For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:…
There can be no comparison between a soaring seraph and a crawling worm: there ought to be none between Christians and men of the world, only a contrast. If we were what we profess to be we should be as distinct a people as a white race in Ethiopia. There should be no more difficulty in distinguishing the Christian from the worldly than the sheep from the goat.
I. If our citizenship be in heaven then WE ARE ALIENS HERE. "We have no continuing city," but "desire a better country." Yet, though strangers and foreigners on earth, we share all the inconveniences of the flesh. No exemption is granted us from the common lot of mankind. In times of adversity we suffer, and in prosperous times we share the bounty of the God of providence.
1. A good man will not live a week in a foreign land without seeking to do good. The Good Samaritan sought the good not only of the Samaritans but of the Jews. Since we are here "to do good and to communicate" we must "forget not;" we must act as recruiters for the better land.
2. It behoves aliens to keep themselves quiet. What business have foreigners to plot against a country of which they are not citizens. So in the world we must be orderly sojourners, submitting ourselves constantly to those in authority, leading peaceable lives, fearing God, honouring the king, "submitting to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake."
3. As aliens we have privileges as well as duties. The prince of this world may make his vassals serve him, but he cannot raise a conscription upon aliens. The child of God claims an immunity from the commands of Satan.
4. As we are free from the conscription of the state we are not eligible to its honours. An Englishman at New York is not eligible for the Presidency. It is of ill omen to hear the world say "Well done" to the Christian man.
5. As aliens it is not for us to hoard up this world's treasures. The money of this world is not current in Paradise, and when we reach it, if regret is possible, we shall wish that we had laid up more treasure in our fatherland.
II. THOUGH ALIENS ON EARTH WE ARE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN.
1. We are under heaven's government. Christ, its King, reigns in us; its laws are the laws of our consciences; our daily prayer is, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
2. We share heaven's honours. The glory which belongs to beatified saints is ours, for we are already sons of God, wear the robe of Christ's righteousness, have angels for our servitors.
3. We have common rights in the property of heaven. "Things present or things to come: all are ours."
4. We enjoy the delights of heaven.
5. Our names are written in the roll of heaven's free men.
III. OUR WALK AND ACTS ARE SUCH AS ARE CONSISTENT WITH OUR DIGNITY AS HEAVENLY CITIZENS. Among the old Romans, when a dastardly act was proposed, it was thought a sufficient refusal to say Romanus sum. Surely it should be a sufficient incentive to every good thing if we can claim to be freemen of the eternal city.
1. In heaven they are holy; so must we be if our citizenship is not a mere pretence.
2. They are happy; so we must rejoice in the Lord always.
3. They are obedient; so we must follow the faintest monitions of the Divine will.
4. They are active; so, day and night, we should be praising and serving God.
5. They are peaceful; so we should find rest in Christ.
IV. We might read our text as though it said OUR COMMERCE IS IN HEAVEN. We are trading on earth, but the bulk of our trade is with heaven.
1. By meditation.
2. By thought.
3. In our hymns. There is a song which the band is forbidden to play to the Swiss soldiery in foreign lands, because it reminds them of the cowbells of their native hills. If the men hear it they are sure to desert. So there are some of our hymns which make us homesick.
4. By hopes and loves. It is right that the patriot should love his country.
5. Just as people in a foreign land are always glad to have letters from their country, I hope we have much communication with our fatherland, both from and to.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: