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Summary: Using Judah in the Old Testament as an example, this message explains how God's people are to live as "aliens" in this world while we await the return of Christ and eternity in our true, eternal kingdom.

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INTRODUCTION

* A hot topic in politics: illegal immigration = “aliens”

- a resident born in or belonging to another country

- a foreigner; unlike one’s own / strange or difference

* We, as God’s people, are aliens in a spiritual sense (not new: the people of God in the OT were also aliens)

* Background of Jeremiah 29:1-14...

- God called Abraham to father a nation that would be different from all others in that they would worship him, not false gods; they would display his glory

- years passed by; the nation of Israel wants a king like other nations, though God’s desire is for him to be their sole king

- God grants their request: Saul becomes king, then David, then Solomon, then Rehoboam; during Rehoboam’s reign, the nation splits into two kingdoms

- the people of God began to take on practices of other pagan nations and people; prior to this God gave them the Law through Moses and made a covenant with them that included blessings (if they remained true to him) and curses (if they abandoned him)

- God sends prophets to the people to warn them of coming judgment for their sin and for breaking the covenant and also gives them hope for future restoration

- Jeremiah is one of these prophets; by the time he spoke the words in our text, the ultimate punishment/curse for the nation’s sin has arrived...they’ve been exiled to Babylon (they’re aliens)

- the situation they’re facing: in a foreign land surrounded by nothing godly

- Jeremiah writes to them to explain what they are to do in their situation as aliens in a strange land

* Our situation today: Like the people of Judah, we’re surrounded by nothing godly; we are aliens on this earth and we need to know what to do and how to live

* Using Jeremiah’s letter to the Jewish exiles, we can learn how we can live like an alien today...

1. We need to realize that this world is not our home (v. 1-2)

* Jeremiah is writing to people who are in a land that is not theirs - they’re not at home, but in a foreign land instead

* Living like an alien begins when we come to the realization that we are aliens in this world because it is not our home

* How this happens:

- we are born into this world, born into sin, and born sinners, making us citizens of this fallen world

- we repent of sin and place faith in Christ; we are no longer citizens of this world, but of God’s kingdom, which is not of this world

* 1 Peter 2:9-11

* The sooner we realize that this world is not our home, the sooner we are able to do what the people of God are called to do

* If we’re not careful, we’ll get so wrapped up in the here and now that we’ll fail to live for the then and there

* When we realize that this world is not our home, we’ll act like it (see Matt. 6:19-21)

2. We need to make an impact on this world while we’re here (v. 3-9)

* God gave his people an assignment: to settle in the land and grow their families (v. 5-6)

* Why God gave this assignment (v. 7): to make an impact

- although in a foreign land, they were to come together as God’s people to make a difference in the land

- they were in that land, but not of that land

* God did not expect his people to become pagans, but to become a part of that community so they could turn the pagans to him!

* How this relates to us: we’re not to get caught up in this world and live like it lives; we’re to become a part of our community so that we can impact it with the Gospel

* Matthew 5:16

* God’s desire is not isolation from the world (see John 17:14-18), nor is it saturation in the world (see 2 Cor. 6:17), but that we would live such a righteous life in a world full of unrighteousness that the people in this world would take notice of the difference Christ makes in our lives

* Our task is to make an impact on the world in which we live; to minister to the people God puts in our path; to share the Gospel with those who stand condemned before God

3. We need to live in anticipation of the return of Christ (v. 10-14)

* God made a promise to his people in captivity: at the end of 70 years, he would cause their exile in Babylon to end; that would end the judgment, and people could then experience the life God wanted them to experience (v. 12-14)

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