The Path to Citizenship–Phil. 3:17-4:1. DBC—March 15, 2017—David R Denny
Introduction: We live in a political world and as you know politics is a messy road. But our text today drives us right into the fray and we can’t avoid it. In fact, Paul uses a Greek word from which we derive our word for politics. His word is politeuma. πολίτευμα, ατος, τό. It means CITIZENSHIP. I don’t think Paul liked politics too much since this is the only recorded time he ever used this word. But he did use it and so we will follow him this morning.
*Citizenship Test: If you go to the web site: U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services you can get the 10 test questions an immigrant must know to become a citizen. I thought I would give you this test this morning. I think we have time. This is an oral test administered by an immigration officer. He can ask any 10 of the 100 questions. You must answer 6 out of the 10 correctly. So if you have a pen right down your answers and then we will grade them. —
1. What is the supreme law of the land? (Constitution).
2. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? (the Bill of Rights). 3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these three words? (We the People).
Textual study: In our text, Paul says that if you are a believer then you have a unique citizenship. It is different than the citizenship of the USA. A Christian is a citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20. “For our citizenship is in heaven…”. This thought sent chills down Paul’s spine. He knew there was more to life than this world’s pains or sorrows or meaningless daily routines. There was another word and that was where his citizenship was. And so for us as well. Our home is Heaven and it is for that home that we eagerly await.
*Mutiny at the Hyphasis. One of the greatest stories in all of ancient history is when Alexander the Great’s troops mutinied against him. For over a decade his Macedonian brothers had followed him all over the known world fighting his battles, claiming more and more territory. They conquered Europe and Palestine and Egypt and Babylon and Persia and now Alexander wanted to conquer India. But it was here on the banks of the Hyphasis River that the men said no. No more. The year was 326 and the men were weary of battle.
Mutiny at the Hyphasis–Alexander the Great
They were already filthy rich from the spoils of war. They missed home. They missed their wives and children who had grown up without them. They wanted to go home. Their citizenship was not here on the edge of the world. Their home was Macedonia. When they told him no, he couldn’t believe it. He was so upset he stormed off into his tent and didn’t come out for three days. But the soldiers held firm. And so suddenly Alexander saw that it was over. And he told them perhaps it was time to go home after all. When he said this, the soldiers shouted for joy and wept. They all called for blessings on Alexander who though undefeated in all his battles had let himself be defeated by the.
What is it they wanted? They wanted to go home. It is the same thing Paul wanted and it is our supreme goal as well. We have citizenship in America for which we give thanks daily. But it is not our home. —
*I’ve been a tumbleweed all my life. My dad moved every two years in the military and so I’ve moved and lived everywhere. But I feel like the Eastern Shore will be my last port of call. This is it for me. No more wandering. BUT IT IS NOT MY HOME. For my citizenship—my home—is in heaven.
* Green, green grass of home—There is a song I hear every once in a while on the radio. When it starts to play, I usually stop what I am doing and just listen. It’s a sad song about home.——Read lyrics.
Textual thought: Paul too became very emotional when he spoke of home. In Phil. 3:18. He said that although he wished everyone was walking with him to his heavenly home, he knew that many were not with him. There were those he said who cared more about this world. “Their minds are set on earthly things”. He said. And when he thought of these things the text says he wept. (3:18).
*This reminds me of the Prodigal son. He left home and his loving family preferring the baubles of this world. And every day the father wept just as Paul did for those he knew that had sold out. But what a happy day it was when the son came home again.
Conclusion: Where is your citizenship? The path to citizenship comes through the cross. When you place your faith in Christ and call upon him to be your Savior, then you too will be handed the keys to home. Heaven will be yours.