As Dan mentioned, my plane landed Friday evening after an unexpected nine hours in Buenos Aires, where I had a layover and the plane was delayed; I was later getting back than I expected. I stand before you today with a tired body but a full heart. I’m absolutely honored to have had the chance to pour into forty or fifty missionaries and pastors from all around Latin America who are on the front lines, who have sacrificed much for the gospel, and who are seeing Jesus do excellent and beautiful things all around the globe. The very first day we got there, the Paraguayans threw this feast for us. There’s this battle going on in South America between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay about who has the best meat and the best barbecue, so we invited them to duke it out! Please, bring your best to the table! So the Paraguayans put on this feast and I’m sitting around the table with people from a number of different countries: Korea to Great Britain to all around Latin America. We had this great conversation and great food. The Paraguayans brought in this harpist; the harp is the national instrument of Paraguay. They brought in this masterful harpist that just melted our faces with the harp. It was amazing! {I didn’t even know that was possible, but it is.} They brought out this woman who was dancing with a glass jar on her head. They brought out all this varied Paraguayan cultural stuff. I’m thinking to myself, “If this happened in Colorado, where would we take them culturally? What we would we show them? Barbecue hotdogs and take them to strip malls?” That’s our contribution to world culture. So I’m sitting there and was reminded once again that people that live in the States are the only people that only speak one language! Everybody around this table spoke more than one language except me! {I’m the local moron here, right? WE’RE the local morons.}

I got to know the Paraguayan culture over the course of a week and I love Latin culture. I love the passion that they live with. I love that relationships are important. I love that food is essential and good food is important. There’s one thing I wasn’t expecting though that I found out about Paraguayans; they drink this tea that they call “terere.” It’s “maté” in Argentina and a number of other countries in South America, but they call it terere. It’s this loose leaf tea that they pack into a cup, then they have this straw that sifts out all of the tea. It’s primarily men that drink this terere tea. They don’t just drink it in the morning and they don’t just drink it in the evening. They drink it ALL throughout the day. It’s serious business. Most men you see walking around the downtown area had a thermos with them and their little terere cup attached to the side of it! I’m teaching and you could tell who was Paraguayan because they had their terere the entire time and they’re taking drinks of it and passing it around. I felt like we were at a college party or something. It’s this distinctive of Paraguay and I started to think about what are the distinctives of us, not as citizens of the U.S., but as citizens of the Kingdom. What’s our terere?

I come back with a full heart. I come back reminded that our God is a multi-cultural God and that our faith is a multi-cultural faith. I come back reminded that what God is doing is far bigger than what God is doing at South Fellowship or in Centennial or in Colorado, but that what God is doing He is doing on a global scale. I come back reminded of the reality that Jesus promised He will build his church and He IS building his church, not only here, but in South America and around the globe and it’s an absolute joy to be a part of that.

I have a full heart and I was reminded of the terere because I think it’s sort of what Paul’s talking about this morning. Will you open to Philippians 1:27 with me as we continue our study through the book of Philippians. This is Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi that he wrote somewhere between 60-62 A.D. from a prison cell in Rome. It’s to a church that he planted and a church that he loved dearly. Listen to the way he begins this section of Scripture after declaring that whether he lives or whether he dies that Christ is his all. The implications of that are what follow. Here’s what he says: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. Paul uses this word “only” as an emphatic — like look up at me! He wants to tell the Philippian church, if you only get one thing…..if in this letter that I’m sending you only hear one thing, hear this…. Gordon Fee, the great commentator on the book of Philippians, would say that this section of Scripture (Philippians 1:27-30) is the crux of the entire book. Paul’s invitation is this: Let your manner of life be worthy, or consistent, with the good news that Jesus is King above all, that he is the Christ, that he is the Messiah. Here’s what Paul would say to you and to me today: He would say that the announcement that Jesus is King changes everything about the way that we live. He would say: Let your manner of life, not just one part of your life, but your entire life, be shaped and formed and driven by the fact that you—-yes, YOU—-are people who are caught up and enveloped by and shaped by the good news that Jesus rules and reigns over all creation. He would say to us today, “The gospel is not something that you could add to your already nice existence. The gospel is something that changes everything.”

