During the Mandurah Feast of Tabernacles 2021, Mohan Jayasekera spoke from his personal experience of the costs that can occur as citizens of heaven.
Mohan related some of the history of how he was persecuted in his home country of Sri Lanka because of his work for the gospel's sake. He was abducted, beaten and threatened. It was only, by the grace of God, that at a crucial moment he avoided death as those intent on killing him confused him with another powerful figure, Mohan's own brother, and relented. He also spoke of the many trials he had endured as a minister of the gospel, pastoring churches through difficult times.
Having come to Australia to live, where he is now a citizen, he affirmed that he regretted nothing and looked forward with joy because as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, his suffering compared little to that of Jesus Christ and it is the return of Christ that will bring about the fulfillment of all his promises.
Mohan told us that his understanding of the gospel was that Jesus as God became, tabernacled as, human and through his humanity gave his life that we might become part of his Kingdom and be his Children and that with his coming Kingdom we will be raised in likeness with Him.
From 1 John 3:
1 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure."
From Hebrews 2:
1 "We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? 7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor 8 and put everything under their feet."
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them.[e] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters."
If in this time, we suffer as citizens of God's Heavenly Kingdom, then we are part of that same story of God making many holy, of the same family together, the very brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
As you continue to work through this year, wherever you are, through whatever joys or sorrows you experience, follow and obey the commands of Christ and His apostles, living, putting to hard work the achievement of your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God himself then working through you to motivate you to do his good work (Phil 2:12-13).