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JESUS THE LORD OF THE CITY

Apr 29, 2018

Jesus the Lord of the City

Luke 19:28-48
Pastor Duane Smets
April 29th, 2018

I.   The Story of the City
II.  The Stones of the City
III. The Savior of the City

Today we are picking back up our study through the book of Luke in the Bible. We started reading through it and learning about Jesus in it a little over a year ago now…and it’s been quite a ride.

The book started out telling the story of Jesus with His birth. Jesus was born and angels appeared in the sky singing “Glory to God in the highest” because they say this baby, born in “the city of David”, the city of Jerusalem, will be the savior who brings peace.

After Jesus is born, His parents take Him and raise Him in this little town called Nazareth and then when Jesus is about 30 years old He starts this teaching, preaching and healing ministry, which He repeatedly says will culminate in His mission to bring peace by going back to the city of Jerusalem and dying and rising there.

He says that and predicts that seven different times and tension has been building toward that throughout the book. In this week’s section of Luke that we’re looking at we’re going to finally see Jesus enter the city of Jerusalem. Going into this city was a big deal…and cities throughout the Bible are a really really big deal. So I titled my sermon for today, “Jesus the Lord of the City.”

Let’s all stand and read our text for today. I’ll read it, declare it as God’s Word and then we’ll thank Him for it all together.

Luke 19:28-48

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

• Pastoral Declaration: This is the Word of the Lord.
• Congregational Response: Thanks Be To God.

Jesus the Lord of the City. The city. The city. How do you guys like our city? The city of San Diego. It’s a good city isn’t it. I love our city.

I grew up with a very different sort of childhood. My dad was an old school traveling Evangelist, which would take too long to explain what that is, but what that meant was I basically grew up in a car. For the first two years of my life we we’re just on the road 100% of the time cruising around the country in a truck and trailer. After that my parents had a few different houses in different cities of the country but we we’re hardly ever there, just on the road in a 1976 Buick Regal about three quarters of the year. So I never had a place that felt like home or a city that I’d call my city, except for San Diego.

That’s because my grandma lived here in San Diego and in the summers I would stay at her house, just twenty minutes or so up the road and I would surf, enjoy life as a somewhat normal kid. So San Diego is the closest thing to a city that ever felt like home to me.

In large because of that I moved to San Diego permanently to go to college here in 1996 at Point Loma Nazarene University. It was in San Diego and on the water, which meant I could surf all year round, so it was a done deal. Later that year I became a Christian here in San Diego and then the next year I met the woman who would become my wife here in San Diego.

So San Diego is an extremely special place to me. I fell in love with the city and received it into my heart. I love everything about this city. I love the beaches and the surf. I love the palm trees and the sun of God that shines down on us here. I love the restaurants, the bars, the coffee shops, the parks, the different parts of town. I even love the streets and the freeway system. I love my drive home from work everyday sitting through traffic on the 5 just looking out at the bay and then passing straight through downtown! I love this city.

So when it became clear we were going to start a brand new church, we knew it had to be in the city of San Diego. Cities are important. They are important not only for life and for human flourishing but they are important to God. So we’re going to talk about cities today and I’ve got three points from our text to walk through with you, “The Story of the City”, “The Stones of the City” and the “Savior of the City” and my theme for today or take home point is simply, “Love the city, Love the city.”

I. The Story of the City

In this first point, I mainly want to tell the story of the city in the Bible. Just in the book of Luke alone, Jerusalem is identified as a significant city thirty different times. The whole movement of Jesus ministry was aimed at reaching Jerusalem as He said in Luke 9:51, “His face was set to go to Jerusalem.”

In the chunk we just read there is this building anticipation, Jesus is drawing near to Jerusalem, drawing nearer and nearer to it and then in verse 14 when He finally sees it, He weeps. Jerusalem was a significant city in the story of the Bible and it’s significance actually goes all the way back to the very beginning in the book of Genesis when God first created Adam and Eve.

Let’s pull up a couple verses from Genesis.