He uses this word that’s translated in your English Bible (ESV translation) as “manner of life.” It comes from one Greek word “politeusesthe.” It’s two words put together; the first word would be “polis,” where we get our IndianaPOLIS—it means “city.” We also get our word “politics.” What Paul is saying is let your public life, let the life that you live in front of everybody (your political life, if you will), be shaped and informed by the fact that the good news of Jesus is true and that he reigns above it all. Some translations maybe say it a little bit better. They would say, “Only let your manner of life be reflective of your citizenship of the King.” That everything about us is shaped by the fact that Jesus is King. This word “politeusesthe,” this invitation to live as citizens of the gospel….. For us, we go that’s great, that’s wonderful; we would love to live as citizens of the gospel and wouldn’t that be wonderful. We’re 1700 years entrenched in Christendom, but for an early follower of Jesus, you have to understand that for them to live as a citizen of the gospel was a revolutionary idea. It wasn’t some nice Christian spiritual platitude that they would plaster to a mug and feel warm and fuzzy when they would drink from it in the morning. It was something that changed the entire course of their life.

They lived in a Roman Empire. Rome had this phrase, they had this term—see if it sounds familiar— “euangélion” or “good news.” For a Roman, what good news meant (they would talk about “good news” a lot) was that Rome reigned and Rome was supreme. They called it the “Pax Romana,” the Roman peace. It definitely looked like peace depending on which side of that sword you were on. They had this good news that Rome was conquering more and more of the globe. So when Paul talks about the gospel, or the euangélion of the Kingdom, he is swimming against the stream of the empire. When he talks about Jesus as Lord, or Jesus as Savior, he is making a declaration, not just about Jesus, but about Caesar and the world in which they live. In their time, Nero was the ruler of Rome from 54-68 A.D., right when Paul is writing this letter. They had these coins that circulated around the Roman Empire. The coins would have the emperor’s face on one side, and on the other side it would have this Latin phrase “divi filius,” which meant “son of the divine” or “divine son,” because their conviction was that their emperor was the son of god. So, when followers of Jesus come proclaiming gospel, that Jesus is the son of God and that he is Lord, they aren’t giving each other a nice pep talk, they are starting a revolution. For Paul, this is a HUGE statement. If you don’t believe me, listen to what they say about the believers in Acts 17:6-7. Paul and Silas are preaching and when they couldn’t beat them up for what they were saying, they found their friend Jason: And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” This is a revolutionary statement. Jesus the Christ, or Jesus the Messiah, or Jesus the King. You know that Christ is not his last name—it’s a title. That he reigns and he rules above it all.

So Paul is going alright, Philippian church, I want you to live in a way that’s consistent with your citizenship. Your citizenship declares that Jesus rules and that Jesus reigns above it all. So, followers of Jesus in Philippi, before you’re a citizen of Philippi, you’re a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. Before you’re a citizen of Rome, you’re a citizen of the gospel of the King. So, follower of Jesus {will you look up at me a second?}, I don’t know what your passport says where your home is, I only know this…if you are a follower of Jesus this morning, He is your highest allegiance. He reigns supreme. Sure, you have dual citizenship; you can be a citizen of the U.S. and you are a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven if you are a follower by faith of Jesus the Messiah, but THAT followership, THAT citizenship trumps everything else about us. Here’s the big idea Paul wants us to get this morning: the conduct of our lives HAS TO reflect our citizenship in the gospel. The conduct of our lives, the way that we live, has to be shaped by and informed by the reality that Jesus reigns. Friends, the Scriptures are really clear that you have been born again, you’ve been made new, and when that happened, you became a citizen of a different type of Kingdom. That’s great news. Our conduct must always be a reflection of our allegiance. It is. We always live out what we bow down to. We always act in a way that’s consistent with what our heart is captured by. When an army takes instruction from its king, it’s living out its allegiance. When we, as people who are in the United States of America, live in a way that reflects our culture, we’re simply conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of our citizenship.

