Summary: AS Christians we must realize our home is not this world. We must identify that we are aliens in this world.
“CSI: CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL IDENTITY”
“What’s Your Address?”
July 3, 2005
Intro: Recap last week; “Who are You?” We were dead in sin; God made us alive in Christ.
Today we are going to look at what happens in our lives in terms of our living conditions since we are new in Christ.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:6 (New International Version)
The idea that God raised us up with Christ is that he brought us to life as we looked at last week in verse 5.
It means a hope for our future; and an experience with God in our present.
As a result of what God has done in our lives, we are now aliens in the world we live in.
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world….” 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)
Peter in writing this reminds followers of Christ that we are not to find our values and our fulfillment in this world because we are to look to the Kingdom of God as our ultimate home.
This language was rich for first century believers who were held captive in Roman bondage. It also had great significance for Jews of the day because they had lived for years as people without their own land and as travelers through other territories.
The image is that we are not to be comfortable in our surroundings because they are not our final destination.
*** Scene from “Men in Black”
You see, as much as aliens may try to fit in, there is just something not right about what’s inside. It doesn’t match the world around us.
As followers of Christ, we are aliens in our own society.
Today we want to look at two significant aspects of this new “address” for Christians.
1) Where Christ has moved us and
2) What does that mean for us now?
I. Our New Address
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)
The significance that we are now seated with Christ is that we are spiritually at home with God.
It means that God has placed in us the peace and assurance that we belong to Him and that He has placed us in His presence through Jesus.
“But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ!”
Philippians 3:20 (The Message)
As citizens of Heaven, we are entitled to the full rights of a child of God.
Citizens in the ancient world were given the rights and privileges to citizenship of their home country even as they traveled. Romans citizens, who were away from Rome, were not beaten when arrested, were safe from thieves for fear of Roman retribution, and were never allowed to be put to death. This gave them freedom to live in peace and security even away from home.
God has done the same thing for us. While we are away from home, Heaven, we are given the privilege of a citizen of Heaven. God has even given us His Spirit to ensure our protection and our safety.
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NIV)
Paul is pointing out that we are living physically in a temporary tent, but God has built for us an eternal home.
In other words, our bodies are fading away and our spiritual house is standing firm.
God has changed our spiritually dead life for an eternally alive life through Jesus Christ.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…..Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
Colossians 1:13; 21-22 (NIV)
What God has given us is a change of citizenship.
*****Illustration- Elva Hagan
The problem was, Elva thought she was a citizen but she wasn’t. She had done all the things a citizen does, except go through the process to become a citizen.