I am a stranger here, within a foreign land;
My home is far away, upon a golden strand;
Ambassador-to-be of realms beyond the sea,
I’m here on business for my King.
From "The King's Business," by E. Taylor Cassel, 1902
Greetings again in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord bless you and make you a blessing.
You know, our citizenship isn’t here. There is such a wonderful scripture about this that I want to read to you, it’s in the third chapter of Philippians. I wish we could just read the whole chapter, it’s such a wonderful chapter. God’s Word says, “But what things were gain to me, these I counted loss for Christ.” Paul was saying that all things were just nothing, he counted them loss! They weren’t worth anything compared to what he received in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
Now we go on to the portion that I especially want to talk about this morning, skipping a few verses here, because we don’t have time. And he said:
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, and whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)”
Now let’s mark that sentence, because we are going to say something about that: “Who mind earthly things, for our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Now in 2 Timothy 2:3 and 4 we find also these words: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. For no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” So you see, the Word tells us that no good Christian soldier entangles himself in the affairs of this life.
I think perhaps I mentioned one time on this program that I did not have my citizenship in this country, because I had married a Swede who had been born in Sweden, and who didn’t have his citizenship. If they only knew, he was such a wonderful man of God. It was during the days of the war, and if you married one who was an alien, you became an alien! Well, my people had been born in this country, my great-grandparents and all.
Yet that made an alien of me, and every month I had to send in where I was and account for myself because I was “an alien!” It was such a ridiculous situation, and I haven’t time to go into all the facets of it, but I can tell you it was most embarrassing. It took me some time to get that citizenship.
Then it was that this passage became such a comfort to my heart, that my citizenship was in heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven,” Philippians 3:20. And I want to comment on this for just a wee bit.
Some time ago I found myself one night paying a real price and sacrifice to sit up and hear through a late program. It was regarding some one of our national crises; I think at that time that it was in Africa.
I wanted to be well informed, and more and more I found myself trying to keep up with as many phases of that situation in Africa, and I didn’t realize until this particular night that it was telling on me spiritually.
I was getting so entangled with the affairs of this world, though I wasn’t doing anything worldly, except just trying to keep up with the news, as I see it, and be well informed so that I could converse intelligently with other people.
But I found myself trying to keep up with so many phases of the mess this old world is in, and I couldn’t do it without worrying and feeling almost in bitterness sometimes, and some frustration because of the world condition, it was taking the keen edge off of my spiritual life. It was on this particular night, of this late program, that I just had it out with my soul.
I’m not saying anything against being well informed, but information that is needful and can be used for God’s glory—that’s different. I want to be a good citizen and do all I can to help my country, but first of all, let’s remember this passage, that our citizenship is in heaven.
“We’re here on business for the King,” and our real citizenship isn’t here. You cannot be true to that heavenly citizenship and have so much time absorbed with the affairs of this world, even with the present world crises.
If we really believe our citizenship is in heaven we’ll not become so attached to this world, or absorbed in every little news about its tragic condition. Because its fears drive us to tension, its troubles cause us loss of time and sleep, and time that we could spend in prayer.
Dearly beloved, there are so many of the world to tend to the world’s affairs. Our time and strength and money must be cast on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the side of things eternal.
Our attitude as a citizen of heaven is to be detached from this world, not attached to it! Not to be conformed to this world, though we be well informed in some ways, but we are to be transformed by our living in the things that are eternal, and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and living upon His Word. (Romans 12:2)
We must have a deep realization that we are living for eternity and not for time, and our heavenly citizenship can never be put in a secondary place. There never was a day when spiritual matters could be so easily put in a second place, and then met with some silly little excuse, that things of time take our thoughts and our energies.
Men are not facing up to eternal facts with moral issues like I have. They have no sense of values; their comparison of values are forgotten today! I don’t know just how to express it the way I want to, but eternal things call, oh they call so earnestly today because the Lord is needing every soldier, and that soldier cannot entangle himself in the things of this world.
We can’t thoughtlessly give ourselves to the temporal because we are defeated spiritually by all this hubbub about us. If we could but see the events of life framed in the ultimate results that they lead to, what a change there would be in our lives and in our sense of values.
God help us that we might keep the divine perspective clear! Is there someone listening in that is content to lose a soul because they’re so occupied with the temporal that they have no sense, no time for things eternal?
Philippians 3:20, states that our citizenship is in heaven, “from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Are you looking for Him? Are you really looking for His coming as He has promised? Or are you looking at TV so much and looking at the news and all these other things so much that you don’t think much about His coming, and your affections are not set upon the things that are above, but they are set upon the things that are upon the earth?
God’s Word says in Colossians, “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God,” and “Set not your affections upon the things on earth, but on the things that are above.” (Colossians 3:3, 2) And Hebrews 13:14 states, “We have here no continuing city, but we look for one to come.”
Maybe there are some Christians that have said like the disciples of old, “Yes, Lord, I believe these things. I will follow Thee and these things.” But beloved, it’s going to take something more than just a statement of that kind. It’s going to take some real action on your part.
You’re going to have to live in God’s Word and take a definite stand before others, and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Won’t you accept the words of these scriptures and believe that in the Lord Jesus Christ you can have a supply of His strength and His power and His wisdom, to take an active part in His service, in the affairs of the heavenly kingdom where your real citizenship is?
God’s Word says, “He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) That’s where your life is!
There is a little verse that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) If you’d just taste, by giving Him a chance to work in your heart! You’d need only a taste to make you long to know Him better and live more in His Word. He wants to help you. He longs to solve your problems and lift your burden and comfort you.
God bless you and make you a blessing. Keep looking up. He answers prayer.