- Constantly Abiding
- Give Thanks
- My Jesus Fair
- One of the great themes of the NT is the position of the Christian. So much of our daily living, our daily growth in holiness is an expression of our understanding and application of our position in Christ. That is something entirely unique about Christianity. The Bible does not simply tell you to be a good person. It does not say, “Shame on you, you need to be better.” It does not simply say, “Just go out and live a moral life.”This morning we are going to continue looking at our position in Christ! We are going to look at one of the wonderful truths that is the believer’s present reality in Christ.20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,Notice carefully the beginning of the verse. Our citizenship IS in heaven! Not our citizenship WILL BE in heaven, no, our citizenship is even now in heaven. It is even now a fact—not that we are going to be, but that we are!If you are united to Christ, if you have been born again, you have a new citizenship. Because you are in Christ and thus you share the same privileges as Christ, you already are a citizen of heaven.Our citizenship is in heaven!Citizenship- the place or location in which one has the right to be a citizenPlay on words- dual idea because of the Philippians Roman citizenship.New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis, Volumes 1–5 (πόλις)“as citizens of heaven live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” “You know the pride and responsibility attached to living in a Roman colony: remember that you have a higher allegiance calling you to faithful conduct”
“the background of the word, in this context, is the situation of the readers who live in a city which was a Roman military colony directly related to the capital city of Rome” (The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians , 160–61). As Roman subjects, the Philippian Christians owed an allegiance to the far-off capital city of Rome. At the same time, they had “another king, one called Jesus” (Acts 17:7). Hence, on earth they are resident aliens who dwell temporarily in a foreign country; their true home is elsewhere (cf. Heb 11:13; 1 Pet 1:1; 2:11; Jas 1:1; Diogn. 5.4–5, 9–10).13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,Yes, you are citizens of the USA. Yes, you take pride in that citizenship. But, there is another citizenship that must take precedent. Because you are in Christ, you have been translated to a new kingdom. You are now an exile, a stranger, a sojourner. Your true home, your true country has a heavenly address. This must affect how you live here and now!As citizens of heaven, as people blessed beyond measure because we are in Christ, how should that effect our daily living?How should our higher allegiance to our heavenly kingdom dictate our earthly conduct?1. Citizens of heaven eagerly look forward to the return of their King20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.What are you longing for? What are you eagerly and expectantly waiting for? Are you waiting for Jesus to return? Do you talk about it with others? Does it come up in your prayer life? Do you fill your thoughts often with what it will be like when Christ who is our life appears, then we also will appear with Him in glory? This is something a citizen of heaven does all the time.2. Citizens of heaven take an interest in what really matters in this earthly life“Now, of course, when Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven, he is not teaching that the Christian should not take any interest in this world and the affairs of this life.” —Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.It matters a great deal how we spend our earthly lives. It matters how we involve ourselves in earthly affairs. We cannot treat the time we spend here and now flippantly or carelessly. But, citizens of heaven will spend their lives on things that really matter, things that have eternal value- that is other people.How about you?3. Citizens of heaven selflessly work to maintain unity2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche-Εὐοδία and Συντύχηπαρακαλέω- entreat, urge, appeal, plead, implore, encourageI strongly urge Euodia and I strongly urge Syntyche (repeated use!)Notice: Paul does not command, he does not use the imperative in v. 2. He does not say, “You must agree!” Rather, he entreats, he urges, he encourages, he pleads with these ladies to agree in the Lord.1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.What is Paul urging these ladies to do?To agree in the Lord-φρονέω- to have an attitude, to think in a particular manner, to dispose the mind in a certain wayUsed 7x’s in Philippians!!2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,Paul is strongly urging these ladies to strive for unity within the local church!How does Paul go about encouraging unity within the local church at Philippi?By encouraging every believer to have the same mind in the Lord. Only when we have the mind of Christ, only when we share that mindset in common with one another, can we maintain the unity of the local church!What is that mindset? It is the very mindset that caused Jesus to lower Himself (not grasping onto his equality with God, but willingly