Jack Carroll - Colony of Heaven - Bakersfield, California - 1946

Philippians 3:20-21, it is the first part of verse 20 that I want to take for my text. The word "conversation" used here is the old English word for "manner or life." Back in 1611 when this translation was first made, the word conversation was used instead of manner of life. Another translation puts it this way, "Our citizenship is in Heaven." Ours is a heavenly citizenship. That seems to be just a little better.

 
Some time ago, I read a different translation of this phrase, which I think is better still. It reads, "For we are a colony of Heaven." Paul says we are a colony of Heaven. The Roman colony was just a part of the mother country in a foreign land. Paul turns this around and he says we are a part of the mother country living now in a foreign land. We are a colony of Heaven. 
 

In Philippi, the laws of Rome were obeyed. It was a miniature Rome. The customs of Rome were practiced. Paul spiritualized this, and he tells us we are a colony of Heaven. The Mother City is above, but we are a part of that Mother City or Mother Country, living now in a foreign land. But we are expecting some day to reach the Mother City and make our home in this Mother Country . 
 

What I want to bring to your attention is this:  that God planned from the very beginning to have a heavenly people on earth. He planned to have on this earth a people that would obey the law of Heaven, and in which the customs of Heaven would be practiced. It seems this thought must have been in the mind of Jesus when He told His disciples to pray, "Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven."

 
This last phrase is the part that makes this prayer difficult. The Lord expected His people on earth would just as gladly do His will as those who were doing that will in the courts of Heaven. They do the will of God not because they have to, but because they love to. So it is with regard to this colony of Heaven. We do His will not because we have to do it, but because we love to do it.

 
We often say Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. God is too kind and too merciful to take anyone to Heaven that would not be happy there. The great anxiety in the heart of God for men and women is to bring into their lives here and now that which will enable them to love the very things God's people will love for ever in the courts of Heaven. "Thy will be done on earth today as it is being done in the courts of Heaven." Happy today are the men and women who have been willing, with simple, childlike surrender to make the will of God the law of their lives.

 
True happiness can never be found in this world without that will being worked out in our lives. Men today are chasing after happiness everywhere and in all directions. But they are chasing after a will-of-the-wisp, because God has made us so that it is absolutely impossible for any man to find true happiness, or true rest of heart, or peace of mind, outside the circle of His will. That is the reason why in every meeting of this convention we have tried to help you to whisper a fresh word of surrender to the will of God, whisper a new "Yes" to His voice; so that you may leave this convention feeling as never before a deep, true purpose to make this will of God the rule and law of your life.

We are a Colony of Heaven. We are part of the Mother Country here on earth. We are often asked the question:  What do you represent anyhow? You have no name. You have no organization. You have no headquarters, and no printed literature. You have no big men and women of world fame in your midst. Just what do you represent? Well, we would like to be able to say that we represent on earth just a little part of that Heavenly Kingdom which the Lord came into the world first to manifest, and then to proclaim, and then to establish in the hearts of men. 
 

That is why so often we read that little phrase in Matthew's Gospel, "The Kingdom of Heaven." There was a great anxiety in the heart and mind of Matthew to convey to all who would read that story the fact that Jesus did not comne into the world to establish an outward or earthly kingdom, but He came to establish a Heavenly Kingdom - God's rule here and now in and over the hearts of men and women. 
 

We know that in those days the Jewish people had misinterpreted the Old Testament prophecies, and they were looking for an outward Messiah that would break the Roman yoke and establish in Jerusalem his capital, and from there would reign over all the world. That was their dream, and it was the only kind of a kingdom they desired. So it was a terrible disappointment to them when they woke up to the fact that the true Messiah had no intention whatever of establishing such a Kingdom, but rather that He was going to establish an inward and spiritual Kingdom in and over the hearts of men and woman, a Heavenly Kingdom, a Kingdom after the pattern of that Kingdom already established in the courts of Heaven.

 
 
When He taught them, in the middle of the second year of His ministry, that "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven," they could not understand just exactly what He meant. They could not understand that this Heavenly Kingdom would be marked by those graces He mentioned in the sermon on the mount, and that in manifesting those graces toward their fellows, they would be demonstrating what it really meant to be citizens of this Heavenly Kingdom here on earth. 