How does it look to do this with the gospel? What does it look like to be gospel citizens? Friends, the calling is to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, not sometimes {look up at me for a second}, not when life is easy and life is great. We don’t get that invitation as followers of Christ when things get really hard or when we get really disappointed or when we get wronged by somebody else or when life doesn’t go the way that we want, we do not get the option to say, “Alright, I’m going to live in a manner worthy NOT of the gospel, but of something else.” We don’t get that option. What we’re going to talk about today is so important, because it’s intended to shape the way that we live. Here’s what I want to ask: If our conduct must be a reflection of our citizenship of the gospel, what is that conduct intended to look like and how do we become these types of citizens? I want to ask what’s the terere of the Kingdom of God? What’s the distinctive about us? That everybody would see and that everybody would know and they’d go, oh, they’re God’s people, they’re God’s citizens. That’s how we know.

Here’s what Paul says. There are three ways that you and I live as citizens of the Kingdom. Only let your manner of life {or let your citizenship be consistent with that fact that Jesus is King} be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit…. Here’s what he said. Very first thing. It this sort of militaristic type of language, but what Paul wants us to do is before we DO anything, he wants us to become something. Before he gets into here’s how you live and your conduct and what your actions need to look like, before he gets to any of that, what does he invite us to do? Stand. Stand in the spirit, stand in the presence of God. Before you ever carry out the Father’s plans, you need to hear the Father’s heart. I’ll say that again. Before we ever carry out the Father’s plans, we need to hear the Father’s heart. What Paul wants the Philippian church to do is to stand in the spirit, to hear the voice of God that speaks over them. He’d say here’s the terere of the kingdom, the thing that’s distinctive about us as followers of Christ: Above anything else is we are standing intentionally in the Spirit of God.

Did you know this is the call all throughout the Scriptures? That before we try to go anywhere or do anything, God wants us to become somebody. In the book of Ephesians when Paul is talking about spiritual warfare, when he’s talking about engaging with the enemy, listen to what he says: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand {Not fight–stand. Isn’t that an ironic statement—put on armor so you can stand?} against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Eph. 6:11-13) Here’s what Paul would say, “You don’t fight for victory. You fight FROM a place of victory.” The job of followers of Jesus is to stand in the gospel, to hear the voice of the Father over us that says I love you and I’m good to you.

When we were at LegoLand, we went on this log ride where you go down this roller coaster. You’re buckled in and go down into the water and this tidal wave splashes over you. Anybody ever done one of those? Anybody been the moron that does that first thing when you get there in the morning?? Awesome! We’re soaked the entire day, but we went down that. There were people standing on the bridge that get hit by that tidal wave of water. When they see the water coming, they hold onto that railing as hard as they can and they brace themselves because they know that tidal wave is coming for them.

I sort of picture it that that’s the way we’re called to stand in the gospel. It’s not some sort of lackadaisical “Well, I guess I could stand.” It’s the storms of life are raging and if I don’t hold on and if I don’t stand intentionally and if I don’t stand firm, the most natural thing is going to take me away from the grace of God, from the mercy of God, from the love of God and it’s going to send me off into nowhere. What Paul wants more than anything for citizens of the gospel is to stand in the gospel. I just want to invite you to interact with what happens when we stand. What do we hear when we stand in the Spirit of God? Here’s the first thing we hear—we stand firmly planted in his GRACE. That’s what we hear. The Spirit of God testifies to our hearts and our minds that through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. (Romans 5:2) It’s true of you, friend, if you are a follower of Jesus. You are not working FOR the acceptance of God, you are living FROM the acceptance of God, because of the work of Jesus on the cross on your behalf! Do you know that? When we don’t stand by faith in the gospel, what we do is we try to work by effort in the flesh. We try to obtain and we try to get God to like us, we try to get God to be happy with us, we try to get God to be pleased with us and what He says to us when we hear his voice, when we stand in the gospel is “I am pleased because of the work of Jesus.” Your citizenship has to be shaped first by your standing in the grace of God.