Genesis 1:28 - “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over (it).”

Genesis 2:15 - “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

If you’re like me and you grew up at least tacitly having some kind of knowledge of the story of the Bible beginning a garden then the general idea you get is it was just man and woman, together, naked, in this paradise…and that’s how it was meant to be until everything went wrong. As John Milton said in his famous work, paradise was lost.

But the truth is God did not create the garden of Eden full and complete and intend it to be a paradise where Adam and Eve simply enjoyed unending bliss forever and ever. No, there was a plan and there was work to do.

From Genesis 1:28 the call is clear. The man and the woman are meant to “multiply.” That means have children. So they are to increase the population of Eden. And not just by a little. Look it says they are to “fill the earth” with children.

And they are not just to populate the earth but are to work with the earth, learning how to use it’s elements…which the following verses say included animals, water and trees. They are to “subdue it” and have “dominion” over it. There’s not just a combative element to that but also a creative element.

Human beings are created in God’s image and just as God created the heavens and the earth out of the chaos man is commissioned to create a dwelling place from the raw materials given to him from God.

Genesis 2:15 continues in this train of thought where Adam is told to “work it and to keep it.” There was a lot of work to do in populating and building a city and then to keep or protect it. It’s so easy to pass over these words and miss that this is architectural and engineering language being used.

Meredith Kline’s a dead Hebrew and Old Testament scholar guy who in my opinion perhaps does a better job working with the language and themes of Genesis than anyone I’ve ever read. Concerning these verses in Genesis, here’s what he has to say,

“The couple in the garden was to multiply, so providing the citizens of the city. Their cultivation of earth’s resources as they extended their control over their territorial environment would produce the physical architecture of the city. And the authority of the family engaged in (this) process would constitute the centralized government, under God. The cultural mandate given at creation was thus a mandate to build the city and through the blessing of God on man’s faithfulness the construction of the city would be completed.”

So you see, the city is actually God’s idea and is part of His plan for mankind. But Adam fails to fulfill this calling from God. What happens in the story in part has to do with Adam rejecting and maligning God’s plan for the trees…what ones would be used for what and how Adam would honor God as the king of the Eden city. And thus the vision for the garden city of Eden becomes lost, lost but not destroyed.

Right after Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden, their son Cain after murdering his brother builds a city but the curse of his bloodshed gets passed on to it.

Several generations go by and then comes along Abraham. When he meets God he’s living in a city called Ur, with a wife but no kids and God comes to him and promises him numerous children, nation, and a promised land, if he will leave Ur to follow God and believe in His promise.

From Abraham onward, this promise… the promise of land and people becomes a driving principle to the end of the book for Abraham’s entire family. In large the whole first book of the Bible, Genesis is about establishing the story of the promised land to a promised people which was the promise from God of a city.

The book of Hebrews in the Bible makes this clear for us. Here’s what it says,

Hebrews 11:8-10 - “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”

See that? Abraham was looking forward “to the city that has foundation, whose designer and builder is God.”

So that’s Genesis. After Genesis comes the book of Exodus, where during the period of 400 years God’s family, His people multiply greatly. But they’re populating a city in Egypt which is not their own, ruled by an ungodly king. So God delivers them out of the city in Egypt, but after they leave, they end up homeless, city-less for forty years so that God could teach them His law and the importance of obedience.

Finally, led by Joshua they take down the city of Jericho and move into the land where Joshua sets up several cities, which he designates as “cities of refuge” where people can come find grace for their sins. But none of these cities ever really take off because they are constantly having to war with the neighboring countries to protect these cities.

Then comes along David, the man after God’s own heart and David ends up building the most famous city in the Bible, the city of Jerusalem. For awhile Jerusalem, in part begins to be somewhat of a reflection of a Godly city where God is worshipped and revered… that is until David blows it by spying on this naked girl taking a bath, hooking up with her and then having her husband killed.

