Summary: A Christian Is... An Alien and a Stranger Thesis: As Christians We are to be Different (Material adapted from Bob Tinsky's book, A Christian Is, Chapter 7, Pgs. 105-118)
In the Ice Age movies a squirrel is on a never ending quest for the acorn. He tries and he tries to get that acorn, and meets with a variety of misadventures along the way. He never succeeds in getting the acorn.
In one of these movies, the squirrel has a "near death" experience, and finds himself at the gates of Squirrel Heaven. A place where the streets are paved (of course) with acorns. The squirrel grins, and dances, and gathers up acorns, and feels more at home than he has ever felt back in the ice age. And then he sees it. The mother of all acorns - a giant acorn to put all other acorns to shame. And just as he is about to grasp the giant acorn......someone back in the ice age gives him mouth-to-mouth, and brings him back to life. That was one very unhappy squirrel, who would never again feel at home in the ice age.
This word “strangers” is used several times in the Bible but the most in 1 Peter:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,” 1 Peter 1:1, NIV.
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” 1 Peter 1:17, NIV.
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11, NIV.
Several other words can be used like pilgrims, foreigners, temporary residents, refugees. We often hear of illegal aliens, talking about people from other countries coming here illegally. We are transients, vagabonds, out of towner’s, people just passing through. “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through”
Think of the immigrants who came to America 150 to 200 years ago. They had to learn a new language, secure new sources of income, make new friends, adapt to strange new customs. The common bonds they had in their homeland were now gone.
Making the transition from sinner to saint can also be difficult because it means giving up many things that are familiar to us. We have to give up old habits, old hangouts, old practices, and maybe some old friends. Think of a person who has rarely been to church who comes forward and is baptized. Come to church the next Sunday and they are unsure of themselves. Feel like a stranger in a foreign land.
Thesis: As Christians we are to be different
We have a different citizenship
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20, NIV.
While our primary loyalty is to the Kingdom of God this does not mean we ignore all our responsibilities to the nation in which we live during our temporary stay on planet earth. We should work and pray for the good of the place where we live. This is what the Israelites were commanded to do when they went into exile from the Promised Land to Babylon. Jeremiah 29:7 tells the Israelites: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Good advice for Christians as well.
This country is getting more obsessed with politics every day. How long is the election season now? Do we know that there are 435 days until the election on November 8, 2016? So many wrap their hopes and dreams in this country and this country’s leaders. They have nothing else except this country and their particular political views. While we should engage in the political process, and pray for our country, we must realize that our hopes and dreams are not in the USA. We should remember that we are citizens of another country.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one.” Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV.
We have a different lifestyle
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11, 12, NIV. Two things here: