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God’s City:My City Love the CityCaptureLuke 19:41But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep.Luke13:34“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneathher wings, but you wouldn’t let me.InspireMy brethren, enter the cities while you can. In the cities that have been already entered thereare many who have never heard the message of truth. Some who have heard have beenconverted, and some have died in the faith. There are many others who, if they were given anopportunity, might hear and accept the message of salvation. . . . These, our last efforts for thework of God in the earth, must bear decidedly the impress of the divine. Evangelism p. 33.2Transform1. In many cases, instead of loving the city, we have been leaving the city, not just physicallybut relationally. Contrast that attitude with Jesus’ attitude towards Jerusalem. How did Hereact when He saw the city? Luke 19:412. God’s heart breaks for his children that are far from him. Many of these people live in cities.Notice the following facts: In 1800, only 3 percent of the worlds population lived in urban areas. By 1900, almost 14 percent were urbanites, although only 12 cities had 1 million or more inhabitants. In 1950, 30 percent of the worlds population resided in urban centers. The number of cities with over 1 million people had grown to 83… It is expected that 70 percent of the world population will be urban by 2050, and that most urban growth will occur in less developed countries. (http://www.prb.org/Educators/TeachersGuides/HumanPopulation/Urbanization.aspx) What do those facts tell us about the importance of reaching the cities? How well do you think our church is doing in that regard?3. Cities have not traditionally been known for being centers of discipleship, conversions ormorality. Taking that into consideration, there are several attitudes that one can take towardsthe cities. There are at least four in the bible: a. Leave the city.Acts 16:39 b. Condemn the city. Luke 9:53-55 c. Avoidgoing into the city.Mathew 16:21-23 d. Love the city. Mathew 9:36
If you were totally honest, which one of the four attitudes are more prevalent in your church?Your family? Yourself?4. Jesus’ love for the city provoked him to engage the city in meaningful ways. Look at three ofthem in Mathew 9:35. Write them here:_______________________ _____________________________ ________________________5. Take a moment to read the following verses. Most of them may be familiar, but read themagain, for the first time. Next to the text write what that passage means to you in the contextof reaching the cities, God’s unconditional love and his desire to bring hope to our world:Romans 5:8 _________________________________________________________Jonah 4:10-11 _________________________________________________________2 Thessalonians 2:16 _________________________________________________________InvolveThere are three important principles we can learn from this lesson:1. Sinful lifestyle doesn’t determine love demonstration. Jerusalem had a history of being a“city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!”, and that refused to be corrected(“you wouldn’t let me.”). Yet, Jesus loved it, ministered to it, preached in it and sought totransform it, anyway! What specific instruction did Jesus give us concerning people that are inopposition to our values, principles and lifestyle? Mathew 5:44-452.Instead of leaving, love. When Jesus saw the need, he went towards, not away fromJerusalem. He knew very well that his treatment there would not be pleasant, but his heartlonged to save them. That strategy has not changed. When the Twin Towers where attacked onSeptember 11th, firefighters and other personnel ran towards the building, when many whererunning out. The reason? People needed rescue. That’s the reason we exist also. Don’t leave,avoid, condemn. Try love instead. In what ways have we “left”?Why is it important we connectagain with people in the cities?3. Love is more than a feeling for the city, it’s action in the city. Jesus cried for the city, andhad compassion for the people living there. That was wonderful, but not enough. He took thosefeelings and put them in action, as he healed, preached, helped. The purpose of these lessons isto spur you and your congregation to action. What is one thing you can do this week to engageyour community? Share some practical ideas to demonstrate God’s love in practical ways.EngageThis week, remind yourself every morning when you wake up, about the deep love for the citythat God has. Look for practical ways to demonstrate that love in practical ways. Start byengaging someone at work, school, or home that is different from you. Claim this text as yoursthis week:
Psalm 31:21Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when Iwas in a city under siege.