Our Citizenship – Where Is It?

July 19, 2011 at 12:46 PM

It’s a fact that authentic Christians need to constantly remind themselves of – we are not citizens of this planet.  While we were at one time, having been firmly established in Satan’s kingdom of darkness, once we received Jesus as Savior, we were transferred from Satan’s kingdom to Jesus’ Kingdom.  Paul makes this clear in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

I’ve mentioned before how difficult it is to remove ourselves from the affairs of this life, emotionally.  Yet, when we look at Jesus, it is clear He chose to become emotionally involved in something that was extremely important.  We noted that one of those things was the cleansing of the Temple on at least one occasion.  He reacted this way because it directly impacted His Father’s will on earth.

Jesus did not take the time to fight the government, nor did He really go outside of the way religion affected the society in which He lived.  He clearly loved people, wanting only God the Father’s best for them.  When they rejected that truth, His heart usually went out to them.  Of course, those who deliberately hardened their hearts were often on the receiving end of His ire as well.

But what made Jesus’ life so fascinating is that He simply was not involved in the cares of this world.  He was so in tune with the Father and knew exactly where He was from and where He was going that nothing successfully pulled Him into the many forays that swirled around Him constantly.

This is where the Christian has the most difficulty, in my opinion, and I speak from my own experience.  The more involved emotionally we become in the affairs of this world, the more difficult it is to remain aloof from this world, in order to focus solely on the Father’s will.

It is easy to begin looking to this world to fulfill our needs that we tend to overlook the fact that God is in control of our lives.  Let me give you a “for instance” from my life.  We have opportunities to expand our radio ministry, yet the funds are not there.  What I could do is send out letters pleading for people to prayerfully commit to giving (and that’s not what I’m doing here, by the way).  There is a problem with that.  Can anyone show me from Scripture where Jesus brought His concerns to people, expecting them to fulfill God’s will for His life?

I am aware of the fact that in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was close to begging that His disciples would remain awake with Him.  He desperately wanted their companionship.  They failed, but He gained the victory in spite of their failure.  This was because He was not counting on their cooperation with Him.  “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” (cf. Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38) is the statement Jesus made (I believe in compassion) to His followers who could not remain awake to watch with Him for even a short period of time.

Jesus lived for and by the power of God the Father.  Was He not there to not only fulfill the Law – every jot and tittle – but also to act as a model of how we are to live?

When it came time to pay the Temple tax, Jesus made it clear to Peter that He was exempt because of who He was, but He also insisted that all things should be fulfilled (cf. Matthew 17:27), and so that the religious leaders would not be offended.  I find that remarkable especially considering the fact that Jesus was always at odds with the religious leaders because of their narrow, legalistic view of Scripture.  He did not want to offend.

Many of you are likely familiar with George Muller of Bristol, England.  He was a man used of God to build one orphanage after another and he did it purely based on faith, a faith that he repeatedly stated was something that every Christian had, if they would merely use it.  The answers to Muller’s prayers for orphanage supplies were often supplied before he got up off his knees.

So what does this have to do with my radio ministry?  Quite simply, what I should be doing before I go to any human being, is to make my requests known to God (cf. Philippians 4:6).  In fact, sometimes I wonder if I should make any requests known to anyone other than God (and perhaps my wife).

So let’s say I sent out an e-mail to everyone on my list asking them to consider giving so that we could expand the radio ministry.  Chances are that people would simply give because they are asked to do so.  How about if – instead of doing that – I take my requests to God, on my knees, and never mention it to the list?  What would happen?  Would God not respond because I didn’t make my requests known to other Christians (or professing Christians) on my list?  Do I have to answer that?

After I read about the life of George Muller, I became convinced that if the Lord ever used me in some type of ministry, I would do the same thing.  Why?  Because it seemed like it was the natural response to a ministry that the Lord was leading in, doesn’t it?