Secondly, here’s what we start to hear as this passage in Romans 5:5 continues: And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Did you know that while the Holy Spirit is intended and given, He is a guide, He’s a teacher, He’s a convicter of righteousness, but He is, maybe more than anything else, the affirmer of the affection of God for the people of God. One of the Holy Spirit’s main roles in your life is to confirm the reality that an Almighty, Holy God loves you and is for you and died for you and his perfection rules over your life. So when we stand we start to understand grace and we start to receive love. It’s THAT type of standing that can write songs like The Love of God is Greater Far. The author says: “Could I with ink, the ocean fill, were the whole sky of parchment made were every blade of grass a quill and every man a scribe by trade to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole though spread from sky to sky.” What the Holy Spirit says in the life of the believer, when we stand in the Spirit and hear the voice of God, is “That affection is towards you!” That’s crazy!

We also start to hear God’s invitation to come, to learn from him and to rest under his easy yoke. We stand in grace; we stand in love; we stand in the rest that comes from the finished work of our good Father. Friends, where we stand {Listen to me on this; maybe even look up at me for a second.} will eventually determine how we walk. Where we stand and what we hear from our Father (or don’t hear from our Father) will determine the way that we live and the path that we walk. Abraham Lincoln succinctly said, “Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” The problem is a lot of times we have our feet in the wrong place. The problem is, even as church people, we often have our feet planted in “I’ve got to try harder, I’ve got to do more.” That’s not gospel citizenship. That’s religion. You’re a citizen of religion, but you’re not a citizen of the good news that Jesus reigns. That’s Paul’s invitation. That’s the terere of the Kingdom.

Maybe you’re wondering how to stand. What does that look like? I’m going to give you two things that I’m going to encourage. One, if you’re not spending at least 15 minutes a day in the Scriptures, it’s probably impossible to stand in the gospel. So that’s just an invitation. Not a requirement, not a duty, but, man, feed your soul with the Scriptures and the food that’s in here. It’s beautiful. Second thing is we write devotions that go along with every single message we give now. I would invite you to hope on our website and to check out those daily devotions and maybe they’ll be an encouragement to you and hopefully they’re intended to help you stand firm.

That’s the first thing: gospel distinctive, gospel citizenship. We are people who stand in the Spirit; before we execute the Father’s plans, we hear the Father’s heart. Second thing, it says: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving….. Immediately we’re catapulted into this tension, right? As gospel citizens, are we suppose to stand confidently in the gospel….or strive ferociously for the furtherance of the gospel? Which one is it? YES! As followers of Jesus, we are called to both stand and be shaped by the gospel and then from that to live it out. The gospel was not intended to just be theorized, it’s intended to be actualized. In our lives. In the everyday. In the way that we interact with our husband or our wife, boyfriend or our girlfriend. In the way that we interact with an employee. In the way that we love our neighbors. The gospel is intended to come out of every fiber of our being. So Paul says we “strive.” In the Greek it’s this word “sunathleo,” where we get our word “athletics.” So he’s going, “We’re going for it! We are pushing forward the good news that Jesus is King!” We’re standing intentionally in the Spirit and we’re striving fearlessly for the gospel.

Paul’s going to invite us to dwell on three things that come alongside of this striving, or this desire to see God’s kingdom come and his will be done. Before we go there, I feel compelled to ask you if you have that desire? Is it within you? To say, “God, we want to see your kingdom come. We want to see your will be done….in our homes, in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, in your world.” If that’s some of the gospel distinctive, the terere of the kingdom, for you, a follower of Christ, then there’s three things he says we need to be about. First, is that we strive, not individually. This pushes back against our American-Western individualism, does it not? But we strive “side by side.” We would love for a follower of Jesus’ life to be defined by “Jesus + Me,” wouldn’t we? The only problem with that is the Bible. Our lives are Jesus + We, not Jesus + Me. Here’s a picture of what it might have looked like in Paul’s day to strive side by side. {Ryan shows picture of Roman Army going to battle.} He would have had a picture in his mind of a Roman army, that on their own, a soldier would be absolutely decimated and taken down, but together when they link shields, they conquer anything in front of them. And THAT’S what Paul has in mind when he talks about the church. When he talks about this called-out colony of followers of Jesus striving together, it’s not just each of us going our own way, it’s us together saying, “We believe that Jesus is worth it.”

