Sermon on January 29 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Revelation 21:1-7
As we wait for God’s ‘shalom’ city, He wants us to work with Him in His urban renewal plan in our city.
If God is at work in our city, we must:
1. RISE UP – AND FIND OUR PLACE! (v4b)
Are we a church that is apathetic to the city, against the city, of the city or for the city?
Also, seek the peace and prosperity (shalom) of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray for it. Because if it prospers, you too will prosper’ (Jer. 29:7)
How is God challenging you to be more involved in your city?
2. MOVE OUT – AND TOUCH OUR CITY! (v3)
As we live in a city of shattered shalom, we are to incarnate Jesus in the city.
When thousands of people were flooding London in the mid 19 century, the Metropolitan Tabernacle stayed in the middle of chaos to serve the city.
How can we touch our city, so that we might be missed if we were not here?
3. LOOK AROUND – AND SOFTEN OUR HEART! (v4)
- Care for your city, because God has labored over it
‘You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow’ (Jonah 4:10).
- Cry for your city, for people are most confused than they know
‘We long for revivals, we speak of revivals, we work for revivals, and we even pray a little for them. But we do not enter upon that labor in prayer which is the essential preparation for every revival’
How engaged will you be in pleading with God to bring shalom, i.e. Jesus Christ, to the city?
4. STAND UP – AND BE COUNTED! (v5-7)
How do we define our lives? God has not given us His grace to make our kingdom work but has offered us grace to invite us to a better kingdom.
‘We only die once, so it might as well be for Jesus’.
(Werner Groenewald, before he was martyred with his two teenage children in Kabul)
Remember! The picture of the New Shalom, God’s city is not just a call to hope. It is a call to a gospel lifestyle. Love Brussels, pray for Brussels, get involved for true renewal in the city. With God’s help, let’s aim to be a church for the city.
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QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Think of the churches where you have served in the past. Without being destructively critical, evaluate whether they were churches apathetic to the city, against the city, of the city or for the city? Now let’s evaluate our church family. What is God’s call to every biblical church and why?
- Is it possible to live in a city, against your will and yet love that city? Read Jeremiah 29:5-7. What is the context? How were the Hebrews to relate to their new city and neighbors and why?
- ‘If the hope of the world is Immanuel, we are to be God’s city in every city.’ In what way was Jonah’s attitude to Nineveh directly opposite to God’s heart? Why was God not content to leave him in that state even after the city was converted?
- Think of some ways in which we as a church can be even more involved and engaged with our city, and pledge to be a change-agent.
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Johan Cloete