Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Citizenship in HeavenV. Hutton Philippians 3:20
The Freedom of the CityH. J. Wilmot-BuxtonPhilippians 3:20
Celestial CitizenshipR.M. Edgar Philippians 3:17-21
Contrasted Character's and DestiniesR. Finlayson Philippians 3:17-21
A Heavenly Mind HereBp. Huntington.Philippians 3:20-21
Christian CitizenshipR. Watson.Philippians 3:20-21
CitizenshipL. Shackleford.Philippians 3:20-21
Citizenship a RevealerR. Johnstone, LL. B.Philippians 3:20-21
Citizenship and ConversationJ. Vaughan, M. A.Philippians 3:20-21
Citizenship Detected by SpeechC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
Citizenship in HeavenC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
From Whence We Look for the SaviourC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
Heavenly CitizenshipJ. Daille.Philippians 3:20-21
Heavenly CitizenshipJ. Vaughan, M. A.Philippians 3:20-21
Heavenly CitizenshipA. Roberts, M. A.Philippians 3:20-21
Heavenly CitizenshipJ. Daille.Philippians 3:20-21
Our Conversation in HeavenJ. Neiling.Philippians 3:20-21
Our Heavenly CitizenshipV. Hutton Philippians 3:20, 21
Our Heavenly CitizenshipJ. Vaughan, M. A.Philippians 3:20-21
Preparing for HomeC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
The Attractions of HeavenJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:20-21
The Blessedness of the ChristlyD. Thomas Philippians 3:20, 21
The Certificate of HomeSunday at HomePhilippians 3:20-21
The Characteristics of the True ChristianW. Jay.Philippians 3:20-21
The Christian's CountryA. Mackennal, D. D.Philippians 3:20-21
The Christian's Relation to the Heavenly WorldT. Lessey.Philippians 3:20-21
The Citizenship and the HopeC. Neat.Philippians 3:20-21
The Citizenship Maintained by Communications with the Mother CountryC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
The Happiness of a Heavenly ConversationArchbp. Tillotson.Philippians 3:20-21
The Heavenly CitizenshipJ. Lyth, D. D.Philippians 3:20-21
The Heavenly Citizenship and its Blessed ExpectationsT. Croskery Philippians 3:20, 21
The Influence of Heavenly MindednessJ. F. B. Tinling, B. A.Philippians 3:20-21
The Manifestation of the CitizenshipC. H. Spurgeon.Philippians 3:20-21
The Perfect LifeA. F. Muir, M. A.Philippians 3:20-21
The True ChristianJ. Stark.Philippians 3:20-21
The apostle seems to say that these souls, with their earthly instincts, can have no fellowship with us; for we are citizens of a heavenly state. "For our citizenship is even now in heaven."


1. Consider its source. It comes, not by birth or manumission, but by the ransom-price of Jesus Christ. It is in Christ we become "fellow-citizens of the saints and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).

2. Consider the duties this citizenship involves. We are to obey its laws and watch over the interests of Christ's kingdom.

3. Consider its privileges. We receive protection, guidance, and comfort.

II. ITS BLESSED EXPECTATIONS. "From whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."

1. Believers are always looking for the second coming of the Lord to judgment. (Titus 2:13; Acts 24:15; Acts 26:6, 7; 1 Thessalonians 1:10.) It is the "blessed hope" of the saints (Titus 2:13).

2. There is the expectation of a transfiguration of our bodies by Christ's power. "Who shall fashion anew our vile body, that it may be conformed to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself." This allusion to the glorious destiny of our bodies may have been due to the thought of the sensuality of the formalists just condemned.

(1) Consider the vileness of our bodies. Though fearfully and wonderfully made, and though temples of the Holy Ghost in case of all saints, our bodies are vile

(a) as to the materials of which they are composed we are mere dust and ashes;

(b) as to the diseases and infirmities that often darken the soul's life;

(c) as to sinful desires which find their principal seat or instigation in the body.

(2) Consider the transformation of our bodies. They are to be fashioned according to the likeness of Christ's glorious body. The change will be

(a) necessary, that the body may be a fitting dwelling-place for the glorified soul;

(b) amazing, for we cannot imagine its nature or extent;

(c) Divine, for it is to be conformed to Christ's glorious body.

(3) Consider the power which effects the change. "According to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself."

(a) It is not according to his power merely, but by its exercise, that the transformation will come.

(b) He who is able to subdue all things, even death itself (1 Corinthians 15:26), will subdue our bodies into their finally glorified condition. - T.C.

For our conversation is in heaven
1. "Conversation" has much the same meaning as the political word "constitution." "Citizenship" is a good rendering if to the ordinary meaning of political standing and privilege be added the mode of a nation's government, the character of its laws, the tone and habits of its citizens.

2. The word rendered "is" denotes that our constitution endures and rules.

3. States have their heads; ours is "the Lord Jesus Christ."

4. There are here two practical motives by which St. Paul urges the Philippians to walk so that they have true Christian teachers for an ensample.


1. Loyalty is reverence for, not mere submission to law. A man may be obedient for fear of punishment. A loyal man will not think much of a penalty to be escaped. The privilege of his citizenship was the protection of every Roman. By pleading this Paul escaped the lash. But that would be a poor loyalty which only pleaded privilege without the homage of submission. The loyal Roman would behave himself as a freeman. Regard for others would be instilled into him by reverence for the law which protected all. They are not loyal Englishmen who by their vices have brought shame on the English name in foreign lands. Attachment to one's country will lead a man to live worthy of it.

2. You see how loyalty to heaven affected Paul. It was a pain to him that there were Christians unmindful of their heavenly character, dishonouring themselves and casting contempt on their citizenship. The honour of the heavenly citizen is the strong motive by which he appeals to his disciples. Loyalty to a higher order is an energy to resist temptation. True patriotic pride is an impulse to sons to prove worthy of their sires; a name is theirs which they must not dishonour. The higher law of the household constrains many to purity of thought and manly struggle. The thought of home, wife, children, parents, deprives temptation of all its force. Loyalty to the sanctities of household piety is the energy of a pure and reverent life. In this way Paul appeals to the Philippians when he says "we are citizens of heaven." He is putting them on their honour, while around them are many who have fallen from their profession.

3. Reflect on the obligations of your heavenly home. How pure, lowly, gentle, etc., you expect to be when there. But to all this we are actually called now. Many a man reflecting on his end hopes for a previous time of amendment. In this he shows his recognition of the heavenly character. And we are now citizens of heaven, and its life must be our life on earth.


1. Note the sudden change in Paul's writing. Having introduced the fact of the heavenly citizenship, as an admonition he turns to dwell on the hope it inspires. The Philippians had seen Paul's degradation change into triumph on the mention of the words, "I am a Roman citizen." Then the imperial law of Rome had been his protection; now he was enduring wrong at the hands of the emperor himself. The contrast between human statecraft and heavenly rule comes up sharp before him, and in a burst of triumph he utters his expectation of his King's appearance.

