Summary: This sermon was part of a service of Prayer for our City. For Christ to reach a nation, he must reach the cities.
Why> the City
(Church of the City Prayer Service)
– Combined, Bi-lingual Service
ED - Message:
Today our church is participating in something that is happening in 80 other congregations of all kinds across the city of San Antonio.
About a month ago Dallas, Jesus, and I attended a breakfast meeting where San Antonio church leaders explained about a trans-denominational prayer initiative to pray for San Antonio and to invite God to do mighty things to change the spiritual climate of our city. They also called upon God to unite Christians to behave the way Jesus prayed the church would behave before a watching world, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:21.
I was excited to hear that in 350 cities and two nations across the world astounding changes are taking place because Christians are praying and cooperating together, behaving as the church at large in each city. The results of Spirit led prayer and unity by Christians across denominational lines can be something more powerful than Revival, often causing up to 80% of people in some cities to come to Christ, and transforming everything about the cities including falling crime rates, drop in alcoholism and drug use, improvement in family situations, and get this … Packed out Churches filled with new converts!!
Let me give a brief example of a transformed city. The town of Almolongo, Guatemala had a population of about 20,000. Years ago conditions there were dreadful, with rampant alcoholism and drug usage, broken families, soaring crime that got so bad they had to build 4 jails to hold all the prisoners incarcerated there. Spiritually, many people worshiped a local deity introduced to them by witch doctors. Sensing the spiritual and moral quagmire they were in, the 12 churches in that small town began to pray for their town, and church leaders began to reach out to each other to pray for and support each other. Soon they were holding city-wide prayer services and Christians began to worship God together in the center of town. Well, it got everyone’s attention when Christians began to represent Christ and God’s Word rather than just staying within the confines of their denominational traditions. Even Catholics and Protestants began to meet together to pray and praise God. Soon people began seeking God by the thousands and all 12 churches were filled with new converts yearning to learn more about God and how to serve Him. The change was so far reaching that even the crops began to produce bigger fruit and vegetables that grew faster and matured sooner than the local farmers had ever seen before. They went from one harvest per year to 3 harvests with carrots as large as a man’s forearm and turnips as large as melons. And the transformation of Almolongo began to have an impact on surrounding towns in that part of Guatamala, all because Christians prayed and behaved like the the church which is the body of Christ.
That is our purpose in joining with 80other churches today to lift our united prayers to God for our city. And we share our belief in Jesus Christ as the answer to the problems and challenges of our city. We do not agree with other churches on every point of doctrine or practice. But we do share in the culture and traditions of our city. And, more important, we share our belief in Jesus Christ and God’s Word as the answer to the problems and challenges of our city. That is the basis of our prayers today.
Now, I have to admit I’m a country boy at heart. Up until I was 10, I lived in rural Ohio in a farming area. My Grandfather and Uncle both had daries. For most of our early marriage, Susan and I lived in tiny Arcadia, Texas where we had chickens and a goat in our back yard. The fact is, I like country life. But I’m glad I live in the city. Let me tell you why.
You see, the city is where any real change in a society can happen The. last command Jesus gave us was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 18:19-20
The book of Acts tells about the first efforts to fulfill this command Jesus gave. When you read about the Apostle Paul and his mission work, you find that it was almost completely urban-centered. He went to the largest cities rather than focusing his efforts in the countryside and small towns. Why? Because Paul understood that as the city goes, so goes the nation.