Summary: In our Christian warfare on earth, imitate the example of those like Paul who look only to the cross of Christ, anticipating heaven. Parts: A. Imitating those who, like Paul, are allies of the cross of Christ. B. Anticipating our true country.

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Text: Philippians 3:17-4:1

Theme: Stand Firm With Your Fellow Citizens

A. Imitating those who, like Paul, are allies of the cross of Christ

B. Anticipating our true country

Season: Lent 2c

Date: February 28, 2010

Web page:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit shows us what Jesus and his cross have prepared for us is Philippians 3:17 -- 4:1

"Be co-imitators of me, brothers, and watch those who walk in the same way as you have us as a pattern. For many -- about whom I have often been telling you and now also as I weep am telling you -- many are walking as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their god is their belly and their glory is their shame. They only think of earthly things. Our homeland belongs in heaven from where as well we eagerly are waiting the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body according to his working by which he's able to also place all things under himself. Therefore, brothers, my beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved. " (Philippians 3:17-4:1)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

When their country is attacked, citizens rally to stand together against a common foe. Think of the surge of patriotism after Pearl Harbor was bombed or when the hijacked planes destroyed the Twin Towers. On the other hand, when the wisdom or legitimacy of a war comes into doubt or when the danger from the enemy isn't so great, then voices question the country's leadership. The nation as a whole does not stand firmly together. We've seen that as well in our national history. As far as earthly countries and earthly wars go, there's always some doubt. For sinful, error-prone human beings lead earthly countries and make the decisions for war or peace.

But dear Christians, we are engaged in a much greater war. The Apostle describes this war in Ephesians 6: "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). In today's text he describes our opponents in this war as "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Philippians 3:18 NIV). And our country, our homeland, is not the United States of America. It's not any of the other lands that our ancestors emigrated from. Our country, our homeland, is heaven. That's where are citizenship is.

So, dear Christians, stand firm with your fellow citizens whose citizenship is in heaven. Stand firm imitating those who, like Paul, are allies of the cross of Christ. Stand firm anticipating your true country.

A. Imitating those who, like Paul, are allies of the cross of Christ

1. Describe Paul's attitude toward his fellow Christians and toward Christ.

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