2. Paul knew what was the bondage of the body. How often had the zeal of his spirit worn out the feeble flesh. It is deeply pathetic to think of this man of inspired will, dauntless courage, and deathless energy, suffering humiliation because of the tried and suffering frame. But the body was not "vile." He is finding no fault with it. It is answering the purpose of humiliation for which it was designed. His master was keeping him down in feeble flesh that any spiritual pride in him might be checked. Think of it, you of hasty spirit; this man, noblest of all who have borne Christ's image, submitted meekly to this restriction.

3. But it was in hope of a blessed transformation. Wisely ordered is the body of humiliation, lest the terrible sin of spiritual arrogance should be ours. But wise and kind as is the discipline, we long for it to be over. Our body is, indeed, a "body of humiliation"; we must have it changed ere we can be free. But we shall be free. Guard we the Spirit, and He by the energy with which He is able to subdue all things to Himself will "change the body," etc.

(A. Mackennal, D. D.)

I. THE CITIZENSHIP. The meaning of the apostle is expressed more fully in Ephesians 2:19; Hebrews 12:22; Galatians 4:26. Believers are already numbered among the citizens of the eternal city.

1. They are introduced among the denizens of glory by regeneration.

2. They live according to the laws of their Divine sovereign.

3. They enjoy the immunities of the celestial citizenship — freedom from the guilt and power of sin, peace which passeth all understanding, complete safety.

4. They are engaged in the employments of the city of God; for they delight to do His will.

5. These considerations should have a practical influence on our heart and conduct. If citizens of heaven, we ought not to degrade ourselves by the slavery of earth.


1. The coming of Christ. The original expresses earnest expectation and intense desire. Paul was intent upon and delighted with the animating prospect.(1) The foundation of the hope was the sure Word of God. For Jesus had repeatedly declared that He would come again (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26), and the angels at the ascension (Acts 1:11).(2) At His second advent Jesus will accomplish all the predictions which relate to His kingdom and glory (Daniel 7:13-14).

2. The resurrection of the saints.(1) The bodies of the faithful will be transformed into the likeness of the glorious body of Christ (Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 15:1). Christ's glorious body is —(a) Immortal. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more." "Neither can they who are counted worthy to attain that world and the resurrection from the dead die any more." "Upon such the second death hath no power."(b) Incorruptible; and so the bodies of God's people will be free from all deformity and sin. "Sown in corruption" they shall be "raised in incorruption."(c) Identical. As Christ was known after His resurrection, so every believer will be known to those with whom he conversed here.(d) Spiritual. Christ stood before His disciples when the doors were shut. And though we know little of the change which will pass upon us, we may safely believe that the body will be refined from all that now causes it to hang as a clog upon the aspirations and operations of the immaterial spirit. The senses will be wonderfully improved, so that we shall see God, hear the harmonies of the celestial choir, taste the rivers of pleasures, and speak the language of heaven.(2) Wondrous is this blessed hope; but let it not be thought incredible. As if to silence every objection, the text tells us that the transformation will be effected by the almighty power of God.

(C. Neat.)


1. Their city "heaven." The allusion here is to the love of a Jew, Greek, or Roman, for his metropolis. The apostle represents true Christians as composing a commonwealth whose city is not earthly, but the heavenly Jerusalem: the metropolis of the great empire of the universe where God dwells, where angels do His pleasure, where the spirits of good men are gathered, and to which all true Christians are continually ascending.

2. Their enrollment. Formerly they were "aliens," but they were invested with the citizenship by pardon. Upon the penitent acceptance of reconciliation through Christ their name is inscribed in the book of life.

3. Their privileges.(1) Freedom. That had an importance when the apostle wrote which it has not now. It is of little consequence to be free of any cry, however distinguished, when the great body of the people are free. But in Rome the great body of the people were slaves. Every man who is not liberated by the grace of Christ is under the power of the god of this world. We have no proof of our citizenship unless we have been enabled by Divine power to break off our sins.(2) Admission to honourable employment and office. There is a diversity of offices, but every Christian is an official character and bears the honourable relation of priest in God's temple. The city is a holy city, a temple itself.(3) Fellowship with the whole body.

(a)Saints on earth. Every Christian receives the benefit of the prayers of the millions of Christians who reside on earth.

(b)Angels, who are ministering spirits.

(c)God.(4) Right to common property.

(a)The blessings of providence.

(b)The benedictions and hopes of grace.

(c)Heirship with the humanity of Jesus Christ.

(d)Inheritance in God.


1. This must be the conversation of the whole community. All collective bodies acquire a genius, a common character. The Greeks were remarkable for refinement, the Romans for a lofty ambition, the citizens of heaven for holiness. The nations of them that are saved walk in the heavenly city clad in white as an emblem of purity, bearing palms as a symbol of victory. Unless our genius, our whole character, be holy, we do not carry about with us the mark of our city. If you are living under the influence of unsanctified passions, your claim of citizenship is unfounded.

2. We boast of the institutions of our city — "God forbid that I should glory," etc. Wherever there is a spirit of shame there is treachery, and wherever there is treachery Christ disowns us.

3. Courage. When the rulers saw the boldness of Peter and John, they took know ledge of them that they had been with Him who never knew how to fear man. This courage arises from the fact that every Christian is under the protection of his Lord. Wherever a Roman went his shield was the magistrate of Rome; wherever an Englishman goes he feels himself under the protection of his country.

4. Our citizenship will be seen in our spirit. We shall feel for the common cause, endeavour to spread the cause of Christ, and rejoice in seeing the heavenly city continually crowded with new inhabitants.

5. He who converses as a citizen of heaven has his affections there, and does not mind earthly things. How natural when at a distance from our native land or home to turn our thoughts towards it. What shall we say of citizens of heaven who never think of it, or to whom the thought is dull?

6. This heavenly state of mind can only be preserved by looking for the Saviour the Lord from heaven.

(R. Watson.)

