Heaven’s One Resplendent Theme

The earth has gone, the heavens too;

Behold our God’s made all things new!

The eyes are wiped of every tear;

No entrance found for pain or fear.


All evil banished, no more sea;

The former things – passed memory.

The holy, new Jerusalem,

A city made from gold and gem.


More impressive than this place,

Beholding now my Saviour’s face.

The street of gold cannot compare;

The Lamb of God- my Jesus fair!

No light, no lamp, no sun required;

No watch or clock or time expired.

Heaven’s one resplendent theme-

The King of kings who reigns supreme!


The pearly gates, foundation square;

All kings and nations enter there.

The tree of life is yielding fruit;

The leaves – a healing attribute.


The name of God upon their heads;

Christ and church, the newlyweds.

Saints from every age and time,

Conversing sweet with praise sublime.


More impressive than this place,

Beholding now my Saviour’s face.

The street of gold cannot compare;

The Lamb of God, my Jesus fair!

No light, no lamp, no sun required;

No watch or clock or time expired.

Heaven’s one resplendent theme-

The King of kings who reigns supreme!


~ By Daniel Kriss, May 28, 2018

(On the celebration of 29 years in Christ)

Heavenly Citizenship

Reading: Philippians 3:12-21 | Preaching Text: Philippians 3:17-21


In verses 12-16 Paul used an athletics metaphor to encourage the believers at Philippi to press on towards perfection. He himself confessed that he had not attained this in his own life, but was striving and straining towards that spiritual goal. With every muscle and nerve exercised in this spiritual race, and all former failures and successes behind, he reached forward to the final prize of being ushered into the very presence of God, and the perfection that would be his for eternity.

Verses 17-21 are a new paragraph in this chapter. The athletics metaphor is somewhat continued, but Paul now gives specific exhortation.

In this final part of chapter three we learn that the Christian is not a permanent resident, he has only a temporary visa.

The believer should not feel at home in this world because his citizenship is in heaven. Because of this reality, how he lives and what he does will be vastly different from those around him.

Join me as I preach a message entitled: Heavenly Citizenship.

Watch & Imitate the Spiritual

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” Philippians 3:17

Although the believer is to be focussed on the finish line, Paul here calls upon the Philippians to imitate his manner of life as they run the race.

This exhortation does not stem from pride or an exaggerated perspective of himself. However, it is a tribute to the apostle’s exemplary life. We often hear the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Not so with the apostle! He could hold up his own life as a model of wholehearted devotion to Christ and to His cause.

The words “imitating me” are one Greek word in the original which is only used in this text. It means to “live as I do, to mimic.”

Practically speaking, this means to think and behave like another.

This is not the first time Paul has said this:

In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:6, the apostle applauds the church because they “…became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.”

John MacArthur writes, “Since all believers are imperfect, they need examples of less imperfect people who know how to deal with imperfection and who can model the process of pursuing the goal of Christlikeness.”

The second part of verse 17 exhorts the believers to “mark out” or “take note” of other believers who are also concerned with living in a godly manner.

The words, “keep your eyes on” is the Greek word “skopeo” (scop-eh-o) which is where we derive the English word “scope”. In shooting terms, this refers to the magnification tool mounted on the top of a gun, providing specific focus and aim.

This is where that metaphor ends. We are not to “shoot one another”, but we are to “take aim” and focus on those whose lives are moving in the direction of Christlikeness.

As believers, we need concrete examples. While it is wrong to place our trust in any man, it is proper and right to look for godly lives to imitate.

Although Paul did not mention any one by name at this point, it is clear from other passages that he endorsed Timothy, Epaphroditus, and other fellow-labourers as examples to follow.


As you run your race are you looking for other believers to imitate? We are usually very quick to criticise, but do we observe spiritual character in others that we might learn and grow from? We need to look around us- both in this local assembly and in others- to identify spiritual fruit that exists in others, and seek to imitate them. This requires humility.

Do some character profiling. Sometimes I “draw a spiritual sketch” of someone who demonstrates godliness to me. I identify their character traits and seek their help in growth and spiritual development.

We are misguided if we think we can do this alone. It is pride that says, “I don’t need anyone else, I can complete this race independently.”

Observing and imitating other believers in their faith and behaviour is a command we must follow. Look for those who love the Lord supremely, witness unashamedly, pray unceasingly, explain God’s truth simply, interact with other graciously, restore the fallen mercifully, work diligently, and run the race faithfully.

