Citizen of Heaven

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 5 views
Notes
Transcript

What does it mean to be a citizen?

For many of us or even most of us, we never knew the true meaning of being an Australian citizen. Many of us have been born into our Australian citizenship not knowing the struggles of what other people go through just to earn their citizenship.
Maybe for them the journey might be easy, through skill migration, some taking a few months while others taking a few years. The stress involved in going through the steps in making Australia your permanent home.
For myself, I never would have known what my family would have to go through in order to stay in Australia. Being born in Australia this automatically granted me citizenship, however, my parents and my brother on the other hand. They had to fight for it (maybe not my brother as he was young at the time.)
I guess I can say I was the jackpot prize for my family so that they can stay in Australia, but I am sure my parents wouldn’t think of me as a prize, most like a curse I suspect see how much trouble I got them into. Just recently I got told that my mother wasn’t invited to certain socials at church because of me.
Regardless, think about the differences in mentality for obtaining an Australian citizenship, whether born into it or fighting for it, what does it mean to be a citizen of Australia for either group? What about those who were born into it? Did you earn it? For everyone else, what are you doing in being a good Australian citizen for this country?

What does it mean to be an Australian citizen?

It’s an important question and something that not many of us don’t think too much of, especially for those born as Australian citizens until we go to another country. How many of you when you go overseas and you’re proud to hear the Australian accent out in public? When I was in the USA in 2013 in January, I celebrated Australia Day by carrying an Australian flag around, when I went to visit a friend who migrated to America from Australia I gave him those Australian flags that you stick on the windows. So you can consider me a proud Australian when I am overseas.
But is that what is means to be a citizen? Flash your flag here and there?

North Korean defector - Geum-young Choi

I want to share a story about a North Korean defector by the name of Geum-young Choi how is a world away from her home town in South P’yongan province, North Korea. She was born and raised there up until the age of 17.
She lived in a town that was known for its oppressive quality of life and extreme lockdowns. Her family were considered trouble makers by the Tyrant Communist Party and her father spent more than 30 years mining coal. Geum-young grandfather was a political prisoner and was executed and when one of the member of the family is a trouble maker then the whole family is a trouble maker.

Leaving North Korea

Geum-young’s father came to his sense and made the difficult choice in escaping North Korea with his family, he believed that there was “no difference between starving to death and being shot dead.” so at midnight on the 26 February 1997, the family escaped to China by crossing the Tumen River which marks the natural border between the two countries.
Now, you have to remember this is in February and thus it is still winter, so that river is still cold and not only that, it is patrolled by North Korean and Chinese soldiers.
Eventually they were able to live comfortably in China once their status was secure, but this was far from the case. Three years they had to endure the uncertainty in living in fear that they could be caught by the Chinese authorities and be sent back to North Korea.
They made several attempts to defect to South Korea through the South Korean Embassy in Beijing but they were repeatedly refused. Desperate for safety they decided to make the perilous journey to Thailand on-foot which resulted in the family being separated.

Desperation

You can see the desperation in this family, think about the parents, they would do anything for their family to ensure that their children can have a better future. I want all of you kids to realise that. How much your parents have to sacrifice just so you can be here today and have the things that you have right now. All that was given to you because of what your parents had to give up and risk just so that you can be here. Not many children have the luxury that you have or the education and future that you have. So, don’t take what you have for granted by be grateful for what you receive. God is good!
Eventually, all of them managed to get to Thailand and were all reunited at the Korean Embassy in Bangkok and they were granted refugee status. They manage to move to South Korea in 2001 and Geum-young manage to finish a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and Chinese literature. She also managed to get married as well to a South Korean.

The move to Australia

The great news also was that she and her husband migrated to Australia in 2016, but the bad news is that they moved to Queensland.
But she says that “her new life is completely opposite to her former life”, she adds “it was a blanket of change. Everything changed in South Korea and Australia, I feel I have been moved up from the dark basement to the bright rooftop like from hell to heaven.”
She describes her formative years in North Korea as a nightmare. To give you some understanding what she had to endure when she was in North Korea:
From time to time, all of the school girls had to assemble during the school hours and were forced to witness a public execution.
Learned that the agony that is more desperate than hunger is when we do not have hope.
When they didn’t have food at home, they were not sure if they would have food soon, they would go into despair which made them hopeless and fearful.
She says it is an irony because being in Australia she is concerned for her weight because of the plenitude of food that is available to her.
Geum-young is blessed in running a sushi shop and raising her children in Queensland and she decided to shift her focus in advocacy due to COVID-19 by creating a YouTube channel sharing her experiences in North Korea to give hope to North Koreans that have fled the country.
She says that her motive for starting the profile is to tell other North Koreans that “freedom can only be gained at the risk of your life.”

