BRAD LEACH – “GOD’S HEART FOR STRATEGIC CITIES”
>In today’s world, we have created an entire Christian subculture where kids can be raised and eventually live as adults in an entirely Christian setting.
>This isn’t the world Jesus was born into and it’s not the world Jesus wants to be born into again.
>The tendency to run away from the mission field is as old as missions.
>The Israelites blamed Nebuchadnezzar for exiling them, but he was actually being used as a servant of God to transport the Israelites to the mission field.
3 RESPONSES THE CHURCH HAS TOWARDS THE CITY – TIM KELLER
1. Jesus against the city.
>Leads to an “Us vs. Them” mentality.
2. Jesus of the city.
>Where we begin to view every movement in culture that is working to serve the oppressed is from God.
>The end result is that the church just becomes one of many institutions that is nothing more than a community center or a political action group.
>As the Israelites are complaining about being exiled, God says, “I sent you here.”
>Jerusalem was the “Christian City” – Everyone believed and was the same.
>Babylon was the a place where people didn’t believe the Bible and believed in all kinds of gods.
>Throughout scripture, Babylon represented evil and sin.
>There is a different between missionaries and refugees.
>God tells them to increase – his desire is that they were missionaries, not refugees.
>Have kids so you can leave a legacy in the city. Invest yourselves in the city.
3. Jesus transforming the city.
>The Hebrews had a theology of “Sacred Space”
>Jesus said that wherever I go is going to be sacred.
>When we move a church into a neighborhood we make that space sacred.
>Jesus said that the church should be like salt. It will work its way into those parts of culture that tend to rot and preserve them.
>Your life is now tied to this place. If they prosper, then you too will prosper.
>Live in such a way that you are influencing culture.
>Diversity can often lead to sin. (i.e. race riots, sexual perversion, etc.)
>When we bring Jesus to the sins of the city, diversity becomes beautiful again.
>God doesn’t say quietly wait your time until you go home, but He tells them to work for Babylon’s prosperity.
>When the city isolates itself from the community, the brokenness becomes more evident.
PROVERBS 11:10, “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices.”
Ask yourself this, if your church was taken from your city, would your city even miss it?
>God says, the city isn’t an evil place. Make roots and settle in.
>When you try to isolate yourself from the sin of the city, we forget that we are sinners too.
>We mistake the fact that holiness is separation from sin, not sinners.
>”Preaching against culture is like preaching against a person’s house – it’s where they live.” –Ed Stetzer
>The Bible isn’t against culture, it’s about redeeming and transforming culture.
>It wasn’t until 1950 that the world reached 1 billion inhabitants. Today, only 60 years later, we’re at 7 billion.
>God is behind this growth, because the result of globalization is urbanization. This allows us to reach the city.
>Today is the best time in history for us to continue what the Apostle Paul did.
>He would plant churches in the city and “pollinate” those there with the gospel. These people in the city would then take the gospel to their hometowns all over the region.
>So in reaching the city, he was actually reaching the region, if not the continent.
>The cities became strategic sending centers.
>We often forget that this was written to missionaries.
>He points them back to Jerusalem, which tells us that we don’t have an unlimited amount of time.
>God points us to the best city, the new Jerusalem. It gives us a hope.
>Your faith is founded about the mission.
>Your faith will die without the mission field.
>We have to be willing to choose our city over our career.
>Oftentimes, we pray, “God give me my city.”
>But we have to remember that the city is God’s and so are you. You need to pray that God gives you to the city.