Day 30: Remember the future
A LoveSingapore 40.Day prayer and fast devotional, following 2022's theme of To Live Is Christ: A Journey Through the Book of Philippians.
LoveSingapore // July 30, 2022, 12:01 am
Bible reading for 40.DAY 2022 | Philippians 3:20—21
Paul is writing to a suffering church. They are citizens of a prestigious Roman Colony. But their civic rights and privileges are being eroded by a long-drawn persecution.
As a result, they are losing their joy and bickering among themselves. And worst of all, they are losing sight of their glorious Future in Christ, which far outweighs all present distress.
Paul doesn’t ask them to renounce their Roman citizenship. He expects them to be good citizens. But he also reminds them that their true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 1:27; 3:20).
Paul reminds the Philippians that their true citizenship is in heaven.
Just as Philippi is a Colony of Rome on Macedonian soil, so the Church is a Colony of Heaven in the city of Philippi (Gordon Fee).
Just as the Lord Caesar extends his dominion across the empire through colonies like Philippi, so the Lord Jesus extends His dominion across the earth through churches like theirs. And yours too!
As citizens of Heaven, their identity and destiny are by no means determined by what their opponents say or do to them. Their Future rests in the power of Christ who, when He comes again, will subject all things to Himself (Philippians 3:21).
So the Philippians – and we also – must greatly rejoice as we eagerly await the Lord’s Return.
Just as Christ was vindicated by the raising of His mangled body from the tomb, so we too shall be vindicated when He transforms our lowly bodies to be like His glorified body (Philippians 3:20-21). So what’s a bit of persecution in this fleeting moment!
Eschatology, therefore, is not abstract speculation about the end times. Nor is it a sensational preoccupation with blood moons, super moons, and rapture charts.
Eschatology is God’s Perfect Future reaching back into this present moment, reordering our lives.
Eschatology is God’s Perfect Future reaching back into this present moment, reworking and reordering our lives in concrete ways. This capital-T Truth is the basis of every appeal and every exhortation not just in this letter, but in the entire New Testament.
This big-R Reality must become the reference point for all our conduct, conversation, and every decision in life. May the Light of this glorious Future shape our values and determine our moral, ethical, and civic behaviour in Singapore today and every day until He comes.
When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).
Therefore, don’t lower your guard. Don’t allow any opposition to discourage you. Don’t let the belly shops and body shops that line our glamorous city streets distract you from the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
In your patience possess your soul (Luke 21:19).
And remember the Future. Maranatha!
Are we eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return? Are we living in the light of Eternity?
1 The pandemic has heightened our awareness of the End Times. Remember how the lockdown radically changed our world, our behaviour, our perceptions. How much more should the ‘heightened alert’ concerning the Lord’s Return radically transform us from the inside out! But has it really? Or is Jesus’ Second Coming just another passing interest, another talking point?
2 Probe deeper. Allow the Spirit to expose our superficial Christianity. If the shoe fits, wear it. Confession is good for the soul: Lord, we are fickle. We hopscotch from one passing fad to another. We gravitate to the sensational for its own sake. We’re more excited about being the first to push out the latest online than being the first to repent and put an end to our flaky ways. We’re not gripped enough with big-R Reality and your capital-T Truth to radically change the way we live.
3 Turn to God in repentance: Lord, forgive us. We don’t want Church and Society to reap the downstream consequences of our folly today. In Your mercy, discipline us. Give us a proper shake-up to stop us from playing games. Whatever it takes, keep us from relapsing into self-deception and self-indulgence. Deliver us from sloth and slumber. Stir our will to eagerly keep watch, because we know not the day or hour of Your coming (Matthew 25:1-13).
4 Get serious. Pray the Word: Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:34-36).
5 Get desperate. As we eagerly await the Lord’s return, believe for a mighty visitation. Open heavens. Open hearts. Pray: Lord, do not pass us by. We need You. We plead for radical transformation of the Church from the inside out. A mighty move of Your Spirit from the ground up. A passion for purity and a radical righteousness, especially among the young. A new generation that declares: “Enough is enough!” Reformers with a nauseating revulsion against complacency and compromise. Up-and-coming pastors and public servants in-the-making who live in the light of Eternity. Lord, save us. Revive us again!
6 Speak blessings over the Singapore Church. May we live for Christ and never lose sight of our glorious Future in Christ. Pray the Promise: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
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