Citizens: A Study on Philippians (Part 14)

September 20, 2020   /   Jesus Church

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Citizens: A Study on Philippians

(Part 14)

Good Morning Jesus Church

Good to be back… lets thank David for an awesome WORD last week

  • Everything was right on except being done with the series
    • Maybe you just were hoping I was done with the series
    • B/C we still have 1 ½ chapters to go… just getting to good stuff
  • So lets turn in our Bibles to Philippians 3 – We’ll finish ch. 3 today
    • But lets remember the world/audience this letter is written to

Phil 3:17-21


STORY – Imagine ur a 1st century Philippian

You live right on the tip of Greece – Super close the Aegean Sea

  • It’s a hot, humid Mediterranean valley
    • City is buzzing with life… 10’s of 1000’s of Romans moving there
    • From all over the kingdom (sorta like here in Phoenix)
  • And it’s amazing b/c Philippi reminds you so much of Rome
    • Layout of the city… Architecture…
    • Statues… Latin inscriptions throughout

But you are still fairly new to the city… you were a soldier of Rome

  • Loyal to Caesar and Patriot to the core
    • And you are proud to have fought for Caesar
    • In fact Caesar gifted you with a plot of land in Philippi
    • Tax exempt/Free of charge/ in the middle of the city
  • You have Caesar to thank for everything in your life
    • That’s why u go to temple and worship him every week
    • Because in your world… “Caesar is Lord”

Or at least that’s what you use to think

  • Until this Jewish Rabbi shows up… what he says blows ur mind
    • He claims that there was a would be Jewish King
    • Crucified by the army you retired from
  • He claimed this crucified King was actually the true king of world
    • And that was a dangerous gospel… its deadly propaganda
    • B/C if God raised this Jesus from the dead – and Jesus is Lord
    • Well… that means Caesar isn’t… that he isn’t the SAVIOR…
  • And that means the Empire of Rome is the PARADOY
    • And the Kingdom of God is the REALITY

Now Paul was run out of town – With this message

B/c if it were to spread… obvious threat to the empire… Paul is in prison

  • But he left behind an EKLESIA – or as we know it… a church
    • Made of men/women – masters/slaves – rich/poor – young/old
    • Where anyone was welcome… that was unheard-of
      • But you feel yourself drawn to this Jesus… to this church
      • And u find yourself believing deep down that Jesus is Lord
  • But that creates a tension in you… b/c you are a Roman & Patriot!
    • You are a citizen of the greatest empire in human history
      • You have sacrificed… you have bled to protect this empire
      • These are ur people… ur home… ur accomplishment
    • But on the other hand you are a follower of Jesus
      • Old soldier buddies hate the Xians u now associating with
      • B/C as a Xian – Your citizenship in now Kingdom of God
  • And on Sunday u show up at Lydia’s house – Gathering w/ others
    • And to everyone’s amazement guess who walks thru the door
      • It’s Apathroditus… u thought he was dead – alive & well
      • Back from Rome – and he has a letter from Paul

Apathroditus reads the entire letter to everyone who is there

  • Gets to the line: “Our citizenship is in heaven”
    • Chills shoot down the back of your spine…
    • You know right there – You have to make a decision
    • Is you primary loyalty to the Empire or the true King
  • B/C It can only be 1… the Gospel of Jesus calls u to make a decision
    • Whether you are a Philippian torn b/w Empire & God
    • Or today torn b/w Caesars of our world (money/fame/power)
  • Either way it calls you to answer the question… who will I follow
    • B/C as humans we are followers (regardless of individualism)

So w/ that QUESTION in back of ur mind… look at text

Phil 3:17

And Remember: This comes at the tail end of Paul’s autobiography

  • Paul just said: I gave up everything 2 follow Jesus… it’s “Skubalon”
    • In order to take on a life of death and resurrection
    • I’ve died 2 my past… came alive 2 my NEW future in Jesus
  • And Paul says: You should do the same… follow me!
    • Die to your past (good and bad)
    • Rise to your future in Jesus

We know Philippi was on a really busy trade route to the entire empire

  • So there were tons of teachers traveling thru the city to Rome
    • And some were good – Paul/Timothy/John/Apollos/Peter
    • But others would be bad news

Phil. 3:18

  • There will be people who pass thru Philippi and thru Phoenix
    • And the r enemies of the cross… hostile to the message of Jesus
    • Because the cross has never been a popular message
  • The fact the Gospel & Bible isn’t popular in today’s America
    • That’s not new… its been that way for centuries and worse!
    • And Paul is saying “I am warning you with tears”
  • Anyone like me worry about what ur kids learn in school (college)
    • This is how Paul is feeling towards this church he loves
    • Warning them to watch out for the enemies of the cross