By a city or state we understand a multitude or society of people, united in one body, governed by the same laws, enjoying the same rights, subject to the same prince, and having among them the same form of policy. From whence it is evident that the Christian Church is a state, since all these conditions belong to it. But this holy republic differs entirely from the kingdoms of the world in many respects, but more especially in this (which includes all the others,) that it is in heaven, whereas all others are on the earth (Daniel 2:44). And therefore this state is called "the kingdom of heaven," "the city of God," "Jerusalem that is above," and "the new Jerusalem." And herein it differs not only from the kingdoms of this world, but from the state of Adam in Paradise and the Jews under the theocracy. This Divine city is really in heaven because —

I. JESUS ITS PRINCE AND BUILDER IS HEAVENLY (1 Corinthians 15:47). Not formed of earth and dust like Adam, the head of the first republic; nor by virtue of flesh and blood like Moses, the founder of the Jewish polity; but formed of celestial mould and animated by the Holy Spirit. As His origin was heaven, so also is His abode there; there is His court, and the seat of His empire, whether you consider His Divine or human nature. For although as God He is everywhere, filling all space with His essence, yet Scripture particularly insists upon His presence in the heavens, because there is no place in the universe where that presence is so gloriously manifested, to the utter exclusion of sin, death, and sorrow. The palaces of princes, how magnificent soever they may be, are all here below; and even the Paradise destined for the habitation of man, though delightful was yet terrestrial.

II. As our King is in the heavens, so FROM THENCE IS THE ROOT OF OUR EXTRACTION. True believers are not sprung from the dust as Adam, nor from the loins of Jacob as Israelites, but from the Eternal Spirit after the pattern of Christ (John 3:3-5). For the Holy Spirit, rendering the Word of Life, which is the seed of our regeneration, fertile within us, forms us into new creatures, fit to enter into the heavenly state.

III. THIS HEAVEN IS OUR HOME AND REST. We live on earth in the character of pilgrims and strangers till the work of our trial be completed. There already dwelt the first fruits of our society, and there will the remainder of the happy citizens assemble. Heaven is the eternal city to which we aspire.

IV. In heaven are also to be found THE ARMIES OF OUR STATE; not weak soldiers armed with wood, or even iron, whose fidelity may be corrupted by the artifice of the enemy, whose strength may be weakened by a thousand casualties, and whose life may be taken by the sword; but immortal warriors, millions of angels clothed with wisdom and strength incorruptible. They watch over us night and day, and are sent here and there upon errands of mercy to us by our gracious Prince.

V. In this same place are OUR DIGNITIES AND HONOURS PRESERVED; the thrones on which we shall hereafter sit; the cities of which our Master will give us the dominion in reward of our faithfulness; the incorruptible crowns with which He will ornament our foreheads; the kingdoms and priesthoods with which He will invest us.

(J. Daille.)


1. A heavenly mindedness must accompany a conversation in heaven; i.e., our heart is in heaven, our mind is directed thence.

2. As is the mind, so is the conduct. Worldly mindedness is enmity against Christ and His Cross — the friendship of the world is enmity against God.

3. As is the conduct, so shall be the end. Contrast of the earthly and heavenly minded (vers. 19, 20).


1. We must be translated into the kingdom of heaven. By nature we are not heavenly minded; selfishness, sin, has made us earthly minded, estranged our heart from God.

2. This change can be wrought only by faith in Christ.

(J. Neiling.)


1. It is founded on the provisions of the evangelical economy. The object of that economy is the expression of God's love for man — the Father seeking His child. The relation of a believer to God is that of a child to a father. Hence in the gospel our privileges and prospects are all "because we are sons;" "if children, then heirs" (1 John 3:1-2).

2. This relation is maintained by a corresponding spirit. Not only is thy name written in heaven, but the name of God is written in thy heart and life. The relation is not hereditary, but moral. It is(1) a spirit of abstraction from this world, not ascetic indeed, but that spirit which walks in the world, and displays its spirit and example to the world. They who would live for men must live with men. The Christian is here as a foreigner, but he cannot travel to his Father's house without being a blessing.(2) A spirit of devotion to that state of society to which he belongs, viz., heaven.(3) A spirit of solicitude for preparation to depart when called upon — "Locking for the Saviour."


1. A just representation of man at his best estate. He possesses a "body of humiliation." The body is not abstractedly vile, and therefore we should not say that it is vile because it is dust, frail, etc. Nothing is vile that God has made; but the body reminds us of our humble state, and bears a brand it will never lose till the morning of the resurrection.

2. But it shall be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body, the result of which will be the qualification of the transformed saints for heaven.


1. His promised appearance.

2. His omnipotent energy.

(T. Lessey.)


1. We are born from;

2. Registered in;

3. Made meet for;

4. Admitted to the fellowship of heaven.


1. We look for His coming.

2. According to promise.

3. To complete our salvation.


1. The body will be changed and glorified.

2. The purpose of grace fulfilled.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

1. The present is not the principal state of man, and should never be viewed separate from another to which it bears the same relation as infancy to manhood, seed time to harvest.

2. This consideration teaches us the true importance of the present period. The grand question is, Where are we to reside forever?

3. Some never afford this subject a moment's thought, others remain in a state of uncertainty. But Christians, conscious of the reality of their religion and the blindness of their condition, say, "Our conversation is in heaven."


1. The original sometimes signifies a certain alliance, and means citizenship; and sometimes a peculiar behaviour. The one infers and explains the other. The believer stands in connection with another world — "a better country, even an heavenly"; he is a citizen of no mean city — one "whose builder and maker is God." How did a man boast in being a citizen of Rome! Think, then, what a privilege it is to belong to a state which "Eye hath not seen," etc. Hence our Lord teaches His disciples to prefer their being registered there to the power and fame of working miracles.

2. As the Christian is allied to such a country, a suitable mode of living becomes him. A citizen of Rome could live in the most distant provinces. A citizen of heaven resides on earth, but he is a stranger and a foreigner. Though in the world he is not of it. And though certain purposes detain him here, his principles, habits, speech, show that he belongs to "a peculiar people." He acts under an impression of heaven, and with reference to it. His chief care is to gain it.


1. This reminds us of the present abode of the Redeemer. Hence we need not wonder that Christians should have their conversation there. Where their treasure is there is their heart. The removal of a dear friend will frequently Tender a place indifferent to us, and we change our neighbourhood to be near him. So rising with Christ we seek those things which are above, where He sitteth.

2. Though our Redeemer is now in heaven He will come thence. He does not forget His friends. He communicates with them, and supplies them, and has promised to "come again and receive them to Himself." And how wonderful the difference between His former and His future coming. Then He was seen of few, now "every eye shall see Him." Then "the world knew Him not"; now "we shall see Him as He is." Then "He was despised and rejected of men"; now He "shall come in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels." Then He was born in a stable and nailed to a cross; now "He shall sit on the throne of His glory."

3. The state of the Christian's mind with regard to this appearance. He looks for Him.(1) He believes His coming; and this distinguishes him from infidels.(2) He pays attention to His coming; and thus he is distinguished from nominal Christians. We prepare for the reception of a friend, much more for a king; but the Personage expected is the King of kings. And the Christian waits with his "loins girded and his lamps burning," and, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, lives soberly...looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing."

4. The character under which the Christian waits for Him — "The Saviour." This was the name given Him at His birth, because He should save His people from their sins. This work He is coming to finish.


