20.

But, and there’s a contrast there in the ESV. It’s that Greek word, Gar that Jason talked about in this last lesson, it’s really a continuation, but our citizenship is in heaven. And from it, we await a savior. The Lord, Jesus Christ. Notice the contrast between verses 19 and 20. Those who are not citizens of heaven, what is their mind set on earthly things?

But our citizenship as Christians is in heaven and from heaven, we await our savior. I think knowing something about Roman citizenship and the city of Philippi helps us understand part of the things Paul is trying to get to here. Roman citizenship in some ways is similar to American citizenship. In some ways different. There are four ways. My understanding is that you could get a Roman citizenship at the time of Paul’s writing.

One of course you could be born a Roman citizen. And the Romans believed that citizenship was conferred by your father at your conception. So if your mom was a citizen and your dad wasn’t, you wouldn’t necessarily automatically be a citizen next, you could earn a Roman citizenship through military service. That was kind of their way of baiting people into fighting for them.

Even if they weren’t Romans by birth, Hey, if you survive and you’re a veteran, you’re going to citizenship, there was also a way you could buy a Roman citizenship from a crooked government official. We’re familiar with the Roman tribunal, right? And acts chapter 22, who was amazed that Paul was born a Roman citizen when he had to spend a large sum of money to get his own.

And then there was a fourth way. You could be granted sort of a halfway Roman citizen by becoming a freed slave. So Romans had this idea of citizenship and meant a lot. It was something. If you were in Rome, you’d be willing to put your line, your life on the line to try to get it was something that was valuable. And the Philippians understood that probably more than anybody.

Phillip high became a Roman colony after a bloody civil war. The battle that won the war was fought in Philippi between names we’re familiar with. At least if you know, most of us, probably I think there’s some plays about these guys, Octavian and Anthony, their armies destroyed the armies of the assassins of Julius Caesar. And they established Philippa as a colony.

It was Phillip high where that last battle was won and Octavian and Anthony and the Imperial force has said, if you’re a veteran of this war, you get to settle and Philippi for free and you have a Roman citizenship. So these people in Philippi, when Paul’s writing likely were veterans or descendants of veterans, they would have been patriotic people. They would have been people who knew what it meant to have a Roman citizenship.

They knew what it meant to really be part of that Roman society. And it was by all accounts. One writer says a miniature Rome. It was under the jurisdiction of Roman municipal law. It was governed by leaders directly appointed by Rome. It was the original little Italy. Phillip high was a canola is to the contrary, not withstanding to say the least for the pie was a patriotic city.

They loved Rome. And when you talk to them about citizenship, the first thing they were thinking about is Rome. But Paul reminded them of their ultimate citizenship. Rome is great. It’s afforded you some privileges. But when you think about where your citizenship really is, don’t think about the Italian peninsula. Don’t think about that city on the seven Hills. Think about that.

Heavenly city. Think about where your savior is. Your Savior’s not in Rome. The things most important to you. Aren’t in Rome, they are in heaven. And that changes the way you live. That changes the way you act. And because of Christian is ultimately a citizen of heaven, where Sojourner here on this earth, Hebrews 13, 14 tells us for here.

We have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come Hebrews 11, 16, speaking of Abraham and his family. But as it is, they desire a better country. That is, I have only one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for. He has prepared for them a city. If we are citizens of heaven and we long for heaven and we live for heaven,

God’s not ashamed to be called our God. But if we invert it and we’re more American than we are Christian, we emphasize our citizenship here in this earth and this world with all of these things. And we say, this is what matters most to me. And you can tell by how I talk and how I act and how I interact with other people and what I’m worried about and what keeps me up at night.

It’s not the things of God. It’s not the things of the Bible. It’s the things of this world. If we claim God while living like our only citizenship is here, he is ashamed to be our God. He is ashamed to say that that person would claim me when he lived. So contrary to me, day in and day out. What does it mean to be a citizen of a country?

Being a citizen of a country means more than just privileges. It also means that there are responsibilities. I know that brother Brian mentioned that Christian was sworn in as a citizen, not too long ago, I had the awesome experience of accompanying. Wow, I’ll say my father-in-law’s aunt to her being sworn in as an American citizen during COVID, when it first took off.

And I was astounded by the oath when somebody becomes an American citizen, that way, the oath that they say, I just want to read it to you. And we’ll draw a parallel. Think about this oath and the responsibilities there in the oath reads like this. I hereby declare an oath that I absolutely and entirely renounce, and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince potentate,

state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have here to, for been a subject or citizen that I will support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. Then I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law,

that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law. And then I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me, God. When I heard that, I said that was intense. I did not say that when I came out of my mother’s room, I know for a fact think about what’s,

you’re signing up for right people. So relish to be a citizen of this country. They’re willing to swear that oath to be a citizen. Sometimes we forget that the privileges of heaven, citizen heavenly citizenship. Isn’t just about the nice stuff. It’s not just about the good stuff. There’s also some responsibilities that we have to Sam, a citizen of heaven to say,

I acknowledge the sovereignty of heaven above every other who might be sovereign to say, I’m a citizen of heaven, says when it comes down to it, and there’s a conflict between Hevron sovereignty and the sovereignty of Caesar, I’m going to choose the sovereignty of heaven to say, I’m a citizen of heaven, says if it comes down to it and it always will,

when there’s a spiritual war, will I be on heaven’s side or will I be on the other side? I don’t have to make the choice. I’m a citizen of heaven. When I swore that allegiance to Jesus Christ in my baptism, it was more than just getting wet. It was more than just something people saw. It was me signing my life away for the greatest cause you ever could to be a citizen of heaven and to be a citizen of her heavenly king notice in the next place that those who are citizens of heaven,

that they will be transformed. Look at Philippians chapter three in verse 21. So we’re waiting for Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body by the power that enables him even to subject all things to him, self as citizens of heaven realized that death is not the end of the story. Citizens of heaven realized that this world is not all there is.

