Strangers and Aliens

Is your citizenship in heavenIf you’ve ever travelled overseas, especially to a land that does not speak the same language as you, then you may have felt like an alien and a stranger. I have just returned from a three week holiday in Europe. I have a European Passport as well as an Aussie one but there were many times that I certainly felt a stranger as:

Most of the people looked like I did but they didn’t speak the same language as me and I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying.
Their customs and ways of doing things were different from mine.
Their food was mostly good but a lot of it wasn’t and my body objected.
The people and the territories and their laws were alien to me I had to concentrate and keep alert so that I didn’t get lost or walk into danger.

Peter reminds believers that they are aliens and strangers travelling through this world (1 Peter 2:11). He urges them to live as though they are just passing through and not to adopt their ways. Jesus tells us that our home is now with Him in heaven (John 14:2-3). Although we are travelling through this world we are strangers as our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our journey will end when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ returns or when we die whichever comes first. Then we will join Him in heaven.

I have a European passport because of my parentage and the law. I was born in Britain – my parents were British and by natural descent I became British. That’s the law. I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. When Britain joined the European Union my citizenship was extended to the 28 countries that make up that union and my passport is now European.

At birth I was also alienated from God because of original sin that our first parents Adam and Eve earned for us. The Bible tells us this. Through their rebellion to God they got us deported from the Garden of Eden, that wonderful paradise that He had created for them. However, because of grace I was born again into the Kingdom of heaven. This happened when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to my sinful nature and the fact that sin alienates me from God. Then by faith in the work and character of the Lord Jesus Christ I was born again (John 3:3,5). I cried out to God to restore my citizenship in heaven and by repentance, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit I received my heavenly passport.

I also have an Australian Passport as I chose to emigrate to Australia and adopt the laws and customs of this wonderful land. Even though the delights of Britain tug at me sometimes I have chosen to leave them far behind and settle permanently here. That’s the same as our citizenship in heaven. When we receive it, although we are still in the world, we must choose to turn our backs on their delights and live like a citizen of heaven adopting the ways of God as taught us by our King – the Lord Jesus Christ. Failure to do this will result in incurring His wrath. James warns believers against this (James 4:4).

If you have been watching the news lately you will know that Britain has voted to exit from union with Europe. They are calling it a Brexit as Britain is exiting from the union. Now the country under a new leadership has to take back control of its borders. Likewise, Christians have to “Brexit” from friendship or union with the world and under the new leadership of their Lord Jesus Christ let Him control their borders.

We need that firmly established today Christian. So many Christians are no different from the world. As a Christian:

You shouldn’t think like the world.
You shouldn’t act like the world.
You shouldn’t have the same customs as the world does.
You shouldn’t have the same goals and desires as the world.

If today you feel that you are a believer that doesn’t appear any different from the world or you feel that you don’t quite fit in with the citizens of heaven then I’d like to make a few suggestions to help you in your journey. I make these suggestions based on common problems to Christian growth that we have seen in the healing rooms.

Perhaps there is some legal issue that needs to be dealt with before you can feel a member of God’s household. The rulers of Britain will be dealing with the legal issues of breaking ties with the rest of Europe. In the same way our ruler the Lord Jesus Christ will assist us to break ties with the kingdom of darkness. If I have a problem overseas I can go to the Australian Embassy and seek help and claim the benefits of being a citizen of Australia. It is no different in the Kingdom of heaven. We need to take the problem of not fitting in to the Lord and His representatives in the church. Maybe the legal issue is sin. The good news is that Jesus has cancelled your sin by taking it to the cross and all we have to do it confess that sin and ask Him to cleanse us from it along the lines of 1 John 1:9. Christians must read their bibles and compare their behaviour with it. If you do not read your bible and attend church you may not know that some of your behaviour is wrong. There is an old English law that states that ignorance of the law is no excuse. We all have our Bibles and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Search your Bible and compare your life to the life you should be living under God. If you are found wanting then it is sin. When you find it then confess it and cry out to God to forgive, deliver and cleanse you from the unrighteousness. All known sin must be dealt with this way. A major blockage to enjoying the benefits of the kingdom such as healing, all the fruit of the Spirit and becoming more like Christ is sin. Have you known sin in your life? Yes, then seek ministry and put it to death – Brexit from it. Here is a prayer that you may like to pray. Click on it to see the prayer: (first prayer)

Another major blockage is a curse. The church readily recognises sin is a problem and needs to be dealt with but ignores curses. In fact many, many churches – maybe even the majority believe that all curses mysteriously lifted off them when they believed without any effort on their behalf. The vast majority of people who come in here are under a curse which brings demonic interference with it. Like sin curses must be broken. Jesus became sin and the curse for us (Galatians 3:13-14). Just like sin believers must recognise that there are curses to be confessed and broken. Then forgiveness is to be sought.

There are two curses that we encounter time and again among the Christians that seek out this ministry. The first is a curse down to the third or fourth generation of those who have given their allegiances to foreign gods. Think about it. Google reliably tells me that four generations for my age is from the year 1850 and contains 16 ancestors. Think about the allegiances that your family from 1850 onwards may have bound you to. Did you, your mother/father or grandparent have a house god? Did they follow another religion? Were they freemasons? Or maybe they worshipped money, career, their children or even themselves. Think about what was so important in their lives that would have been placed above God. That is an idol. Then, if you would like to, you could seek the Lord in prayer and claim that Jesus has taken the curse to the cross. Here is another sample prayer (second prayer).

