Summary: Years ago, we often heard about churches and their strategies to win their city to Christ. Now it is a forgotten vision, but it's our last great hope.
Introduction: When I was a young pastor in a town of 300, I believed God wanted me to win that city to Christ.
Years ago, we often heard about churches and their strategies to win their city to Christ.
Ill: Today, it is rare to ever hear anyone talk about it or see a church strategize to do it. (Gather 1000 Pastors and 5000 of their leaders and ask them, “Can you give me your church’s specific strategy to capture and win your city to Christ?” and they would fumble their words and spiritualize it in some way, but most would be absolutely ignorant spiritually on why you should do it and strategically on how to do it.)
App: Yes, it is a forgotten vision: capturing your city for Jesus Christ. Evangelical churches and Southern Baptist churches even more specifically talk about the need to do it “over there” more than “right here.” Over there, meaning over and across the seas, rather than right here in this region of Virginia. Our eyes have to be both places!
What is happening in this passage?
*Ministering in Athens, Greece
*Great intellectual center of the world
*Paul talked Jesus everywhere: Jewish synagogue to the
marketplace, wherever he was living life.
*Paul encountered the Epicureans, who believed God was
not involved in the affairs of man, and the Stoics,
who believed they were self-sufficient. (Familiar?)
*Both groups brought him to their major court of justice
known as the Areopagus, and they listened to his
T.S.: With this background, let’s talk about capturing your city for Jesus Christ. What can we learn from this passage
and how do we do it? If you are going to capture your city for Jesus Christ, you have to:
1. Understand your city. (vs. 22-25)
Exp: Paul told them: Religious, worship idols, and offer your lives and worship to what you regard as an unknown god. (vs. 22-23a)
Paul then declared to them: While you live in the land of the religious, you also live in the land of the lost! All you are worshipping is dead and is in vain! You worship the unknown, but let me tell you about who God is: Creator,
Sovereign Lord of all, Omni-present, Sufficient, and the Life-Giver, the Life-Sustainer, and the Life-Provider!
Paul told them that God was so big He could not be contained and that He was so sufficient, He had absolutely no needs at all.
Ill: If you live in America, you live in the Land of the Lost!
Thousands and thousands of people are offering their lives weekly and daily to their dead gods!
Ill: In our region of Northwest Arkansas, we know that at least 65% of the region is lost without Jesus Christ.
App: If you are going to capture your city for Jesus Christ, you have to understand your city as lost and in need of a Savior. How many lost people live in the greater Roanoke region? If you do not know, why don’t you know? If you do not know, who will know?
2. See your city the way Jesus sees your city.
How do you need to see your city? You have to see it:
Common Creator-God; Common Ancestry-Adam; Common Problem-Sin, which began at the Fall of Adam.
Nation-“Ethnos”-people group, ethnicity. Therefore, all ethnicities, races and ethnicities go back to Adam. This rules out all racism and prejudice!
Common Savior: Jesus—Cross—Equal Ground.
Therefore, this should motivate us to go to all people in our city and reach them for Christ—common in all, but we also need a common Savior. Without Him, LOST! God has placed you in the LAND OF THE LOST!
“determined allotted periods”-This means that Sovereign God fixed out, marked out, and designated the “whens” and “wheres” of your life. (When we live, Where we live)
“boundaries of your dwelling places”-This means that not only does God determine your race and nationality, as well as when you will live in His timeline, but He determines where you will live. He determines your boundaries! (Divine Plan and THIS is your destiny!)
Providence, God, has guided you and is caring for you!
THEREFORE, every person in this region, God has brought here providentially as a part of His plan! (Why?)
(v. 27) Seek and go after God - they will grope through life and find Jesus! He is NOT far from them! Why?
God has brought every person in your city as a part of His Sovereign plan so that they can seek God here and find Jesus Christ, who in Him alone we live and move and discover our destiny!
THEREFORE, if you are going to capture your city for Jesus Christ, you have to see your city as lost theologically, placed here providentially, and destined here purposefully.