The United States is feeling the effects of illegal immigration that for the most part has gone unchecked for a generation. Millions of people have migrated to the U.S. in search of better lives for themselves and their families, but cannot show the documentation required to live here legally. This has sparked great debate on all sides of the issue. It is doubtful you will find anyone who does not have a passionate opinion on the subject.
The church of Jesus Christ has always dealt with the undocumented within its membership. Every Sunday there is a signficant percentage of people in our chairs and pews who cannot provide proof of membership in the body. Each church has different requirements for membership; some stringent and some extremely relaxed. Heaven, however, maintains the same requirements for all.
The New Testament speaks of our citizenship in heaven and the Kingdom of God.
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” (Philippians 3:20)
“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
John the Baptist spoke of producing fruit revealing the change in our lives.
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God…” (Luke 3:8)
The Apostle James said:
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:26-27)
The Apostle Peter said:
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)
The Apostle John said:
“Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.” (1 John 2:7-9)
The Apostle Paul said:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26)
Jesus Christ said:
“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:16-17)
” So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12)
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
The documentation of our citizenship in the Kingdom of God is described in these verses. God has made a profound and divine change in our lives. The change is not engineered through meditation or observance of commandments and laws. This change takes place as a result of the recreation of our spirit. The old man is dead and the new man in Christ is born.
“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Our nature has changed.
- Our destination has changed.
- Our activities should change.
- Our affections should change
- Our words should change
- Our thoughts should change
- Our desires should change
- Our allegiance and loyalty should change
Undocumented Christians are those within our ranks who have no proof in their lives that the God of the Bible has taken up residence. Where God is, change has taken place and continues to take place.
God’s call for redemption goes out to the entire earth. He is calling those whom He died for from every corner of the globe.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.” (Psalm 107:1-3)
“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ” (Hosea 2:23)
“Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13)
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people;now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
All are welcome in the four walls of the church, but not all within the four walls have the heavenly documentation that proves their citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Our activities are not the indicators of our citizenship. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our salvation.
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).” (Ephesians 4:30)
- You should be living holy, pursuing Christ-likeness in your life.
- You should be constantly renewing your mind with the Word of God.
- You should pray, praise and worship.
- You should be assembling with other believers; testifying of the work that God is doing in and through you.
- You should be sharing your faith with those who do not know Christ.
Undocumented Christians are those who want the benefits of the Kingdom yet do not embrace the King of the Kingdom, Jesus.
- A fish on the back of your car won’t do it
- Being a TV preachers partner won’t do it
- Sponsoring a starving child won’t do it
- Being a good person won’t do it
- Christian artwork in your home won’t do it
- Being a non-smoker won’t do it
- Being wealthy won’t do it
- Your geneology won’t help you
You must be born again.
- Undocumented Christians say the church things, but don’t live the God things.
- Undocumented Christians look and sound like believers; they just don’t love like believers.
- Undocumented Christians can print the spiritual menu for you; they just can’t cook the meal.
- Undocumented Christians can tell you what is wrong with your life, but can’t connect you with Jesus Christ.
- Undocumented Christians are always concerned about their own needs first.
“Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Luke 17:32-36)
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Playing church as an Undocumented Christian is a dangerous place to be. Get all the way in; you cannot test drive salvation. The Holy Ghost doesn’t come in sample packages.
The true sign of Christianity is not the cross, but a tongue of fire.
Make sure you have heaven’s documentation upon your life. Get born again and become the temple of the Holy Ghost. There will be no acceptable excuses when the trumpet sounds.