The second curse is one spoken about in Deuteronomy 23:2. Do you know everything that has transpired in the last ten generations in your family? How can we know the details of all our ancestors’ lives for the past four hundred or more years? Consider warfare – modern and ancient. War has, for centuries, involved raping, killing, and plundering. Every war leaves behind a trail of bastard children. Throughout history Europe has been at war with the Goths, the Gauls, the Celts, the Franks and the Vikings? Asia has had the Huns, Mongols, or Seleucids. I believe that most people are under this curse and if you have not repented for this sin the you are under a curse. If you are illegitimate, from an illegitimate line or have had an illegitimate child then you have a curse. Having an abortion does not set people free from this curse, even though the child was killed before it had a chance to be born. If you have done this, even though you have asked God to forgive you for the abortion, you still need to repent to remove the curse of the bastard from you. The moment that you become a citizen of heaven you become a legitimate child of God and the curse of illegitimacy has no hold on you. However, we still have to confess and repent of it to receive complete freedom. Here is a prayer that you may like to prayer (third prayer).

A major reason I felt like a stranger in Europe was the language difficulty. I visited Italy and having never learned Italian I wasn’t speaking the same language as them. I did learn Latin however – even though it is a dead language. So, if I am looking for my hotel in Rome and say in Latin, “Ubi est deversorium” instead of the Italian “dov’è il mio hotel” – do I expect to be understood? The language is obsolete. Now effective communication is essential in some circumstances however I managed my holiday which was problem free without much communication. However, communication with God is essential in every circumstance. We are told to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2) so we must be speaking the same language. The Old Testament language and covenant promises spoken to the Jews is now obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). We must be talking to God in the New Testament language which is the gospel of His son Jesus Christ.

Vulgar Latin, the language spoken by the roman people, started to change slowly when the roman army was defeated and the empire fell and they lost their kingdoms. A lot of the Old Testament is about war and fighting and claiming territory and Christians who live by the Old Testament ways seem to be doing just that fighting, warring and claiming Old Testament promises. The fleshly lusts of this world which warred against our soul were defeated on the cross. God only speaks the New Testament gospel now and it is a gospel of peace as Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Ephesians 6 is often used as the New Testament call to perpetuate the fighting and warring Spirit but if you read it all in context it is a battle of the soul against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Peter tells us that (1 Peter 2:11)

Our old nature – our flesh – wants the ways of this world but our new regenerated nature wants the ways of God. Our sinful nature is at war with your regenerated soul and that is the only fight that we should take up.

During my holiday I visited the Colosseum in Rome where there was a great deal of fighting by Gladiators who were mainly slaves. I’d like to use an analogy based on the Gladiator slaves to help us cement a correct way of behaviour for Christians to fight. They were fighting for their freedom and so are we. Freedom from union with the world. As the gladiator stepped into the Colosseum he would have been overawed by a crowd of up to 50000 people – tier upon tier all around. But that would have soon given way to the gravity of the situation and the concentration that he needed to succeed and win the applause of the crowd.

Christians, we are in the arena and there are many onlookers. They are watching how you carry yourself in the fight of faith. But, there was one more notable person there who attended a Roman Gladiatorial spectacle and that was the Emperor. As the gladiator took his position he would look up and fix his eyes on the Emperor who would give the cue for the show to begin. Christian gladiators have one great person who is looking down on the arena where you are today and initiating the show. Even though Caesar would have himself been esteemed as a God – man he was and a sinful one at that. Our great person is truly royal – our Lord Jesus Christ the author and sustainer of all life – the King of Kings.

The game is on and out comes mammon powerful and seductively clothed in gold and blinding us with his reflection. Don’t look Christian, keep your eye on your King and He will signal safe moves for you. Next comes an angry lion looking to pounce. Gaze at your Prince of Peace and take peace from Him and resist your enemy. The onslaughts will keep coming. Recognise them – they are the pull of the world on you, the weaknesses in your own flesh and the Devil tempting you to fall. He’ll tell you that you’re not strong enough to resist. He’ll say, “Aren’t you tired? I’m too strong for you I have power and can rule over you.” And he’ll turn his thumb down – just like Caesar did when the order was for the losing Gladiator to die. Don’t listen Christian Gladiator! Take your eye off his thumb. Say in your heart – It is not true – I cannot serve the Prince of this world for I have a King and it’s Him I will please. I’m not taking my eyes off Him but will follow His direction until the final event.

The final event in the arena is the coming forward of Caesar to crown the victor. One day soon, the final event of time will be the coming forward of our Lord Jesus Christ to crown the victors in the good fight of faith. He will hand us the victors crown – oh the glory of that moment when we receive it and cast it at his beautiful nail pierced feet as we adore Him for eternity. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

This message is from a sermon given by Andrea Lock on 24 July, 2016. If you would like more information about the Victoria Park Christian Centre Church or ministry, please use the contact form below. Bless you!