Friday, March 27, 2009

Introduction: Living As Citizens of Heaven

There is an old song which goes: "This world is not my home/I'm just a passing through/ My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue/The angels beckon me from heaven's open door/And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

Our stay here is only temporary. Even if we shall die at the ripe old age of 95, that is still nothing compared to our eternal destiny. We will not spend 10,000 years in heaven; not one million years; not one billion years but all eternity. We are only passing through in this world, our real home is the Father’s house.

Another point the song makes is that our treasure is not here—it’s beyond this world. “ But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:20). The things we call our own in this planet will not last long; and whatever thing you posses that lasts long cannot survive the eschatological Day of the Lord, the period in the last days when God will pour out his full wrath upon the wicked. Peter the apostle writes: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” (2 Peter 3:10).

The last point from the song: “And I can't feel at home in this world anymore”. I’m not comfortable here. I am a stranger in this place. The values and principles of the people around us are very different from ours. The things they treasure are different from the things we treasure. Their pursuits—their ambitions – their goals in life are very different from ours. When you sit with them, you can’t feel any pleasant affections for what makes them happy. Oftentimes, your heart is grieved when they manifests their sinfulness. You will hear from their own mouth their perversity and it reveals that deep in their heaqrts, they are hostile to God.

We will not be happy with them. Why? Because we are strangers in this place.

1 Pet 1:1- “To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia”

1 Pet. 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world…

On their part, they think we are out of our mind! “they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness” (NET)

That’s a well written song! How I wish I always feel that way but honestly I don't. In moments of weakness, I forget that I am a citizen of heaven. There are moments in my life when the world looks so attractive.

The Bible’s warning against worldliness would be useless if our hearts are totally immuned from worldliness. There are times when the world pulls us to itself like a powerful magnet. In this series of lessons, we will go to Philippians 3:17-21 to learn from Apostle Paul on what it takes to live like citizens of heaven.

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