After him, his son Solomon’s actually able to grow the city in its population, prestige and power… but like his dad, Solomon too has a pension for the ladies. The Bible says he hooked up with 1000 of them (700 wives and 300 concubines - 1 Kings 11:3). That doesn’t make God too happy and after Solomon, the city never is really able to recover.

There’s like another 21 kings who come after Solomon but things just deteriorate and deteriorate and it gets so bad God finally says enough and sends the Babylonians to destroy the city Jerusalem and carry off God’s people into exile as prisoners. After about 150 years God raises up a guy named Nehemiah who finally gets to go back to the old site of Jerusalem and when he sees the city destroyed he weeps… and then he starts to rebuild the city beginning with its wall meant to protect and keep it…and that wraps the story of city and the Old Testament.

When Jesus comes on the scene about 400 years later… Jerusalem is once again flourishing city but it’s become a cold city. The rules and regulations of God are in place but the heart of God and His love are absent. And the city is being ruled over by a foreign government, Caesar the Emperor of Rome, whom most everyone detests and wants freedom from.

So now maybe you get a sense of the significance of Jerusalem and the significance of cities and why Jesus saw it as so central and wept over it.

How do you see cities? Have you thought much about the significance of cities. I’ve told you my story and we’ve heard the biblical story, what about your story?

You see, the city you live and commit to is important. That calling to make and have a family and to contribute to the creation of a city still stands for us today… it’s a universal calling. Even when things don’t go right, God reminded His people at a time when they were in exile of the importance of this calling.

Jeremiah 29:5-7 - “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

You see getting a house, having a family and committing to a city is a good thing. Notice there in verse 7 where God says He “sent” them to the city. Do you have a sense in which God has sent you to a city?

We really encourage people to love and commit to the city of San Diego. San Diego is a wonderful city but one of its biggest challenges is the transient nature of its population. People tend to come to San Diego just for a few years, use and enjoy its resources and then move out.

So city officials will tell you the city tends to get used and abused without people actually investing in the city long term. It’s become so bad that it’s literally a local joke that “native” San Diegans are few and far between. San Diego needs Godly people that will love it and spread the love of God within it.

If you’re here and new to the city we’re glad to have you and I would simply encourage you to really pray and consider whether this could be the city that God has called you to give your life to. Sometimes that takes time to figure out, so one thing I like to tell people is to double whatever time they planned to be here. If you were just planning to be a here a year then stay two. If it was just going to be a couple years, stay four. If four make it eight. One of our church Deacons is a realtor he’ll hook you up and help you buy a house. San Diego needs you! Join in with us! Love the city.

Alright, let’s move on and talk about the “Stones of the City.”

II. The Stones of the City

In this point, I want to look at what Jesus says about the stones, how cities are meant to function and why Jesus was so broken hearted over Jerusalem.

When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, at first He is greeted a lot of praise and fanfare. Verse 37-38 of our text says there was “whole multitude” rejoicing and praising Him saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”

Throughout the last three years Jesus had been allowing people to address Him with all kinds of different titles, Christ, Messiah, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God, Lord, Savior, and many other titles which understood by most people meant to them that He would take up rulership of the city of Jerusalem and the country of Israel.

So when Jesus enters the city, the people are stoked, they’re like it’s happening at last! Here comes the King to overthrow the Romans and likely most of the crowd is ready to fight for Him. They’re throwing down their coats on the road and ushering Him in on a royal horse, no one has ridden before, prepared for the future king, just like the Bible had promised in Zechariah 9:9.

There’s a handful of people who aren’t happy because when it comes to politics no city has ever agreed on anyone or anything 100%. This group, the Pharisee political party, think Jesus is just a good teacher and nothing more and that he’s wrong to allow the people to praise Him. Jesus’ responds by saying some things about stones.

To the Pharisees, he says in verse 40, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

And to the crowd and to the whole city says, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” And then he goes on to say every stone of Jerusalem will be torn down.

Stones throughout the Bible are symbols of judgment. Capital punishment was instituted by God in the Old Testament for certain crimes to be punished by stoning and stones crashing down or being torn down was typically an action and symbol of a city being destroyed. So what going on here isn’t some non-sense about stones singing but about stones of judgment for not recognizing Jesus for who He really was.

