Bible Study Lessons

Are You a Citizen of Heaven?

Introduction

Over two hundred years ago a girl was travelling with her mother through Europe. She was a royal princess, heir to a massive fortune. In the course of their travels, her mother died leaving the little girl with kind strangers who promised to look after her until a letter sent back to the home country could send someone to retrieve her. In the intervening time, however, war broke out between the two countries making travel impossible. During those years, the princess worked tirelessly to help the kind people who had taken her in. At the end of the war, a visitor stayed with the family the young lady was with. He noticed her cheerfulness and asked her about it. “You see,” she replied, “I am a citizen of the other country. And I just received a message that my brother could be here any day to take me home. Every day I live in expectation of that and I can’t help looking forward to it.” The strangers who had taken the princess in explained the story to their visitor who turned to her and asked, “Then how do you stand the work if you are a princess?” “Oh, I’m glad to help while I’m here, it gives me something to do while I wait and makes me think of what it will be like to be home.” In Philippians 3:20-21 we see that Christians are citizens of heaven waiting for their Savior the Lord Jesus Christ to appear. When He does, He will transform their bodies to be like His glorious resurrection body and they can’t help but look forward to it. Study this passage to better understand what it means to be a citizen of heaven and how that impacts a person's life.

Observation

Pray

Before you study today's passage, ask the Lord to bring it to life for you and help you grasp more of its truths so that they can impact your life.

Read Focus Verses

Read Philippians 3:20-21 and notice who is the center of the passage.

Context

Notice how the next verses, Philippians 4:1-5, tell us how this hope should impact the way we live.

Citizenship

Where is a Christian's citizenship according to verse 20?

Heaven

What else is highlighted about heaven in this verse?

Look

What are Christians looking for?

The Savior

Who is the Savior? What are His Name and Titles?

Change

According to verse 21, what will the Lord change when He appears?

Like His

What will He make our body like when He changes it?

How?

How does verse 21 explain that we can have confidence He'll be able to accomplish this promised transformation?

Subdued

What is Christ able to subdue under His power in verse 21?

Keyword - Citizens

Mark this keyword to help it stand out as a reminder of the central message of this passage.

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Citizens

Conversation

Mark the word citizenship or conversation in today's passage.

Interpretation

Transferred

Colossians 1:13-14 talks about the moment in salvation when God transfers a person's citizenship to heaven.

Strangers and Pilgrims

1 Peter 2:11-12 challenges Christians to live in light of this new citizenship.

Title

What titles does 1 Peter 2:11-12 use to describe a Christian's relationship to this world and how does that impact their lives?

Abraham

The life of Abraham serves as an example of this kind of living as we see in Hebrews 11:8-16.

An Example

How does Abraham's example help us understand better what it means to live as citizens of heaven?

My Father's House

In John 14:1-6, the Lord Jesus tells us a little about heaven and clearly explains the only way to get there.

About Heaven

Read at least some of these verses about heaven and take some time to think about that place Christ has prepared for His own people there.

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In Your Words

If a friend asked you 'What is heaven and how can I get there?' How could you use those verses to answer them?

Looking

Titus 2:13-14 also speaks of looking for Christ to appear.

In the Clouds

Acts 1:7-11 tells us a little more about His appearing.

Come Quickly

Notice what Revelation 22:20 says about His coming.

When?

When will Jesus Christ appear?

Impact

According to these verses, how should we respond to that and how should it impact our lives?

Born Today

The first title today's passage uses for the Son of God is Savior. The angels announced Him as the Savior to the shepherds in Luke 2:11.

Only Savior

Acts 4:12 declares that Jesus Christ is the only Savior.

Savior

Why is it significant that Christ is the Savior? Take a moment to reflect on what that means.

Call Him Jesus

In Matthew 1:21 we see that the angel Gabriel told Joseph to name the Savior Jesus.

Salvation

The name Jesus means "Jehovah is Salvation." Why did God choose that name for our Savior?

The Christ

In Matthew 16:16-17 we see that Jesus is the Christ.

Christ

This short definition helps us understand what the title Christ means.

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Promised One

Why does the Bible use the title Christ so often for our Savior? What is its significance to us?

Lord

Consider the meaning of the title Lord.

Strong's G2962

Greek,kurios [koo'-ree-os]

--Noun Masculine

Origin: from kuros (supremacy)

Definition:

  1. he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord
    1. the possessor and disposer of a thing
      1. the owner; one who has control of the person, the master
      2. in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor
    2. is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master
    3. this title is given to: God, the Messiah

Jesus Christ is Lord

Philippians 2:9-11 emphasizes the title Lord for Jesus Christ.

Lord of Lords

In Revelation 19:16 we see that Christ is Lord of lords.

Lord of All

The domain of Christ's Lordship is defined in Acts 10:36.

The Lord

Why is the Savior clarified as being Lord also in today's passage?

Savior and Lord

In a practical sense, what does it mean that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord?

Earthly Tents

2 Corinthians 5:1-6 speaks of how the suffering of our earthly bodies makes us long for the time when Christ will give His people new bodies.

The Transformation

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 speaks in much more detail about this transformation from our suffering, dying, earthly bodies to the glorious resurrection bodies Christians will receive.

As He Is

In 1 John 3:1-3 we see the emphasis placed on Christians' resurrected bodies being like Christ's.

How Do We Live?

How do these three passages tell us this hope will impact a Christian's life?

What Will It Be Like?

This short post summarizes what Scripture says about the glorified bodies Christians will receive.

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God's Working

Notice how Colossians 1:29 speaks of God's working like verse 21 of today's passage does.

Mighty Power

Ephesians 1:15-23 picks up this theme and applies it very personally to each Christian.

Related

How does God's mighty power relate to a Christians' life here on earth and for eternity according to these verses?

All Power

In Matthew 28:18 the Lord Jesus tells us the extent of His power.

All Things

John 3:35 further develops this.

Prophesied

This was prophesied in Psalm 2:1-12.

Until

1 Corinthians 15:24-26 speaks of Christ subduing all things to Himself.

Keys

Notice what the Lord says about subduing death lastly in Revelation 1:18.

Describe

How would you describe Christ's power?

Conclusion

Revelation 11:15 tells us the conclusion of Christ subduing all things to Himself.

The Country

Based on all the verses you've looked at today, write a short description of the country, heaven, which Christians are citizens of.

The King

Now, continuing to use what you've seen, write a short description of the King of this country Christians are citizens of.

The Citizens

Finally, using what you've studied, write a description of the citizens of that country.

Basis

Unlike so many countries today, heaven doesn't have a long application process for people who want to transfer their citizenship. Read about the basis for transfer in Romans 6:23.

Love

John 3:16 tells us why God allows us to become citizens of heaven and how to become one.

Whosoever

Romans 10:9-13 gives a little more detail and clarifies that no one will be turned away who applies for a citizenship in heaven.

Application

How can someone get citizenship in heaven?

Application

Are You a Citizen?

Have you applied for citizenship in the heavenly country? If not, won't you do so now?

Are You Living Like a Citizen?

If you're a citizen of heaven, are you living like it? What areas of your life are different because you know that you are headed to heaven?

More and More

What are some things from these verses describing how heaven's citizens live which convicted you? How are you going to change your life to live more like a citizen of heaven today?

Wrapup

Closing

We hope this study has helped you understand what it means to be a citizen of heaven and how that impacts a person's life.

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