Freedom can only be gained at the risk of your life.

Let me repeat that for you all: “freedom can only be gained at the risk of your life.”
This is someone that has gone through and suffered so much just to earn her freedom.
What does it mean to be a citizen for you? What does it mean to have freedom for you? To be blessed by what you have and what has been given to you?
For many of us, it doesn’t cross our mind how blessed we are, how fortunate we are and how protected we are, all because of our status here in Australia. How thankful to God are you?
However, something that doesn’t frequently cross our mind I believe for many of us is our status in heaven. especially our status here on earth as Christians.
The real question for us is “what have you risked in your life that you can gain freedom in Jesus?”

Pilgrims on this Earth.

Consider this verse for a moment:
Philippians 3:20 NLT
20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
Where is our citizenship in? It’s in heaven! Yet, what have we risked in our life that has gained us that freedom?
Peter tells us that we are sojourners and pilgrims that is abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. (1 Peter 2:11)
Are we behaving like pilgrims who is destined for a better land? Is your citizenship in heaven or on earth? What have you risked in your life that has gained you freedom in Jesus?
I suspect you’re asking yourself, what do you mean? Well let me share to you what Paul says about the patriarchs.
Hebrews 11:13–16 NKJV
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
Do you understand what the Bible says? We are pilgrims on this sinful planet, we’re only here for less than or more than 90 so years (if you’re blessed to live that long). God didn’t leave us here so we can go on a holiday and make this earth our permanent home! God is preparing us for something better and He has asked us to invite everyone to join us.
It is easy for us to be attracted to the things of this world, many Christians have been mesmerised by what the world has to offer. I’ve been affected by it, and we can see many people throughout the Bible have been affected by it.
One of the shortest verse in the Bible is found in Luke 17:32
Luke 17:32 NKJV
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
Why is that? Well Jesus continues:
Luke 17:33 NKJV
33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
And so I ask the same question before: “what have you risked in your life that you can gain freedom in Jesus?”
Have you surrendered all to Jesus? Are you worthy in being a citizen of heaven?
Our time on this earth is temporary my friends, but our time in heaven will be eternal with our King; Lord Jesus who died for us and paid our ransom so we can be there with Him.
So, what are you going to do? What are you looking forward to? Where are you storing your treasure?
Matthew 6:21 NKJV
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Are you a citizen of heaven or are citizen of earth? There is no dual citizenship available here. Where only here for a limited time and there are so many people out there that don’t know about Jesus, that don’t know that there is a better place than this that we can look forward to.
Don’t confuse yourself, this world is beautiful because God created it, but imagine heaven!

Immigrant vs Tourism

Apparently there is this old joke about immigration and tourism that I want to share. Think of it as a parable instead.
A man goes to heaven and is greeted by God and shown all the beautiful things of heaven, the white robs, the many mansions, the kingdom of heaven. Everything is so beautiful and perfect. However, after a year the man gets bored and asked God if he could visit hell for just a day.
God said sure, and the man turns up in hell and as he enters through the gates of hell he is greeted with casinos, booze, girls, and all the desirable things a vain man would lust over. He comes back to heaven refreshed and goes to God.
He tells God, “listen, heaven is great and all but I like hell a lot more, can I move?” God replies with deep sadness and says “that’s your choice, I can’t make you stay here, you can move.” God adds “However, if you make this choice, you can’t come back here.” The man says “that’s OK” and he makes his way to hell.
As he arrives, the gates of hell open but the scenery is different, the casino was gone, the girls weren’t there, no booze and no desirable things a vain man would lust over. Instead, a lake of fire and brimstone meets him as he is pushed in to burn and be tormented.
The man shouts out “what happened to all the things I saw before?” “don’t confuse tourism with immigration.”
Friends, as pilgrims we’re just tourists here our real home is in Heaven, we’re here temporarily as God is preparing a better place for us. Let’s not be confused!
Hebrews 13:13–16 NLT
13 So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
“what have you risked in your life that you can gain freedom in Jesus?”
Amen.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more