Sermon Response Guide
Philippians 3:17-21 (NIV)
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
- Jesus gives us a new citizenship: we are citizens of heaven.
- As new citizens of heaven, we’ve been given a new:
1) Identity in Christ:
In the family of God, we are for one another and better together.
2) Loyalty to Christ:
Just as Jesus was sent by God into the world, so we are sent by Jesus into the world.
3) Destination with Christ:
Eternal life is not just about where we’re going, but who we’re going with – and, who lives with us even now – Jesus Christ, himself.
- As citizens of heaven living on earth, we are here to live as Christ lived: bringing heaven to earth.
Ask God to write this word on your heart this week:
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:8 ESV*
*Note: Through the rest of this sermon series, “All Things New,” we will be working together as a faith family to memorize Philippians 2:3-11. Each week, we will introduce a new verse to memorize while encouraging one another to remember the preceding verse(s) from the previous week(s).
This week, try to recite Philippians 2:3-8 together:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Questions for Reflection
Take time to reflect and respond to these questions on your own in the presence of the Holy Spirit, or with trusted friends or family members:
1: Would you consider yourself a “citizen of heaven?” Why or why not?
2: What does it mean to you to be a citizen of heaven?
3: How would identifying as a citizen of heaven affect the way you live your life each day?
4: Regarding the three aspects of our new citizenship in heaven discussed today, which do you most often remember, and which do you most often forget? Why do you think that is?
5: Read the words penned by Henri Nouwen (the late, great Dutch theologian, pastor, professor, priest, and author) and respond to the questions that follow:
“Wondering how things will be for me after I die seems, for the most part, a distraction. When my clear goal is the eternal life, that life must be reachable right now, where I am, because eternal life is in and with God, and God is where I am here and now. The great mystery of the spiritual life – the life in God – is that we don’t have to wait for it as something that will happen later. Jesus says, ‘Dwell in me as I dwell in you.’ It is this divine in-dwelling that is eternal life. It is the active presence of God at the center of my living – the movement of God’s Spirit within us – that gives us the eternal life.”
· How are you encouraged by Nouwen’s words?
· How are you challenged by Nouwen’s words?
· What can Nouwen’s words teach us about our new citizenship in heaven?
6: What do you think it means to “bring heaven to earth?” How do you see Jesus doing that in the Scriptures? How do you see Jesus doing that in your own life now?
7: Where do you most long to see Jesus bring heaven to earth in your own lifetime? How is the Holy Spirit inviting you to join in that good work today?
Lord, thank you for giving us a new citizenship in heaven even while we’re still living here on earth. How freeing it is to run into your arms of grace to receive mercy when we need it most. Thank you for the hope of heaven – that is, you. You have made a home in us, so we can make our home in you. Spur us on to invite others home with you, too.
For those interested in further study, our pastors want to share resources that have aided them in their sermon preparation (in conjunction with the Bible and the Holy Spirit):
· The Letter to the Philippians (The Pillar New Testament Commentary) by G. Walter Hansen
· Philippians, 2nd Edition (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Moises Silva
· Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) by Gordon D. Fee
· “The In-Dwelling of God Here and Now” meditation by Henri Nouwen
· “Citizenship: Part 2” sermon by Alistair Begg