June 11, 2017
As we wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may struggle with FOMO. Or to be more grammatically precise, we may struggle with a FOMO. We may struggle with a fear of missing out.
This is a real thing. And there is so much that goes with it. There is the fear of missing out if you don’t go to your high school prom. There is the pondering of why everyone else seems to have it good on Facebook or Instagram. Little children cry very loudly when they feel like they are left out of something. College students don’t want to be alone on Christmas or Valentine’s Day. There is the fear of missing out if you don’t keep up with the Joneses. There is the fear of missing out if you don’t travel and see the world in your lifetime. Graduates struggle with seeing their friends get good jobs and move ahead in life without them. Old people struggle with their bucket lists and with their sad regret. Everybody wants to be connected with others. Nobody wants to be lonely. FOMO: the fear of missing out.
When Paul wrote this beautiful and stunning piece of Scripture, he was granting us a wonderful reminder: we who are in Christ Jesus are not missing out on anything. We are not missing out on anything in life - in this life, this old era, this world that is passing away. There ought not to be any FOMO for us who are believers. And the reason why is because our citizenship is in heaven. Because we await a Savior. Because we will have resurrection. Because we have each other.
Brothers and sisters, you are not missing out on anything because your citizenship is in heaven. Your home is set above. It is not here. It is there, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. You are a pilgrim and a traveler who looks forward to an everlasting kingdom and desires a better country, that is, a heavenly one. You are a stranger and exile of this earth who looks forward to a time and a place without sin or suffering or punishment or death. This is who you are. This is where you are going. This is where your home is. Your citizenship is in heaven.
Think about Abraham. When God called Abraham to his promise of salvation in Christ, he had Abraham pick up his stuff and start walking. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” And by faith Abraham obeyed and went out, not knowing where he was going. He lived in tents. Life for him felt temporary. And that was because his citizenship was in heaven. He knew where his true and ultimate home was. There was no fear of missing out. Instead, there was an assurance of things hoped for. There was a conviction of things not seen.
Where are you at today? Have you settled for this world? Have you fallen for it? If so, then stop. We don’t find ultimate comfort and joy here. Our ultimate comfort and joy is found in heaven. It is not found in apple pie or baseball. It is not found in good paying jobs or a white picket fence with 2.5 kids and a reliable SUV with good gas mileage. It is not found in fun weekends with friends or delicious food in the coziest of restaurants. It is not found in money or power or human love. Don’t settle for this world. I’m not saying “Don’t have the things of this world.” I’m saying, don’t settle for this world; a better world is coming. We are not missing out on anything. Our citizenship is in heaven.
Brothers and sisters, you are not missing out on anything because you await a Savior. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. You are waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ. You are waiting for the one who earned heaven for you and died for your sins. You are waiting for your king.
Think about the woman at the well. She had five husbands. There was for her a profound fear of missing out in life. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water than I will give him will never be thirsty again.” And that is so true. The woman at the well, the sinful woman with the alabaster jar, the dying criminal on the cross - they all realized that Jesus was the best. And they counted everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus their Lord. They counted all things rubbish in order that they may gain Christ and be found in him.
How about you? Do you just want heaven? Or do you ultimately want the One who is in heaven? There’s a song that goes like this:
In the morning, when I rise… give me Jesus.
When I am alone… give me Jesus.
When I come to die… give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus.
You can have all this world.
Just give me Jesus.
We are not missing out on anything. We await a Savior.
Brothers and sisters, you are not missing out on anything because you will have resurrection. Even though your body will die, the Lord Jesus Christ will transform your lowly body to be like his glorious body. Oh what a mystery! You shall not all sleep, but you shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think again about Abraham when he reached out his hand and took the knife to slaugther his son Isaac. God tested Abraham. Isaac was a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. With this request of sacrifice, it seemed that God’s promise was nothing. And Abraham could have kept away from the knife out of a fear of missing out on God’s promise. But he took the knife. And as he prepared to let go of his son, he did a wonderful thing in his heart and mind. He considered that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead.
Are you afraid to die? Do not be afraid. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” As citizens of heaven, as people who are waiting for the return of Christ, we are to look forward to our future existence and our future bodies. Our new bodies are gauranteed by the power of Christ - the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. We will not miss out on anything. Jesus will resurrect us in power and in glory.
Brothers and sisters, we are not missing out on anything because we have each other. As we join in imitating Paul, we also join with the great cloud of witnesses and all the saints of old. We have spiritual brothers and spiritual sisters in Christ. We are beloved by others as we love others. We stand firm and strive side by side together in the Lord.
Think about Paul. Paul was stuck in prison in Rome. And the end of his life was near. But in the midst of his suffering, Paul loved the people at Philippi. He loved and longed for them. They were his joy and crown. Paul could have easily gone negative for the last part of his life and felt like he was missing out, having been locked up alone and in a far away land. But he thanked God in every prayer of his with joy, because of the Philippians and their partnership in the gospel. And he held them in his heart.
What do you think about our church? We are not big. We are not awesome. We are not fancy or cool. But I hope that you learn to hold Highland and everyone here in your heart. Don’t be afraid that you’re missing out on things because you are here. We are not missing out on anything. We have each other.
So once again, I remind you this morning that we who are in Christ Jesus are not missing out on anything. We are not missing out on anything in life. There should be no FOMO for us. Our citizenship is in heaven. We await a Savior. We will have resurrection. We have each other.
I urge you to think like this. When Paul called the Philippians to join in imitating him, he contrasted true believers with those walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. He indicated that there was a profound difference between those who set their minds on earthly things and those who set their minds on heavenly things. In the spirit of Psalms and Proverbs and the entire Bible, there are two ways to live. There are two ways to think about everything. Brothers and sisters, I urge you to consider how you think about heaven and earth.
I also urge you to stand firm. While the rest of the world was eating and drinking and having a good time, Noah built an ark. Metaphorically speaking, he didn’t merely face the fear of not going to prom. At the end of the day, he actually didn’t go. He was alone in the world. He didn’t keep up with the Joneses. He didn’t get to see the whole world. In the eyes of the world, he seemed to have missed out on life. But according to the books of heaven, he didn’t. He chose well and stood firm. He chose Christ and condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Will we see each other at the end of the race? I hope so. Lay hold of Jesus. Press on. Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Run. And find godly people who have said no to the world - and run with them. Trust me, you are not missing out on anything. Your citizenship is in heaven. You await a Savior. We will have resurrection. We have each other. We have Jesus and forgiveness and eternal life and the new heavens and new earth. And when you get there, I guarantee you that one of the last things on your mind will be prom.