Matthew R. Perry

You Belong to the City, Don’t You, Part III: Are You Reluctant To Minister in the City?

In Culture, Missions on June 22, 2007 at 6:38 am

One inner city pastor was asked, “Why do you stay in the city?” His response sounded humorous at first — he said, “In rural areas, they have more plants than people. In the city, they have more people than plants. God loves plants, for sure — but he loves people more.”

Randy Newman, in fact, compared the Ninevites to a group that’s around today. He noted that during a time for prayer requests, someone stood up and said, “Pray that the members of Al-Qaeda, those responsible for the September 11 attacks on America, hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan, will be convicted of their sin, come to faith in Christ, and forsake their ties to this terrorist organization.” Some will find it hard to pray such a prayer.

Now you know how Jonah felt. Nineveh had a “well-deserved reputation as heartless rapists and unrelenting murderers. The similarity between Nineveh and Al-Qaeda might be closer than you think.” Do we find ourselves being more like Jonah who was reluctant and rebellious in reaching the city? Do we really believe that Christ wants us to vacate the city? Do we see what Christ has for the city?

Matthew 23:37-39

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! [38] See, your house is left to you desolate. [39] For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “

If this awaits for the people of God who have, as Romans 9:4-5 says, “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever” — what will the doom be for those who have not this understanding? Well, look at Matthew 11:20-24:

Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. [21] “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Those who know God’s promises and have a country laid on the foundations on God’s Word will be held more accountable than even Tyre and Sidon — and even moreso than Sodom and Gomorrah! Why? Because we know the principles on which the this country was laid — the Word of God. It’s the same rationale as to why James 3:1 says that teachers of God’s Word will be judged more harshly — because teachers know what God’s Word says. Judgment comes first and harshest to those who know God’s Word, but choose to ignore it!

Some say that our nation and our nation’s founders did not begin this nation on the tenets of God’s Word and God’s principles. In 1620, when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Bay, William Bradford drafted the Mayflower Compact which says,

“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together…”

John Adams, our first Vice President under Washington and our second President, said this:

The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

Adams also delivers this warning on October 11, 1798:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Some will say that the government should not be influenced by Christianity, but what the constitution says is that the government shall not promote a national religion! A big difference!

With this being our beginnings, what will happen if the United States continues its downward spiral? What will happen is a great and terrible judgment — the likes of which we could scarcely imagine! And, again, since the cities drive the culture through people, power, and influence, we need to find ways to minister the name of Christ in the cities.

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