Seated in Heaven, Sojourning on Earth (1 Peter 2:13-17)
I.) To obey, or not to obey?
We looked last week at what our response as believers ought to be towards the coronavirus. We are not to worry, because we know that God sovereignly works over all things according to the counsel of His own will. He does so in all goodness and purity, though we may not understand it.
We are not to worry, because our citizenship is no longer of this earth, but His eternal abode.
Our understanding of the doctrine of our position in Christ has serious implications on our life here; especially in regards to our response to Government. We understand what our response is to be to the virus itself, and why we should think in such a way.
Q.) What then is our response to be to the Government, who has issued such restrictive mandates because of the thing we are not to fear?
Q.) Do we defy, or obey?
II.) Seated in Heaven
To answer this I want to first lay down the foundation of our position in Christ:
There is a wealth of truth in this text that teaches us what God did for those of us in Christ:
1.) “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…”
2.) “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…”
3.) “…we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses…
4.) “…we have obtained an inheritance…”
5.) “In Him…you were sealed…”
The text tells us He did all of this “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” “Us” who:
1.) “…were dead in trespasses…and sin.”
2.) “…walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air…”
3.) “…lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind.”
4.) “…were by nature children of wrath.”
The text says what He, “being rich in mercy,” did for us “because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead,” He:
1.) “Made us alive together with Christ.”
2.) “Raised us up with Him.”
3.) “Seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians reiterates our “citizenship is in heaven.”
I have but one question:
Q.) Are we walking in a manner worthy of that call; as citizens of heaven merely sojourning upon this earth?
III.) Sojourning on Earth
The question is then this:
Q.) As heaven’s citizens what do we do with the Governor’s mandate, which inadvertently prevents us from corporately worshiping together for a time?
A.) We are to submit to all earthy authority so long as that power does not demand we live contrary to our heavenly Ruler.
Peter makes this explicitly clear:
1 Peter 2:13-15
God’s will is for us to submit. The Government is not demanding our gathering to cease for our faith in Christ, but for the health of the community in which we live. It is a call to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” which should come naturally to the citizens of heaven. Our heavenly Ruler commands us to think and live in such a way as His saints in a world that is not our home.
IV.) Dangers of Defiance
There are at least two things that will happen if we defy the mandate given by Governor Mills:
1.) We will bring a reproach upon the name of Christ.
2.) We will be defying God.
First, I will call to remembrance why defiance will bring reproach upon the name of Christ. The communities in which we reside are in great fear right now, and are complying with the Government for their neighbor’s sake. For us to then defy the mandate by continuing to gather together would be viewed as rebellious, and give the impression we do not love our neighbors. Though the perception may not be accurate, that is certainly how it will be received. Their fear will only be intensified as they watch us not take seriously the Government’s mandate. No matter how good our intentions, we will not be thought of as courageous, but unloving. Remember that the cross of Christ is already an offense to those who are perishing. We do not need to add to it over a mandate that has no bearing on our faith in Christ.
Second, Romans 13 will show us how we will ultimately be defying God if we refuse to comply:
God has established all governing authorities for our well-being, so to defy them is to defy God.
V.) Where is your mind fixed?
There are sobering remarks that need to be said. Some of the statements I will make may be difficult for some of you to stomach, but my love and desire for you to look at things eternally compels me to speak.
Some feel that under this mandate your “freedom” is being encroached upon. If you feel this way I would ask, “Your freedom as what, a citizen of heaven, or as a citizen of America?”
Even if this mandate were an infringement upon your freedom as an American it has no bearing on your heavenly citizenship. The eternal citizenship you are to seek and to set your minds upon.
If you are more concerned about your freedom as an American citizen rather than your heavenly citizenship you do not think as you ought to. Our heavenly citizenship certainly calls us to be good citizens in the nations we reside, but we are never command to set our minds on it.
A mind fixed only on American freedoms will only find contentment when experiencing them.
A mind fixed on eternity will find contentment in every circumstance regardless of one’s freedom.
If you fear dying from the coronavirus, or your fear losing your freedom as an American:
Q.) Whatever will you do when imprisonment and death is the demand for declaring Christ?
The church can thrive in every time, language, and culture, because God’s Word transcends it all. Through it He calls all believers everywhere to walk in a manner worthy of our call in Christ regardless of one’s geographical location and government.
I share the sentiments expressed by Piper:
“…I’m one hundred times more passionate about creating Christians and churches that will be faithful, biblical, countercultural, and spiritually minded in a socialist America, in a Muslim America, in a communist America, than I am in preventing a Muslim America or a communist America. That puts me in a very different ballpark than many public voices.
My main calling is not to help America be anything, but to help the church be the church. I want to help the church be the radical outpost of the kingdom of Christ, no matter what kind of America it happens to be in or any other people group or country in the world.”
Be the American your heavenly citizenship calls you to be, and if your freedom is stripped; continue to be the American your true citizenship calls you to be. Your true citizenship is not of this earth, but of an eternal home beyond comprehension.
There are a few things I beg for you to know:
You will not live eternally in America. God does not sing the national anthem, and He does not pledge allegiance to our flag. Through the gospel, He demands all people everywhere to pledge allegiance to Him, and to sing His anthem alone.
You will not live in America eternally, because in order for God to create a new heaven and earth, the old must be completely destroyed. Even in all of its beauty and grandeur America still falls far short of the glory of a holy and righteous God.
Seek, therefore, the Kingdom that will never perish, and walk this earth as its heavenly citizen:
“Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”
 Philippians 3:20
 1 Peter 2:17