Second thing he says: ….striving side by side for the faith of the gospel… Now, before you go, Paulson, that’s obvious, that’s what we’ve been taking about this whole time. What’s interesting to me is that you cannot find anywhere in Paul’s letter where he wants to strive against Rome. The fascinating thing about that is that Rome is an absolute brutal beast! They’re crucifying thousands of people a day who are followers of Jesus. They’re covering people in tar, putting them on poles, lighting them on fire to light Caesar’s parties at night! It is a brutal thing! You also don’t see Paul saying, “We want to strive against paganism.” Paganism has all these practices of temple prostitution and debauchery and just crazy things going on. What you see Paul saying is in the midst of a dark world, we aren’t going to fight just the darkness; what we’re going to do is shine a light on Jesus. As followers of Jesus, from the very beginning, they were known NOT for what they were against, but they were known for what they were FOR. They’re FOR Jesus! They are FOR a life of faith in Him. They weren’t AGAINST Rome. They weren’t AGAINST a politician. They weren’t AGAINST an issue that was going on and there were a number of them they could have chosen, you guys. Let’s not be so naive as to think that the world and the situation we live in is so unique. It’s not. So if I could, let me just push here for a second and say that I would love for us to lead a charge where we start to redeem the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. Instead of pointing out the darkness, we shine a light on the one who says “I am the Light of the world.” And instead of being known for the issues that we’re AGAINST, that we’re known for the name that we’re FOR. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how do I know this is happening? Maybe one of the ways I know this is happening in my own heart is I’m more passionate about an issue than I am about Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I want to get back to the place….. My heart breaks that the world thinks of the church first for the list of things we’re against, rather than the Jesus that we’re for. What does it look like to be citizens of the kingdom where we say our goal is to lift high the name of Jesus….IN the empire? We’re going to live differently, we’re going to live as His citizens.

Thirdly, here’s what it says: …striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. So he’s just going after it! We are living fearlessly. Why would Paul have to write this? Because there were a lot of reasons for them to fear. There’s a lot of things to be scared about. Why does he write in 2 Timothy 1:7 — God have us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control? Why?? Because our natural tendency is to be carried away by the issues that we see and the problems that we have and the opposition that we face. Hear me, friends, what God has placed inside of you as a follower of Jesus is a ferocious, fearless, faithful passion to carry His name wherever you go. But we can only live fearlessly if we stood in the gospel intentionally. I love the way that Alexander MacLaren, the great Scottish preacher, put it: “Faith, which is trust, and fear are opposite poles. If a man has the one, he can scarcely have the other in vigorous operation. He that has his trust set upon God does not need to dread anything except the weakening or the paralyzing of that trust.” This is paramount! We’ve got to be devoted to Jesus in a way that his perfect love for us would cast out fear of everything around us. So, if you’re like me, there’s things in your life that are going on where you go God, it would be so easy to just give in to fear. What Paul would say is your victory is certain as you live fearlessly in the gospel. What is it today that God might invite you to lay down? What fear are you holding? Is it fear of rejection? As you’re a gospel citizen sharing boldly the good news of the kingdom, what are the fears that come along with that for you? Is it if you step out and have a conversation you may not know what to say? Been there….only every time I open my mouth to speak about Jesus. Is it that you’ll be rejected? If we’re gospel citizens, distinctly shaped and formed by the gospel in a way that gets out of us, friends, we are invited to strive fearlessly for the name of Jesus. Who are you praying for? Who are you asking God to capture their heart; would you show them your beauty, would you invite them into your kingdom, would you use me?? We’re citizens of yours and captured by your grace.

Finally, the third and final distinctive of the terere of the Kingdom. For it has been granted to you {That word in the Greek is the same word where we get our English word “grace.” It’s been “graced” to you, it’s been “gifted” to you. If you stop reading there, you’re wondering, “Well, what comes next?? This has to be wonderful!”} …that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Can we be honest here for a second? That’s the gift that we hope comes with a gift receipt so that we can return it, right? That’s the one we’re going to re-gift to somebody that we’re not all that excited about, right? Why in the world would Paul call this a gift?? I’ll give you three reasons that are embedded in this passage. One, through suffering we get to see the beauty of the gospel in a new and a fresh way. That’s one of the reasons it’s a gift. An eternal perspective is often only gained through broken temporal circumstances. It’s true. Second, is that when we suffer for Jesus, we enter into solidarity with Jesus. He IS the slain, risen Messiah. He gave his life and when his people walk a path of persecution that’s difficult and hard, they meet him in a unique and real way. And third, as Paul suggests, they’ve seen his plight that he had and that he now has. What they gain is a solidarity with Jesus’ people in the midst of suffering. That’s the third Kingdom distinctive, citizenship distinctive of you and I.

