You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
14 For [gar] they that say [lego] such things [toioutos] declare plainly [emphanizo] that [hoti] they seek [epizeteo] a country [patris].
15 And [kai] truly [men], if [ei] they had been mindful [mnemoneuo] of that [ekeinos] country from [apo] whence [hos] they came out [exerchomai], they might [an] have had [echo] opportunity [kairos] to have returned [anakampto].
16 But [de] now [nuni] they desire [oregomai] a better [kreitton] country, that is [toutesti], an heavenly [epouranios]: wherefore [dio] God [theos] is [epaischunomai] not [ou] ashamed [epaischunomai] [autos] to be called [epikaleomai] their [autos] God [theos]: for [gar] he hath prepared [hetoimazo] for them [autos] a city [polis]. KJV-Interlinear
14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. NASB
A country is a nation with a distinct boundary that separates it from other nations. A nation is a collection of people who have something in common with each other - citizenship with that nation. A nation of people have rights and privileges which are exclusive to them. Foreigners do not have the same rights as the citizens of that nation.
Some of you live in various parts of the world. You are proud of where you live. It is where you grew up and what you are familiar with. Nothing wrong with patriotism. In fact patriotism is one of the fundamental laws of establishment set out by God to preserve humanity. Internationalism is the great Satan which threatens nationalism and human freedom.
However, as believers, our true nation or country is not of this world. Our country is in heaven. We, no matter who we are, no matter where we live in this world, owe our allegiance to God, through Christ.
While we live within this world we also owe an allegiance and responsibility to our country naturally. So long as our country is not of an evil nature.
Those who live in societies ruled by tyranny, have every right to escape to freedom. We who live in freedom have an obligation to help those who are oppressed. To bring them to freedom and opportunity, or to bring freedom and opportunity to them, whichever is appropriate. Responsibility always comes with risks and personal sacrifice. God always handles appropriately the details of personal blessings in such matters.
We live in the devils world. We are surrounded by many enticements. We are consumed by our very own sin nature. Our goal should be to leave that environment behind and to pursue Gods environment. We accomplish that through the fellowship concept (confession of sin).
Again, you have grown up with your environment and preconceived ideas. You approach God with lots of mental baggage which has to be discarded. This can be difficult as we also have to face friends and loved ones who may not agree with our interest in Christianity.
Look at the violence that has come with the simple cartoons of Islam. Many years ago Christianity was the target of ridicule from the art world. Crosses were placed upside down in jars of urine and it was argued that this was freedom of expression. The news over the past few years revealed priests having their fun with little boys. And there are many more examples of insults to morality and Christianity. Yet mobs did not assemble to burn down embassies, or art galleries, or churches.
True Christians would just roll their eyes at all of the nonsense and continue their pursuit of Bible doctrine. Due process would and should take the appropriate actions. Religions, or spiritually indifferent people will demonstrate their intolerance at such insults, and they will march and demonstrate and burn flags and so forth. They will go to great extremes to honor their false beliefs.
Christianity leaves such things behind. Christianity leaves the things of the world behind. Christianity leaves the sin nature behind. Christianity leaves behind even Gods most abundant earthly blessings, for the phenomenal heavenly blessings as yet unseen, which are to come.
The Old Testament heroes saw the pleasures of the world around them. They saw the promises of God even not knowing the specifics of those blessings, and they saw that Gods promises were far better than the enticements of this world.
1 Sam. 2:30
the LORD declares, 'Far be it from Me for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. NASB
The old Testament believers were looking for a country (heavens promises) of their own, and refused to return to the land (worldly habits) they had left behind.
So too you should renounce the opportunity to go back to any form of culture, heritage, ancestral religion, prior habits of ritual or beliefs, and you should persist in longing for a better country - a heavenly one.
Their history (that of the Old Testament believers) is singularly instructive. They lived in hope of things not seen, but believed through faith in the divine promises that God has given them and each one of us.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.