Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship in heaven. This was significant for the Christians of Philippi because they were proud that their city was a Roman colony. One scholar said, “Philippi was a reproduction of Rome.” Paul’s comment played on that idea and said that the church is to be a reproduction of heaven. We are to be a colony of heaven planted here on earth. In the church the world is to encounter a new kind of society that lives by the principles and ways of heaven.
If we wish to make a difference in the world one of the most profound ways we can do that is through the church being what it is supposed to be. Everyone in the world is longing for what the world can and should be. Events at Coral Ridge Presbyterian remind us that we often fall short. But what a dynamic and inspiring calling it is to be a colony of heaven. And what a difference it will make when we fulfill that calling even a little.
Laurie recently asked me about the most difficult people I’ve known. I told her about a friend from college. This guy showed up in my dorm my junior year, and he happened to be from Bakersfield, my home town. He was proud, arrogant and combative. Within minutes of the beginning of every conversation he had he would have people upset with him. People went out of their way to avoid him. Except for one group of people. The Christians in that dorm, called to be an outpost of heaven, extended grace and patience and love to him. He began gravitating toward Christians, even joined in Bible studies and made them difficult. But after many months he one day announced that he had put in faith in Jesus as his Savior and Lord. It was the only time I’ve heard someone say that and was not excited about it. But over time Bob began to change. He never was the most cuddly person I’ve ever known, but Christ began transforming him. It began because followers of Jesus answered the call of being a colony of heaven. Nothing can ever make a bigger difference in this world.