1. The subject changed. Much of the wisdom and power of God are displayed in the formation of the human frame, and therefore it cannot wholly be a "vile body." But when we view it as degraded by the Fall, as prostituted to the purposes of sin; when we think of its low and sordid appetites and infirmities, its diseases, its dissolution, we acknowledge the propriety of calling it a body of humiliation. But this body is not to be annihilated, only changed.

2. The model to which it will be conformed — "His glorious body." The comparison does not regard His body in the days of His flesh; but to the post-resurrection glorified body when it was free from everything animal and humiliating. A glimpse of His glory was given at the Transfiguration, to Saul, and to John. A conformity to this glory is not too great a privilege for our hope. As sure as we now resemble our Saviour in disposition shall we be like Him in person; and the same mind will be followed with the same body.

3. The omnipotent agency by which the work is to be accomplished. Such a renovation is nothing else than the most stupendous of miracles, and therefore it demands more than kindness to effect it. The reanimation and organization of millions of dead bodies will not exhaust Him who is able to subdue all things unto Himself.Learn —

1. To be thankful for the discoveries of revelation. The wisest philosophers were worse off than the most illiterate of Christians.

2. The importance the Scripture attaches to the doctrine of the resurrection. The intermediate state is imperfect. Man was embodied in his original, and will be in his ultimate condition.

3. Let this thought be combined with the thought of death.(1) Remember it in view of your own dissolution, and, as you look toward the grave, take courage and drink in the revelation — "I am the Resurrection and the Life."(2) Remember it when you lose your pious friends. You have not parted from them forever.

4. Are you the children of the resurrection? For though the resurrection as an event is universal, as a privilege it is limited. Can that be a deliverance which raises a man from a bad state and consigns him to a worse?

(W. Jay.)


1. Its nature.

2. Its immunities.

3. Its responsibilities.


1. Citizens of no mean city.

2. The foundation of outright.

3. Its advantages.


1. To cultivate heavenly dispositions, affections, habits.

2. To glory in our privileges and prospects.

3. To labour for the enlargement of heaven.

IV. OUR HOPE — the coming of Christ.

1. From whence? Heaven.

2. How?



3. What for?

(1)To destroy His foes.

(2)To save His people and introduce them to heaven.

4. Its certainty established by

(1)His own promise.

(2)The general testimony of revelation.

(3)The purpose of God.

5. Its anticipation.

(1)A duty.

(2)Supposes faith, fitness, desire, research, active preparation.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Paul is rebuking the world life of his time. He tells the Philippians of the call to the higher life. As the "mind" of Christ is different from that of the world so is His "rule." It is described as a scheme of life introducing to the perfect condition of heaven, and forming part of it. The "perfect" Christian looks steadfastly up into heaven as containing Christ, and representing the law, ideal, and aim of his conduct.


1. A spirit and outlook so ethereal must have a correspondingly lofty cause, h desire that reaches to heaven must have heaven for its source and attraction.

2. The spirit of man can, and has, become a partaker of the heavenly sphere while dwelling among earthly conditions.

3. What is it that links us with that sphere? Christ. His life imparted to us has created this other worldliness of thought, feeling, purpose. He is to us the embodiment of heaven, the centre of its interest and life.

4. The manner of His continuous influence is expressed in the term "Saviour." It is a rescue of our spiritual nature from inertness and fatal debility, and through that it works upon the whole man towards the attainment of a far-reaching destiny.


1. The circumstances in which our spiritual life is to be perfected are not completely realized in the present.

2. But our higher life has to commence amid earthly conditions. The defects and sins of our fellows have to be confronted, and our own failings and depravities have to be brought under.

3. In nature the rule is that the more complex and highly organized a living creature is the slower is its development. The young of animals attain the full use of their faculties much sooner than the child. But this life has its seat in the mind, and, considering this, we cannot wonder if it be slow.

4. It must also be uncertain. Frequent lapses, seasons of depression, periods of apparent standing still. Yet, on the whole, progress. Much of this uncertainty is due to the fact that it is a movement from body to spirit. Not only has it to assimilate truth, it has to contend with error and evil tendencies. The "body of humiliation" is the graveyard of many a hope, the register of many a sin, the condition of spiritual weakness.

5. A bodily principle will ever cleave to us, but it will be sublimated and made more amenable to the dictates of the Spirit. The perfect life is not realized in pure spirit; the salvation of the body is included. Laggard in the earthly development, it may in other realms be a true helpmeet and enricher of the spirit.

6. Christ in us is the hope and effectual realization of future glory for body and soul.

III. ITS CULMINATING GLORY. The city, with its rights and privileges of citizenship, its order, law, society, and civilization in ancient times, constituted the haven of liberty and the sanctuary of the higher hopes of man. So Paul and John, when they contemplate the future, naturally think of it as an etherealized Rome or Jerusalem. It is a common life. We are to be perfected together. The society and political relationships of the world will have their correspondences on high.

1. Order and government will exist in the noblest forms. Righteousness will be the universal law.

2. Of this life the centre and sustaining power will be the Saviour.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

Our very speech should be such that our citizenship should be detected. We should not be able to live long in a house without men finding out what we are. A friend of mine once went across to America, and landing I think at Boston, he knew nobody, but hearing a man say, when somebody had dropped a cask on the quay, "Look out there, or else you will make a Coggeshall job of it," he said, "You are an Essex man, I know, for that is a proverb never used anywhere but in Essex: give me your hand;" and they were friends at once. So there should be a ring of true metal about our speech and conversation, so that when a brother meets us, he can say, "You are a Christian, I know, for none but Christians speak like that, or act like that." "Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth, for thy speech betrayeth thee."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Some years ago a traveller, who had recently returned from Jerusalem, discovered, in conversation with Humboldt, that he was as thoroughly conversant with the streets and houses of Jerusalem as he was himself; whereupon he asked the aged philosopher how long it was since he visited Jerusalem. He replied, "I have never been there, but I expected to go sixty years since, and I prepared myself." Should not the heavenly home boas familiar to those who expect to dwell there eternally?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. By using this metaphor the apostle appealed to one of the strongest and purest feelings in the breasts of the men of that day. In modern times it is scarcely possible to appreciate the full force of such an appeal. One city will never again exert the influence of Rome, nor kindle a similar enthusiasm. Citizenship will never again be what it was in Rome. As a mother beloved her citizens cared for her, were proud of their connection with her, would spill their blood in her defence. For services endured, to enter Rome in triumph was the highest honour; to be banished for offences against her, the deepest disgrace. All that was worth living and dying for was implied in citizenship. It spoke of privileges to be preserved, traditions to be maintained, glory to be kept untarnished.