lowering his position because of Jesus’ desire to provide salvation for all). It is the very mindset that caused Jesus to empty Himself (through addition) by adding to his divine nature a fully human nature and by taking the form of a slave. It is the very mindset that caused Jesus to humble Himself- through perfect obedience to the will of the Father. In Jesus’ case that meant becoming obedient to the point of death, even a cross death.The mindset of Jesus was humility, self-sacrificial love, glad obedience, all for the sake of other people. He did not count his Himself as more significant that other people, he did not operate out of selfish ambition or conceit, instead he looked to the interests of others.This is the path of unity in the local church. We must all think this way. We must have this common mindset. Our focus must be on Jesus and on the gospel and on other people. When that dominates our thinking- so many other things that might cause disunity and division- just go away.3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.True companion? Timothy, Epaphroditus / also Silas, Lydia, / Syzyge (proper name) or even Paul’s wife. No way to be sure, but the local church at Philippi would have known.The point here is that this disagreement between these ladies was so deep that Paul knew they were going to need help from another church member to restore fellowship. Citizens of heaven work diligently to maintain unity in the body!Ephesians 4:1–3 (ESV)1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.I also want you to notice what else Paul says about these ladies!3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.Labored side by side with me in the gospel!These ladies were active in gospel ministry. They were at one time co-laborers and fellow workers, but now they are divided and they are hindering the work of the gospel.How easy is it to get distracted in gospel ministry?How important is the proper mindset for the local church? Make the main thing the main thing!Whose names are in the book of life!Be careful about calling into question someone else’s salvation!Work selflessly to maintain the unity of the church-You can only do this by putting on the mind of Christ- by thinking the same way- by having your mind fixed on others, fixed on the gospel, fixed on the glory of your Savior!Why should you live this way? You are a citizen of heaven! Live like it!Though you are away from home, remember that the honor and dignity of the great kingdom to which you belong is in your hands. There are those other people around and about you who do not belong to your kingdom; they are watching you and they will judge your country by you. —Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones4. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by rejoicing4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.Citizens of heaven have a life of joy- they rejoice in the Lord always!Rejoice- 2x’s both imperatives both commandsThe key is that we, as citizens of heaven, must always discipline ourselves to rejoice in the Lord!“I am jealous of this glorious life we have in Christ and with the Apostle, and it makes me weep to think of the Christian life as just a good life, a life which is just a little better than that of the average person. Christians are people who are already citizens of heaven, people who have been translated and elevated.” —Dr. Martyn Lloyd JonesHow do you do this? How do you go about your week and rejoice (especially when things are going so badly)?6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.We smell of the smoke of this lower house of the earth, because our hearts and our thoughts are here. If we could mount up with God, we should smell of heaven and of our country above, and we should look like our country, and like strangers or people not born or brought up hereaway. Our crosses would not bite upon us, if we were heavenly minded. — Samuel RutherfordPastor I really struggle with having joy in my life what should I do? What did you fill your thoughts with yesterday? I listened to the news for most of day.Go up beforehand and see your lodging. Look through all your Father’s rooms in heaven; in your Father’s house are many dwelling-places. Men take a sight of lands ere they buy them. I know Christ hath made the bargain already: but be kind to the house you are going to, and see it often. — Samuel RutherfordThis kind of spiritual mindedness will lead you, as a citizen of heaven, to have lives distinguished by joy.5. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by graciousness5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;Notice the imperative!You must let your reasonableness be knownlenience n. — mercifulness or tolerance of slight deviations from moral or legal rectitude.
not insisting on every right of letter of law or custom, yielding, gentle, kind, courteous, tolerantIllustration: When you were little and you had to share a piece of pie with your sibling. How would you respond if the half that they got was 1 mm bigger that the half that you got? Do you remember pouring drinks? You had to line them up side by side and bend down and compare the levels of liquid because if one glass had one drop more what would happen?