If the Lord had truly called me to a radio ministry, then was that the end of His participation?  Would He only fulfill His ministry through me if I leaned on others for their cooperation in that ministry?

Well, what about Jesus?  What about John the Baptist?  What about others?  I realize that we have the example of Paul who believed that he was entitled to receive love offerings from congregations in support of his ministry.  I believe that about my own ministry as well.  The question I am asking is do I solely take my needs and requests to God, or do I take them to God and to others?

Let’s say I take my requests solely to God and ask Him to provide the funds to expand the radio ministry He has provided.  Let’s say that nothing happens – or seems to happen.  No additional funds come in, yet the “need” to expand is obviously there, isn’t it?  No, it isn’t.  Maybe the Lord is saying, “No, I don’t want you to expand (now or yet).”  If I am willing to listen to Him, He will clearly tell me of His intents, won’t He?

Now, let’s say I take my requests to Him and I send out a memo to everyone on my list.  Let’s say some folks – for whatever reason – opt to provide a gift.  Do I take that as the Lord indicating He wants me to expand my radio ministry?  What if they gave out of confusion, or guilt?

It just seems to me that if I take my requests and present them to the Lord, He is quite capable of moving people’s hearts to give if that is His choice, isn’t He?

Do what does any of this have to do with our citizenship in heaven?  It’s simple.  If I have been transferred from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and sin to the Son’s glorious Kingdom of Light, then it also stands to reason that while I was once a slave to Satan, I am now a slave to God.  Would you agree with that?

If I am a slave to Jesus (a “bond-servant” as Paul notes on numerous occasions), then my will is to do the will of my Master.  Would you agee with that?  If my sole responsibility is to complete the Father’s will for my life and if He has led me into radio ministry (or any other kind of ministry), then does He simply lead me into that ministry and say “You’re on your own.  If you need me, I’m here, but don’t forget to make your requests known to others as well“?

A slave is at the beck and call of his Master.  A slave does what the Master tells him to do.  If the Master tells His slave to do something, will that same Master also provide the way to accomplish it?

Let’s say a slave is working in the field.  The Master expects him to turn the ground over and to prepare it for planting.  If the slave needs a tool, to whom does he go?  If the slave needs seeds, whom does he ask?  Does that slave go to another slave and ask him about the tool he needs to complete the Master’s directive?  Wouldn’t he go to the Master?

Since I am not a citizen of this world and clearly here because God has things for me to do, then to whom am I responsible?  Who is the one who promises to supply all my needs?  Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Certainly God will use other Christians to provide support when needed.  That’s the way He works, but I am to the point where I only want those people that He has moved to help me in my ministry?

It is very likely a fact that George Muller almost certainly never received any help from a non-Christian.  He prayed, God supplied and He supplied using specific people at specific times.  What a blessing that must have been for Muller as well as for those who were moved by God to provide something without being asked by Muller!

I think it is too easy to lose sight of the fact that our God is great and our citizenship is in heaven.  We think we need to depend upon other Christians (or those who merely think they are Christians).  We believe it is okay to ask God and then turn right around and broadcast our needs (sometimes, those “needs” are really “wants”) to the world.

There are times when human companionship and friendship fill a need.  We saw that Jesus wanted His disciples to remain awake and watch with Him for just an hour.  He was afraid.  He was so tense and stressed that He sweated drops of blood (Luke 22).  It must have been a very harrowing experience in the Garden of Gethsemane and like all human beings, He wanted the care and concern of other human beings.  Ultimately, He relied on God the Father and the Father responded by giving Jesus the strength to let go of that situation, placing it in the Father’s hands.  Had Jesus relied solely on His disciples, I don’t think they would have helped much if at all, had they been able to remain awake.  I also think Jesus would have missed a tremendous blessing from the Father.

Like Jesus, our citizenship is with Him.  Because of that, He and He alone is very capable of moving the hearts of individuals to help us through out situations.  I realize that there are those who will disagree with me.  That’s fine and that’s between them and the Lord.