2. Such an appeal was appropriately made to the Philippians. Philippi was a military settlement (colonia), and its inhabitants had the privileges of Roman citizens. Here, too, it was that Paul stood on his dignity and right (Acts 16:17). Possibly the remembrance of these facts suggested the metaphor, though it would come naturally from the apostle writing from Rome.


1. Will conform to the laws of his city. Are we obeying the laws of heaven?

2. Will oppose the enemies of his city. Are we fighting against sin, or are we at peace with evil?

3. Will be active and zealous in all that concerns the welfare and advancement of his city. Is the petition, "Thy kingdom come" an utterance of the lips only, or the acted prayer of our lives?

4. Will subordinate private and personal interests to the interests of his city. Are our lives characterized by self-seeking or self-surrender?

5. Will fear to disgrace the good name and honourable tradition of his city. Do we behave as citizens worthy of the gospel of Christ? (Philippians 1:27).

II. The metaphor may remind us of THE NATURE OF THE EARTHLY LIFE. It is a pilgrimage. Man has not reached that perfect home where his full powers can be developed and exercised, and his loftiest expectations realized. The noblest of all ages have felt this. The "Republic" of Plato is an acknowledgment of it, while the testimony of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs is unanimous (Hebrews 11:13-16, cf. Genesis 43:9; 1 Corinthians 29:15; Psalm 29:12; 119:19; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 2:11). Pilgrims may admire the varied beauty, and enjoy the richness and fertility of the lands through which they pass, but their thoughts and deepest affections will be homewards. They will live in a condition of expectancy, which will determine the character of all their relations to the land of their sojourn. So the citizens of heaven, while thanking God for every good and perfect gift, will nevertheless regard all earthly beauty, richness, and joy but as a type of the spiritual things which God has prepared for those who love Him in the perfect city which "eye hath not seen," etc.

(L. Shackleford.)

I. THE MEANS OF ENTRANCE. There are only three ways by which men can become citizens; by all three are we citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem.

1. By purchase. He who was King of that beautiful city gave up His kingdom for a season that He might buy for us an admission to it.

2. By gift. Thus God speaks to those who "take hold of My covenant, even unto them will I give in My house...a place and a name." "He that overcometh...I will write upon him the name...of the city of my God."

3. By birth. Because birth is better than purchase or gift we are born again that we should have our settlement no longer in a slavish world, but be born free.

II. THE TIME — Now. It would be much if we could say, "Our citizenship will be in heaven"; but we can affirm that it is so.


1. Immunities. Doubtless it is because there are so many immunities that heaven is generally described by negatives — no tears, dividings, sighs, temptations, conflicts, labour, sin, death. And if we could receive it all these immunities are now for us. For if Christ has borne our sins, where can there be any condemnation? What labour can there be that is not rest?

2. Privileges.(1) It is the privilege of every citizen to be represented. Accordingly Christ has gone into the heavens to do and say what we cannot do and say.(a) He represents us as a substitute, showing in heaven His wounds and sufferings that we may have none.(b) As a forerunner, that we may ultimately sit where He sits, and joy as He joys.(2) A citizen is under the laws of His own state and no other. He may appeal up to this. We are under the law of liberty, and are judged by no man.(3) A citizen may go in and out. Is he not free of his own state? But ours is a holy liberty.(4) A citizen has a right to go to the presence of the King. We have free access to the throne of grace.


1. Every man's heart ought to be at his own home, and if heaven be your home your heart is there. You may go up and down in the necessary things of this world, and be like the traveller in a foreign country, always gathering something you can take home. There will be nothing worth much to you which has not something of heaven in it.

2. You must be a loyal subject; and if so you will carry the glory of the kingdom to which you belong as a trust, and try to extend its influence. There will be nothing so dear to you as to make that city and its king dear to somebody.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

There can be no comparison between a soaring seraph and a crawling worm: there ought to be none between Christians and men of the world, only a contrast. If we were what we profess to be we should be as distinct a people as a white race in Ethiopia. There should be no more difficulty in distinguishing the Christian from the worldly than the sheep from the goat.

I. If our citizenship be in heaven then WE ARE ALIENS HERE. "We have no continuing city," but "desire a better country." Yet, though strangers and foreigners on earth, we share all the inconveniences of the flesh. No exemption is granted us from the common lot of mankind. In times of adversity we suffer, and in prosperous times we share the bounty of the God of providence.

1. A good man will not live a week in a foreign land without seeking to do good. The Good Samaritan sought the good not only of the Samaritans but of the Jews. Since we are here "to do good and to communicate" we must "forget not;" we must act as recruiters for the better land.

2. It behoves aliens to keep themselves quiet. What business have foreigners to plot against a country of which they are not citizens. So in the world we must be orderly sojourners, submitting ourselves constantly to those in authority, leading peaceable lives, fearing God, honouring the king, "submitting to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake."

3. As aliens we have privileges as well as duties. The prince of this world may make his vassals serve him, but he cannot raise a conscription upon aliens. The child of God claims an immunity from the commands of Satan.

4. As we are free from the conscription of the state we are not eligible to its honours. An Englishman at New York is not eligible for the Presidency. It is of ill omen to hear the world say "Well done" to the Christian man.

5. As aliens it is not for us to hoard up this world's treasures. The money of this world is not current in Paradise, and when we reach it, if regret is possible, we shall wish that we had laid up more treasure in our fatherland.


1. We are under heaven's government. Christ, its King, reigns in us; its laws are the laws of our consciences; our daily prayer is, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

2. We share heaven's honours. The glory which belongs to beatified saints is ours, for we are already sons of God, wear the robe of Christ's righteousness, have angels for our servitors.

3. We have common rights in the property of heaven. "Things present or things to come: all are ours."

4. We enjoy the delights of heaven.

5. Our names are written in the roll of heaven's free men.

III. OUR WALK AND ACTS ARE SUCH AS ARE CONSISTENT WITH OUR DIGNITY AS HEAVENLY CITIZENS. Among the old Romans, when a dastardly act was proposed, it was thought a sufficient refusal to say Romanus sum. Surely it should be a sufficient incentive to every good thing if we can claim to be freemen of the eternal city.

1. In heaven they are holy; so must we be if our citizenship is not a mere pretence.

2. They are happy; so we must rejoice in the Lord always.

3. They are obedient; so we must follow the faintest monitions of the Divine will.

4. They are active; so, day and night, we should be praising and serving God.

5. They are peaceful; so we should find rest in Christ.

IV. We might read our text as though it said OUR COMMERCE IS IN HEAVEN. We are trading on earth, but the bulk of our trade is with heaven.

1. By meditation.

2. By thought.

3. In our hymns. There is a song which the band is forbidden to play to the Swiss soldiery in foreign lands, because it reminds them of the cowbells of their native hills. If the men hear it they are sure to desert. So there are some of our hymns which make us homesick.

