In honor of Flag Day, these are the notes that I shared on Sunday with other members of our fellowship. I’m just trying to alienate the few readers I have left:
Philippians 3:20a states, “But our citizenship is in heaven.” I have always heard this and wondered what it meant. Does this mean we should renounce our citizenship of any country in this world?
Satan is the prince of this world. John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11. He had authority to grant the kingdoms to Jesus. Matthew 4:8-10. Satan has been given all the authority and splendor of the kingdoms. Luke 4:5-8. Additionally, when Satan claimed to have authority over the kingdoms of this world, Jesus did not dispute these claims. Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:8.
I understand that Romans 13 says that the governing authorities were established by God, just as Satan was established by God as the prince and authority of this world. God permits Satan to work out his ministry of death in this age, using the governing authorities as his tool.
There are many who attempt to combine Christianity and patriotism in claims that patriotism is right and good for a Christian. I now doubt such statements.
Satan is a great deceiver and he can make false things look true. For example, look at the following passage:
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There are many alive today that profess Christianity who will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven. You may think I am referring to C&Es, but I’m not. Read the passage again, these people who will be rejected prophesied in the name of Jesus and drove out demons and performed miracles. These are Christians who truly believed they were on the right path and I would hazard a guess that those around them thought them to be mighty followers of Christ. But they are deceived.
Two more examples, from Acts 18:24-19:7 follow:
24Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
27When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Paul in Ephesus
1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in all.
Look at Apollos. His qualifications would seem to be complete to most professing Christians today; He is learned, has a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, spoke with great fervor, and he taught about Jesus accurately. But Apollos is evidence that there is a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus.
And this passage is evidence that there is a great mission field among professing Christians. There is an opportunity for modern Priscillas and Acquilas to explain The Way more adequately.
One final note: There will not be a place in heaven for those who say, “Jesus wants me to do this, but I won’t do it.”