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#1,175 – Sojourners and Exiles (Philippians 3:20–21)

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But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
-Colossians 3:20–21

We are called to live as foreigners, those who abstain from the sinful desires of this world.

I want to lead us to pray in the next few minutes based on Philippians 3:20–21, and 1 Peter 2:11–12. So, first Philippians 3:20–21: but our citizenship is in heaven. And from it, we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.

In 1 Peter chapter two verse 11 says beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Put these two passages together and realize your citizenship is twofold. You have dual citizenship, at least dual citizenship. I think about people I know have citizenship in multiple countries in this world, but let’s just assume for a second you are a citizen of one country in this world that is meaningful citizenship, where it comes with responsibilities before God, to, as we’ve seen, pray for, intercede for, your country, to do good in your country, to promote good, protect against evil, to the extent that you have the opportunity in your country. So, all these things that happen as citizens of a country on earth, but that is temporary citizenship.

Our ultimate citizenship, Philippians chapter three verse 20 says is in heaven, where we are waiting for a savior to come. Jesus is coming back for us to take us to our heavenly home, our permanent residence, a heavenly country, which is why 1 Peter chapter two verse 11, cause us as followers of Jesus, sojourners and exiles in this world. And not just cause us these things, saying you’re a foreigner here… That’s the language… But as a result of being a foreigner, 1 Peter 2:11–12 calls to live like foreigners, to abstain from what this world prioritizes, and to live for what’s going to matter most.

When we get home to our heavenly country and we look back, how will we wish we have lived? That’s what 1 Peter two is saying. Abstain from the passions of this flesh, ways of this world that war against your soul. Live here in honorable ways, doing good deeds that glorify God, because you know there’s coming a day when every single person in this world will stand before God as the judge, and so live in light of that day and the trillions of years to come after that, in that country. And you’ll just be getting started in eternity.

So, God, we pray to transform our perspective. Lord help us all right now to see our citizenship on this earth as very, very temporary. Lord, help us to realize we’re not going to be here long, so we don’t place our hope here. We don’t actually have too high of expectations for here, God. We want to live as a reflection of your goodness and your grace while we’re here. We want to point people to you. We want to live for what matters most while we’re here.

But God, our expectations are low here because we know what’s coming, and we know it’s infinitely better than here. And so we pray you’d help us to be faithful sojourners and exiles here. God help us today to abstain from the passions of the flesh, to abstain from, run from, flee from in the ways of this world, the priorities of this world, the perspective of this world, the passions of this world that war against our souls, that want to pull us away from you.

God, we pray for the resistance of the world in our hearts and our minds and our lives, and at the same time an engagement in the world with good deeds. God help us in Matthew 5:16 kind of way to be salt and light, to shine with your love, in light of your character and your goodness, to reflect who you are, that people may see good deeds in us in this world and glorify you and have them be ready on the day of visitation.

When you come back, Jesus, that’s where our sights are set. We’re waiting for you to come back. We pray to come to Lord Jesus, come quickly. We pray as you taught us to pray. Jesus, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom comes, may Your kingdom come, You will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God, we pray for that.

And we pray that until that day, You would help us to be faithful, to live in this short time you give us through this life that’s a mist, like here for a second, gone the next. God, help us to make this mist count for the spread of the gospel, for the demonstration of Your goodness and Your glory. Help us to live as citizens of another country, of heaven, whose priorities are focused on the world to come. God, please help us to live this way. Help us to view even political campaigns and processes and elections in light of eternity, to live for what matters most forever, to live as citizens of heaven while we’re sojourners here on this earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

Join us in praying God’s Word as we lead up to the presidential election on November 3rd. Download our prayer guide HERE.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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