SUDDENLY I'M AN ALIEN

“I don’t belong here any more!

 

I feel like an alien!”

 

Sooner or later everyone who follows Jesus makes this discovery.  The more you fit into the ways of God’s Kingdom, the less you belong to this world, until you discover that you don’t belong at all.   

It is impossible to be a dual citizen in the Kingdom of God.  If you belong to the Kingdom, you are an outsider in this world.  

 

Soon you will be treated as an outsider.  

 

Get used to it.

 

If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.

                                             John 15:19-20

 

We vote and pay our taxes.  We go about our daily work, shop for groceries, fill the gas tank, take care of business like everyone else.  But we belong to the world beyond, to God who is the single light of our life— who speaks to us through his Son.

 

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”

                                            John 10:27-28

But what is it that makes us so different?  

We are different from the world around us in three ways:

 

We serve a different Lord.

 

We trust a different Provider.

 

We are moving toward a different Future.

 

 

We serve a different Lord.

 

For all the cultures and religions in this world, there is only one world system.  For all the idols that dot the landscape, the world system is controlled by a single ruler.  He is called the Prince of the World, and described by Jesus as the Father of Lies.  

 

All governments, all the armies, all corporations, all religious institutions, are controlled by the Prince of this World.  They are his servants, whether they know it or not.

 

We were his servants too, until we found our true Master.

Jesus rose from the dead as the Firstborn of the New Creation, stepped out of his tomb as Lord of the World to Come, and will soon appear as Judge of the living and the dead.

 

Once we answer his call, he is our Master.

We are his servants.  

We belong to him alone.  

 

If we are focused on serving our King, the Prince of the World no longer has power over us.  We are under the protection of our Master. We may suffer persecution. We may even be martyred.  But through it all we are enveloped in the fire of heaven’s glory. The Prince of this World has no power over us.

 

We trust a different Provider.

 

 

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

                               

                                            Matthew 6:24  

 

The Prince of this World holds his dominion together by the power of Mammon—money. 

 

In this world, money is power.  Money is security.

 

Money is the master of the politician, the CEO, and all too often of the bishop and the preacher—-all the way down to “man/woman on the street.”  

 

Money is seen as the “Provider” of everything from daily bread to political power.

 

The problem with money is that one never knows what might happen to it.  

Will I have enough?  What if I run short?

Once we enter the Kingdom of God, our security is no longer money.

 

God is our Master and Provider.

 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

                                Matthew 6:31-33

 

Of course, when God provides us with money, he expects us to be faithful to him in the way we use it.   Money becomes our “practice material” with which we learn how to be faithful to God in “earthly things.”

 

He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”

                                            Luke 16:10-13

 

We are moving toward a different Future.

 

With every day that passes, each soul on earth is moving toward a final destination.  What we believe that destination to be determines how we spend our days. For the citizens of this world there are three basic futures:

 

1. “When we reach the grave, it’s all over.”

2.  “We’re all going to a better place.”

3.  “Heaven is waiting for our tribe alone.”

 

When we reach the grave, it’s all over.

 

“You only go around once, so get all the gusto you can,” is the creed of those who see the grave as the end.   The important thing is to make sure you get through your bucket list before death catches up with you.

It’s quite liberating to know that it’s all over at the grave, that there are no consequences waiting for us over there on the other side.  There is no “other side,” so go ahead and do as you please!

 

We’re all going to a better place.

 

Travel the funeral circuit and listen to the comforting words that rarely change.  “He’s gone to a better place.” “She’s up there singing with the angels.” “Didn’t Jesus die for us all?”

Ed was so tired of bashing heads, breaking legs and getting high that he deliberately took an overdose.  Before he expired he wrote a note to his brother: “See you in Hell, Jack!”

At Ed’s funeral the church was packed.  Banks of flowers covered the walls. The kindly minister assured the gathering that Ed was now in glory land.  And everybody said “Amen!”

 

Heaven is waiting for our tribe alone.

 

The world is full of folks who believe that there is a heaven over there beyond the grave, and that this heaven is reserved for the righteous.

But here’s the catch:  the righteous are “those who belong to our tribe”— no one else.   What a strange heaven! What a strange god!

 

 

The Kingdom

 

Those who belong to the Kingdom of God come from every tribe on earth.  


 

Every nation.  

Every language.

Every shape, size and color

 

The future toward which they move is defined by their Master, who will one day say to them,

 

“Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

 

Those who belong to the Kingdom of God already live under its power.  They breathe its air, follow the footsteps of its King, enjoy its peace.  Their eyes are fixed on a future far better than anything this world provides.

 

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.

                             Revelation 22:1-5

 

What makes these people worthy to live in such a place?

 

Is it because they claimed to be “saved”?  

Because they belonged to a church?  

Because they performed signs and wonders?

 

No.

 

These people are accounted worthy to enter such a place because they lived in this world like sons and daughters of God.  

 

 

By the power of God’s Spirit they consistently manifested God’s grace in actual deeds.

 

 

 

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Matthew 25:35-40

 

 

 

Aliens no more

 

When God’s world breaks into this world and brings all evil to account, those who answered God’s call and walked in God’s light will no longer be aliens.  

 

They have finally arrived at the Kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world.

God grant that we may be among them.  

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we sometimes feel alone, separated and apart because we know we don’t belong. We are aliens.  The Prince of this world wants us to feel despair over this separation and to compromise out of our need for acceptance and security. But Lord we know this world is not the place to seek acceptance or security. You are our Provider, you are our Master. May our hearts live in the power of your Kingdom now, breathing it’s air, living it’s peace. And Holy Father, while we live in this world, may we live as your sons and daughters. May we manifest your grace in all we do.  Wrap us in the security that no power of darkness can truly harm us, because you rule our hearts. And may we trade our sense of sadness and separation for the confidence and joy of knowing that we belong to an everlasting, beautiful kingdom ruled by the King of unspeakable love and power. Alleluia.
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