Go

Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Meeting Address:
    115 E. Pacific Ave., Spokane, WA 99202
  • Office/Mailing Address:
  • 608 W. 2nd Ave, #101. Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday: 10am
  • Infant through 8th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!

Sermons

FILTER BY:

Back To List

Oct 18, 2020

Dual Citizenship

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Christian Citizenship

Keywords: kingdom of god, kingdom of heaven, citizenship

Summary:

This topical series looks at citizenship from the perspective of the Word of God. This message focuses on the primary, core citizenship of every Christ-follower, our citizenship in the Kingdom of God. That citizenship has profound implications for how we handle everything from injustice to beauty, not to mention daily life in whatever country we find ourselves.

Detail:

Dual Citizenship

Part 1 in Christian Citizenship Series

October 18, 2020

 

INTRO to series on Christian Citizenship:  WHY? 

  • Citizenship is a reality every Chr. must contend with. Earthly citizenship often brings conflict with our divine citizenship.
  • There is great confusion in the USA about what constitutes citizenship, what is good citizenship, responsibilities, etc.
  • There is great confusion in the church about how Christians are to view and live out citizenship.
  • Our nation is at a very critical change point (religiously, politically, socially, educationally…all!) that will determine how we/our children/our grandchildren live out and suffer for our faith.
  • We cannot assume that good Christians have a biblical view of government and citizenship today. Schools no longer teach on this.  If we are to have a biblical worldview about government, the church must teach it.  It is one of the most important and defining areas of theology needed today by the people of God.  God’s people need to be clear and convinced about what God says about citizenship. 

ILL:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer—was encouraged in the 1930s to stay in the U.S. to be a voice for the German Free Church.  He chose to return to Nazi German to be with/pastor his flock.  We are potentially living in a time not unlike his when the church will have to sort out the difference between our divine citizenship in heaven and our earthly citizenship in whatever country we find ourselves.  

DUAL CITIZENSHIP:

Definition:  being a citizen of two or more countries concurrently.  It means that you are bound to obey the laws of both nations. 

When is that a problem:  When nations go to war; when legal requirements of both nations conflict.

Naturalized citizenship oath: what every naturalized citizen to the U.S. has to swear to become an American.

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Title of Message:  Dual Citizenship…because we ALL have it if we are Christ-followers!

Christians are citizens of at least 2 “kingdoms”:  the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the nation in which they hold citizenship.

Earthly citizenship—How do you get it?

  • Either by being born in a particular country (often to parents who were citizens of that country. ILL:  Daniel & Andrew—Spain.
  • By becoming a naturalized citizen.

Heavenly citizenship—How?

  • By being “born again” into the family of God—Jn. 3.
  • By being adopted by God into His family (Eph. 1:5)

Phil. 3:20-21--But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…. 

Only time the word “citizenship” is used. 

“Citizen”—7 times, all in Acts; all used secularly—of Roman citizenship, citizens of certain cities, etc.

“Citizens”—5 times, all in N.T. (2 Roman, 2 general, 1 sp.)

  • Ephesians 2:19--So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

I Peter 2:9--But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession….

The biblical term used most often for the contemporary term “nation” or “country” is “KINGDOM”:

  • Kingdom of God—67 times.
  • Kingdom of Heaven—31 times
  • OT = 151 times; T. = 150 times

Kingdom in the O.T., while often referring to nations or countries, isn’t limited to that.  God revealed to His human co-authors of Scripture that He was deeply interested in His own rule and reign over mankind and this universe.  A couple of examples.

  • Psalm 103: 19—“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” Obviously, He is not talking about a physical, geographic kingdom.  So what can we discern about God’s “kingdom” from this?  [a dominion, authority, rule; eternal, over the entire universe we inhabit]
  • Psalm 145:13—Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. [“kingdom” used 3 times in this Psalm, vss. 11, 12, 13]

One more O.T. passage that speaks to how God’s rule and reign in His kingdom relates to human kingdoms…ALL human kingdoms (not just his chosen people, Israel).

  • Jeremiah 18:3-12—Jeremiah goes to the Potter’s house on the promise that God is going to give him a message there. As he’s waiting for God to speak, he sees the potter working on the potter’s wheel forming this pot.  But then some flaw appears in the pot.  So what does the potter do?  He scraps the plan he had for that first pot, starts over again and makes it into another pot.  Here is the spiritual message God wanted to give in that little object lesson.  (Read 18:5-12)

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’”

What do you think God has decreed for our nation?  I’m pretty sure we’re under His hand of judgment!  But does that mean that’s what we’re stuck with?  NO, thank God!  BUT, our future will only avoid the judgment of God if there is a spiritual awakening …spiritual repentance…spiritual renewal. 

            Listen to what Daniel 7 tells us about God’s kingdom in chapter 7.  7:14 speaks of “the Ancient of Days”, i.e. Jesus.  “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” 

Vs. 18—“But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.”  WOW!  THAT is our future, if you are in Christ.

