Citizens of God in the City of Man
Hallelujah. This morning we observe the first week of Advent. This is a season where Christians around the world observe Christmas, and it comes from the Latin word adventus. Hope, love, joy, peace are the 4 themes for each week of Advent. Saint Augustine was one of the most prominent fathers of the early church, and he wrote a book called: The city of God. There were 2 cities in this book: The city of God, and the city of man. All men lives in this city of men, but all Christians are living in the city of God and changed their allegiance. The governor of this city of man is the prince of this world. Ephesians 2:1-2. So we must take action to grow in our assurance of faith. The world thinks we are smoking our spiritual opium. The governor of the city of man will tempt us with power, fame, wealth, comfort, safety. But there is no safety for those living under Satan’s jurisdiction. There is an order of love in every human being, whoever is at the top most order demands our sacrifices. Example: If our career is the top most order, that will demand most of our time. Whatever is top most in your heart will demand your attention, and make you look upon it and anchor your life upon it. Such things do not last, temporary, fleeting attractions that are weapons of mass distraction.
The 2 citizens in the city of God are living in the city of man. Abraham and Lot. When God called Abraham to the Promised Land, Lot followed, and both reached Canaan. In Genesis 12:7, God promises Abraham that his descendants will inherit this land. The harvest fails, they are at risk of salvation, they must have been so confused, didn’t God promise to bless them? So they look to Egypt and decided to compromise with their faith, to return to Canaan as soon as things get better. God’s promise had lost its place in their ladder of loves, now Egypt sits on the throne. Egypt demands a sacrifice. Abraham sacrifices his wife. He remains silent as the Pharaoh took Sarah into his bed chamber, and Abraham receives much livestock and gifts. God judges Pharaoh and Abraham leaves back Egypt back into Canaan.
Next the land of Canaan fails them when Abraham and Lot had everything and were already rich. Genesis 13:6. Abraham gives Lot the first choice, even though he was the elder. He was giving the first choice to God. He was in fact giving the first choice to God, whether it is little or the land of plenty, I will hold on to Your promise. Abraham repented and was holding on to God’s assurance. Genesis 13:9. He has enthroned the God of blessings, rather than the blessings of God. Yet Lot chooses the best place, not to the north or south but to the east to Sodom. Genesis 13:10.
Genesis 4:16, Genesis 11:2, Cain, the people, Lot etc moving is not just a physical migration but a spiritual movement of his soul. Lot wanted the garden of the Lord but without the Lord of the garden. Even though Lot had left Egypt, Egypt had not left Lot. The allure of Egypt still had its grip over Lot’s heart, it motivated him to move into the valley of Sodom. Lot still lusted after the things in the city of man. The Israelites too dreamt of Egypt as they journeyed through the Promised Land.
Numbers 11:4-5. Egypt symbolizes our lives before repentance, our lives before we lived according to God’s Word. James 4:4, Genesis 14:12, Genesis 19:24. Only 6 chapters passed by before the city was destroyed. 6 chapters feel like a long time. Lot had marriages to plan, business to expand and a lot to do, but at the blink of an eye, he lost everything. James 4:13-14. Genesis 18:1-2. Abraham bargains for the salvation of the city of Sodom, there were not even 10 righteous men. 2 angels warned Lot about the judgment of the city in Genesis 19:15. Genesis 19:15. Because of the 2 angels, Lot escapes the judgment by fire. God saved Lot from the judgment even though Lot had no place for God in his heart. Perhaps these 2 angels from God foreshadow Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, whom God sends to the city of man, to warn us of the coming judgment, give salvation and amnesty.
City of Man = Egypt, Sodom, this world.
2000 years ago in the city of man, the Son of God Jesus Christ was born. He declared the impending arrival of the city of God. John 17:14-17.
Conclusion: How shall we journey to the city of God?
We might have come with a heavy heart. But let this advent season be one filled with hope that is eternal. The gospel is a hope that gets clearer and clearer as the cross we bear gets heavier and heavier. Apostle Paul describes it as such: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. We are not to passively wait with idle hands but with vigour and diligence. Hebrews 12:1-2.
First we must lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, it means we should reflect on the order in our hearts. The enemy is always trying to get the top spot in our heart, he is always trying to purchase a unit in our hearts, making a bigger and bigger offer daily. Let us not be nice landlords to Satan.
Second we must run with endurance the race set before us. it means the capacity to hold up in the face of difficulty. That means our journey to heaven will be difficult but it will not be long.
Third we must look to Jesus. We must scour and scavenge each and every Word in the bible.
Deuteronomy 32:7 (ESV) Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.
We must ask the forerunners of our faith, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and apostles for their testimonies on Jesus. It is through the scriptures that our hope in Christ will not be minimized but maximized in assurance at the 2nd Coming.
Abraham left his father’s house to claim God’s promise for him.
Jesus left His Father’s place in heaven to claim God’s promise for us.
Likewise Jesus is calling us at the right hand of God in heaven, to come out of the city of man (this world).
Revelation 18:4 (ESV) Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;