3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: A Christian is assured that his real home is in heaven and that he is only temporally related to this world, its governments, and its problems. Christians will one day experience all the special privileges of our heavenly citizenship because we belong to Christ.

Date: 4/4/19

Lesson # 27

Title: A REMINDER OF OUR TRUE CITIZENSHIP, AND THE HOPE IT ENTAILS (Phl. 3:20-21)

• “Special Notes” and “Scripture” are shown as endnotes.

• NIV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.

Scripture: (Philippians 3:20-21, NIV)

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Introduction

This lesson contrasts the hopeless future of the lost with the glorious prospects that face Christians in these final verses of chapter 3. The hope of the Christian is based first upon the fact that heaven is his home and that his real citizenship {a] is there. A Christian is assured that his real home is in heaven and that he is only temporally related to this world, its governments, and its problems. Christians will one day experience all the special privileges of our heavenly citizenship because we belong to Christ.

Commentary

(3:20) But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

But our citizenship is in heaven.

Since the Philippians lived in a colony whose citizens regarded distant

Rome {b] as their native city, they would be quick to grasp Paul’s metaphor which shows that heaven is the true homeland of believers.

At this point, we should consider what Paul said in 1:27, for it will help to clarify today’s lesson: “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.” Here he points to the one essential thing which demands the Philippians’ immediate attention, no matter what happens to Paul. “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” He lives and works with the knowledge that he may be thrown in jail or killed at any time. The words translated as, “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” literally means, behave as citizens of heaven. Paul wants their life as a Christian community to be worthy of the gospel of Christ. This idea would be naturally suggested to the apostle by his residence in Rome and would appeal to the Philippians, as a Roman colony, which was a reproduction of the parent commonwealth on a smaller scale. Paul’s one concern, whether present or absent, is to hear of their united stand for the truth of the gospel against the adversaries [v. 28] who oppose it. [Jude 3: “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.”]. Since the call to stand fast in one spirit is further defined as a striving together with one soul, no sharp distinction can be drawn, between these terms, which are here virtually used as synonyms in order to underline the need for spiritual unity (Acts 4:32).

As aliens who have here no continuing city. Their life is not rooted in earthly things to which they owe no allegiance, for they belong by the adoption of grace to that heavenly city whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10; Gal. 4:26; Eph. 2:19; 1 Peter 2:11). It is because the Christian’s affections are centered upon the things above that his earthly walk will be very different from the walk of those whose minds are still captivated by what is purely temporal (Col. 3:1-3).

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Moreover, it is from heaven that we eagerly await the advent of a Savior, for it is in His capacity as a Savior that the Lord Jesus Christ will complete our final deliverance (v. 21). Instead of pinning their hopes upon the doubtful divinity of an earthly emperor, believers look for the coming of a Savior, who has the power both to free them from the bondage of death and to bestow on them the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).

It is from heaven rather than from earth that a Christian may be expecting the coming of his Lord as stated by Paul, “From whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” According to John 14:2, Christ is in heaven preparing the place for His future bride, the church. Accordingly, in keeping with the promise of John 14:3, He is coming again for His church, and hence the church can be looking to the heavens for the return of their Savior.

(3:21) who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

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Gordon A Ward Jr

commented on Oct 5, 2019

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