A City in a City
Yesterday at Jubilee we were privileged to have Mark Driscoll here with us. This is the first time he remembers preaching in another church in many years. You can dowload the sermon or listen to it right here:
Incidentally, Tim Chester has shared his notes from one of the sessions of the Dwell Conference and plans to share from one of the others. I will post notes and video from the rest of the sessions from this Acts 29 day conference over the next few days. I also have video interviews to share from a number of people, including Mark Driscoll.
Mark took us to Jeremiah 29. Cities are marked by two things—density and diversity. London seems to be the most dense and diverse city he has ever seen. Originally Christianity was a city-based urban movement, although now it tends to be rural. Culture flows like a river downstream. By 300 A.D. around 50 per cent of people living in cities were Christian, while 90 per cent of those living in rural areas were not. Today that tendency is reversed and fewer Christians live in the cities than in rural areas. By 2030, 60 per cent of all people will live in cities.
The city of Babylon has a lot in common with Greater London. The Babylonians colonized many nations, a bit like the English did. Babylon was founded by Nimrod.
The local church is a small city living within the city living according to the values of God. In the kingdom of God there is racial harmony so it should be so in the Church. We should see repentance from sin and love for God. Our church needs to grow to become a city. With Jesus there is a better way of life. We do sex, marriage, love, parenting differently. We invite them to meet Jesus and have him change their life.
Jeremiah 29:4 “I have sent …” We are called of God to be a missionary wherever we are. Sent to the London area. We can reach the nations of the earth if we reach London. It’s like a hub or a crossroads. This is one of the most important cities, or probably the most important city in the world. Babylon was like that in previous days. God determines the times and places in which we live. If this city of London meets Jesus, the entire world will hear about him.
Verse 5 — Tells them to build houses, plant gardens, etc. Plan on being there for awhile. We shouldn’t merely use the city, but invest in it. God will call some of us to move on, but many of us need to strongly consider staying here and giving our lives to London, investing our lives here for the good of the city. The first thing that a missionary needs to do is stay. Driscoll has given his life with his wife for one city, Seattle. Unless God shows up he will be staying there. Don’t make decisions on economic ease, but on the kingdom.
Verse 6 — Take wives (well, the men, only!) and make babies. Multiply there and do not decrease. We must honor family, gender, sexuality, and parenting. If you are single, then aspire to be married. Men today shirk responsibility. We have to get the young men if we want to change the city. Single guys in their 20’s tend to shun masculinity, maturity, and responsibility. They are ruining the city—they take advantage of women, commit crimes, wives and girlfriends have to look after them, they murder their own kids by encouraging abortion. Young men must learn to be men—find their pants, get a job, marry a woman, and stay out of trouble. Men are like trucks, the more weight you can put on them, the straighter they drive, i.e. men who are lazy get distracted and tend to sin, load them with things to do and they will be better.
Men have to be independent and provide for their family. Anyone who doesn’t provide for the needs of his family is worse than an unbeliever. His ten-year old daughter said of a girl kissing two different boys, “She doesn’t have a good father.” In the city there is rape and abuse going on, as well as treating each other with contempt. We live differently here and we want the outsiders to have a better way of life and future.
We need to know and love the city. At the moment Muslims are moving into the city and having lots of children knowing that in a few generations they could control the culture. Do what is best for those who live in the city. Think about ways to do good for the whole city. If the schools are terrible, let the Christians go in and volunteer. Pray for the city, it moves the hands of God and it changes the hearts of men and women. God will change our hearts so that we will work to bring change to the city. Let people around notice that the church loves the city.
Verse 8 — Do not listen to false teachers. Satan will try and teach us false things so that we will do evil in the city. We need to know the truth well and defend it.
The gospel is that we are all sinners. We don’t do what we are supposed to do, and we do do what we are not supposed to do. There is a broken relationship with God. It was only through God himself becoming a man and a missionary into human history that we can be reconciled to God. He went to the cross and substituted himself for us and for our sins. 2 Corinthians 5:21 — God made him sin so we might become righteous. The great exchange. Death to him, life to us. Separation to him, relationship to us. Condemnation to him, salvation to us. He is resurrected and ascended to heaven to build his city on earth. The storyline of the Bible is from the Garden of Eden to the city of the New Jerusalem coming from heaven. We will live together in a city. He will wipe tears from our eyes. Our hope, salvation, life, eternity, joy, is all in Jesus. There are two primary enemies of the gospel—idolatry and religion. Jeremiah says to watch out for false teaching. The temptation to idolatry would have come from the Babylonians, while the temptation to being religious would have come from the Jews.
Idolatry is THE sin according to Martin Luther. Sin is turning our worship from God to something else. The opposite of Christianity is not atheism, it is idolatry. We must keep ourselves from idols. If we don’t worship idols, we won’t sin. The first of the commandments tell us that there is only one God and we must worship him alone; the rest are the implications. So if we worship God and not our image, we won’t lie. If we worship him alone, we won’t covet. We put something in the prime place of glory and we then worship it by making sacrifices of time, etc. IF it is Jesus, then we will enjoy what God gives. But, if someone or something else is in that position, then it is idolatry. Romans 1 says people changed from worshiping God to worshiping created thi
Who or what do you worship? Your spouse? Your health? Your comfort? Your children? These are all good gifts but they are not GOD. Don’t worship them instead of God. If our spouse doesn’t meet all of our needs, then we get disappointed. If you expect comfort and peace and sinless relational harmony from your spouse, then you will get angry because that is something you can only get from God.