Expats of Heaven
“Where abouts are you from?” The most common question I get asked, followed by “Why are you here?” Most people aren’t ready for the real answer, so I reply with “I am from Washington State, in the US. Here working with a local church called Centre 61.” Stating my country of origin tells people a lot about who I am.
As a result of my birthplace I speak American English, eat American foods, celebrate American holidays, have American customs, and enjoy American citizenship. I don’t normally use Wikipedia as a resource, but I did like its definition of citizenship. It is a “relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection.” A citizen of the US can vote, hold a job, can’t be kicked out, and is awarded protection from the country if needed while traveling abroad. However, in return for the benefits of citizenship, we are expected to be in allegiance with our country; treason is not taken lightly.
I am now an American expatriate because I am no longer living in my native country. I sought permission to reside and work in the United Kingdom. My residence here, however, does not change my nationality. I still hold an American passport and receive all the same benefits of American citizenship (I can still vote, have a bank account, work for a US company, and receive protection if needed). My language, customs, celebrations, and food are still American in nature. In essence I brought America with me when I moved.
But America isn’t my true origin. I came from a place before that. This is my second home. Jesus said in John 17:16 “They are not of the world just as I am not of the world.”
Philippians 3:20 tells us where we are actually from: “For our citizenship is in heaven…”
Ephesians 2:19 “Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” (NKJV)
The Passion Translation says, “So, you are not foreigners or guests, but rather you are the children of the city of the holy ones, with all the rights as family members of the household of God.”
If we take the definition of citizenship above, being citizens of Heaven (the Kingdom of God) means that our allegiance is to God and in return we are awarded his protection and benefits (see Psalm 103:2-4).
How do we take hold of our true origin and citizenship?
For what purpose?
Now let’s take this one step further. If I were to come into Northern Ireland and attempt to take over the ruling government, after being laughed at, I would be arrested and deported. If I brought an army with me it would be an act of war. But dear fellow Citizens of Heaven, we have been tasked with taking this domain back. It was ours, we had rule and dominion but we gave it away in the Garden of Eden. Satan is the prince of the air of his Kingdom of Darkness. But that is all he is. A prince. Our Kingship trumps his prince-ship (is that a word?) any and every day. Revelation 1:6 and Ephesians 2:6 make it clear that we rule with Christ and have the authority and power to dispossess Satan of his kingdom. We are supposed to take dominion everywhere we go. We are not to be citizens of this world, submitting to the prince of this land in how we think, what we believe, and how we live. To do so is actually a betrayal of God’s Kingdom. We are the conduit through which Jesus uses his matchless power to continually subdue everything to himself.
We are not to be sweet little passive residents of this world. We are actually supposed to be intentionally and [spiritually] violently taking the kingdom by force. We are not subject to the laws of Darkness. We owe no allegiance to this world. Jesus actually intended for his Church to behave like an army of warriors coming against the powers of darkness to take back the Kingdom we lost. Jesus has restored us to the position as rulers with him, we can either choose to act the part, or sit back faithlessly watching as Darkness takes over in our families, finances, health, and nation.
I love what Emma Stark says about the church, the ecclesia, in her book The Prophetic Warrior.
"'And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church [ecclesia], and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:18–19).'
Ecclesia was first used by the Greeks as their word for a kind of people’s parliament—the legislators or governors in the land. When the Romans conquered the Greeks, they adopted this word as a military word. The ecclesia was the military’s specialized task force that made things look Roman. For example, if a building didn’t look Roman, they would ensure it was Romanized. The Romans also added a discipleship aspect to ecclesia, Romanizing through education, government, family, and culture. They understood how to disciple a nation. The Romans wanted to change the entire culture, thinking, and actions of any nation that they conquered. They wanted it to look like, think like, and function like Rome.
Jesus therefore says to us in Matthew 16 that we are the ecclesia—the spiritual legislators and the governing senate. It is our job to make our land look like Heaven. God is calling to His ecclesia at this time and asking us what we are going to do about the problems the world faces. We should not be looking at our political governments because the solution is found in the ecclesia, the Church. The Church is the determining factor for what happens in the nation."
What are you waiting for?
I am not here in Northern Ireland to make it look American. I am here to “Heavenize” this land (I’m just making up new words today!). For long enough the world has had its way here in Northern Ireland. But as our fellow citizens of Heaven have been praying and fighting for so long here, we are seeing a shift in the atmosphere of this country. The sick are being healed, the demonized are freed, the lost are being saved. The culture of Heaven is invading the church and taking over.
It is time for all Expats of Heaven to remember our origin and restore our minds to the nature we had in Christ before the beginning of time. Let’s prove to the world the “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” by remembering our birthplace and re-learning the ways of God’s Kingdom and take the nations back!
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
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John and Kelsey
Parents, missionaries, sons and daughters...we are sharing our journey, as well as encouragement from the Word of God with you!