Second Sunday in Lent
Scripture: Philippians 3: 17 – 4:1
Paul is in prison writing to his beloved Philippians, who have journeyed together with him as participants of Christ’s mission and the time is drawing near when Paul will magnify the Lord through his death.
On a number of occasions Paul used his Roman citizenship to buy time to preach the Gospel, now he uses his Heavenly citizenship to encourage his brothers and sisters in the Lord at Philippi.
He exhorts them in the love of Christ to stand fast in the Lord, to imitate Paul and those who witness to the example of Christ. (3:17) They are not to follow the citizens of the world, they who have made themselves enemies of Christ: they who glory in bodily desires and shame, they who have set their minds on the things of the earth, they who have chosen the road to destruction. Their perilous choices have brought Paul to tears (3:18-19), for the wages of sin is death.(Romans 6:23)
But Paul says we are citizens of heaven who eagerly await the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (3:20). Instead of perishing in a corrupted body we are transformed into the imperishable by the mighty power of God.(3:21) Paul has laid bare the stark contrast between the world and heaven and its citizens.
Then Paul makes his appeal again in the love of Christ for the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord.(4:1)
Words cannot express the value of our citizenship in Heaven, purchased at great cost for our benefit, it carries with it great privilege and responsibility; citizens are to make widely known throughout the world the citizenship of heaven.
TIM is a marvellous ingenious provision of the Lord that helps prepare young citizens for such a task. It comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.
I have learnt that the love of Christ is the motivating power in mission. Christ gives us the eyes to see the world as it really is, compassion for the lost and the determination to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
-Roger Frost, Congregational Union of New Zealand
We pray our Father for those who have made themselves enemies of Christ, we too were once lost and blind until the light of the gospel shone upon our hearts, so please Lord continue to show Your great mercy to those who are still held captive by the world and make them citizens of Heaven.
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