God's Love for Our Cities, Part 3

God’s Love for Our Cities, Part 3

I started this series two weeks ago. I believe this is an important series not just for Passion Church, but for the Church right now globally. I don’t need to recap what has taken place during the last 18 months. All of us have it replaying in our minds! Understand that every crisis is an opportunity disguised!  An opportunity for God’s miracle power to break in, for He is a God of hope!

There are opportunities for the Church to see growth and expansion. To bring God’s agenda to earth, to bring order from confusion. A season to see kingdom expansion, to see lives touched and transformed. And if you have faith to believe this, to help labor with the Lord for cities to be transformed in this hour. Let’s continue our discussion on the opportunities for Kingdom expansion and transformation of people, cities, and nations!

God’s original intent was for humanity to walk in relationship with God and steward over His creation.

Before the fall, God associated Adam with the garden, and it was there that He would come and speak with him. Adam was committed to the land (the garden) in which God had placed him and God was committed to Adam in the garden.

We are of the New Covenant. Part of our Kingdom assignment is to “tend the garden,” the city we are placed. We are called to put things back to order in Tucson or the city in which you live. We’re to find out what God wants, what’s His agenda.

Wherever you live, be a blessing to that city and region. Speak life over it, and not death. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. We can choose to bless, or we can choose to curse. But we’re to find out what God wants, what’s His agenda and we are to declare that.

We are called to serve in practical ways too. To make this happen we should be seeking God’s purpose in the supernatural realm, and we should also realize the Holy Spirit wants to empower us to be super practical in this hour as well. We are called to feed the poor, help the prisoner and the refugee, to minister to widows and orphans. We are called to pray for His kingdom to come, the power of His presence, to evangelize, and make disciples of Christ. We are called to raise our children in Godly principles and values. So, there’s a spiritual side of our life in Christ, but there’s also the super practical side of kingdom life.

God didn’t give away ownership of the earth, but He did assign mankind the responsibility of governing it.

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given (assigned) to the children of men.” (Psalm 115:16 NKJV)

The earth he has given or assigned to the children of men. Think about this: God didn’t give away ownership of the earth, but he did assign humanity the responsibility of governing it. God’s never lost control through one moment of history. Whether it’s a world war, economic chaos, pandemics, or any other situation. During darkness, God is loving, merciful, and long suffering. Not willing that any would perish but come to repentance and faith in Christ.

Some wonder, “Well if God is good, why is there evil in the world?”  The answer: because we live in a fallen world where there are two kingdoms at war with each other, God’s kingdom of light and Satan’s kingdom of darkness. They are opposed to God’s purpose of reconciliation and restoration of humanity.

But Jesus triumphed over all the powers of darkness through His death and resurrection, and He stated the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church! So, we are not on the defensive, but on the offensive! We have Jesus’ authority, Word, and power of the Holy Spirit to bring His love and light into the darkness of our world—where we are assigned.

Reconcile all things or returned to their original state.

God through His infinite wisdom and mercy provided not only for the redemption of mankind but for the land that had become cursed due to Adam’s sin. God used the cross, a sacred tree, to repair the breach between heaven and earth that came through the tree of knowledge.

Paul describes this truth:

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Col. 1:19-20 NLT

Through Jesus, the 2nd Adam, God provided a way to restore man and to restore the earth. Adam removed obedience from the tree, but Christ returned obedience to the tree.

In Christ, you have been restored to God’s original intent—justified by faith through Jesus in right relationship with God. You and I are still maturing and growing into the image of Christ as we continue to yield to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, but we in right relationship with God, as Adam and Eve were, before the fall.

We are called to enforce the reality of Christ’s redemption over the earth and society—to help restore our world to God’s original intent!

In Christ, you have been restored to God’s original intent—justified by faith through Jesus in right relationship with God. We enforce the reality of Christ’s redemption over the earth and society—restoration!

The very fate of cities and nations rests in the hands of the righteous. God looks to the Church to change the spiritual climate, and when this occurs society benefits.

We are called to put things back to order in Tucson. We’re to find out what God wants, what’s His agenda. When we commit to the place God has placed us in, blessings follow. Like Adam, we have an Eden to steward over.

Here are a couple of examples of commitment. A homeowner is generally more committed to a city than someone who rents. They pay taxes, take care of their homes, and are generally in the home for a longer time than a renter. A renter doesn’t have the “pride of ownership” of the property. That’s not to say a renter doesn’t care for or take good care of the property—or value the city. But renting verses owning property is a different level of commitment.