Vs. 27—“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” 

What does this tell us about God’s kingdom?

  • Eternal
  • Holy
  • Manifested in worship by the creation
  • Encompasses ALL peoples, every language, etc.
  • Revolves around God’s dominion over His creation.
  • It’s about authority and a submissive citizenry.

            In the N.T., we have hundreds of references to God’s ongoing kingdom.  Jesus called it often “the kingdom of heaven”, perhaps to underscore to we earthlings who are so geography-bound that God’s rule isn’t limited to this earth.  I have a hunch that he resides over more worlds and creatures and beings than we can possibly fathom.  But what He is unfolding on this earth has an important role to play in His “Kingdom of Heaven.” 

            The N.T. gives us a lot more information about this kingdom.  Let me just highlight a couple of things.

  1. 14:17—discussing the issue of eating meat offered to idols and weaker believer’s consciences, Paul writes, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” This kingdom isn’t built on food and brick and mortar; it’s built on life that reflects the nature of God; it’s built on life in the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit—peace…joy…love, patience, kindness, etc.
  2. I Corinthians 6:9, 10—This is why the godless won’t be part of that kingdom. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived:  Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  We’re ALL toast…except for the truth of the next verse—And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 

This unredeemed flesh and blood “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50; Eph. 5:5).  God is the One who “calls us into His kingdom” (1 Thess. 2:12) and makes us “worthy” of His kingdom (2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1).  It is a kingdom that “cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:28)…and much more.

So, what is the relationship of God’s kingdom to the life we are called to live in this world’s kingdoms?

Matthew 5-6—How God’s people are to conduct themselves in this life, in this world’s kingdoms, as citizens primarily and most fundamentally now of His kingdom (the Beatitudes, loving enemies, giving to needy, trusting God for our needs, praying, etc.)

            Teaching us to prayer, Jesus gave us our calling as citizens of His kingdom (Mt. 6:10):  Having reminded us that our life is now all about “hallowing” or making God’s name and fame great in this world, Jesus tells us that we should be petitioning God for His dominion, reign, rule and thus “will” to be done wherever He has placed us and whatever we’re praying for:  “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

            Our calling, no matter what our career, place of living, nationality, etc. is to extend the rule of Christ over the hearts of people.  Since that is a rule He offers rather than imposes at this point in time, it is not something that we should ever seek to impose by military might, by force or by coercion.  The power of our kingdom is that of the Holy Spirit doing a convicting and convincing work.  It is the power of modeling.  It is the power of an attractive example, a refreshing presence, a holy life. 

ILL:  What’s the difference between…

  • The S. Army airborn infantry platoon…and
  • The S. Coast Guard rescue team?

One imposes its will on those who oppose it…search & destroy

The other offers its services to those recognizing they need help… search & rescue. 

Which one would you want looking for you???!!!

            Jesus made the difference abundantly clear during His trial before Pilate.  John 18:33-37.  (Read and comment.)

33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

            Jesus makes it abundantly clear that His kingdom is not like any other earthly kingdoms.  It isn’t established by fighting and force. If it were, Jesus would have summoned tens of thousands of angels in the Garden of Gethsemane to establish His kingdom. 

But it would have been a relatively empty kingdom at that point.  None of us would have been a part of it.  None of the millions of believers world-wide who have been purchased by the shed blood of Jesus would have been a part of it.  None of those who we will lead to faith in Christ before we die would have been a part of it.  That kingdom will one day be set up when Christ returns “with His holy angels” at the last trumpet sound.    

We know that Jesus’ kingdom is established by the power of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people, not by the power of the sword over the heads of people.

That is why Jesus called US to be a people who “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33).  That is a call to be RULED by Christ.  When we “seek Christ first” we seek to be rule by the King of kings and Lord of lords.  We seek His dominion over every nook and cranny of our lives.  Living to see His kingdom established in as many hearts as possible in our lifetime is the call of every child of God until we die. 

APP:  Since our primary citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, what could living primarily for that Kingdom look like? 

  • Divine patriotism? What might it look like?
    • Pledge Allegiance to the Christian Flag? I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.
    • Pride in the glories of our homeland?
    • Tell the stories of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our faith?
    • Volunteer time to build this kingdom?
    • Pay taxes/tithes?
    • Teach our children about the heroes of this kingdom, the saints of old and more recent church history?
    • Celebrate the church calendar (like a national calendar)
  • Spiritual homesickness?

ILL:  Last night we drove back from Newport where we had attended a wedding.  We drove past the turn-off for the first camp I ever attended as a child, the YMCA Camp Reid.  I got to thinking about that first camping experience and remembering just how homesick I had gotten—memories of being afraid during the night hike when they told ghost stories at the end of the trail…waking up in the middle of the night and wandering the darkened campground by myself…feeling the loneliness of not knowing anyone there and waiting the whole week for my parents to come pick me up.