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Sojourning in a Foreign Land

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Theme: Being uncomfortable in this land because our citizenship is in heaven.

PPT Format; MP3 Format


A.     Most of us have never lived in a foreign land.

1.      Few of us may have traveled as tourists and tasted a small sampling of what it is like to be a foreigner in a strange land.

2.      From a daily-experience-perspective many of us do not know what it is like to live as strangers in another land.

B.     Yet, by virtue of the fact that we are Christians we should (at some point) experience what it is like as a foreigner sojourning through this world.

1.      It is – at times – a very difficult life.

2.      It is a place where the world looks at true Christianity with disdain.

3.      It is a place where we simply cannot feel at home/comfortable (and rightly so).

C.     The purpose of this lesson is to understand:

1.      What it means to be a sojourner in this foreign land (the world[MD1] ).

2.      How we should live as sojourners in this foreign (strange) land: the world.

The Concept of a Sojourner and Foreigner

A.     The interchanging words for sojourner and foreigner in English Bibles can make distinguishing the terms confusing, if not difficult.

  1. These synonymous terms typically go hand in hand with, yet distinguish from one another.
    Eph. 2:19; Lev. 25:23
  2. A Hebrew/Greek word might be translated as “sojourner” in one place yet “foreigner” or “stranger” (alien, dweller, etc.) in another place. Gen. 36:7, Gen. 37:1
  3. Also, there may be other Hebrew/Greek words that would also translate into interchangeable English terms.
  4. According to definition (as we shall see) not all sojourners are foreigners/strangers and vice versa.
  5. This inconsistency is what makes distinguishing terms difficult for the English reader.

B.     The need to define terms to understand concepts:

  1. Sojourner: to dwell beside or among…for a time: temporarily.
  2. Foreigner: one who is a stranger; non-relative.
  3. Stranger (Latin: alienus): belonging to another; not akin; hostile.
  4. Alien: foreigner; belonging to another; not akin; to be excluded.

C.     Summary:

  1. Thus, there is great similarity between terms.
  2. The subtle differences, however, will help us appreciate the remainder of this lesson.
  3. What we (Christians) must realize is that we are strangers (foreigners, aliens) living in a strange world.

This world – Should Become “Foreign” to Christians

A.     Because we are flesh, it is natural to feel comfortable living in this world.

  1. We were of this world at one time; born of the flesh.
  2. We walked according to the course of the world. Eph. 2:1-3

B.     But, because we have been born of the spirit, this world should become strange to us.
Cp. 1 Cor. 6:9-11

  1. We shouldn’t be so comfortable while living in this world. Cp. Jas. 4:4
  2. It should be strange because we have been separated from this world. Eph. 2:11-13

Sojourning as Strangers In This World

A.     We live different type of lives:

  1. Different laws or customs of morality: ours come from the Word of God; not the philosophies of men. Col. 2:6-8
  2. We have a different view of God: it is not merely a religion we’re a part of, but a life-long service to a God we place complete trust in.

B.     This world – for those who have become Christians – is a strange land we temporarily dwell in.

  1. Not only is this world strange to us, but we are strange to it.
  2. Thus, as disciples of our Lord we should expect the same treatment He had from the world. Jn. 15:18-20

C.     If our stay (sojourning) here is temporary, we must conduct ourselves (albeit foreigners) according to the gospel calling. 1 Pet. 2:11-12

  1. We should live sojourn here with the fear of God manifested in our lives. 1 Pet. 1:17
  2. We should live here with a true hope for our eternal homeland. Heb. 11:13-16


A.     So, are you comfortable living in this world? Let’s hope not.

B.     Remember, your homeland depends on whether or not you live as a stranger/foreigner sojourning in this world.

 [MD1]Born into this world (Jn. 3) as a citizen of heaven’s kingdom (eph 2).

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