I believe that we can and should share our concerns and our fears with other authentic Christians.  Let’s face it, God gives us a God-fearing spouse to help us and to be there for us because God certainly knows we need that help found only in that type of companionship.

But I am talking about taking care of God’s instructions for my life, here and now.  If God is truly in charge of my life, do I wait on Him, or do I tell Him and tell others?  If I’m going to tell others, why bother telling Him my needs at all?  There are plenty of people in this world who are swayed by a heartfelt request for donations.  There are many folks who give and believe they are giving based on what God is directing them to do.  They read a letter from some evangelist or radio/TV minister, and they are moved, so they give.

Look at the people who gave millions to Harold Camping?  Look at the folks who provided all the money Oral Roberts claimed he needed or the Lord was going to “take him home.”  How many of those people were actually directed by the Lord to give?  To neither Camping or Roberts, I don’t think it matters because they got what they felt they “needed.”

If God truly has a ministry for me here during the sojourn of my temporary life on this planet, is He not capable of making that ministry happen by prompting those whom He chooses to give as they are moved, without me having to act as a “beggar” for God?

It seems today that every time I open my inbox, it is filled with someone asking for money to help fight this, that, or the other thing.  Some legal organization is fighting the eligibility of Mr. Obama.  They need money.  “Can’t you spare $10, $50, or $100…”  It is exceedingly rare to receive a letter from any ministry anymore that does not include asking for money.  I wonder how much time those individuals spend on their knees?  Whose ministry is it anyway?  Is it God’s or does that ministry belong to that individual?  If it’s God, will He not provide?  If it’s the ministry of that individual, then it should not prosper.

I recall reading J. Vernon McGee.  If you have never read any of his commentaries or had the opportunity to listen to him on the radio, you should endeavor to do so.  He indicated one time (and I’m paraphrasing) that while he was on the radio, he hoped that his messages were to the glory of God.  He then went on and asked, “What if God does not provide the funds to be on the radio?”  His answer was simple:  he would not be on the radio.

I don’t know if you’re like me or not, but I tend to get mixed up at times regarding my ministry.  I find myself trying to make things happen, instead of just letting God do what He will do.

If I write a book – and I’ve written 27 of them – I want them to sell because that is the natural outcome of writing a book, hopefully.  But what if God wants me to write a book and He only wants 10 copies sold?  My responsibility is to write the book, is it not?  What He chooses to do with that book once it’s written is completely up to Him.

Should I be spending my time trying to figure out how to sell more books?  I don’t think so.  I should do what I can to get the book out there without spending money (unless the Lord directs it) and then leave it up to Him.  I shouldn’t try to knock on literary agents’ doors, try to create an ad campaign for each book (if it involves money), or other things.  If there are things I can do for free, great.  If I can announce it to my list, wonderful, but should I beg them to buy the book so that they will sell?  No.  Let God move those He wants to have the book.  In fact, I give away quite a few books.  I leave them on airplanes, or in airports.  I might leave one at a restaurant.  I am more interested in getting the word out about the contents of what I have written and as long as the Lord is providing the funds for me to buy and give some of these books away, to Him be the glory.

If my citizenship is truly in heaven, then I should be living as if that is the situation.  God would not have me as an emissary to the people on this planet without providing me with the tools, the knowledge, and the funds necessary to accomplish His task, would He?

It is one thing to ask people to pray that God will make the path in front of you straight.  It is another to ask people to provide funds for a ministry that you believe God has set you to work doing.

It is one thing to ask God to provide food for your table.  It is another thing to ask people to give you money so that you have food for your table.

There is a church I know that a number of years ago literally promised that they would never take out a loan to buy a building if they outgrew their present situation.  The pastor believed (and rightly so) that God would provide the funds to make that happen without having to take out a loan.