Then he lays out 4 ways to identify these enemies – Who not to follow

  • 1 – Phil 3:19 – Their destiny is destruction
    • Destiny (Tellos in Greek) – End goal
      • Paul just talked about his Tellos – Resurrection of the dead
      • Here he says the enemies Tellos – Destruction
  • 2 – …and their god is their stomach
    • “gods” meaning what they worship/come under authority of
      • Stomach was 1st century euphemism for bodily appetites
      • What their “god” was – is what they desire in their flesh
      • Power/Control/Lust/Notoriety… also food & drink…
    • Nothing like what come under control of in today’s society right
      • Just take food & drink… and how our desire’s control us
      • Not to mention lust… fame… control
      • And if they are ur god… These mark enemies of the cross
  • 3 – … their glory is in their shame (fascinating way to put it)
    • One thing to sin w/ ur bodily appetites… but to glory in ur sin…
      • To be proud of your sin
      • To brag about your sin
      • To Instagram and tweet your sin to the world
    • There r people who make entire living off bragging in their sin
      • It’s called reality TV (it’s celebrity culture to a T)
      • If u can’t act – do something bad & u blow up w/ followers
    • Paul saying… instead of guilt and repentance
      • They glory and revel in their sin
  • 4 – … their mind is set on earthly things
    • What’s that mean… (Job/Work/Money) – Answer in Colossians
      • Colossians & Philippians written around same time
      • Both while he is in prison

Col. 3:2-8

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things… (defined as) sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry… anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

    • This is what Paul means by “Earthly Things”
      • They are consumed by & make their decisions by this stuff
      • These are they people you don’t want to follow…
    • Because they aren’t set for resurrection… but destruction
      • And he is begging with tears to follow “with me” to Christ
      • And not let them drag you down with them

After warning – Paul shifts gears and says

Phil 3:20-21

  • Now… this can be 1 of most misunderstood paragraphs in the Bible
    • Means the exact opposite of what many Xians think it means

1st: Paul is saying there are 2 colonies with 2 futures

Phrase: Citizenship is in heaven can be translated… colony of heaven

  • We are a COLONY of heaven – Must understand what a colony is
    • Philippi is a colony of Rome (Rome not 1st to conquer world)
    • Greeks (Alexander the Great) – Egyptians – Babylonians..
      • But Rome was first nation to KEEP it conquered
      • And the Genius of Rome was its colonies
  • Colonies were way more than cities planted in conquered countries
    • It was a microcosm of Rome – by law that was Roman land
      • Meaning exempt from taxes… protected by Roman law
      • You were treated well b/c you were a ROMAN
    • And a colony’s job: Bring Rome’s rule/culture to that region
      • Rule/Authority/Law/Justice/Culture/Philosophy/Religion
      • To Romanize the entire area around it
  • The cities were planted in strategic cities around the empire
    • Populated by Roman patriots… Philippi 4 example is conquered
    • Octavian (Agustus) has 10,000+ soldiers with him
      • Lightbulb moment… lets give land to keep people here
      • So instead of 1000s of soldiers in overcrowded Rome
      • You have 1000s of loyal Romans creating culture all over

Which means when Paul says to Church: Our citizenship is in heaven

  • He is saying that to Veterans/Patriots/Romans
    • Paul says to these Philippian colonists
    • FIRST & FOREMOST you are a citizen of heaven
  • But where people get in trouble with this scripture…
    • Paul NOT saying – “You belong 2 another world… forget Earth”
    • One day you will go there when u die – Just passing through
      • Which implication is… by default just check out/disengage
      • Distance yourself… b/c one day you will go home
  • That had absolutely nothing to do w/ what Paul is saying
    • If you were a colony in Philippi… goal was never to go to Rome
    • No – Your HONOR as a Roman was to bring Rome to Philippi
      • U were 2 pray/work for Rome culture to show up in ur city
  • Paul saying in same way Romans are called to Romanize Philippi
    • You and I are called to Heavenize Phoenix
    • And Heaven doesn’t mean a place you go when you die
    • Heaven is “God Space”… place things are as they should be

And to Paul there is coming a day that Heaven will invade Earth

  • The Bible ends in Rev. 21/22 with the wedding of heaven/earth
    • There is a day coming where the “God reality” will be right here
    • When right here things will be as they should be (as in garden)
  • And in meantime… you are not called to check out and disengage
    • You r called to HEAVENIZE this city… these people… our world
    • You are called to work for Heaven’s rule, reign and culture
    • Phx/Glendale/Peoria/Sun City/Surprise/Cave Creek/Scottsdale
      • Wherever u do life… ur call is 2 heavenize city around you
      • Because u are a colony of heaven