 
We sometimes say we represent what it means to be in God's Family here on earth. That is true. Sometimes we say we represent God's Fold here on earth. That is also true. It is a real pleasure to me to speak in terms of this great Family of God, or in terms of the Fold of God. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Great and Chief Shepherd. It is a pleasure to talk about the under-shepherds and the sheep and lambs of His flock. We could take up ten meetings discussing the family and fold of God; but I want to speak mainly today in terms of the Heavenly Kingdom that Jesus came into the world to establish among men. I want to speak about five things in particular about this Kingdom that are absolutely fundamental to a real understanding of the teaching, the ministry, and the whole purpose of Christ coming into this world. It should be easy for you to remember these five things. Last year at this convention we quoted a proverb to you - "if you want to learn anything, teach it to somebody else." So if you want to remember anything that we say to you, the best way to help your memory is to pass on what you have heard to others. 
 

The first thing I would like to say about this Heavenly Kingdom on earth is that it is open to all men. It is a fellowship that is open to all men and women regardless or race, or nationality. or color. There are no geographical or international boundary lines in connection with the Kingdom of God. One of the great facts of the Gospel is that the door is wide open and an invitation is given unto all, and welcome is assured to all.

 

I love those words in connection with the announcement the angels made to the shepherds watching over their flocks by night, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people." Nobody was left out. That to me is very wonderful. John, in speaking of the ministry, said, "ALL flesh shall see the salvation of God." At the very beginning of the ministry of Jesus, speaking to Nicodemus, He said, "God so loved the world (all humanity) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but should have everlasting life." 
 

Then a year later, preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth, He gives the marks of all who are eligible for citizenship in His Kingdom when He said, "The Spirit of God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." 
 

After His death and resurrection, He said to His disciples, "Go and teach ALL nations." Mark puts it, "Go into ALL the world." As the bondservants of the Lord, who have consecrated our lives to the preaching of the Gospel, we are glad we can look into the faces of men and women of any race, or every race, and assure them that as far as this Heavenly Kingdom is concerned, there is a place for them. The door is open, the invitation is given, a holy and blessed welcome is assured to all who will cross the threshold and enter in. 

 
Away back in New Testament days, there was room in this Heavenly Kingdom for Matthew the publican. There was room for Peter the fisherman. There was room in the Heavenly Kingdom for Saul the Pharisee, and I dare to say this morning that if there was room for Peter, and Matthew, and Saul in that Heavenly Kingdom in the days of long ago, there is still room in this Heavenly Kingdom for us. 
 

There is only one barrier or difficulty. There is no difficulty on the Lord's side, and there never was. If there is any difficulty in regard to your taking your place in this fellowship, this Heavenly Kingdom on earth, it is in that rebel will of yours. There is no barrier on God's side. The work of reconciliation is accomplished. Now it is up to us as to what we are going to do about it. 

 
The second thing I want to say about the Kingdom on earth is that it is a voluntary thing. There is no undue pressure put on any individual with regard to entering this Kingdom. God has given to every man a free choice. You can remain outside if you will. You can enter if you will. This convention is made up of people who belong to one of these two classes - those who are now within the Kingdom and those who are still without. God may have brought you up to the very threshold of the Kingdom; yet men and women will halt between two opinions, not realizing that they will only discover the real meaning and purpose of life when they have entered in. 

 
This morning before I got up, I thought of two parables spoken by the Lord Jesus and recorded in Matthew 13. Speaking of the Kingdom, He said, "It is like treasure hid in a field, which, when a man hath found it, he hideth; and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." Then he says it is like a merchant man seeking goodly pearls "who when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." 
 

I wish we could get some of you to do what those two men did in the long, long ago. Those two parables were spoken to answer a question that often comes into the minds of people - what is the supreme good today? What is the most worthwhile thing in life? What is it in life that I can make my own, that will make my life worth living, enabling me to accomplish something worth while here and now in this present world, and enable me to lay up treasure in Heaven "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal?" 

 
Every man and woman needs something worthwhile to live for. Life would have no meaning if we had not something worthwhile to put our best into. Life can have no real meaning to any man who day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out, wastes time as if he were created and even had a few years to waste seeking his own pleasure, sowing the wrong kind of seed. I believe these two possibilities make clear once and forever that if we are to discover and have made real to us something worth while putting our very best into, we will have to discover that in this treasure. This man was not looking for treasure when he went to look in that field. I was not looking for this treasure when I found it. I stumbled on it. I did not know there was such a thing in the world as what we represent this morning. I stumbled on it by accident, seemingly; but like the man in the parable, when I discovered in a certain measure the value of this treasure, I made up my mind that I was going to make this treasure my very own no matter what it would cost. In all the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, during the years since then, this treasure has increased in value. It is of more value to me today than it was that night I said in my heart that I would be willing to serve the Lord no matter what it would mean or cost. 