What’s our culture as followers of Christ? What do we carry with us everywhere we go? We carry with us the fact that we’re citizens of the gospel, which means that we stand in the Spirit and we hear the voice of our Father before we try to execute the plan of our Father. That we are people who strive fearlessly. We’re not agenda-oriented; our one agenda is Jesus and we want to be known for what we’re FOR, not for what we are AGAINST. We are people who have said, “Whatever it takes, we want his name to be made more famous.”

When I was traveling this last week, I had the chance to read a book called Insanity of God. You may have heard Rob Karch talk about this book. It’s about the persecuted church. I’m going to end with this story from one section of this book. The author, Nik Ripken, writes about a man named Dmitri who became a follower of Jesus in the Soviet Union under the Communist regime. He started to teach his kids about Jesus and slowly his teaching grew to where there were 150 people illegally gathered in his home to hear the good news of Jesus. Eventually he was thrown in prison. In a prison that was 1000 km away from his home, he had two practices that he did every single day. One of the practices was that Dmitri would stand with his hands in the air and he would face to the east and he would sing, what he called, his HeartSong to Jesus. It was a song of praise, it was a song of adoration and it was a song of lifting high the name that is above all names. The other thing he would do was whenever he was allowed to go in the courtyard of the prison, he would look for little scraps of paper. On those scraps of paper, he would write down as many Scripture passages as he could remember and he would write down as many songs as he could remember and then he would stick the little piece of paper to the pole that was next to his prison cell. He did this for 17 years! Finally, the guards pulled him out of his cell and said, “Dmitri, unless you recant, unless you tell us that you’re not a worshipper or follower of Jesus anymore, we are going to kill you.” He said, “That’s fine, because I cannot turn my back on my Savior.” The next day, after being in prison for 17 years, those Soviet guards dragged Dmitri out of his prison cell. Everybody had heard this happen the day before and they’d heard his public declaration that he was not going to turn back on his faith. And as they walked him in front of all these prison cells what Dmitri saw absolutely shocked him! Every single prisoner (1500 prisoners in this dark, dungy Soviet prison) stood at attention at the side of their bed. As he went in front of them, they raised their hands and they sang the song that he had sung for 17 years! As he describes it, this angelic choir of criminals shined a light on the one Name above all names. The guards immediately took their hands off of him and said, “Who in the world are you?” He said, “I am a child of the one true God.” A few days later they let him go!

Friends, you’re a child of the one true God. You’re a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and I pray, for you and for me, that we would stand in the Spirit; that we would strive for the gospel; that we would say Jesus is worth it; and that whatever comes our way, we would say, “We are His citizens.” Because, friends, we’re either in this together or in it not at all. Throughout the passage these are plurals. You, collectively, are citizens of the Kingdom. We will never live as citizens of the gospel unless we’re part of a colony of the Kingdom! Praise the Lord, you are! Let’s live in a way that reflects our citizenship, for the glory of Jesus, we pray.

Would you pray with me? Jesus, this morning we declare back to you that we long to live as citizens of your Kingdom. To taste your goodness and then to live in a way that reflects it. Lord, help us stand confidently in the gospel; help us strive boldly and fearlessly for the faith of gospel and for the furtherance of the gospel. Lord, whatever comes our way because of that, Lord, we want to say we’re with you, wherever you lead we want to follow. Lord, we think today of our brothers and sisters around the world who have made that claim and who have given their life because they meant it. So we enter into solidarity with them today as they lift high your name; may we not give up in freedom, what they refuse to give up in persecution. For the glory of your name, we pray. Amen.