You see just in this passage alone Jesus predicts the future perfectly three different times, twice with details about the colt, which they say they found “just as he had told them” and then once about what actually happened to Jerusalem. Only forty years later, in 70 AD Titus of Rome overran the city of Jerusalem. He surrounded it just as Jesus said it would be, then laid siege killing 1,100,000 people, taking 97,000 and it was said he leveled it to the ground so future visitors would have a hard time believing it had ever been inhabited.

You see, what Jesus was saying was it was right for the crowd to recognize and call Him the King but what they didn’t realize was he didn’t come just as a human King but as the Divine King to give His life away for His people.

What the people then did not realize and what so many still today do not realize is what truly makes for peace. Neither politics or policies, nor words, weapons or wars can get us peace.  Peace begins and ends with God.…it’s relational peace with God, which when you have it births peace with others. Jesus’ mission was to procure that peace.

The stones of a city, what they are meant to built upon are, involve three things, people, production and praise.

1. PEOPLE

The call we saw from Genesis is to build families. The more and more families you have living in one place makes a city. So cities in their most basic sense are places of population where you have all different types of people living in a central place. With this density and diversity cities are then meant to be places of safety and feeling safe is meant to flow from relationships of love and trust.

But because of the fall in the garden sin effects the city and twists its intended safety. It gets turned into the need for protection from harm from now deadly animals and deadly people. So instead of being societies of love, due to sin cities get turned into places that provide political and police protection from criminals and attacks from other countries and cities get broken.

2. PRODUCTION

The call we saw from Genesis is to reap the benefits of the earth and to create with it. Thus, cities are meant to be mining centers where all kinds of things are produced and developed… from music and the arts to all kinds of craftsmanship and technological advance… it’s all part of harvesting the riches of creation to build a culture filled city.

When you’re put together with a diverse population of people it pushes you. You find people like you and unlike you and in that, you find mutual support, new ideas, other talent and collaboration to make something great, a great city.

But because of the fall in the garden sin effects the city and twists the way we’re meant to work together. Ungodly ambition, competition, theft, racism, classism, pride, abuse of power, over work and exhaustion all end up becoming features of our cities and thus they fail to fulfill their potential and become broken cities.

3. PRAISE

The call from Genesis was for God to be worshipped in the city, with Him as the king and man as His princely representative. As Father, God performed the first marriage and as friend, He walked in the cool of the garden. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil beckoned love and trust and obedience to God and the voice of God beckoned the response of praise from His principle creatures.

But because of the fall in the garden sin effects the city and twists the worship of the city. Praise still takes place but it gets redirected away from God. No matter where you go or what time period you go to you find ceremonial activity in cities. Whether its sports, theatre, parades or actual places of worship there’s a religious type of action that takes place in the city.

You see cities are important. They are places where people gather, learn, create and recreate. Every person either lives in a city or in a place outside a city. People love cities and people hate cities. Cities can be either places of life or places of death. Cities can be small or they can be big. Wars are fought over cities and human history actually follows the plot line of cities.

Today cities are more important than ever. According to the United Nations, 5.5 million people move into cities across the world every month. In the 1800’s only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities. In the year 2000, 50% of people lived in cities and estimates are that by the year 2050 75% of people will live in cities. Cities are important.

There are megacities, metacities and global cities. Whether the talk is of economics, politics, health care, art or sports…the talk is about what is happening in cities. There’s no way of escaping it. Cities are extremely significant and the city of San Diego has an opportunity to be a city where God is worshipped, which always benefits a city.

Cities can be beautiful, like San Diego, America’s Finest City. It’s beautiful but it’s also a broken city.

