Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian, Author (The Reason For God)
Grace and The City
If you want to be culture makers you ought to live in big cities.
Three Types of Graces:
The Grace OF the City
Ps 107 - 2 or 3 times, “the people were finding their way to the city....but they cried out to the Lord....give thanks to the Lord for they found a city.”
When God brings Israelites into Promised Land, he tells them to build cities.
Children of Israel - Jer. 29 - God tells them to move into the city, settle down, plant gardens, social and economic part of the city. For if IT prospers, you will prosper.
I Peter 1:1, James 1:1 - Christians are deliberately called “exiles."
Friend told him... Jews don’t go into the city to make it a Jewish city. If it prospers because they invested in it, THEY prosper.
Acts - Paul’s missionary strategy is urban in nature.... As the city goes, so goes the culture, the region...
Revelation - the new heavens and new earth that God brings about....just the way God wants it.....it’s URBAN! It’s a city! The future is a city.
God says that the city is a gift of God for humanity.
The Grace IN the City
What’s a city? A mixed use of walkable human settlement with density and diversity.
Mixed use - A human settlement has 4 orders - Economic, Cultural, Residential, Political/Legal. All of these things within walking distance. Sometimes on the same street or very near one another. Rich and poor together....
It’s not about population - it’s about structure.
In suburbs - all of these 4 things are there, but they are utterly separated from each other. Kind of like Pizza.... City has everything together (all the ingredients)....Suburbs is all separated (What you have in a suburb is segregation by race, income, etc...)
This is why cities have always produced culture.... Culture almost always connects people. And once it happens, more culture is created.
Grace FOR the City....
If you want to come to the city, you’ll need 2 types of grace...
Grace of LOVE....
You need God’s heart....
NYC - it’s expensive... Across the Hudson River, you keep 12% more of your income. Most people are here to USE the city... Which means REVOLVING door....
You have to have the grace to care about the city instead of your name. Default of your heart is to make a name....
It’s difficult because there is so much competition....expense....diversity.....More hostility.....people who don’t like you are in your face all the time. You need love and humility...Courage....Confidence to stay.
To be thrown out of the city is liberation for the average person. But in Biblical times - it signified Jesus being cut off from all community. Wasn’t just being cut off from human community...but trinity....the father.
Because we’re citizens of the city to come....it makes us the best citizens of the city NOW.
His kids - thank them for raising them in the city....There’s all kinds of grace in the city....His children grew up became tolerant, resourceful, knew people of other faiths, race....
The grace of the city is the gift of God. If you come bringing the special grace of Jesus with you, almost anything is possible...
Quoting a friend... "Until we start being willing to move into the cities, Christians should stop bellyaching."
If you can be used elsewhere, great. But don't stay out of the cities because you’re selfish or cowardice or don’t have the grace or because you're clueless about their importance.
Tim's closing quote:
"I want to confront people on those three things. Consider it done."