Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.
Today we continue our series titled The Doctrine of God.
Today we are talking about The City of God.
In Jesus name we pray.
Psalm 87:3 AMP
3 Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God [Jerusalem]. Selah.
Psalm 87:1-7 AMP
The Privileges of Citizenship in Zion.
A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song.
1 His foundation is on the holy mountain.
2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob (Israel).
3 Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God [Jerusalem]. Selah.
4 “I will mention Rahab (Egypt) and Babylon among those who know Me—
Behold, Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia (Cush)—
‘This one was born there.’”
5 But of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her,”
And the Most High Himself will establish her.
6 The Lord will count, when He registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.” Selah.
7 The singers as well as the players of flutes will say,
“All my springs and sources of joy are in you [Jerusalem, city of God].”
Woven into the very fabric of the Bible is the dream of a city to come. The city of God.
To the Jews, Jerusalem was a figure, a type, a symbol of this city of God about which they dimly dreamed.
When the psalmist said, Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God [Jerusalem], he was referring to Jerusalem.
The psalm as a whole makes this clear.
But behind the curtain of the years, shadows may be seen moving about in the eternal city as the light shines through.
Three things about the city of God claim our attention.
- The vision of the city.
A. The ancient seers saw that vision.
The psalmist of old saw the vision of the city.
Psalm 48 was written to commemorate God’s deliverance of Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah.
The angel of death passed n the night through the sleeping Assyrians and left185000 dead bodies around the city.
The psalmist said, in Psalm 48:8, As we have heard, so have we seen
In the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God:
God will establish her forever. Selah.
Earlier Abraham had seen the vision of the city of God.
Called out of his own city, with only God’s promise to lean on, Abraham wandered from place to place following God’s will for his life.
In Hebrews 11:9-10 the writer’s benediction on Abraham is this, 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, as in a strange land, living in tents [as nomads] with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise.
10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.
This was most meaningful to Jewish readers, who had a history of slavery, exile, and now dispersion with the city of Jerusalem laid to waste.
The eyes of those who belonged to the Lord turned to the future.
With Abraham they liked for a city “whose builder and maker is God”.
The prophet Isaiah also saw the vision of the city.
Isaiah 26:1 says,
Song of Trust in God’s Protection
26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts.
Isaiah describes the glories of the restored city.
Where is this city of the prophet’s vision, and when is its glory revealed?
Beyond any doubt, Isaiah 60 celebrated the return from captivity.
Later generations took this chapter as foretelling their liberation from their oppressors.
In any case, the Jews would answer, “the place is Jerusalem, and the time is the near future.”
But surely the prophet’s vision meant more than that!
Suppose the prophet had seen the promise of this chapter literally fulfilled, with Jerusalem the capital of a world empire receiving tribute from afar.
Suppose he had seen gold and silver as plentiful in the city as brass and iron.
Would these tokens of prosperity have satisfied him?
Isaiah would have said, “this is not what God showed me in the vision.
It is only what I said I had seen because it could not be described more accurately.
Now the supernatural light has all gone out of the picture, the religious value of the vision has vanished.”
Others besides the Jews have had their vision of the city of God.
The Greek philosophers had their heavenly city of which all good men were already subjects.
But the vision is too great for the framework in which we try to interpret is.
If we asked the average Christian today, “Where is the city of God, and when is it’s glory to be revealed?”
They would probably reply, “The time is in the unknown future, and the place is beyond the stars.”
The vision is a real revelation of God, but we do not see it clearly, and we do not understand it completely.
We try to find a time and a place for it in our own world, within our own thoughts, to which is does not really belong.
2. The feature of the city as seen in the vision.
How can the city be identified?
What is heaven like?
- We seek a city that is like a family with God as Father, Jesus as Elder Brother, and the Holy Spirit as Comforter.
B. We seek a city where brotherhood prevails.
It is a city without walls, because no enemies are there and the redeemed dwell together in brotherly love.
This city is the full realisation of the community of humankind.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:9, but just as it is written [in Scripture],
“Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”
C. We seek a city that is a moral bastion, a fortress of ultimate integrity.
The Bible’s climatic chapter describes it, Revelation 21:27, and nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations [detestable, morally repugnant things] and lying, but only those [will be admitted] whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
D. We seek a city that is a workshop.
The notion that in heaven we will be stretched out eternally on flowery beds of ease has an unquestioned appeal to some, but is mistaken.
Heaven isn’t that ind of place.
People who have never worked and won’t work wouldn’t fit in there.
They wouldn’t like it.
That city will be a place of creative and satisfying work for God where as it says in Revelation 22:3, His bond-servants will serve and worship Him.
E. We seek a city where our real citizenship is.
Paul told the Philippians in 3:20, But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
The Christian view of the city of God is realistic.
The city of God already penetrates this present life but has not yet come to fruition.
Meanwhile we must conduct ourselves as citizens of Christ.
The vision of that city to come influences the life we now live.
3. The values of the vision in our lives.
- The vision of that city has strengthened God’s great saints throughout the ages.
B. The vision of that city sustained the early Christians.
C. The vision of that city gave Christians throughout the centuries the power to rise out of the ashes to rebuild the earthly city.
D. The vision of that city will sustain us today.
E. The vision of that city will not only sustain us, it will give us the power to go on.
Once we have seen the vision, once we have had a glimpse of the city of God, we can go on and on and not falter, because as Hebrews 13:14 says, “We seek the city which is to come.”
This is the vision, its features, its values.
Let us keep going in the faith that the lights are on in the Father’s house in the city of God.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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