TAG: So there are 2 colonies – Philippi and the Kingdom of God

2nd: There are 2 futures – Destruction & Resurrection

Phil 3:20

Now… we know in 1st century Caesar was called Lord (Kirios)

  • Using that word 4 Jesus wasn’t cliché… it was statement of treason
    • And Rome passionately spread propaganda of Lord Caesar
    • All Roman currency – One side showed Caesar… other side Lord
    • And Paul (already in jail) says… none of that’s true – its Jesus
  • And we EAGERLY AWAIT not Caesar to put the world to right
    • But for Jesus to put the world to right
    • There is coming a day… our Savior is coming “From there”
  • And notice the direction of how this will happen
    • Jesus is coming FROM heaven TO earth
    • From the perfection of Heaven to brokenness of Earth

Most followers of Jesus DO NOT get this

  • Bible does not end with a story of us leaving the earth for Heaven
    • It works the other way around
    • Bible tells us: Jesus will come from Heaven to Earth
    • And he will drag Heaven along with him!!!

When this happens Heaven > Earth: 2 things happen

First: He will bring everything under his control

Phil. 3:21

  • And it’s everything… know what everything means? Everything!
    • Every square inch of the universe… rocks/trees/people
      • It will be put under the rule/reign of the kingdom of God
      • And in his control – He will right every wrong
      • Destroy every disease… end pain and suffering

Second: He will transform our bodies

… he will transform our lowly bodies (bodies of humiliation) to be like his GLORIOUS body.

  • Think of Jesus body after the resurrection (only a few verses)
    • But they talk about what Jesus’ glorious body is like
  • And there is continuity & discontinuity b/w body now and to come
    • Continuity: You are still in a body
      • Jesus isn’t an angel floating around in some 4th dimension
      • He is a human… in a body… flesh and blood
      • 1st thing he says to disciples after rez – anything to eat
    • Discontinuity: He appears/disappears – He walks thru walls
      • Which means it’s a new mode of physicality
      • Resurrection isn’t just resuscitation
      • Its… I’m alive again in whole new mode of physicality
    • This is what he look forward to as followers of Jesus
      • He will renew your lowly body (stats on death are insane)
      • To be like his GLORIOUS body!
  • So what happened to Jesus… will one day happen to us as well
    • Death > Burial > Resurrection
    • Paul says: Right now we work to spread the kingdom of God
    • But we look forward to on the horizon Jesus coming again
      • He will change us into glory and we will live forever

TAG: THAT is the Gospel of Jesus

So what does this mean for us… phoenix… 2020

1st: What does it mean for us 2 be a colony of heaven: 3 practical things

  • One: As the world restarts… have a fresh ability 2 influence culture
    • In your job – school – neighborhood
    • Show others what we are have to look forward to
    • Spread culture of Jesus… love… graciousness… hope… patience
  • Two: Pray & Worship
    • Our prayer & worship nights are a petition for Heaven on Earth
    • Come and join us… 1st Sunday of every month
    • We pray that Heaven would invade earth – See it coming
  • Three: Leaders… we are asking you to step up
    • God isn’t calling you to just sit in a chair every Sunday
    • There are times to heal… but have a plan – the time is short
    • We need leaders – If God is putting that at all on your heart
      • Don’t just ask should I lead… but where should I lead
        • Midweek Awana Kids ministry
        • You could start a weekly home gathering
        • You could join our First Impressions team

2nd: What does it mean to eagerly await our Savior

  • It means that we put our hope in Jesus… not a Caesar
    • Not in money/job/election/healing/doctor/prognosis
    • That’s not your hope… your hope is in Jesus
    • And your hope is what fuels you thru highs & lows of life
  • It means that our hope is in the resurrection – NOTHING ELSE
    • So whatever ur up against today… its never the end of the story
    • You live in the MIDDLE
    • And up on the horizon your destiny is your resurrection
      • Does that breathe HOPE into your soul????

3rd: But that’s not the destiny 4 everyone… u will talk to someone today

  • Their destiny is destruction
    • There is coming a day where we will be judged (innocent/guilty)
    • And b/c of Jesus salvation – Some will be judged innocent
    • But without Jesus salvation – Everyone will be guilty
  • Some will step into resurrection… but others will be destroyed
    • There are only two paths… not three (destruction/resurrection)
    • I wish there was a third – but there isn’t one
  • What is your path… where is your tellos (end goal)
    • Where is it leading… b/c it’s leading somewhere
    • One day you will stand before God



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