4. By hopes and loves. It is right that the patriot should love his country.

5. Just as people in a foreign land are always glad to have letters from their country, I hope we have much communication with our fatherland, both from and to.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


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.


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.


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.


(J. Stark.)


1. By birth. Thus was Paul a Roman citizen. We may well claim for our country the place from which we derived our life.

2. By enrollment. All who are born from above are registered from above. Their names are "written in the Lamb's book of life." No objection urged against the entry shall be deemed valid.

3. By affinity. As strangers yearn for the home of their birth, so we have instincts and desires which point to a heavenly origin. Thus streams flow towards the ocean, and flames ascend to the sun.

4. Our education is a further evidence. A child's future may be inferred from the instruction which fits him for it. Travellers preparing for a foreign residence learn the language. So Christians are educated for heaven. This is the object of afflictions. Earthly trial is heavenly discipline, and works out for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

5. The exercise of our Christian graces indicates where our country is.(1) Faith is the substance of the heaven hoped for, the evidence of the glory unseen.(2) Hope's object and realization is heaven.(3) Charity, while finding scope for exercise here, has for her true home, and her full and everlasting development, the New Jerusalem.

6. Our citizenship is in heaven because our Father's home is there. Where He dwells we cannot be strangers. "Our Father which art in heaven."

7. This, too, is the residence of the King, and therefore the city of His friends and subjects.

8. There our friends are gathering.

9. Heaven is our home, and we are expected there.

II. Heaven being our city, OUR LIFE SHOULD BE HEAVENLY. Admiring the beauties with which the Creator has decked the earth; thankfully enjoying the gifts of His providence; humanly feeling for our own and others' sorrows; diligently performing our duties, etc., let us bear about us the inspiring assurance that our conversation is in heaven.

1. Let us not, in the pursuit of any earthly object, be so eager as to absorb our thoughts. Let us not be elated by prosperity, nor depressed by adversity.

2. Let us prize our vocation above all our other possessions and privileges. Are men zealous in attaining earthly distinctions? Let us "give all diligence to make our calling and election sure." The holy alone are enrolled as citizens of heaven.

3. The honour and interests of our country are committed to us. As an Englishman abroad ought to feel that the honour of his country is compromised by his conduct, and that he must act as a representative of his nation; so let us while strangers and sojourners remember that we are representatives of heaven.

4. As a loyal citizen desires to promote the prosperity of his country so should we try to promote the best interests of the Church.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The proper country of a real Christian is not that in which he first drew breath, nor that in which God has fixed the bounds of his earthly habitation.


1. It is beautiful for situation (Psalm 48:2). In this respect no other can be compared to it, for it stands not on earth but in heaven.

2. Its foundations are most gloriously laid (Ephesians 2:20).

3. Its builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).

4. It will survive every other city, being "eternal in the heavens."

5. Its strength is invincible (Isaiah 26:1).

6. It is distinguished from every other city by its inhabitants (Hebrews 12:23), who are all holy (Revelation 21:27), and all happy (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 35:10).

7. But the grand distinction is its King (Revelation 22:3-5).


1. By the dress he wears. This is how we distinguish inhabitants of different countries. We read that the saints are clothed in white robes, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb. But they were washed and first worn here.

2. By his language. Different nations are distinguished by different tongues. The language spoken in Jerusalem above is that of love and holiness (Psalm 149:6), but it was learned and first used here (Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 15:3).

3. By his works. The occupation of the saints in light is the continual service of God (Revelation 7:15); so is that of the saints below (Romans 12:1).

4. By his constant communications with his city.

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

To have our conversation in heaven implies —


1. The happiness of this state.(1) It is incomparably beyond any happiness in this world.(a) None of the comforts of this life are pure and unmixed. There is something of vanity and vexation of spirit in all our enjoyments, either in getting, having, or after them. But the happiness of the next world is without alloy (Revelation 22:3-5).(b) The enjoyments of this life are uncertain. When we think we have fastest hold of them they often slip out of our hands. The very greatness of an estate has been the cause of the loss of both it and its owner; but the happiness of heaven is as unchangeable as the fountain from which it springs.(c) The enjoyments of the world are unsatisfying. Either we, or the things of this world, or both, are so fantastical that we can neither be well with them nor well without them. If we be hungry, we are in pain; if full, uneasy; if poor, we think ourselves miserable; if rich, really so. Nay, so far from affording satisfaction, the sweetest of them is most apt to satiate and cloy us. If they go off quickly they signify nothing, and if they stay long we are sick of them. But the delights of the other world as they will give us full satisfaction, so we shall never be weary of them.(2) It is very great in itself. Its chief ingredients are —(a) Perfection of knowledge. What can be more delightful than to have our understanding entertained with a clear sight of the best and most perfect Being, with the knowledge of all His works, and the wise designs of His providence. The Queen of Sheba thought Solomon's servants happy in having the opportunity of standing before him to hear his wisdom; but in the other world it shall be a happiness to Solomon himself to stand before God, to admire His wisdom and behold His glory.(b) The most delightful exercise of love. What greater happiness can be imagined than to converse freely with the most excellent, without anything of folly, disguise, jealousy, or design upon one another? for then there will be none of those vices and passions of covetousness, hatred, envy, ambition, wrath, and peevishness which now spoil the pleasure and disturb the quiet of mankind. All quarrels and contentions will be effectually hindered, not by force, but by love; and all those controversies in religion, which are now hotly agitated, will then be finally determined, not as we endeavour to aid them now, by canons and decrees, but by a perfect knowledge and convincing light.(c) And when this blessed society is met together, and thus united by love, they shall all join in gratitude to Him who hath so blessed them.(3) This happiness shall be eternal. If the happiness of heaven were such as the joys of this world, it were fit they should be as short; but being so excellent it would scarce be a happiness if not eternal, if we could see the end of them at never so great a distance.(4) It is far above anything we can now conceive.(a) In this imperfect state we are not capable of a full representation. That would let in joys upon us too big for our narrow capacities, too strong for weak mortality (1 Corinthians 13:9-11).(b) But no sooner shall we enter upon the joys of the other world but our minds will he raised to a strength and activity as much above that of the most knowing persons in this world as the thoughts of the wisest philosopher are above those of s child.