Find these ones, mark them, and imitate them.

Watch and Reject the Enemies of the Cross

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19).

Sadly, not all who profess Christianity are really believers. This reality is especially hard for the apostle, and brings great grief even as he writes these words. It seems that Paul may have some specific individuals or groups in mind, and that it was very personal to him.

It is very likely that Paul had preached the gospel in some places and that “decisions for Christ were made.” However, the passage of time had demonstrated that these were not the “real-deal”, but false converts who, instead of walking in the truth, now operated as opponents of true Christianity.

The apostle gives four devastating truths about these enemies of the cross:

1. Their end is destruction (v.19)

Simply put, if they continue on their present path, they will be cast into hell at the final judgment. They are those who walk on the broad way and lead others away from the truth of the gospel.

2. Their god is their belly (v.19)

Paul may be alluding here to Greek mythology. A cyclops was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the centre of his forehead. Their god was their own belly which represented self-worship.

Note the following excerpt from “Cyclops” – the Greco-Roman writings:

“My flocks which I sacrifice to no one but myself, and not to the gods, and to this my belly the greatest of the gods: for to eat and drink each day, and to give one’s self no trouble, this is the god for wise men” (“Cyclops,” 334-338).

In this context, the apostle says that these “enemies of the cross” are primarily concerned about themselves and their sensual appetites. These men posed as Christians and yet lived with one goal in mind – self-gratification

3. They glory in their shame (v.19)

They were not prudish or conservative about their sin- they were proud of it. A true believer cannot live in a state of sin without remorse. This is because the Holy Spirit lives within, and He is responsible to bring conviction over sin.

These enemies of the cross boasted of their sinfulness and may have even appealed to their “Christian liberty” as defence for their wicked behaviour.

They gloried in things of which they should have been ashamed.

4. With minds set on earthly things (v.19)

Temporal pleasures, short-term satisfaction, and selfish pursuits marked these evildoers. They were “earthly people” who were unconcerned for eternal matters. Oblivious to the coming destruction, they devoted themselves to their own interests, and enjoyed the pleasures of sin.

They had no interest in eternal matters, nor were they seeking to honour anyone other than themselves. They paid homage to their own fantasies, and would not reject anything that brought them pleasure.


These individuals could talk the talk, but their lives did not marry up with their profession. Paul calls them enemies of the cross. God forbid that we should have in our assembly those who can sprout theology, but whose lives are a sham because they have not truly been born again.

Here are some probing personal questions to consider:

  1. Which path am I on – the broad or narrow way? What is at the end of my course – destruction or paradise?
  2. What am I living for – myself and my own sinful desires, or God and His purpose?
  3. Do I glory in my sin? Am I ashamed by the deeds of my flesh or do I enjoy them without remorse?
  4. Where does my mind reside – only on earthly, flesh-centered thoughts, or is my mind occupied with truth and that which corresponds with God?


Our Heavenly Citizenship

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Before we close, I want to briefly touch on verses 20 and 21. This will be a light skim and we will return here sometime in the future to examine all that is contained in this precious text.

In great contrast to those enemies of the cross, Paul now reminds the true believers that their citizenship is in heaven.

In other words, they are members of a different colony. They hail from a foreign city and commonwealth which operates with vastly different administration, government, civil rights, and laws.

As ambassadors and envoys from that land, the Christian has no business entangling himself with earthly pursuits. He has a specific purpose, and represents the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The believer is a sojourner, foreigner and “alien”. He is not living as a permanent resident, but has a temporary visa.

The apostle Peter writes, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

The purpose of the Christian’s life on earth is to point others to the coming kingdom while striving for perfection in his own life. He is also eagerly watching and waiting for the return of his master and Saviour.

When Christ returns to call believers home, He will transform the physical body which is ruined by sin and decay, into a new body designed by God to inhabit eternity.

All of this will be accomplished by God’s power which governs and subdues all things.

It is a certain reality.


  • Are you a citizen of heaven?
  • Is your life in alignment with your citizenship?
  • Are you seeking to imitate those who are running the race well?
  • Are you watching and rejecting the enemies of the cross?
  • Do you eagerly await the return of Christ?
  • Do you long for that new heavenly body which has been designed for you?
  • Do you long for the land that is fairer than day?