Views from the Pew – Let’s Build a City

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: Does Jeremiah 29:11 mean that God intends to give you prosperity in this lifetime?

Q2: Are Christians considered to be aliens in the scriptures or just in recent times?

Q3: Are Christians commanded to live a quiet life and work hard, or are we commanded to go out into the world and make a big impact for Christ?

Q4: Are Christians suppose to endure suffering or be protected from it?

Sermon Summary & Answers

Pastor Wilson’s twenty-one-minute introduction to today’s sermon was jam-packed with bold Christian truths and their correlating scripture proofs.

  1. Christians are, by definition, aliens and strangers in this world. It’s no wonder we suffer here.
  2. Christians are to separate from sin (within ourselves and in the church).
  3. Christian-aliens, live as strangers in the world – not of the world. We are to have influence for Christ and be salt and light in this carnal world.
  4. Christians, while they are in the world, should work to build a city.

To go out into the world and do anything God tells us to do, we have to be careful because there are wolves around every corner. We have to be shrewd and strategic about how we do it Matthew 10:16. So, God doesn’t just leave us to figure that out on our own. He gives us loads of instructions.

1 Thessalonians 4:11–12
11 (But we urge you) … to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

Firstly, we can’t get caught out as hypocritical, so we must not be in everyone else’s business. Then we must be hard at work providing for ourselves, so we won’t need to ask others for help. Then we will give appropriately toward unbelievers in the watching world. This has always been one of God’s basic and practical plans for us. We see this played out when the prophet Jeremiah told the Jews that God would let them be captured and have to live in Babylon for 70 years, and then they would be released to go home (Jerusalem). God simply wanted to have them do basic things (build, plant, procreate) to build up the city without tarnishing their witness for God (Jeremiah 29:5-7). They were aliens doing basic work for God. We are aliens with that same city-building task in rural Kentucky. It is essential to God despite the nasty voices then and now who say, “rebel, don’t participate in civic affairs, don’t help grow your city”.

God’s promise to ultimately return us home to live with Him again in the future is foreshadowed here with his pledge to the soon-to-be captives in Babylon. Then he says the famous text… (Jeremiah 29: 11) ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

People so often use this text to refer to good things happening to them while they are on this earth, but it is not talking about that. He specifically wanted those people in that time to work (build a city) where they were and influence that city. He gave them a timeline of their going and coming back – that’s what the future hope was referring to – home, not success and riches. God has no intention of you “living your best life now”. He wants believers to live their best life forever in the new Kingdom once we have done all we can to help build that Kingdom.

If you want to understand the “calamity” (suffering) that Christians are told they must actually endure, as Christ endured, please listen to Sunday’s 2nd Hour lesson…

So, back to Nehemiah…

God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to build Jerusalem after the wall had been rebuilt. So, he did. He had some people on the outskirts of town move in and started living there permanently, giving the city life. Pastor Wilson points out as we look at the extensive list of names that all of those people mattered in the city building. My goodness, they are listed in the most important, prolific book ever known to mankind, but none of them mattered too much. Isn’t that us. We and our ordinary lives matter so much to God. However, none of us matters too much. We don’t need to reach out to make our mark on the world. We need to reach out and simply declare His mighty work, all the while working quietly and diligently right where He has us now—ordinary, obedient, and hopeful.

“People today don’t value the ordinary as they must … they are consumed with looking for the drama – – the VIRAL MOMENT … And if you get sucked up in that – – you’ll see it will suck the life right out of you – – because that isn’t life. It isn’t a succession of the spectacular – – it is a succession of ordinary – Even your spectacular, measured over time – – is ordinary.

Paul told the Corinthians – – nothing has overtaken you that isn’t common to man. Are you prepared to help build the city and be unnoticed for it? Are you committed to obscurity – – many will be needed who are willing to do that. ”

Pastor Steve Wilson

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Melissa Strautman

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  1. No…but many people sell that lie.
  2. Christians are most definitely aliens because our home is in heaven with Christ.
  3. Christians are commanded to live a quiet life, working hard at whatever work God puts in front of us so that we may behave properly and not be in need.
  4. Christians are supposed to suffer while on earth.