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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Saturday-Gospel Politics of Heaven

 

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

 

Philippians 1:27

 

Today, people think that politics are dividing us. I’d like to suggest that it’s not politics that’s pulling us apart, but the way people are energizing and acting out their beliefs and citizenship. It’s not the fact that people are citizens of a certain state or country, but what they do with that citizenship that’s creating so much division and hurt.

 

When Paul tells the Philippians to conduct themselves, he’s telling them that they are citizens of heaven[1]. They were bought with a price[2]. We do not belong to ourselves any longer, we belong to Christ[3].

 

When Jesus delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and moved us into his kingdom of light[4], not only did our eternal destiny change, but so did our citizenship here on earth. And with citizenship comes both benefits and responsibilities.

 

We love to talk about the benefits of being a Christian. All the blessings. All the things we receive from our loving and gracious Heavenly Father. We love to sing about being a child of the king. We wear out lots of yellow markers from highlighting all of God’s promises in his word. And that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

But there’s another side to the relationship with God that he purchased with his own precious blood[5]. In Christ, we belong to him[6]. Because God gave himself for us, we’re to give ourselves in return to him[7].

 

And this isn’t like accepting cookies on your phone and PC, or not. It’s not the same as opting to let a website figure out your location, or not. It’s not like the choice to take a survey at the end of your customer service experience, or not.

 

Because we belong to God, because we’re citizens of heaven, we have responsibilities to live like a good citizen should. And these godly obligations are not options that we can either accept or reject. To check or ignore. Paul commands the Philippians and us to be presently and continuously living our lives in such a way so that it reflects well on who God is. We are exhorted to recognize our position, our citizenship in Jesus and to live like it. We have received so much from God. We are privileged to be his sons and daughters, so we must live like it.

 

It’s not an option. It’s not something we can choose to do or not. It’s not something that we can start doing and then stop when it gets tough. We need to behave as good citizens of heaven. Live as good citizens. Perform our duties as good citizens. Period Paul is prodding the Philippians to recognize and accept their position as citizens of a heavenly kingdom. They have a duty and responsibility to obey the obligations that go along with their citizenship.

 

And the same goes for us. In and through Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, we belong to God. We’ve been made his sons and daughters. We’re now citizens of his eternal kingdom. So, we better start living like it. We better start acting like it. We better start speaking like it. We better start worshiping like it. We better start serving like it. We need to not only joyfully receive and recognize our blessings, but to also gladly receive our duties and responsibilities before God.

 

To figure out how we’re doing when it comes to being good citizens for God, to measure how we’re responding to our responsibilities before a watching world, try listening to what people are saying. How are they reacting to the greater Christian community? Are we seen as a people of compassion? As supporters and defenders of what’s right?

 

Or are we seen as bigoted, narrowminded, hateful, spiteful, self-righteous people that want nothing to do with anyone that’s not exactly like us? In case you need some examples of how Christians are thought of, just look at the characters portrayed on television and the movies.

 

Now I know that the enemy is working overtime to discredit the Christian community. But are we giving them lots of ammunition with our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes? Are we our own worst enemy when it comes to not conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?

 

It’s time for everyone calling on the name of Jesus to humble ourselves before God. We need to admit our pride, confess our desire to be liked by the world. We also need to speak and act with humility towards the people around us. Asking forgiveness when needed. Then we should move forward with acts of kindness and charity towards all. What did Jesus say from the cross? “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.[8]” Shouldn’t we think and say the same thing to those around us?

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • How do you see politics pulling people apart? Give examples.

  • Describe the duties and responsibilities of a “citizen of heaven.”

  • List three things that you can do to be a better “citizen of heaven.”


[1] Philippians 3:20

[2] 1 Corinthians 6:20

[3] Ephesians 2:13 NLV

[4] Colossians 1:13 NLT

[5] 1 Peter 1:19

[6] 1 John 4”4 NLT

[7] James 4:7 NCV

[8] Luke 23:32

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