Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
October 2018 (2)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

FOCUS ON HEAVEN, NOT ON EARTH
by Philip Owen

Our nation is in a constant uproar.  Amid accusations and recriminations from the political left and right, we hear frequent statements that our nation has never been more divided.  The Civil War, 1861-1865, gives the lie to such hyperbole; nevertheless, the present climate suggests that rioting and mayhem, if not anarchy or another civil war, are far from unthinkable.  By nature, Christians tend to be patriotic, law-abiding citizens who sincerely desire what is best for the United States and become rightly grieved when disregard for the law or other public sins run rampant.  And certainly it is right for believers to be “salty” and to have a preserving effect on society.  But wanting to be good citizens, we may find ourselves far too exercised about the state of the world.  Certainly, we should obey all moral laws and perform the duties of citizenship.  But we must always remember that neither our hope nor our help has temporal roots.  Neither the U. S. Constitution, nor the right elected officials, nor the right court appointments will cure America’s problems because sin, which is the basis of our problems, is a spiritual issue that can never be rectified by human institutions.  Though speaking in another context, the apostle Paul gives us two remarks that will help genuine believers navigate the treacherous waters created by today’s political climate.

We live on earth for the moment.  First, Paul warns us against those (including ourselves) “who set their minds on earthly things” (Phil. 3:19).  He had in mind, particularly, false teachers who focused on rituals, ceremonies, and every sort of false external religion.  But the principle has general application.  In a similar fashion, he exhorted the Colossians to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the thing that are on earth” (3:1, 2).  When we brood, stew, worry, when we become exasperated or angry, when we lose our peace or joy because of the state of our nation, we have begun to set our minds on earthly things.  Our thoughts are not to be focused on the temporal, which is different from giving thought and prayerful consideration to the needs of our nation.  When we become consumed with the state of society, when that drives the decisions we make and how we live, we have begun to set our minds on earthly things.  Paul was by no means oblivious to human government:  he used the laws available to him, he stood before kings, he even appealed to Caesar.  But this realm is not our focal point and should not determine the course of our lives or the quality of our existence.  Believers are commanded to exercise our wills in order to continually seek eternal things and to keep our minds on heaven, not on earth.

We belong to heaven for eternity.  Second, the apostle assures us that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20).  It is our birthplace spiritually, if you will.  Our eternal life comes from God in heaven, in Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit.  Ultimately, all our obligations and responsibilities as well as our privileges and blessings derive from heaven—not from some human document or government.  When the Constitution turns to ashes, the United States government to dust, when the world is ablaze, and then completely disintegrates, we will still belong to heaven.  We will still be safe and secure.  We will still be basking in the presence of God and in the fellowship of Jesus Christ.  Should things grow worse here (as they inevitably will [II Tim. 3:1, 13]), we still belong to heaven, we still belong to our God and Heavenly Father, “who sits in the heavens” and “laughs, the Lord scoffs at them [the rebels who think they can overthrow the Lord].  Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury” (Psa. 2:4, 5), “waiting . . . until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Heb. 10:13; also Psa. 110:1; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:43; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13).  All our actions on earth should be for the sake of heaven.  Earth is temporal, heaven eternal.  Time is short, eternity long.  As representatives of an eternal kingdom, we must live as pilgrims here.  As ambassadors for Christ (II Cor. 5:20) we must bear the credentials of heaven:  the character of Christ.  And others should begin to “recognize” us “as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).   

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page

Grace Bible Church :-: (217) 372-8692 :-: 3900 N Willow Rd Urbana, P.O. Box 303, IL 61803 :-: pastor (at) gbcurbana.com