On the way to taking my daughters to school I drive by three strip clubs every morning and then I drive by two more on my way to the gym later after work. Our city is filled with homeless people. Racial segregation, with blacks, Asians, Hispanics, middle eastern and whites all being relegated to different parts of town. We are one of the top cities in the world for sex trafficking. There are massive discrepancies with wages and the cost of housing. Like most cities, the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. San Diego is a beautiful city but it’s broken, we just hide or ignore the brokenness.

And this is the thing that breaks my heart the most. San Diego is the eighth largest city in the country with a population of 1.4 million people and of that 1.4 million people only 6% claim to be Christian. And that was going to church at least on Christmas and Easter. So the number is probably a lot lower than that. Even at 6%, it means 1,316,000 people in our city don’t know God. There is great need in our city. We need to love our city with the love of God. Love the city.

Our city needs King Jesus and needs the presence and power of His kingdom that gets lived out and expressed through Jesus’ Church. To see how that works, lets move on to our last point for today, “The Savior of the City.”

III. The Savior of the City

How Jesus saves the city is by taking ownership of the city and then giving His life for the city.

It starts off with the donkey before He even gets into town. He tells two of His disciples to go ahead and get the donkey ready and says if someone says, “Hey man, why are you stealing my donkey?” To just say, “Oh, Jesus needs it. It’s His now.” Jesus enters the city claiming Lordship over it and everything in it.

When Jesus finally gets into the city of Jerusalem, what the first thing He does? He goes to church. He goes to the temple, the place where God is supposed to be being worshipped and instead of worship happening what’s going on there is people using the church to make a profit. People are buying and selling things, making money their God and prayer isn’t even happening.

And Jesus gets upset. He says, “This is my house!” My house. My house shall be a house of prayer. And then He starts teaching and the people are mesmerized “hanging on his words.”

So the picture we get is of Jesus entering the city on a Friday, setting everything up, to be crucified in the city exactly one week later. Instead of overthrowing the powers of the city, He uses His power to give His life up so the people of the city might be forgiven of their sins, healed from the sins done to them and thereby gain peace with God and then others.

It results in a love for people, all kinds of people. It gives you a new reason and passion to produce, you then work for the glory of God. And it turns your heart into one of worship and obedience towards God.

So what Jesus really does for people is that He makes them fit for the city. By Jesus going to the heart of the problem, the heart, He makes it so changes us into people who can exist together, who can produce together and who can praise together in the city.

Maybe you’ve wondered what Jesus has been doing all this time ever since He rose from the dead and then returned to heaven. He says in John 14 He’s preparing the place, He’s building the city to come, getting it ready for the people whose hearts He changes so that they can live in the city.

In the last book of the Bible we get to see a picture of this great city He’s working on and what it will be like when He brings it to us. Check it out with me. God gives John this vision and here’s what he says,

Revelation 21:10; 22:1-5 - “He carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God… Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”

Does this sound vaguely familiar? A river and a tree? With fruit?  It sounds kind of like a garden. But wait, it’s a city...with streets… and God the king is at the center of it.

Revelation 22 is the very last chapter of the entire Bible. It’s astonishing. The Bible ends up where it began, in a garden but a better garden…a garden that has been developed into a flourishing city and not just flourishing externally but internally because it’s inhabitants’ hearts are hearts of worship, without any death or sin.

We don’t have time to go through all of it today but when you study heaven in the Bible it’s actually a fully functioning city with music and the arts, animals, feasts, families, money, trade, technology, play, worship centers… it’s a city full of life!

Too often depictions of heaven are so mystical as if it’s just a bunch of people stuck in church forever and ever. Oh no. No, heaven is city and life like ours but without sin, sorrow or suffering. Just imagine life now, but without anything bad and with all your dreams and desires fulfilled. It’s good. It’s a beautiful picture.

But…we’re here. Heaven’s there. So what do we do? We seek that city.

Here’s how Hebrews 13:14 says it, “We here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city to come.”

We seek the city. Philippians 3:20 in the Bible actually says that we already have citizenship there. We’re just on a journey waiting and working to bring as many people as possible with us. But how do you seek the city? The answer is by loving the cities of the earth with the good news of Jesus.

