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By Pastor Fran

Text:Phil.3:20-21

Theme:Our Position in Christ


This is our last message on our theme for this month, ‘Our position in Christ’ and the title is, ‘We are citizens of heaven.

It is a big thing of joy and pride to have a country of one’s own or to be a citizen of a famous city or country. This is because a citizen is entitled to all the benefits and social amenities including protection, education, housing and others that are obtainable in the place where one belongs as a citizen.

Apostle Paul was proud to claim his Roman citizenship when a Roman commander commanded that he should be beaten. He was afraid when he heard that Paul was a Roman citizen. He said: “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen” (Acts 22:28 NKJV). If being a citizen of the world that is temporary and will soon pass away is a big thing, how great would it is to be a citizen of heaven which abides for ever!

The citizenship of a country can be attained by birth, naturalization or by registration (children born by naturalized parents). As mentioned above no matter how one becomes a citizen, he is entitled to all the benefits of a citizen. Some of us here this morning have dual citizenships – citizenships of the countries from where we migrated originally and the citizenship of this country. But as Christians who are children of God, this world is not our own.

According to the bible, we are sojourners, foreigners, strangers and pilgrims. Jesus Himself said that we are in the world but we are not of the world. We have a better city which is spiritual and which lasts forever – that is, the heavenly city of which we are its citizens.

In Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church he said, ”For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to himself” (Phil.3:20-21).

The day we surrender our lives to Christ we become children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26). The writer of the book of Hebrews also confirms that the people of faith mentioned in the book died without receiving all that God promised but that they never lost vision of heaven, a better place, a homeland (Heb.11:13-16 ).

If we are citizens of heaven how should we live on earth?

The Bible exhorts us to set our eyes on the things of heaven since we have been raised with Jesus Christ our Master, who is sitting on the right hand of God. That we should not concern ourselves with the things of this world only but should crave for the things that will please God because the more we regard the world around us as God does, the more we live in harmony with Him. We must not be too attached to what is only temporary.

As citizens of heaven we should consider ourselves dead to sin by being unresponsive to sexual immorality, impurity, lust, anger, idolatry, rage, malicious behaviour, slander, greed and shameful desires. But instead we should commit ourselves to what Christ, who created the new nature in us teaches and to rely on the Holy Spirit power.

Since God chose us to be a holy people whom He loves, we should get rid of our old lives and put on the new nature given by Christ which are tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We must also give room for each other’s fault and forgive people who offend us.

We must let the love of God dwell richly in us to the extent that it flows out to other people and allow the peace that comes from Christ rule our hearts. We should let the Word of God with all its richness, live in our hearts to make us wise so that we can teach and counsel each other. We should be good ambassadors of Christ everywhere we go and at all times just as we would not want to misrepresent the country whose citizens we are on earth.

Having discussed what it is to be a citizen of heaven and how Christ expects you to represent Him on earth, what do you think of yourself this morning? Do you see yourself as truly a citizen of heaven or of this world? Apostle John warns believers not to love the world or the things in the world because if they do, the love of the God is not in them. For all that is in the world -the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of God but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it but those who do the will of God abide forever (1Jn.2:15-17).

If indeed you are a citizen of heaven then you must have been completely transformed from your old sinful nature of the people of the world to a new nature of Christ. The bible states that Christians are brand new people on the inside because the Holy Spirit gives them new life as they no longer follow the desires of their sinful nature but produce the fruit of the Spirit (2Cor.2:17; Gal.5:19-23).

If you think you still have passion for evil desires you will need to confess your sins to God, ask for forgiveness and ask Christ to take full control of your life. Pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit so that you can bear the fruit of the Spirit and live the rest of your life as a citizen of Heaven.

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