2. The means whereby we may come to be partakers of this happiness — holiness (Hebrews 5:9; Titus 2:11-12; Hebrews 12:14).(1) Holiness is not only a condition but a necessary qualification. This is the force of St. John's reasoning (1 John 3:1-3). "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." To see God is to be happy; but unless we be like Him we cannot be happy. The sight and presence of God would be no happiness to the man who is not like God in disposition. From hence he infers "every man that hath this hope," etc.(2) This life is our preparation for the future. It is true that heaven perfects those holy dispositions which are begun here, but it alters no man as to his main state. "He that is filthy let him be filthy still." The happiness of heaven consists in such things as a wicked man has no relish for. If a covetous, ambitious, voluptuous man were in heaven lie would be tormented with a continual thirst for which there was no gratification. All the joys of that place are purely spiritual and can only be relished by those who have purified themselves as God is pure.(3) From all this it appears how necessary it is for us to prepare ourselves for this blessed state by the constant endeavours of holy life. Until this be done we are not meet to be partakers of its felicities.


1. To convince us of the vanity of this world God has on purpose made it troublesome that there might be no sufficient temptation to reasonable men to take them off from the thoughts of their future happiness; that God and heaven might have no rival here.

2. To make us industrious to be and do good that we may be qualified for future happiness. Men are very industrious to be rich and great: did we value heaven half as much as it deserves we should take infinitely more pains to secure it. And how should the thought that we are hasting towards another world, and that our eternal happiness is at stake quicken our endeavours.

3. To mitigate the afflictions of this life. No matter how rough the way provided it leads to happiness (Romans 8:18). The evils of this life afflict men more or less according as the soul is fortified with considerations proper to support us under them. And when we are safely landed, with what pleasure shall we look back upon those boisterous sins we have escaped.

4. To make us sincere in our professions and actions. Did men firmly believe the reward of another world, their religion would not be only in show and pretence, but in life and reality. For there we shall be rewarded not for what we seemed to be, but for what we really were.

5. To arm us against the fear of death.

(Archbp. Tillotson.)

1. Whatever incompatibility there may be between having residence in one world and a conversation in another, Christianity boldly meets it and puts it out of the way. In old English a man's "conversation" meant not the mere act of his tongue, but his conduct, and so revealed to what kingdom his heart belonged. An American agent or ambassador has a temporary dwelling in Athens. Living on that foreign soil, occupied daily with its affairs, its landscape winning his admiration, and its faces and manners his goodwill, he remembers that his stay is short; he expects to be called back where his treasure is and his heart abides.

2. When our faith commands us to have our conversation in heaven it does not require us to be bad citizens of the world where we now are. We are not bidden to be absent minded. The man may make hearty attachments where he tarries, pay tribute and live cheerfully and helpfully. And yet none the less he desires a better country, a city first in his love and always in his hopes. So Christ teaches that we can be faithful to every present relationship, and yet never forget our celestial patriotism. We can be in the world without minding earthly things.

3. This glory is the original glory of our Christian estate. Till Christ came, the majestic fact that our little human tent is overarched by an infinite heaven of light scarcely anywhere broke through the pagan shadows. Men as a rule looked downward at matter, and their conversation was this world's wars and lusts. In Asiatic pomp there was not one house of charity; in Alexandrian science not one school of virtue; in Greek beauty no beauty of holiness; in the discipline of Roman armies no heavenly law of righteousness.

4. In the midst of such a society we see Paul saying, "Our conversation," etc. The earthly and the heavenly mind, then. The choice between these is what the gospel is pressing on our conscience.

I. WHAT HINDERS. It is said "We must take the world as it is. It is no use flying in the face of an immense majority. Your ideal is lovely and well enough as a seventh-day picture of impossible sanctity. But while we live in an earthly commonwealth, if we expect to get on with it we must keep on pleasant terms with it, and not be over critical as to its principles."

1. If this answer were valid it would settle the whole question on the anti-Christian side. The Church would be an organized failure. Instead of fearless witnessing for Christ and fighting against wrong, we should have a cowardly system of mutual compromises and flatteries.

2. But then even the careless mind has a deeper-toned conviction than this. Most people know that the principal glories of the past have gathered round a few brave and suffering men who have stood out against their times. Inward voices respond in almost every breast to the righteousness of this order of souls.

3. Before they give away their manhood for the sake of getting on with the world, some citizens will inquire to what end the world is getting on.

4. And then, whatever we say or do, the Word of God refuses to be altered, and tells us not only that we can but we must, unless we mean to die eternally, live above the world while we live in it.

5. Besides, falsehood and sensuality were never prevalent enough to incapacitate a man for a clean and godly life, if that soul willed it.

6. Nothing in society or custom takes off the wrong doer's sin or its retribution. There lives a God with whom multitudes, usages, etc., are not of the least account. We cannot say at the Divine tribunal, "Blame society; I only went with the rest, and was no worse than they." You may presume that offences will come, but "woe to that man by whom they come."

II. CHRISTIANITY MEANS TO REACH SOCIETY ON A BROAD SCALE, BUT IT MUST REACH IT THROUGH PERSONS GATHERED ONE BY ONE INTO ITS OWN HEAVENLY CITIZENSHIP. It has to do with conviction, affection, faith; and these are properties of individuals before they can be of communities. Christ did not publish a plan of political reform, or a schedule of social science. Meeting his countrymen in little groups, or one by one, He showed them the beauty of the heavenly conversation while they were fishermen or publicans. So began the everlasting empire which soon lifted itself over the palaces of Constantinople and Rome. We all desire ours to be a Christian country; then we must be Christian men.

III. THERE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT CONSCIOUSLY MADE UP THEIR MINDS TO KEEP GOD'S COMMANDMENTS OUT AND OUT, WHO YET WOULD BE SHOCKED AT THE IDEA OF OUR SOCIAL LIFE RETURNING TO BARBARISM; and others nominally Christian who make no pretence to conform their practice to Christ's law. But this notion that we are any safer and better for living in a land of professed Christianity whose principles we daily ignore is a delusion whose absurdity is seen as soon as stated. What we need to realize is that every scheme attempting to cure the morals of the people must fall unless it puts the soul into a direct conversation with Him.

IV. IN THESE TIMES THE FAITH IS PUT BACK NOT SO MUCH BY PERSECUTION AS CORRUPTION. We live in days of indulgence and education. Ever since Eve's parley it has been the strategy of evil to gain admission without having its character suspected. If the moral sense is obstinate leach it to call evil good. If conscience defies a sword drug it with narcotics. Once radically unsettle a man's mind as to the obligations of duty, and you work a far more comprehensive depravity in him than by only enticing him now and then into single bad actions against which his conscience continues to cry out.

V. SO THE TRUE CONFESSORS OF THIS AGE ARE THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO EXERCISE THEIR CONSCIENCES DAY BY DAY TO DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL; souls that keep so far back within the entrenchments of a heavenly citizenship as to be out of all risk of slipping over into dishonour; men of business who will not take a second look at the tempter for an additional thousand a year; women who choose that good part with Mary's friend, rather than wade through ambiguities neck deep to conquests of social ambition; children that would rather be laughed at than disobey.