Basically, you’ve got four options when it comes to your view of the city.

1. YOU DESPISE THE CITY.

If you say you’re a Christian and you despise the city then you’ll treat the church as a fortress, we’re it’s us versus them and you’ll try to build up the wall of the church to keep the bad out. That’s no good. It’s just moralism and besides Christians are still sinners so you end up with bad in church anyway.

2. YOU YIELD TO THE CITY.

If you say you’re a Christian and you yield to the city then you’ll just go along with the city liking what it likes and embracing what it embraces and there will end up being no discernible difference between the church and the city. That’s no good. It rejects God law and His right to rule and to say what’s right and wrong and if you go that direction you end up with a corrupt church.

3. YOU USE THE CITY.

If you say you’re a Christian and you just use to the city, you’ll never really commit to one city, just keep moving around, sapping the city and the church of its time, talent and treasure without ever really contributing in any lasting way. That’s no good. It’s cheap, immature and ungodly and if you go that direction then you’ll never really have a solid church because no one will really be committed to one another for the long haul.

4. YOU LOVE THE CITY.

If you say you’re a Christian, you live it out by giving your Jesus changed heart to the people of a city, you work in the city, care about the city, commit to the city and worship in the city and when that happens you end up with a church on mission for the city. That’s good. It fulfills God’s call in who He designed us to be and how He meant us to live and it reflects nature of the one we claim to serve and follow, Jesus the Lord of the city.

So how do we seek the heavenly city to come? By loving a city now, as resident aliens who are committed to a city of the earth but whose allegiance is to the city of heaven.

My friend Justin Buzzard wrote this book called “Why Cities Matter” on this subject. Here’s what he said,

“We are citizens of one city, yet full-time residents of another. Our primary allegiance is given to a city from which we derive our most formative beliefs and practices. And yet we live in our cities of residence as full participants. We do not live as natives, tourists, or travelers, we are ‘resident aliens.’ By His grace, Jesus (died and rose again) so we could become citizens of the city to come, making us salt and light in the city that is.”

Jesus ends up dying in Jerusalem, rising again three days later, then He shows Himself to a bunch of people over the period of forty days before sending them out to go into all the cities of the world proclaiming His name. After Luke, the book of Acts chronicles how Christians went into cities with the good news of Jesus and then after Acts most of the rest of the Bible is letters written to churches in different cities.

Rodney Stark is a historian who wrote this book called, “Cities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became An Urban Movement and Conquered Rome.” His argument is that it was because Christians went into cities and committed to them.

Tim Keller, a pastor and theologian I like a lot wrote this very good article titled, “A Biblical Theology of the City.” It’s free online. I’d encourage you all to read it. He says this, “The single most effective way for Christians to ‘reach’ the US would be for them to move to the largest cities and stay there for three generations.”

Look, like I told you earlier, one of San Diego’s biggest challenges is that people keep moving in and then moving out. We need you to stay here.

The restlessness to move thinking life would be better somewhere else is actually rooted in the garden curse to go out into the wild terrain, but that kind of searching is a spiritual desert. God has committed His common grace to cities where He grants rootedness, stability and the resources for a healthy life with Him and mission for lost people.

I plan on dying here in San Diego if Jesus doesn’t return before that. All my kids were born here and we’ve told them, God has called us to this city. We are here and here to stay. So consider staying with us.

A recent study ranked us the 10th most post-Christian city in America. San Diego is a beautiful city but it’s a broken city that needs Jesus. And we need you to help us love the city of San Diego so it can be transformed and molded after the form of the heavenly city to come. Love the city. Love the city. And if not ours find a city to love.

Conclusion

Alright, well this has been a bit longer sermon than normal. San Diego is a subject that’s very near and dear to my heart. I love this city.

I started out this morning telling my story of falling in love with God and this city. We end today once again returning to the story of Jesus. He’s the one who gave His life for the city so that in Him we might see and have Him as our King to rule and reign over our lives and our streets so that we might truly flourish in and through Him.

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