Over the next four weeks @ The City Church, I will be preaching a sermon series on who we are….“The City on a Hill.” These four weeks are for anyone who cares about The City Church. We will asking questions like What is God calling us to do? How can we fulfill our mission by being a City on a Hill?
We are a thriving church, with an increasingly diverse congregation, reaching beyond stereotypes, reaching urban, city, Redford, Detroit and beyond. We are reaching our city and impacting greater Detroit with the good news of the gospel and by helping people where they are. We are the City Church and we are a group of people who come together as one family to worship Jesus, help others and preach the gospel.
This month we take each Sunday show you from the Bible what that means? How your involvement is crucial and where we are going in the future! Enjoy!
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:14-17
We are the Church in the Twenty First Century. We are living in post-Christian times. By this I do not mean that there aren’t enough churches in America, there are…but Christianity is no longer the prevailing influence on the mind and heart of our culture. The light on the hill is dim yet the darkness is spreading. The city on a hill is who we are supposed to be.
Abraham Lincoln, our president who ended slavery wrote over a hundred years ago….“We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation. But we have forgotten God.”
Lincoln was President during a time when it was ok to call black men slaves and own people like animals. Yes, we have abolished slavery, but not much has changed. Color still defines many, racism is still prevalent, homelessness, poverty, aids, STD’s, under privileged youth, minority crime /jail proportion, abuse, power struggles, gang wars, drug dealers, pimps…this doesn’t seem to me like we have fixed the problem that has plagued humanity…rather to those of us with an ear on the streets we see it as a virus that is adapting and about to spread.
Jesus is still the answer. He was the answer 2000 years ago and he is still the answer today. Although our country used to be more religious, I would say that religion was the beginning of this downfall. We started to think that if we dressed up and cleaned up the outside, but didn’t change the inside, everything would just be ok. It’s not. But we don’t turn to Jesus…rather as a society and individually we turn to…
For years our country has sang “God Bless America” while millions live in poverty. Each week millions drive to church, passing addicts on the way and that doesn’t bother us. No more pharisees people. We are all in this together. Religion has and always will be about the show, the presentation and the image. That doesn’t work. From legislating morality in politics to guilt preaching from the pulpit…religion fails because religion is just man dressing up his depravity.
Relativism is just radical skepticism, it is the rejection of absolute truth. Yet sadly, is a view that is prevalent today. It is that what’s right for me is right for me, but not right for you. But the question I ask is what If my right says your right is wrong…relativism doesn’t work. Truth is truth whether you want to admit it or not. British Author Steve Turner wrote: “We (relativist) believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly.” Your killing me here…that is garbage. The belief that the only absolute is that there is no absolutes defeats its own logic for to say there are no absolutes is an absolute.
Narcism is radical individualism, it is being infatuated with ones self. We are a country that loves ourself. We preach to kids self-esteem and tell everyone that anyone can do anything, but the truth is that some will win and some will lose. Narcissus (in greek mythology) was a youth who fell in love with himself by starring at his own reflection in a pool. As he gazed with wonder at himself he wasted away and died but was transformed into a beautiful flower. Robert Schuller said…”Self-love is, or should be, the basic will in human life.” When people think this way they feel justified in doing whatever makes them feel good, or whatever is in their best interest. No longer is about doing right, it is about me and myself being happy.
So we see what people turn to today…but what was church like back in the first century? Who was the first church? What did they do? For if we are to be like Jesus and as Christians follow the example of the early church as outlined in the Bible we need to follow the blueprint.
- The First-Century Church
When we look to the Bible we see God’s plan for the church at all times and places. So for us to understand what we are to do today, we need to go back to the first century.
- A Gospel Church
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
The first church was founded on the gospel. Jesus had called his disciples and they followed him. After Jesus died on the cross and then resurrected, those disciples multiplied. They helped the sick, they fed the poor, they loved people despite who they were or what they had done…and they preached the gospel. The gospel is that Jesus died, was burried and rose again. It is that we are sinners and if we confess our sins, pray to Jesus for forgiveness, Jesus will forgive us our sins and become our Savior.
- A Teaching Church
Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship,to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
In Acts 2 we see they first devoted themselves to teaching…everything depends on the plain teaching of God’s Word. It is the Word that establishes the church by bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The first church devoted themselves to Bible teaching. This is community, this is discipleship, this is church attendance. One of our primary reasons for meeting together corporately is that teaching, studying, preaching and passion for truth is the only way that our church will survive in post-Christian times.
- A Worshipping Church
Acts 2:46-47 “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The early church constantly gathered for worship. Daily the first christians went at set times to the temple. Privately and publicly, corporately and in small group community they worshipped God together. They gave their hearts to give glory to God.
- A Caring Church
Acts 2:44-45 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
The first century church was a caring church. They made a radical choice to please God by helping others. It wasn’t just a sharing church but a giving church. No one claimed any of his possessions but rather as a community, a family helped the helpless. This first church was not a white church or a black church, a rich church or a poor church…but a family church. It was a multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-generational community that was united but faith in Jesus CHrist and thus committed to care for anyone in need.
- A Growing Church
Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Notice the result….outsiders, guests and friends were impressed by this caring community and wanted to partner with them. By the grace of God…a teaching, worshipping, and caring church becomes a growing church. For this church evangelism, telling people about Jesus, inviting them to church, attending worship was more than a special one time event but rather apart of normal life. As they had opportunity, they testified to their own personal faith in Jesus Christ. They engaged their community by helping them, by inviting them, by loving them and by sharing with them.
So what does the world need? What does Detroit need? What does west side and east side need? What do we need? What do I need? What do you need?
A Church for Christ is what is needed. God has designed a plan for the church and if we follow the plan we become exactly what the world needs. There are some basic Biblical priorities that cannot be over emphasized that we here at The City Church are all about:
To uphold a tradition of strong expository preaching by gifted men of God
To worship God in a worthy manner through thoughtful words, devoted prayers and excellent music
To integrate every member of the congregation into Bible studies and other groups where individual needs can be met and each can minister to others
To supply loving pastoral care for each member of the church family
To provide an effective Christian environment to inform, train, and disciple all members of the congregation
To advance the missionary work of the church in the local community and around the world
To serve the church by its community ministries and programs of grace
These objectives form the basis for all that we do and all that we are. Next week, Rick is going to challenge us on how we give praise to God as a Church. Next Sunday we take the next step as we see that we are A City on a Hill, but before we take the next step we must first all be on the same team and heading in the right direction. This is who we are and this is where we are going…join us.
The City Church Exist to Make Disciples, Plant Campuses and Churches, making many Small Communities into One City for the Glory of God through Lives Changed by the Gospel.
Our deepest desire is to bring glory to God through lives changed by the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray that our church will be a place where you can experience the love of God. We are a group of friendly, happy people who have discovered the joy of the Christian lifestyle by a relationship with Jesus Christ.
We do this by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, training leaders, planting campuses & churches, and working to establish a Biblical legacy.