 
The merchant man represents a different class. Men change their religion over and over again, thinking at last they have discovered this pearl of great price, only to be disappointed. But now that the pearl of greatest price has been brought within their reach, they admire it, recognizing it is better than anything else. And in spite of what it costs they are prepared to make it their own, and their own forever. This man sold all he had and brought back the pearl.

 
 
This is a voluntary fellowship. It is a fellowship of volunteers. There are no conscripts in this fellowship. Sometimes I have wished I could lay hands on men and compel them to enter the Kingdom. But there is that free will, that power of choice, which God has given to every human being, and the way in which you exercise that freedom of choice will determine your destiny. 

 
It will either mean remaining outside of this fellowship or entering in and enjoying what every citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven enjoys here and now in this present life. It is a fellowship open to all men, "whosoever will, may come." It is up to you to speak the word of surrender, to whisper the words of submission, to say in your heart, as others have said, "I will say 'Yes' to Jesus, yes, Lord, for ever yes; I'll welcome all Thy blessed will, and gladly answer 'Yes'." 
 

The third thing I would like to mention is that this family, this Kingdom on earth that the Lord Jesus came to manifest in His life, proclaim by His lips, and by His death - this Heavenly Kingdom on earth is a Kingdom of sacrifice. There could be no Kingdom without sacrifice. This sacrifice began in the very courts of Heaven, the sacrifice of the Father in giving His Son. That meant a great deal. God so loved the world that He sacrificed. "He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

 
The Son of God came to earth. He lived and loved, and labored, and ultimately He suffered on the cross. He poured out the last drop of His life's blood on Calvary's cross for you and for me. His whole life was a sacrifice. That sacrifice was perfected when on the cross His blood was poured out. You will remember that this fact in connection with Christ made such an impression on Paul that over and over again in his letters to his friends he emphasized the fact in speaking of Christ that "He gave Himself" for us. He didn't give any less. He couldn't give any more. He gave Himself literally and actually in sacrifice for you and for me. 

 

I can understand just how Paul felt when in writing to his Galatian friends he said, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." He had already said in writing to others that He gave His all. Let me say, if the Lord could love Saul of Tarsus, He could love anyone. I have met men who said, "How could Christ love a man like me?" If He could love Saul, the persecutor, the man who thought it was his business in life to stamp out this new religion, He could love, and He does love anyone and everyone. 
 

There is in every human heart a hunger for love, and it is good when a soul awakens to the fact that Christ loves them, really loves them, that His love never weakens or wanes, but it is always the same. John tells us that, "having loved His own, which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." It is good when we awaken to the fact that Christ loved us enough to live for us and to shed His blood for us. 
 

He loved us well enough to send His Spirit to convince us of our need, and to bring us into touch with those who manifested Christ, and who spoke the word of Christ. If He loved us well enough to do that for us, surely the only thing we can do is to respond to that love and give Him the place in our hearts that rightly belongs to Him; and henceforth to know Him as "the fairest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely One." 
 

This is a Kingdom of sacrifice. First there was the sacrifice of the Father in giving up His Son, and then the sacrifice of the Son in giving His life. Then there was the sacrifice of those whom He called into the Kingdom, and later into the ministry. This ministry is a ministry of sacrifice. There could be no New Testament ministry apart from sacrifice. That is the reason there is no such thing in the New Testament as a hireling preacher. There is no such thing as a preacher being hired out for a certain sum, or begging for money, or lifting collections in the Name of Jesus. True preachers would rather die in their tracks than leave it open for any man to suggest they were mercenary in their motives or their ministry. 

 
The first step into the ministry meant sacrifice. It meant the sacrifice of their home and all they possessed. Jesus did not tell all of His disciples to forsake everything. That would have made His message and ministry ridiculous. He did not ask the rank and file of those who believed in Him to enter the ministry. Many could not possibly do so, but from the rank and file of His disciples He called out those whom He desired to fill a place in the ministry; and to them, and them only, did He say, "Sell that ye have." Them only did He ask to forsake all.

 
None could have any place in the New Testament ministry unless they were willing to fulfill those conditions and go forth to be as homeless as He was as the Example, the Pattern, and the Good Shepherd. On one occasion, a candidate for the ministry said to Him, "Lord, I will follow Thee wheresoever Thou goest." Jesus, knowing what was in his heart, said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." We do not read of that man entering the ministry, because he was unwilling to have fellowship with Jesus in His homelessness.