That’s why we’ve made that bargain. And that’s why we’ve signed up for that kind of commitment. We walk by faith and not by sight and know that when we die, that will not be it for us. This whole lectureships has been on that Hiram spoke last night on what kind of body we’ll have. There’s some insight given here not much, but there is some insight given here.

We know that it will be a transformation that occurs first Corinthians 15 talks about that. We know that it will be glorious, right? That’s what he says in Philippians 3 21 first John chapter three verse two talks about that. We don’t know what it will be like, but when he appears, we’ll see him as he really is and we’ll be like him,

right? There’s something we’re looking forward to as citizens of heaven. And I was looking at this and I was reminded that heaven has a dress code. You can not enter heaven wearing what you’re wearing right now. It’s not going to work. We talked about that last night, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Why is Jesus Christ going to come back and transform us so that we can be with him forever on high?

So we can take hold of that citizenship in earnest and live there and be with him and spend eternity with him. And how great will that be? What an honor, what a privilege, what a responsibility laid on us as citizens of heaven. Notice in the last place that those with heavenly citizenship must stand firm. And I appreciate that this assignment wasn’t just Philippians three 17 through 21 is Philippians three 17 through chapter four,

verse one. Sometimes those chapter divisions don’t necessarily break up the thought as well as maybe intended notice Philippians four verse one. Therefore, of course we all know when you see it, therefore you’ve got to find out what it’s there for because of all this, because we should imitate those who walk faithfully, because there are many enemies of the cross because our citizenship is in heaven because we’re waiting for Jesus.

Because when he returns, he will transform us. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for my joy and my crown, what does Paul wanted us to do? Stand firm thus in the Lord. My beloved, you see the love that Paul has for this congregation. He was certainly close to these Christians, but here he’s telling us because of all this,

you have a responsibility to stand firm to stay the course. And when you think about the blessings of heavenly citizenship, that’s something we should want to do. It’s in our best interests to stand firm in the Lord, it’s in our best interest to stay the course and to not just live as citizens of heaven, ourself, but to try to recruit as many to come into those pearly gates,

as we can notice what the text says there really to stand firm based on all that. Have you ever had a, a, a fair-weather friend, right? You thought he was there for you, maybe you guys were close in the time when you really needed them. The most, it was nowhere to be found. Maybe not. You might be familiar with the idea of a fair weather fan.

Those Buccaneers fans know what that’s about. Right? 30 years of absolute misery for a couple of years of glory, right? How many Buccaneers fans started out as Buccaneers fans and then kind of wavered. And now they’re back on the bandwagon. I don’t know. Only God knows we’re familiar with this idea of this Fairweather allegiance. Paul’s trying to get the Philippians sort of mind them that you cannot be a fair weather citizen.

Right? And I was called upon by my government to fulfill one of those obligations that are mine as a citizen. And I say, sorry, I’m actually not a citizen today. I just don’t feel like it. It’s a little cloudy. The humidity is getting to me a little bit. I don’t think I can do it. Paul is saying those excuses are not going to work.

If you’re a citizen, you’re not just a citizen. Sometimes you’re not just a citizen. When you feel like it. You’re not just a citizen when it’s convenient. You’re not just a citizen. When it makes the most sense to you. I’m a citizen on Sunday and Wednesday and lectureship week. But the rest of the time, I don’t want anything to do with heaven.

The rest of the time, I’m not waiting for my savior. I’m living. However I want. That’s why Paul tells them to stand firm. We should live every day, like heaven as our destiny, because when we’re in Christ, it is, but it’s up to us. Will I live that citizen ship out? Will I live it consistently? Will I,

every day live the way I live, knowing that I’m waiting for my savior to take me back to my true Homeland live every day, knowing that I’m waiting for my savior to return, to transform my body so that I can spend eternity with him living every day, following the examples, God, by his Providence and through his word has given me to encourage me and strengthen me.

Or am I going to slack? Am I going to shirk? Am I going to be a fair weather citizen? The choice is ours. I started this lecture by asking, where are you from? I’m going to end it by saying, asking, where are you going? I know for many of us, the answer is resoundingly by God’s grace heaven.

I would encourage you to stay the course. I would encourage you to live out your citizenship consistently. I would encourage you with the words of Paul stand firm. Therefore my beloved, because heaven will surely be worth it all. Thank you for your time. Okay.

Forest Antemesaris
Christians’ Citizenship Is In Heaven
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