Sermonette for Saturday

For our conversation is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20

Many years ago, when the national men’s volleyball team from China was touring Canada in preparation for a major sporting event, they were scheduled to play against a university team in Fredericton. When I arrived as a reporter to cover the event for the newspaper, I was astonished at the crowd in the auditorium. No, not at the number of people who were there, but at the number of Chinese people who were there. More than half of the audience for that game were Chinese. The Chinese population of Fredericton was, and probably still is, fairly small. So I assume Chinese people from throughout the province showed up. Many of these people were one or two generations removed from their parents’ arrival in Canada from China, but they still felt a strong attachment to anything that had to do with China. They were like Christians, living in a foreign land, but with a built-in longing for a homeland far away.

The translator’s use of the word ‘conversation’ is misleading; the meaning is actually ‘citizenship’. When we trusted Christ as our Saviour, our citizenship was transferred from that of earth to that of Heaven. Our earthly citizenship conferred on us only frustration, loss, and death. Our Heavenly citizenship confers on us purpose, blessing, and eternal life. Like those Chinese folks in Fredericton drawn to that which represented their homeland, we are drawn to that which reminds us and tells us of our Heavenly homeland. We speculate on the timing and the nature of the Rapture, we talk about the release from earth’s sorrows, pains, and struggles, we contemplate the splendour of the pearly gates, the Tree of Life, and the Throne of God, and develop a longing to be there.

Paul speaks of looking for our Saviour. This is our precious occupation today. This gives us hope and encouragement when the earthly atmosphere darkens and stinks. This gives us joy when the delights of earth prove to be fleeting foam. This gives us purpose as we persuade others to enter into this great citizenship.

Keep in mind that our Heavenly citizenship is a present possession, not a future anticipation. Let us live here in the good of being Heaven’s citizens, knowing our Savior is soon coming for us. -Jim MacIntosh

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