There are 2 sermons on this page...
B.C.P. Trinity 23 3/11/02 Philippians 3:17-21 & Matthew 22:15-22
Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" 21 "Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.Philippians 3:3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say 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 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.
v.20 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, "
A citizen of a country has duties and receive blessings.
-paying taxes, cf. today's gospel.
- helping defend country cf. Remembrance Sunday last week.
- observing the law of the land.
Blessings - freedom from poverty, starvation, sickness, attack, and representation/protection while in a foreign land.
Paul's reference to citizenship may have been especially meaningful to the Philippians, since Philippi was a Roman colony. The Philippians were Roman citizens, though obviously living outside of Rome, just as believers are citizens of heaven living on earth.
Today's readings remind us that we are citizens of heaven, and this has to affect how we live our lives today.
We should follow the example of Christ as the apostle Paul did. This includes an obligation to pay taxes, something Paul wrote about in his letter to the church at Rome, Chapter 13. We are also called to obey the other laws of the land.
Ultimately, we are called to follow the law of God, of loving God with our whole being and loving other people as ourselves. This contrasts with the world which puts personal pleasure above all else. Clearly, things have not changed much since Paul wrote to the Philippians: their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
If we live like citizens of heaven we can look forward to going there. When we go there we will be radically transformed. We are to wait for this "eagerly". We are waiting for a person, the Lord Jesus. We will become like him. We will receive resurrection bodies. These will be spiritual, imperishable, glorious, and powerful.
This will enable all believers to perfectly manifest the glory of God. Sin, weakness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, suffering, doubt, fear, temptation, hate, and failure will give way to perfect joy, pleasure, knowledge, comfort, and love (1 Cor. 13:13). These are the benefits that being a citizen of heaven will bring for eternity.
We will be the perfect creation God intends for us with perfect fellowship with Him forever. Describing heaven, John wrote, Rev. 21:
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
BCP Trinity 23 - Philippians 3:17-21
17 ¶ Brethren, be followers together
of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you
even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose
end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in
their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our ( citizenship)
conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour,
the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who 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.
Researchers at Southampton University' are developing a "gait recognition technique" that should be useful because, says team leader Mark Nixon, a person's walk is unique." And unlike fingers and faces and irises, walking can be spotted at a distance.
"Bank robbers can wear masks or helmets to hide their faces," Nixon says, "but if you want to move quickly or naturally, it's very hard to disguise your walk without drawing attention to yourself -- and you don't want that if you have just robbed a bank." Even Shakespeare had the basic idea, because "he often talks of characters recognizing one another by their gait."
Nixon says his researchers take the images of a person walking, put it into a computer and "throw a great bundle of mathematics at it." From that, he explains, "we get a signature for each person -- a set of numbers" unique to an individual.
3:17 followers together of me/following my
example. As Paul follows the example
of Christ. mark them which walk/ take note of those who live. The life-styles
Christians lead ought to be models worth following. 3:18 live
as enemies of the cross. In glaring contrast to Paul's conduct (v. 10)
and to the truth of the gospel.
3:19 destruction. The opposite of salvation.
God is their belly/ god . . . stomach. A deep self-centeredness; their appetites and desires come first.
glory is in their shame glory = self-disclosure, they revel in their misdeeds which disclose what they are really like
earthly things. They have set their minds on the things of this life;
Danger today of materialism - expand.
3:20 citizenship. In this world Christians are aliens, fully involved
in it, yet not of it.
in heaven. Where Christ is and where they are--in union with him; contrast the "earthly things" of v. 19 (see Eph 2:6; Col 3:1-4).
eagerly await . . . from there. Something else in life, not material.
3:21 he is able even to subdue all
things unto himself. Christ's present
power, earned by his obedience to death (see 2:8) and received in his
resurrection and ascension, is universal and absolute (see Mt 28:18;
1Co 15:27; Eph 1:20-22).
Who shall change our vile body, By the Holy Spirit at the resurrection. Subject to weakness, decay and death, due to sin .
that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, will transform. The resurrection body, received already by Christ, who is the "firstfruits," will be received by believers in the future resurrection "harvest". It is "spiritual," i.e., transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are to 'walk the walk' in a distinctively
Christian way. We are to do this because we are citizens of heaven and
not of earth. We can look forward to the day when Jesus will return
and give us perfect resurrection bodies.
In this country we have a TV programme called
'Faking It' where people learn to be and try to be something that they
are not. They are then assessed by a panel of experts who try to discover
if they are real or fake.
Some years ago Hollywood made a folk hero of
a man dubbed "The Great Impostor" who did a similar thing.
In the real life that inspired the film, the impostor, though
unqualified, assumed the roles of medic, college professor, priest,
military officer, and diplomat. Eventually he even posed as a
Baptist preacher and pastored in the Pacific Northwest. But his
undoing was his inability to give evidence of authentic spiritual life.
He found it harder to be an impostor in faith than in medicine
or academics. Only true faith can stand such tests.
We have to be authentic in our faith and show
in every walk of our life that we are citizens of another place.