Our Conversation is in Heaven
(From a sermon preached June 10, 2012 at Hope Baptist Church in Bettendorf, Iowa)
For our conversation is in heaven;
from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
You're not from around here, are you?
I get that a lot here in Iowa. People catch onto my slow Texas drawl purty quick up in these parts. Why? because of my conversation. In this passage, the Apostle Paul uses the word "conversation." This is not simply our speech. It refers to our life style; our manner and custom.
One of the difficulties we face as Christians in America is that we are Christians in America. We measure everything against our freedoms, our customs our "manner of life" which we have enjoyed being citizens of the most prosperous and free nation on Earth. We see our liberty being threatened and our way of life in danger of being lost to a socialist "nanny state" that controls all that is subsidizes, and subsidizes more and more each day.
If we are not careful we will lose sight of the fact that, though our Christianity has been allowed to flourish in this free society, it is not a product of that freedom. True Christianity and Christian values existed long before America did. We get spoiled thinking that Christianity has given us our prosperity; it has not. Our prosperity is the result of a free society, and not all Christians have that. Granted, our free society is due, largely to those founding fathers who sought to build a biblicly based society. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "A true democratic republic cannot exist unless founded on Christian values." But that free republic is only the fertile soil in which the Christian church has prospered.
We Christians are spoiled in America.
We are spoiled in that we believe that our view of Christianity, our lifestyle, is indicative of what Christians have enjoyed throughout history, and it is not. The majority of Christians throughout history and even today have never experienced the liberty we have as Americans. Most Christians in the world are a poor and persecuted lot. Many are familiar with starvation, illness and poverty because many live in countries where that is the norm. If we as Americans point to our brand of Christianity and tell others around the world, "This is how it ought to be!" we are sending a scewed message to the world. Our missionaries are not to go and change society, they are to go and enlighten the hearts of men with the Gospel of Jesus Christ: to produce citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, not to "Americanize" them.
I am convinced more and more each day that we must get our eyes and our hearts adjusted to a "Kingdom world view." When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done." The Kingdom of which He spoke was not America! I love America! I love the freedoms I have here. She is truly the greatest nation on Earth. I am convinced that is because we were founded on biblical principles. But the Bible does not protect or promise my religious freedom, the Constitution of the United States does. And we know governments change.
We need our conversation to be in Heaven again. I've heard it said that some people are so 'heavenly minded, they are no earthly good. The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:18 condemns those who "mind earthly things. I am reminded of the old hymn that we still sing occasionally in our services:
This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel art home in this world any more."
Americans have heard so much preaching on America, they forget about Heaven. Consider for a moment all the Scripture says we have in Heaven!
Our Father is in Heaven
Mt 6:1* Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Mt 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Our Savior is in Heaven
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Our relations are in Heaven
1Th 4:13-15 ¶ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
Heb. 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Our riches are in Heaven
Mt 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mt 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Heb 10:34* For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Our inheritance is in Heaven
1 Pet. 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4* To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5* Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Our reward is in Heaven
Matt. 5:1 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12* Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Our Hope is in Heaven
Col 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Our reservation is in Heaven
Php 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
Re 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
We are ambassadors for Christ here on Earth
2Cor 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Heb. 11:16* But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
I truly believe God's people can be no earthly good unless we are heavenly minded. Do you know your reservation is in Heaven? Have you, by faith placed your trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin? If you are not 100% sure you will go to Heaven when you die, please do not hesitate. Christ died on the cross to pay your sin debt and through Christ you can receive that free salvation. Confess to Him your sin and trust Him today. Make sure your reservation is made. If you have questions please contact me at my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly assist you in understanding the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is your conversation in Heaven?
Thank you for reading