Serving in a Foreign Land (Part II)

From the Foxhole to the Pulpit

In the first part of Serving in a Foreign Land, I wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of living in a foreign country while in the military. The focus was upon recognizing the dangers of becoming apathetic in faith and evangelism. The warning signs in Europe are the many decorative churches that mark the European continent and yet, fail to impact the European society for the cause of Christ.

Another advantage of serving in a foreign land is the understanding that one day I would be going home. In the literal sense, while overseas I always looked forward to the day when I would be on American soil once again. In the spiritual sense, this can be seen in two ways. First, we often drift away from home, to a place that is foreign and sometimes, all too familiar. Much like the parable of the lost son as recorded in the Luke 15:11-31. Going home is possible for our Father in Heaven desires that we come to Him through His Son Jesus. William J. Kirkpatrick wrote in one of his hymns:

I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam,
Open wide thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.

Going home, in this case requires repentance, which leads to confession. The apostle John encouraged his readers, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV). Going home is more than just a return to a previous location, it is our return to the position we hold in Christ with a commitment to cooperate with the Spirit of God and to live in accordance with the Word of God. Often in my walk with Christ, both in the military and now in the ministry, going home was the dire need in my life. I would venture to state that the same may be true for you.
A second way to look at this idea of going home is holding to the understanding that occupying this celestial ball called Earth is temporary and does not constitute our true citizenship. The apostle Paul wrote; “but our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20, CSB). For those who place their faith and trust in Jesus, our true home is heaven and in the eternal presence of God. This does not lesson the importance of our time spent here. If anything, it necessitates that we take full advantage of every opportunity afforded us while we are here. Every human being is eternal, some are on the road eternal condemnation (John 3:18-21), some to everlasting life (John 3:16). Daniel wrote of the end times and the judgment that follows. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2, KJV). Both heaven and hell are real and they are eternal.

The idea of going to our eternal home cannot be separated from the fact that others are going to eternal condemnation, forever separated from God. Knowing these truths ought to break the heart of every believer and to turn our eyes towards those who are lost without Jesus as their Lord. This ought to strengthen our resolve to share the good news of Jesus.

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