That same church at the time had nearly a million dollars in their bank account specifically for a building fund.  Now however, something apparently changed because that very same pastor all of a sudden believed it was fine to take out a loan, so that’s what they did.  They put more than half of their building fund down as a down payment and took out a loan from the owner (who carries the papers) and they are currently paying on a five-year, interest-only loan.  At the end of the five years, the church will either have to come up with the large balloon payment that will come due, or take another loan out (if a bank will give it to them).  In the end, they will have a building that will require several million to retrofit.  Is this a good use of the money that was allegedly dedicated to the Lord?  What happened to simply allowing God to provide?

I think there are many reasons we give ourselves for asking people for money and as for myself, I wonder how many of those reasons are truly legitimate and whether or not they actually glorify the Lord.  I have my doubts about them.

I think if I spent more time praying to the Lord, He would direct my thoughts and He would make it clear whether or not I was supposed to move in one direction or another.  Because I am a citizen of heaven, should I not constantly be checking in with my Master?  Will He supply my needs only when I ask Him and other people, or does He want me to focus solely on asking Him?

If God is God then it seems clear enough to me that anything He asks or expects me to do for Him is not only done in His strength, but with His attitude and tools.  Tools here includes the areas of finances.

Isn’t it interesting that many today talk of tapping into the blessings of God just like the early apostles experienced in the book of Acts.  They talk of the miracles – the healings, the tongues, and everything else – but rarely if ever expect God to provide financially.

I’ve got more study and praying to do over this matter, but it certainly seems to me that God is able.  He is able to provide and He is able to move people’s hearts without me having to tell them.  When He moves their hearts, He has truly moved their hearts.  When I move someone’s hearts, it is impossible to tell whether He did it, or I did it.

If I am truly a citizen of heaven, I need to act like one.  If God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, if as Paul says, God will supply all my needs, then to whom should I go for those needs to be met?

Jesus taught the crowds saying, “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?” (Luke 11:11).  Sometimes, I think I act that as if God is going to “misunderstand” me, or give me something I’m not asking for.  Paul says that God will supply my needsPaul does not say that God will supply my wants.

I like Ephesians 2 because Paul tells us – among other things – that we are already seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.  Paul says that Jesus “…raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:6-10).

We are His workmanship, created for the purpose of completing the good works that He made for us to accomplish.  We are seated in the heavenly realms, which means there is nothing that God cannot do for us to accomplish His will and His purposes in our lives.

It may be different for you, but I think for me, the trouble occurs when I start thinking that this is my ministry.  Certainly on one hand, it can be truthfully stated that God has given me a ministry to perform.  The problem is when I emphasize the “my” and start thinking that it is something I created, something I produced, and therefore something I am responsible for making happen under my own power and strength.

Yes, the Lord has given me things to do here.  Having done that, do I believe He will provide the necessities to make those things happen?  Is the ministry He has assigned for me for my glory or His?  If it’s for me, then I had better use every human means possible to make it successful.  If it’s for His glory, then I had better use my time wisely, and spend a good deal of time in prayer in order that He can direct and produce in and through me the things He wants to do so that He can gain the glory.

I guess ultimately what I’m saying is that if God is working in and through me to accomplish the good works that He decided long ago I would do, then it is far more important to wait for His direction and watch Him work, rather than me worrying, agitating, and doing everything I can to make it work.  With the latter, all I am doing (besides getting tired) is glorifying myself.  In the former, I am resting in Him and ensuring that He is glorified.  Isn’t that what the slave does anyway?

Entry filed under: 9/11, alienology, Atheism and religion, Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Sotero, Communism, Demonic, dispensationalism, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Gun Control, Islam, Islamofascism, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Maitreya, new age movement, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Radical Islam, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Sharia Law, Socialism, temple mount, ufology. Tags: , , .

Shapeshifters and Other Creatures of the Night Whatever Happened to “Not My Will, But Thine Be Done”?


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