Another example is the difference between a parent and a babysitter. A good babysitter is a Godsend. But they are not the parents! Parents of a child are completely committed to the child, whereas the babysitter is only partially committed for a short duration.

When we steward our cities as owners or parents, we are more vested and committed to the geographic place where God has placed us. When we properly steward our cities, blessing follows us.

The mission of the church is to preach the gospel, to lead the lost to Christ, to heal the sick, feed the poor, etc. The vision of the “local church” is our specific mandate to accomplish the mission Christ has given the universal Church.

We are called to enforce the reality of Christ’s redemption over the earth and society—to help restore our world to God’s original intent!

Land is important to God, and He often sees people in terms of territory

God promised wayward Israel, “And I will assuredly plant them in this land…”  Jer. 32:41 NKJV He gave the children of Israel the Promised Land, and God places us in cities and lands to love and steward.

We typically think of Kingdom inheritance solely as spiritual, but it is also territory (land) that we are to steward over. “He will choose our inheritance for us…” Psalm 47:4 NKJV

If we want to see our city transformed, we must make a commitment to this community, to this land or region. It’s like a marriage relationship where there is no substitute for commitment. You’re either all in or you’re not—100% commitment is required for success!

You may not own property in Tucson or the city you live in, but the Lord is expecting you to take spiritual ownership of Tucson, or your city. To love your city, to cherish it, and the people of the city.

How can we expect to win a city to Christ and see a city transformed by His love and power if we dislike or worse hate the people because of their behavior?

We are to Seek the Peace and Welfare of Our Cities

Israel has sinned, rejected God, and judgment has come upon them. God prophesied to them that they would be carried away as exiles for 70 years, one year for each of the years the Sabbaths of the land were not observed (as I explained last week, see part 1).

But God declares this to them regarding the upcoming 70 years of exile:

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare (peace) will determine your welfare (peace).”Jer. 29:4-7 NLT

Think about this. The children of Israel are led away captive, and they are to bless their enemies, pray for the city, seek its wellbeing, and live their lives there!

Application is simple for us. Even if we long to be somewhere else, ask 2 questions:

1) Who put you where you are?

2) And why are you here?

There are only 2 answers to these: obedience or rebellion! Either God put you here, or you put yourself here. Obedience to God always brings ultimate peace.

Immediate results of obeying this principle in Jer. 29

1) The Blessing of Increase. “Be increased there and not diminished.” Jer. 29:6 NKJV Choosing to set yourself firmly in the place where God has called you releases the blessings of increase.

2) The Blessing of Peace. “Seek the peace of the city… for in its peace (welfare) you will have peace (welfare).” Jer. 29:7 NKJV There is a spiritual peace every city needs, deciding to seek the peace of the city you live in settles something in your heart.

In marriage, when the commitment is made, you are mine and I am yours, it settles something, peace follows. When we commit to where God has placed us, and endeavor to pray for, serve in, and bless our community, peace follows. Blessings follow. Prosperity and increase follow.

Honor releases life. Honoring your city (past, present, and future) is important. We see examples of honor, for example, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NKJV

Long term results of commitment. God will grant expectations for a future and hope!

Again, though they are headed into 70 years of captivity, God promises them a future:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jer. 29:11-13 NLT

Is it possible the very direction and vision you are seeking from God begins with a commitment to where He has placed you?

Ask God for vision for your community. God will grant expectations for a future and hope! You will begin to see community in a new way (vision). You will pray from a place of faith, with expectation and hope for its future. As we have His heart for our city, our prayer life takes on new dimensions. God promises that we will find Him!

Will you and I be prepared to pay the price for victory over our cities? To commit where God has placed us? To pray, bless, and serve others?

There is a high price to be paid in personal discipline, prayer, and obedience.

Jesus came to reveal the Father, to atone for us, and to teach us how to live. He also came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has commissioned us to do likewise.

Business as usual is not good enough. God has much more in mind. Are our expectations of God too low?

Are we participating in the sin of unbelief when we entertain despair or indifference over the moral, environmental, social, and spiritual needs of our cities?

The power of the gospel has radically impacted the life of cities for nearly 2,000 years, but most importantly our cities must become places of harvest!

Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “God’s Love for Our Cities, Part 3”

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