Summary: Christians must understand their roles as citizens of Heaven here on earth so that they can maximize their full potential as one who is called to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth!
Joel Osteen writes in his book a true story about a famous golfer who was invited by the king of Saudi Arabia to play in a golf tournament. He accepted the invitation, and the king flew his private jet over to the United States to pick up the pro. They played golf for several days, and enjoyed a good time. As the golfer was getting on the plane to return to the U.S., the king stopped him and said, “I want to give you a gift for coming all this way and making this time so special. Anything you want. What could I get you?
Ever the gentleman, the golfer replied, “Oh, please; don’t get me anything. You’ve been a gracious host. I’ve had a wonderful time. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
The king was adamant. He said, No, I insist on giving you something so you will always remember your journey to our country.
When the golfer realized that the king was resolute, he said, Okay, fine. I collect golf clubs. Why don’t you give me a golf club?
He boarded the plane, and on his flight back home, he couldn’t help wondering what kind of golf club the king might give him. He imagined that it might be a solid gold putter with his name engraved on it. Or maybe it would be a sand wedge studded with diamonds and jewels. After all, this would be a gift from the oil-rich king of Saudi Arabia.
When the golfer got home, he watched the mail and the delivery services every day, to see if his golf club had come yet. Finally, several weeks later, he received a certified letter from the king of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. Professional thought that rather strange. Where’s my golf club? He wondered. He opened the envelope, and to his surprise, inside he discovered a deed to a FIVE-HUNDRED-ACRE GOLF COURSE in America.
Sometimes kings think differently than you and I think. When the king and the golfer thought about the gift, the golfer could not grasp the kind of gift the king had in mind. Their minds were both on different levels. It is the same with our thinking on what it means to be a citizen in America and a citizen of Heaven. I believe as citizens of heaven, it is time to switch gears from doing things from an earthly perspective to a heavenly perspective.
THESIS: Christians must understand their roles as citizens of Heaven here on earth so that they can maximize their full potential as one who brings praise to God. I am not sure if the Church really understands what it means to be a citizen of heaven, but I believe the apostle Peter gives us a glimpse in one of his letters, of what our roles are and how we are suppose to respond as citizens of heaven.
Living As Citizens Of Heaven On Earth!
PASSAGE: 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Peter was writing to an audience who were mostly Gentile Christian and who were dispersed through out the provinces of Rome. During this time, Rome was emerging and growing rapidly. Rome would send large numbers of colonists to new territories to settle and begin Roman colonies. A commentator by the name of Karen Jobes stated, “It was said that a sizable number of Christians went, either voluntarily or by force, to help populate (The Empire) Claudius,’ newly established colonies in Asia Minor“ (39). Claudius was polytheistic, which meant he believed in many Gods, so when Jewish people came to settle in his colonies. It would not bother him because to him it just meant one more god. Also, at the time this letter was written, Christianity was just considered a branch of Judaism. Claudius was labeled Pro Jewish, but he had some stipulations that the Jews & Christians had to abide by or they would become the target of persecution.
This book was written to people who were being persecuted, left and right for the Christians faith. Try to understand that persecution was not just physical, but also psychological due to the fact that they were living among many pagan religions. They were experiencing tension and inconsistencies with their Christian fellowship, which probably added to the level of persecution they were going through.
A commentator states that the readers were experiencing various kinds of trails that were causing them varying degrees of grief and suffering. The bottom line is that they were going through it. And “because of Peter’s association with Rome, he writes to them after they were dispersed throughout the colonies to encourage them in the faith and to instruct them how to live as Christians in their new and trying situations“ (Jobes 39).