For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
I. THE CHRISTIAN IS A PILGRIM AND A STRANGER UPON EARTH.
1. This world is not destined to be his home; and in his application of the knowledge of this fact lies the difference between him and other men. Men in general live as if they would live forever. But the very nature of the Christian, his knowledge of his situation, and the prospects he has in view, all conspire to banish from him that delusion.
2. The Christian, being in this situation, is exposed to many hardships. He is far from home, and is deprived of its comforts. He cannot relish the pleasures of the world like the votaries of mammon. He may linger for s moment on his journey in the enjoyment of those pleasures which, being innocent in themselves, he is permitted to enjoy; but neither his own feelings nor his external situation will permit him to continue.
II. THE CHRISTIAN IS IN THE ENJOYMENT OF PECULIAR PRIVILEGES. Even the boasted privileges of imperial Rome dwindle into nothing in comparison.
1. The inhabitant of any country is under the protection of the government to which he belongs, wherever he is placed. So the Christian is everywhere under the protection of the Almighty. Surely, then, he ought never to be alarmed at the prospect of calamity. Should it come it will work for good.
2. The Christian is indebted to the care and protection of his fellow citizens. He is encompassed by an angelic host who watch his steps and shield him from danger.
3. In becoming a citizen of heaven the Christian is highly honoured. This honour arises out of his own nature and the nature of heaven. In himself man is a degraded being; yet sanctified he becomes the favourite of heaven in the present life, and will be exalted at last to God's right hand. And what is implied in this exaltation who can tell.
III. THE CHRISTIAN IS DISTINGUISHED BY A PECULIAR MODE OF CONDUCT.
1. Every true citizen is obviously patriot, no matter whether his country be beautiful or barren, There are few passions so strong as love of country, and none have given birth to nobler actions. The Christian is also a patriot, and in disinterested attachment to his country and readiness to die a martyr in her cause is surpassed by none; and, considering what that country is, no wonder.
2. Every good citizen must observe the laws of his country, and for this the Christian is distinguished. God's laws are his continual study, are sweeter than honey, their observance is his delight, their transgression his deepest sorrow.
3. Every good citizen must love his fellow citizens, and love to the brethren is a marked characteristic of Christians.
IV. THE CHRISTIAN CHERISHES AN ACQUAINTANCE AND HOLDS COMMUNION WITH HEAVEN.
1. If there be a Christian with whom this is not the case the carnal policy of men will furnish him with an instructive lesson. Men do not emigrate to a land without knowing its nature. The Christian must know something of heaven, and be convinced that its nature is congenial with his own.
2. The employments of the celestial world are in unison with the feelings of its citizens, whether on earth or in heaven. The Christian's affections are set not on earth but on things above.
3. Intercourse with heaven is chiefly effected by prayer, and is with the Father and the Son. This intercourse makes the place of it, wherever it may be, the house of God and the gate of heaven.
4. The effects of this communion are most valuable, and felt in adversity. If we have, then, no friend to whom we can unbosom our griefs we are wretched indeed. But the Christian has a Friend whose ear is ever open and whose hand is ever ready.
V. HEAVEN IS THE CHRISTIAN'S ETERNAL HOME.
Parallel VersesKJV: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: