15 November 2020 (Trinity Twenty-Third Sunday Morning Prayer) Philippians 3:20
Updated: Nov 16
Last week, we celebrated Remembrance Sunday. We remembered those who died for us and sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Every day, we give thanks to our saviour Jesus Christ who sent us the Holy Spirit who equips us to fight against the spirits of darkness. Jesus Christ died for us and rose again from the dead. With His precious blood, He redeemed us from our sins and freed us from our bondage.
Apostle Paul played a major role in establishing the early church in Philippi. The Philippian church extended their financial support to Paul. Paul wrote the epistle of Philippians to thank them for their support and to address the issues in the church. The Philippian church gave more importance to worldly things than to heavenly things. Paul in his letter asked them to seek Jesus and the kingdom of God. Today, I would like to meditate based on our epistle reading, St. Paul’s epistle to Philippians 3:20. The verse says, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”. In Hebrew translation, the verse says, “Our citizenship is in Heaven; from whence we are eagerly waiting for a saviour, Jesus Christ”. In this verse Apostle Paul says that we who are children of Jesus Christ have our citizenship in heaven. That is, we do not belong to this world. Our life in this earth is only temporary. He also says that we are waiting for Jesus Christ to come from heaven as our Saviour.
When our citizenship or conversation is in heaven, why are we eagerly waiting for the saviour from heaven? We know that Jesus Christ has already come to this world as our Saviour and brought us salvation. Then what did Paul mean when he said we are waiting for a saviour from heaven? Answers for the two questions are based on the second coming of Jesus and the kingdom of God which is heaven.
What did Paul mean when he said we are waiting for a saviour from heaven?
The Almighty Father sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to save the whole world from the bondage of sin. The sacrifices mentioned in the Old Testament laws and commandments given through Moses could not save people from eternal death. Committing sin and offering sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins was a continuous process. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”. Jesus Christ came into this world as a Passover Lamb. He offered Himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He shed His blood because “without shedding of blood is no remission”. We read this in Hebrews 9:22. Jesus came to save all people from their bondage of sin. As we read in Hebrews 7:27, he offered up himself, so the high priests did not have to offer sacrifice daily for his own sins and for the people's sins. We are saved from second death or eternal death when we are washed by the blood of the Lamb of God.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He said in John 14:2&3 that He will come again to receive us. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Jesus was referring to His second coming when He will come to receive the church as His bride. Paul also speaks about this in Hebrews 9:27&28: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation”. We are waiting for this second coming of Jesus from heaven and Paul was referring to this when he said we are waiting for a saviour from heaven.
Why are we eagerly waiting for the saviour from heaven?
We read in Acts 1:11 that when Jesus ascended to heaven, a voice said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”. We the church believe that we will spend our eternal life with Jesus in heaven. We are in the last days and are waiting for our Saviour from Heaven to inherit our eternal citizenship with Jesus Christ. In Revelation 22:20 we read “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.” The early Christian churches were expecting the Messiah to come and save them from persecution or tribulation. The Jews expected Jesus would give them a separate nation and rule. They believed that Jesus would establish His kingdom in this world and give authority to them. Therefore, Paul mentioned in Philippians 3:20 that they were eagerly waiting for our saviour Jesus Christ from heaven.
Jesus did not tell us when He will come to receive His bride. Only the Father Almighty knows when Jesus’ second coming will be. Mark 13:32 says “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” We are waiting for the Saviour from heaven to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.
Based on the verse in Philippians 3:20, let us ask ourselves if we are eagerly waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Are we sure of our citizenship in heaven with Jesus? We need the citizenship to inherit eternal life. In this world, every country has requirements to get citizenship in their country. Similarly, we have to receive salvation to receive citizenship in heaven. We are not entitled to receive citizenship and eternal life if we are not washed with the blood of Jesus every time we are convicted by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus comes again, He will be a saviour to the church or bride during rapture. He will be the saviour to the tribe of Juda when He lands on Mount Olives and fights against Lucifer and His army at Armageddon. He will be king during His 1000-year reign. He will be judge to others on the day of ‘The Great White Throne Judgement. Let us ask ourselves if we can say “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
I pray that God will prepare us to meet Him when He comes to receive us. I pray our Lord Jesus Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Amen.