Aristotle describes the gentle person as “the one who by choice and habit does what is equitable, and who does not stand on his rights unduly, but is content to receive a smaller share although he has the law on his side.”Citizens of heaven are lenient, they are tolerant of slight deviations, they do not insist on every right of letter of law or custom. Rather they are gentle, kind, and courteous.Illustration: A couple calling me fat and how I held that against them for years.Refutation: I do not mean that you must overlook every offence. Some offenses are big enough that you have to go through the process of seeking forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration. Many believers are unwilling to go through that difficult process and that is a shame because it hinders unity and it hinders the standing shoulder to should together for the sake of the gospel.To whom are we gracious towards? Only other Christians right? Let your reasonableness be known to EVERYONE!Titus 3:1–3 (ESV)1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.Why should we be gracious towards everyone?5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;The Lord is at HAND?Jesus is NEAR- close in time or place or relationship.29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.Is your life distinguished by graciousness? It must be! Even when you are treated unfairly! Even when you are persecuted! You are a citizen of heaven, be gentle, be kind, be gracious- your King is near!6. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by peaceSo many people in our culture today live with a complete lack of peace in their lives. They have to manufacture a pretense of peace, through business, through drugs, through alcohol, through medication, etc. but they do not have true peace. This can be true of believers as well as unbelievers. True peace is a spiritual blessing that is given to us through Jesus.27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.So how do we receive Jesus’ gift of peace? How do we, as citizens of heaven, have lives distinguished by peace?3 ways:A. We receive the spiritual gift of peace through prayer6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.6μηδὲν μεριμνᾶτε,You must not be anxious about anythingἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶBUT in everythingτῇ προσευχῇthrough prayerκαὶ τῇ δεήσειand through most earnest petitions (c.f. Heb 5.7)7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.μετὰ εὐχαριστίαςwith thanksgivingτὰ αἰτήματα ὑμῶν γνωριζέσθω πρὸς τὸν θεόν.Let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God’s peace is not the result of the power of our prayers or the effectiveness of our prayers. Prayer is not auto-suggestion, a form of self-hypnosis that produces God’s peace. Prayer is our openness about our needs before God, our emptiness in his presence, our absolute dependence upon him with an attitude of constant thanksgiving and complete trust. When we pray with that attitude, the focus is not at all upon what we are doing or will do, but on what God will do. God will do something supernatural beyond our best abilities and thoughts:B. We receive the spiritual gift of peace through spiritual mindedness8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.8Τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί,Finally brothers,ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ,whatever is true,ὅσα σεμνά,whatever is honorable, noble, worthy of respectὅσα δίκαια,whatever is morally right, justὅσα ἁγνά,whatever is pure, holyὅσα προσφιλῆ,whatever is lovely, pleasingὅσα εὔφημα,whatever is commendable, of good repute, admirableεἴ τις ἀρετὴ καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος,if something is morally excellent, virtuous, if something is praiseworthyταῦτα λογίζεσθε·think about, dwell on, meditate on these things.6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.Pastor I really struggle with having peace in my life what should I do? What did you fill your thoughts with yesterday? I listened to the news for most of day.I am not saying you can follow the news, but what are you dwelling on? What are you thinking about the majority of the time, what are you meditating over?16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.C. We receive the spiritual gift of peace through close fellowship9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Leaned and received and heard and SEEN in me (descriptive words showing us how Paul reproduced himself in the lives of others). It was not just one method!Thinking on all the the things that are true and honorable and just and pure and lovely and admirable and praiseworthy is not enough. It is not enough to simply dwell on these wonderful truths. Paul gives us the next logical step- practice these things!What is significant about the word practice?
The time has come to get out of the chair of theoretical reflection about Christ and the Christian life and press on toward the goal (3:14).13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.Illustration: how much practice does an athlete, who wants to be good at his sport, need to put in?What is the result of putting into constant practice the Scriptures?9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.The God of peace will be with you!
The promise of the presence of the God of peace (4:9) explains the promise of the peace of God (4:7): when the God of peace will be with you, then the peace of God … will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Only God’s presence brings his peace. When the God of peace is present, the peace of God rules in the hearts and minds of his people.Are you walking in close fellowship with the God of peace? Are you drawing near to God, do you have a yearning to know Him more and more? The closer you are to the God of peace, the more the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.As citizens of heaven, as people blessed beyond measure because we are in Christ, how should that effect our daily living?How should our higher allegiance to our heavenly kingdom dictate our earthly conduct?1. Citizens of heaven eagerly look forward to the return of their King2. Citizens of heaven take an interest in what really matters in this earthly life3. Citizens of heaven selflessly work to maintain unity4. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by rejoicing5. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by graciousness6. Citizens of heaven have lives distinguished by peace
1 Peter 2:11ESV
1 Corinthians 1:10ESV
2 Corinthians 2:8ESV
2 Corinthians 5:20ESV
1 Thessalonians 5:14ESV
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