- Category: Teachings & Articles
- Published: Friday, 10 May 2019 07:52
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By Augusto A. Kho
May 5, 2019 (Sunday); 7:30 A.M.
Rewritten: Mc Donalds- Fortunata, Sucat, Paranaque; May 9, 2019 (Thursday)
I’ve been a foreigner for many times in many countries of the world. As a foreigner, I know whom am I. And I know exactly where my true home is.
Universal Studio, California
The word “foreigners”
The word “foreigners” caught my eyes while reading the Scriptures on May 4, 2019 at 4:01 a.m. that reads:
1 Peter 1:1, “This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.”
In the Embassy
I had to follow a line very early in the morning. When were finally taken inside the United of States of America Embassy, there was at least ten long lines and each line is a queue of around 20 people. A family of 4 with one boy and girl tearfully begged the man from the counter to give them another chance for visa approval. A couple were seen jubilantly jumped from the ground and tearfully thanking the embassy for their single visa entry. While I was on last on the line, a man in front of me in his middle 40’s has shown his Letter of Authority to the American interviewer. In an interview, he said he was presently employed as a local bank manager and he just wanted to attend his son’s wedding in California. Yet the American interviewer requested him to show his documents like employment certificates, letter of wedding invitation; land titles, bank cash deposits and others.
I felt embarrassed myself seeing my fellow Filipinos as if begging for U.S. Visa. Why should we look for another country other than the Philippines which is our own home? Why should we prefer to be a foreigner in another land rather than a natural citizen to our own homeland?
In the same way, as Christian shall we prefer our divine citizenship in heaven for what this world can offer?
There are some foreigners in another country other than their native homeland. That is divinely inspired just like Abram.
Abram is a native of Ur of the Chaldees, the centre of moon worship in the southern part of Babylonia, now Iraq. Yet God called him to migrate to live as a foreigner to a land which yet God will show him (Genesis 11:31; 12:1).
I am 95 percent Chinese with barely 5 percent Filipino from Pampanga. For me, I find my blood as Chinese descent divinely inspired to be in another land as foreigner just like among others.
The early Church
In the same way, the early Church and most of them are Jews who fled from Jerusalem to Asia Minor and became foreigners to distant lands due from severe persecutionthat first took place from Jerusalem from the hands of Saul and the Sanhedrin(Acts 8:1). It says they were “scattered abroad” referring to the Greek word, “diaspeiro” meaning “sown throughout.” This word “diaspeiro” has something to do with “diaspora” or “scattering of the Jews” in the four corners of the earth.
They call me as “trouble-shooter” in my last 3-year out of my 10-year stint in the airline industry.
Various airline companies that I worked with will field me to another place or city to pioneer our airline ticket sales office. That time I have been already a Christian and I felt I am being uprooted from time to time from my local church and pioneer one after another in a place where I am being transferred as foreigner. I ranted God about it but He answered my ranting in Ephesians 4:11-13.
If God purposely sown us out away as foreigners to other places, why would we remained stagnant and unproductive? Are we not supposed to multiply which is not merely spiritual but biological mandate as well? Genesis 1:28 that says, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:”
In other words, wherever God sends you - go, plant and multiply. And must “reproduce according to your kind,” (Genesis 1:11). If God sown a seed of Word in your life, that must be replenish and kept on multiplying. The same things goes with biological growth of Christ-filled believers as converts.
The foreigners that Peter is referring at in his 1st Epistle are circumstantial foreigners. They are Jewish converts who suffered severe persecution in Jerusalem until they sought refuge to a foreign land (Acts 8:1).
So, these are the same foreigners are those in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” And seemingly they reproduced themselves biologically and spiritually in the foreign land where they were scattered abroad
We have been there in June, 2017 and we saw its rich Christian Heritage among the Messianic Jews who fled from Jerusalem in the height of persecution during Saul’s time. Asia Minor or Turkey today is considered, “The Cradle of Christian Civilization” and it is where the Seven Churches of Asia are as mentioned by Apostle John in Chapters 2 and 3 in the Book of Revelation. Their “refugee-like status” have grown them so largely strong that shape the cultural landscape of Turkey today.
Then by 1940-1945, when Germany’s Adolf Hitler came into power, he herded over 4-5 Million Jews as foreigner-refugees and terminated them like animals.
Foreigners from Greek parepidemos is one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside thee by the side of the natives, a stranger. In the NT, “ metaphorically in reference to heaven as the native country, one who sojourns on earth,” according to Thayer. It is also called a “pilgrim” by Strong.
Scattered Greek diaspora i.e. scattering or dispersion, “of Israelites disperse among foreign nations or Christian scattered abroad among the Gentiles; resident in Gentile countries from diaspeiro i.e. to scatter abroad, to sow throughout, to distribute.’
Foreigners are likely been a seed sown to another place that has a natural ability to reproduce.
And am just wondering that many of our Christian brethren who became OFW’s or emigrants have stopped growing spiritually and have not reproduced seeds of faith in another country. You can also have it documented whether they are sending their regular offering or tithes. Is it not the believers in Galatia were the ones who provided for Paul’s necessities despite of their dire need and poverty (2 Cor. 9:2; Phil. 4:15-16)?
Know who you are
Will you trade who you are?
I remember that movie, “Avenger: End Game,” that says, “Know who you are.”
It sounds to me that those Marvel Heroes will never compromise nor trade their calling as superheroes.
Will you do the same thing and you will not trade who you are in the Lord as fellow citizens of heaven more than what this world can offer? If not, why many Christians or even leaders like pastors or bishops does not know who they are and they smear their call as heavenly citizens in exchange of worldly pleasures?
