Opening Prayer Thoughts
Praise and confession.
- Praise God for the resurrection, ascension, and session of the Lord Jesus, and all that it means for your life, including His continual intercession for the Church, and His rule over the nations.
- Confess the sin of not trusting in and thanking God for the Lord Jesus' rule in heaven every day.
Doctrine for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 56 – What is the reason attached to the third commandment?
Answer – The reason attached to the third commandment is that though the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the LORD your God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgement.
Proof Texts – Deuteronomy 28:58-59, 1 Samuel 3:13, 1 Samuel 4:11
Comment – No one can escape the judgement of God.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Verse to memorise.
Philippians 3:13,14. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Pray and ask for the Holy Spirit's help as you read God's Word.
Please read Philippians 3:17-21.
Notes written by Rev. Philip Dunwoody (Dervock, RPCI), with slight amendments.
Ch 3:17-21. Citizens of Heaven.
We've seen Paul refer to the Philippians as "citizens" once already (chapter 1:27). He does so again in chapter 4:20. The people of Philippi (not just the church members) were very proud to be Roman citizens. They had privileges and an "identity" that others would like to have had. But Paul wants the Philippian church to be most thankful for their identity as "heavenly citizens".
First, Paul says citizens of heaven look to their role models. Rome was the trend-setting city of the ancient world; the city of Philippi was like a "Rome wannabe", copying the fashion tastes and culture trends of the capital. Citizens of heaven should act like other citizens of heaven (verse 17). If there's a Christian couple who have shown you what a healthy marriage looks like, or a believer who is a great evangelist, or a great host, or a great youth leader, imitate them. One preacher says it's ok to be a copycat, as long as you copy the right cat!
Secondly, Paul says heavenly citizens look forward to their future. Life for a citizen in a foreign country can be at best strange, at worst dangerous. Christians know we are citizens of heaven, only passing through a hostile world. Paul says there are "enemies" of the cross of Christ (verse 18) that we must watch out for. These may be false teachers in the church or opponents in the world. Whilst we cannot take them lightly, we know that they will not topple Christ and his church. And so, we can look forward to receiving what Jesus has promised us: glorious resurrection (verse 21)! Maybe right now you have a body full of aches and pains; maybe a horrible illness is threatening your life; maybe age or injury has slowed you down. One day, all of that will be different. We need to think about our future more often. It will be truly awesome: bodies that never grow weak or tired, a new world to explore, and a wonderful Saviour to enjoy. Our heavenly citizenship comes with a guarantee of a glorious future.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 108A. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
Thank God for our citizenship in heaven, and pray for the Holy Spirit's help to live daily with that reality in mind.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC