Our Citizenship in Heaven by Joanne Panettieri
Isaiah 8: 11 -13
“11 This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people:
12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.
13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread.”
1 Peter 3:13
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
There are many disturbing and frighting things going on in the world today. Since 9/11 we have been living under the cloud of an ongoing “war against terrorism”. The objective of terrorism is to keep us frozen in fear. Recently there was another shooting attack close to home in Florida. Mass shootings and killings are happening almost on a daily basis around the world. Because of this there is a great urge to get involved in politics, or to riot, or to buy a gun to defend yourself. Even many so called Christian talk show hosts and Bible teachers are pumping up the fear and urging us to buy survival food and gear and warning of frightening days ahead. Now providing for the future might not be a bad idea at some level, but when you sell fear to get people to buy products, I have a problem with that.
Barbara Aho reports even major “Christian Leaders” are using fear loaded words and are calling for a “revolution” in the church.
“In July of 1999, the Messianic Jewish Association of America [MJAA] sponsored the Messiah’99 conference in conjunction with the Young Messianic Jewish Alliance [YMJA] and the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues. The conference speakers included Rick Joyner of MorningStar Ministries, Stephen Strang, editor of ‘Charisma’ Magazine and Stephen Katz, a recruiter for Jews for Jesus. Rick Joyner’s prophecy revealed the divine plan for a “Revolution in the Church” and the need for Messianic Jews to help reform the Church. Revolution is not a new subject for this modern prophet, but the venue of Joyner’s latest prophecy of a revolution in the Church is revealing.” 1
While Jesus walked the earth He never once address the political issues of His day except to say, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” He was not a political Zionist, and he never once taught his followers to overthrow the Roman occupation to take possession of physical Israel. He taught that His kingdom was not of this world! He came with a message and a purpose, and that purpose was to reconcile men to God and bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
Just as you can’t server two masters, you can’t live in two kingdoms at the same time. Although we have dual citizenship because we live in a physical body and are still subject to the earthly realm, when we become born again from above our citizenship transfers. As the apostle Paul tells us “But our citizenship is in heaven” Phil 3:20
Even the patriarch Abraham, the father of the faith, did not establish himself as a citizen of the earth. As the Bible tells us he considered himself “a stranger in a strange land” and lived like a pilgrim here.
Hebrews 11:9 “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
All of us who live by faith should take the same view of things! “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” Hebrews 11:13
The temptation then is always a battle between reacting along the ways of the world or responding with faith and love via the spiritual man. God’s ways are higher than our ways and the law of God is love. Love never fails. As the song says, “Only love can combat hate”!
The Upside Down Kingdom.
A friend of mine calls God’s kingdom the “upside down kingdom” because it is the opposite of everything that the world is. It functions under a different set of rules, such as love your enemies and turn the other cheek and give to all who ask of you. This goes against our fleshly nature, but that is what we are to do in order to build up our spiritual man. Living in fear of what is going on in the world can destroy your faith.
1 John 4: 18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Always remember that Jesus has already won the victory!! Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave by his death and resurrection and triumphed over them by the cross. Col 2:15 “ And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
One of my favorite verses is in Psalm 118: 6 “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Jesus clearly taught his followers that the world that hated him would hate them also, but he left them with this encouraging word: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”