Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where's Your Head?

I've been working on my next sermon that I am preaching in two weeks, based on Philippians 3:20-21, to wit: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

The big idea of the message being that you can tell where your home is at by where your head is at. And for the believer in Christ, our true home and seat of our true citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. We have been, as stated in Colossians 1:13, “rescued from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” And this citizenship is evident by where our mindset is focused. Citizens of the Kingdom of God have their heads and hearts toward heaven as their true home and seat of their true government. True citizens of heaven have a heavenward mindset, in contrast to those who have their minds set on the things of now, the things of this present world. True citizens of heaven have a heavenward view, looking and longing for the return of our King. And true citizens of heaven have a heavenward hope, looking forward to our future glorified state and being in the constant presence of the ultimate Sovereign King. The challenge point being, where's your head at? It's been said that a person can be "so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good." I think this passage tells us that we indeed are to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, but rather to be heavenly good, God-glorifying, aliens and strangers in this foreign land. Our citizenship should stand out from among the citizens of this far country we are currently in because our heads and hearts are focused on our true home, and our True King.

And as I was continuing to read Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World by David F. Wells, I came across an excerpt from an ancient text that points out just this fact. This excerpt is from the Letter to Diognetus, an anonymous epistle from the 2nd or 3rd century describing the excellencies of Christianity to a pagan. Read this piece of the letter and think on it for a moment.

"For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech; they do not follow an eccentric manner of life. This doctrine of theirs has not been discovered by the ingenuity or deep thought of inquisitive men, nor do they put forward a merely human teaching, as some people do. Yet, although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man's lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed. It is true that they are "in the flesh," but they do not live "according to the flesh." They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their own lives they go far beyond what the laws require. They love all men, and by all men are persecuted. They are unknown, and still they are condemned; they are put to death, and yet they are brought to life. They are poor, and yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance. They are dishonored, and in their very dishonor are glorified; they are defamed, and are vindicated. They are reviled, and yet they bless; when they are affronted, they still pay due respect. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; undergoing punishment, they rejoice because they are brought to life. They are treated by the Jews as foreigners and enemies, and are hunted down by the Greeks; and all the time those who hate them find it impossible to justify their enmity."

Such was the testimony of Christians in the first few hundred years of the church. I wonder - is the same true of the church today? Would someone today say the same things about the followers of Jesus Christ in this world, day and age? Do our lives and our words stand out because our mindset and our view and our hope is fixed where our true citizenship and identity lies - in heaven? Where's our head at?

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