ROCK SOLID/STUDY 7 OF 8 PASTOR BARRY,THE GATHERING CHURCH
A GOOD CITIZEN Philippians 3:7, 14,17-21 Before the 2016 presidential election many notable entertainment personalities said that if Donald Trump won the election that they were revoking their American citizenship and moving to Canada. Frankly, I was looking forward to the mass exodus of these entitled, over inflated elitists, but surprise! They’re all staying put and publicly whining about the legal results of the election. Thousands of their fickle fans are now marching the streets in cities throughout America in protest. They are busting out car windows and burning effigies of the president elect and the American flag. These are mostly embittered “millennials” (a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) who have no appreciation for what has been paid for their citizenship by American soldiers, or for the free election process that they just engaged in. Likely, many of these protestors didn’t even engage in voting in the first place! They are citizens, however, of the United States of America, no matter how badly behaved. I still say love it or leave it…please!
“Good Citizenship” is defined as a person who properly fulfills his or her role as a citizen. Theodore Roosevelt said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight”. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a good citizen is a person who obeys the laws of his country, contributes to society and participates in public affairs with wisdom. Good citizenship is closely tied to the concept of civic duty, the idea that citizens have responsibilities they must fulfill with regard to their country. The USCIS states that good citizens honor and protect the Constitution.
I have an idea that could solve our immigration problem forever! Let us regularly deport all bad adult citizens in America and replace them with immigrants who truly want to be good citizens of the United States according to the definition. Flag burners and vandals can be the first in the trade!
The question of the day is…are you a good citizen? And on this Sunday morning I am not talking about being a good American Citizen (anymore). I am referring to your citizenship in Heaven…If of course you belong. And yes, “Christians” often forget the requirements of that precious citizenship as well.
The Apostle Paul defines these Rock Solid requisites of our citizenship in Philippians 3:7 and 14. We who are in Christ are no longer to look at what we can gain on this earth. We are to press on toward the higher calling of Christ. Remember the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13). In Philippians 3:15-21, Paul tells us that the mature (the grownups) will take this attitude and if you think otherwise God will deal with you. The Apostle offers him and other Church leaders as an example of good citizenship and reminds that those who set their minds on earthly things are “enemies of the cross of Christ”. “Our citizenship is in heaven” and we eagerly wait for our Savior to return to take us home. We are not of this world!
NOT OF THIS WORLD John 18:36, John 15:18-19, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 12:2 Have you ever felt like you just don’t belong on this earth? Like your values, morals and reasoning just don’t intersect with the populace masses? Is your biblical world view in opposition to nearly every conversation you have? Do even the people you know who go to church weekly think you are “over the top” in your life applications of Christianity? If your answer is yes, then you are likely being a good citizen of heaven!
When Jesus was before Governor Pilate and facing execution, He boldly told him: “My kingdom is not of this world”. Jesus also reminded His disciples that that they would be hated by the world as He was (is) because they also do not belong to it. The Apostle John explained the biblical definition of “the world” to his church in 1 John 2:15-17. To be a good citizen of heaven we are not to love it. The Apostle Paul adds to that by saying we are “not to be conformed” to its pattern (or squeezed into its mold). We are to be a people transformed by the renewing of our mind. Brainwashed if you like! Yes, our brains all need to be washed in the water of the Word! (Ephesians 5:25-26)
WE ARE FOREIGNERS 1 Peter 2:9-12 The Apostle Peter reminds us that as citizens of heaven we are a “chosen people” and a “holy Nation” with the purpose of declaring God’s praises. Like a lighthouse in a dark sea. We must remember that we are “foreigners and exiles” on this earth. We are to abstain from the things that wage war on our souls and look forward to the day that Jesus visits us.
COMING FOR US John 14:2-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Mark 34-38 Jesus promised that He would return for His own. We are to be faithful citizens of heaven as we wait expectantly for Him. As the Apostle Paul explained, some will die before He returns and some of us will see Him come in the clouds. Some of us will rise first and others will be caught up to meet together in the air, but we will all be with the Lord together forever in that city He has prepared for His citizens.
Our mission is to unashamedly follow Him. We are not to follow others in “this adulterous and sinful generation”. We are to follow Him as citizens of Heaven. Let us be good ones!