We have this one Christian family who are just from average-income level. I nurtured them for over 10 years. Her husband is OFW and nearly had a time for his family. My wife sought the help of the embassy where this husband is working from. Finally the Embassy wrote the family of this OFW and given residency status to the whole family. I remember this family who shed tears saying they will never forget us, and that they would send us airline tickets so we could visit them. But they never did. I shelled out financial help to them in a foreign shore so they could legally worship God. (What? To worship God, you must have a legal permit? Of course yes! Try to get information). But I later learnt that they falsely accused our pastor there, slandered him and the church and they did proselyte even our church members while they never stop ranting.
You should know who you are and where did you come from your humble beginning. Jesus said
“Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23)
Christ knew He is merely a foreigner, merely passing by on this Earth.
In the same way, we should know that his world is merely our transitory place on our way to heaven. Our attitudes can qualify us or disqualify in His Kingdom. Our divine visa approval merely depends from our hands.
Citizenry in heaven
Our citizenry in heaven might be at stake when we find residency status in U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K. and other foreign countries greater and more valuable that who we truly are as children of God. His Kingdom is where our true home is. That is where our hearts should long for.
In Easy English, 1 Peter 1:1 reads this way:“This letter is from me, Peter. Jesus Christ send me to be a special worker and teacher on His behalf. I am writing to you, God’s people, who are living in many different places. You are living in places of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. You are living there as strangers because you are away from your true home. God has chosen you to be His people.”
See, those Messianic Christian Jews are not merely “foreigners,” they were also being called as “strangers.” In Tagalog, “iba ka?” (Joke) but rather “banyaga.” In Ilocano, “sabali ka?”
Paul knows who he was
2 Timothy 4:6, Paul said to his spiritual son, Timothy, “my departure is at hand. “
Departure in Greek “analusis” means “a dissolving ( (into separate parts). A metaphor drawn from loosing from moorings preparatory for setting sails.” From Greek word, “luo” i.e. tied or fastened (like that of a husband and wife joined together by the bond of matrimony); to release from bonds; to break, to demolish or destroy.
Paul wanted to release his attachment on this world in his ardent desire for eternal reunion with Christ. He strongly suggested that in Galatians 2:20 that his life on earth was just permissible from his end in complete submission to Christ. He is not attached to this world unlike many of us are very much engrossed and obsessed to material things.
That is why I am just wondering why many Christians especially from the “prosperity doctrine” who keeps on hoarding investments in this world yet with little investment being poured in the Kingdom of God.
Often the rich Christians are likely giving less while the average-earner Christians and the poor ones give more. Is it because the rich sees this world an “investment place” while the poor sees differently” John the Beloved pointed out this way:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world,” – 1 John 2:15-16
Those who put so much of their investments in this world and could hardly see that they are mere foreigners or refugees passing by. This world is fast deteriorating. And how this world would end?
How this world would end?
How this world would end?
While scribbling my notes in preparing this teaching a night before today, I overhead from our television set inspired from the movie, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, “ these words:
“The destruction is necessary for the world evolution.”
Is the world that we live in now should have the same fate as well for the restoration of the decaying Earth?
The earth and her creation are “groaning” and we are waiting for our “redemption,” according to Paul (Romans 8:21-23).
The word “redemption” is also derived from the root word in Greek “lou” which means “to demolish” or “to destroy.” Repair and restoration are only possible when there were debris to be built. Breaking down and building up is a Law of Nature (Ecclesiastes 3:3).
In the same way, this Planet Earth where our present abode is will be soon demolished in order to be restored eternally. And there will be imminent infernal fire that will dissolve whatever the Earth has. Peter confirmed that when he said,
“But the heavens and the earth that now exist are being preserved by the same command of God, in order to be destroyed by fire. They are being kept for the day when godless people will be judged and destroyed., “ (2 Peter 3:7/Good News Bible).
So, others must know who they truly are. We are just foreigners passing by.
Hebrews 11:13/ GNB, “It was in faith that all these persons died. They did not receive the things God had promised, but from a long way off they saw them and welcomed them, and admitted openly that they were foreigners and refugees on earth. “
Who you are is non-negotiable? And where you’re going is non-transferable.
When the people pressed Him to tell them who he was truly was, Jesus answered back,
“I have told who I am from the beginning. That is who I am …. I am not of this world.”
(John 8:25/ Easy English; John 8;23/ NLT).
Interrogation as if no end
When this Saudi police officer found drugs-paraphernalia in my possession, he instantly grabbed my passport while five others of his men disarrayed all my personal belongings searching for illegal drugs ( It was blessing in disguise that I decided to leave half kilo of hashish, a high graded drug residue in Singapore before I boarded a flight back to Saudi Arabia).
For the next 5-6 hours I was interrogated. The interrogation was as if no end.
To my surprise the five others airport policemen suddenly left. The other policeman sorted out my personal belongings back to my suitcase, then he whisked me out from the airport, hailed a cab outside the terminal, opened the taxi’s door and given me back my passport. Before he left, he said this words to me:
“I know you are a man of God.”
And it stunned me right there and then. How could a man like me, sinner from the highest degree, a drug-user was mistakenly addressed “a man of God?” Incredibly unbelievable!
The worst in us
When Jesse looked at his youngest son, David, he looked at him merely as a shepherd boy. But God looks at not as men see him. God sees David as him as a king.
In the same way, men may look at you as a worst sinner, but God looks at you as a holy man or woman. Because God sees us differently compared to what the way people see us. He sees the good future in us.God sees the best in the worst of us.
And we are not foreigners in His eyes no matter we are mere pilgrims in this world passing by.
Turkish police in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo by Peps 2017)