VI. THERE ARE TWO WORLDS WITHIN US, AS WELL AS EARTH AND HEAVEN WITHOUT US; and one of them is apt to get the mastery. Take as the Divine image of the one, the Saviour's sacramental prayer in John 17, or St. Paul's description, at the close of Romans 8 of the love of God. For the other take any unbelieving sensualist's frank testimony: Lord Chesterfield's, e.g. "I have run the rounds of business and pleasure, and have clone with them all. Shall I tell you that I bear this melancholy situation with resignation? No; I bear it because I must. I think of nothing but killing time, now it has become my enemy, and my resolution is to sleep in the carriage to the end of the journey." Now to say nothing of what happens when the journey ends, and of the waking out of sleep, and of the new question that will rise before a man who has so poorly succeeded in killing time, that time killed him — viz., how to kill eternity — leaving all that, we see the contradiction between the two worlds complete. The warfare between the principles that lie at the roots of them is a deadly warfare, and still it goes on. Take sides then at once with God and heaven.

(Bp. Huntington.)

It is not difficult to see how the "citizenship" comes to be called "conversation." "Conversation" is "being conversant." When we talk together, it is called "conversation." Because we are "conversant" with the subject, therefore it is called "conversation." And "conversant" means "going up and down in a thing." That is the literal meaning of the word. And we "go up and down," we move about in, and therefore we are conversant with the things, and the people, and the city, to which we belong. So "citizenship" is called "conversation." "Our conversation" — our familiar habits, our daily life and routine, that with which we have to do, — "our conversation, our citizenship, is in heaven."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

As the conversation of the Israelites was in the temple of Jerusalem, however distant they might be from it with regard to the body, because to it their thoughts and affections turned; towards that place they lifted their eyes in prayer when absent, and from thence expected the required succour, no captivity, no misfortune obliterating the memory of that holy sanctuary, the source of all their joys: so also the Christian beholds in heaven the true Ark, the Lord Christ, where all the fulness of the Godhead dwells, not in types and figures as in the Mosaic ark, but in truth and reality. In heaven their faith dwells, their hope rests, elevated above all terrestrial things, penetrating within the veil, anchoring upon the Rock of Ages. There dwells the soul in love; and beholding throughout the rest of the universe nothing but vanity and sin, it retires continually into this heavenly palace, where it may worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (Colossians 2:1-2).

(J. Daille.)

We should, in fact, seek while we are here to keep up the manners and customs of the good old fatherland, so that, as in Paris, the Parisian soon says, "There goes John Bull," so they should be able to say in this land, "There goes a heavenly citizen, one who is with us, and among us, but is not of us."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

We send our prayers there as letters to our Father, and we get His letters back in this blessed volume of His word. You go into an Australian settler's hut, and you find a news paper. Where from, sir? A gazette from the south of France, a journal from America? Oh no, it is a newspaper from England, addressed to him in his old mother's handwriting, bearing the postage stamp with the good Queen's face in the corner; and he likes it, though it be only a newspaper from some little pottering country town, with no news in it; yet he likes it better, perhaps, than The Times itself, because it talks to him about the village where he lived, and consequently touches a special string in the harp of his soul. So must it be with heaven. This book, the Bible, is the newspaper of heaven, and therefore we must love it. The sermons which are preached are good news from a far country. The hymns we sing are notes by which we tell our Father of our welfare here, and by which He whispers into our soul His continued love to us. All these are and must be pleasant to us, for our commerce is with heaven. I hope, too, we are sending a good deal home. I like to see our young fellows when they go out to live in the bush, recollect their mother at home. They say "She had a hard struggle to bring us up when our father died, and she scraped her little together to help us to emigrate." John and Tom mutually agree, "the first gold we get at the diggings we will send home to mother." And it goes home. Well, I hope you are sending a great many things home. I hope as we are aliens here, we are not laying up. our treasures here, where we may lose it, but packing it off as quickly as we can to our own country. There are many ways of doing it. God has many banks; and they are all safe ones. We have but to serve His Church, or serve the souls which Christ has bought with His blood, or help His poor, clothe His naked, and feed His hungry, and we send our treasures beyond sea in a safe ship, and so we keep up our commerce with the skies.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A peasant girl intently watching the bears at Berne, allowed her bag containing various homely treasures to slip from her arm. One of the bears immediately seized it and began in a way that would have been extremely comical, but for the poor girl's distress, to pull out the articles, one by one, before tearing them to pieces. The keeper not being within reach, no rescue was possible, and for a few moments the poor peasant wept as if her heart would break. At length a bright thought struck her, and putting her hand into the bosom of her dress she drew from it a paper, and exclaimed with joy, "It is my certificate of home; thank God this bear has not got that." Now this Heimath Schein, as it is called in Switzerland and Germany, is necessary as a passport. Without it she could not have left her country, and was liable at any time to be imprisoned as unable to prove herself a member of the canton. The Christian, too, has his "certificate of home," and need never be inconsolable while he can put his hand upon that, whatever else may have fallen under the power of the destroyer.

(Sunday at Home).

As the daily business of the royal observatory is rarely mentioned or thought of in the traffic and bustle of the world, though it stands in intimate and vital relations to navigation and commerce, and so to all the interests of society; so the men and women whose "conversation is in heaven," although they may appear unpractical to some thoughtless persons, are able to give the soundest advice, and to exert the most beneficent influence.

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

As the spear of Milton's Ithuriel had the power, by its touch, of making evil spirits stand forth in their native blackness and uncomeliness, however skilfully they had disguised themselves as angels of light; so the Christian's sense of his relation to heaven reveals to his heart the essential vanity and despicableness of any form of life which is alien from the will of God. The application of the touchstone question, "How would such conduct answer in heaven? How would such conduct become one who hopes for heaven, and deems himself a citizen of heaven?" - this shows things as they are.

(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)

Sometimes I wait through the weary years with great comfort. There was a ship some time ago outside a certain harbour. A heavy sea made the ship roll fearfully. A dense fog blotted out all buoys and lights. The captain never left the wheel. He could not tell his way into the harbour, and no pilot could get out to him for a long time. Eager passengers urged him to be courageous and make a dash for the harbour. He said "No; it is not my duty to run so great a risk. A pilot is required here, and I will wait for one if I wait a week." The truest courage is that which can bear to be charged with cowardice. To wait is much wiser than when you cannot hear the fog horn and have no pilot yet to steam on and wreck your vessel on the rocks. Our prudent captain waited his time, and at last he espied the pilot's boat coming to him over the boiling sea. When the pilot was at his work the captain's anxious waiting was over. The Church is like that vessel, she is pitched to and fro in the storm and the dark, and the pilot has not yet come. The weather is very threatening. All around the darkness hangs like a pall. But Jesus will come, walking on the water, before long; He will bring us safe to the desired haven.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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