THE WRITER EXHORTS THE PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST OUT OF THE CITY
April 13th, 2003, Sunday Evening
Leaving your city for the Heavenly City, today
OPENING: Hebrews 13:7-14
- He is not commanding them but encouraging them to continue following Him
(because when you love someone [God] you don't have to be commanded to follow them)
- Hebrews 12:2: Jesus was willing to die on the cross because He knew
ahead of time what joy it would bring to humankind
- His death is required for man to have the ability to be
to God and not suffer God's wrath at His Judgment Day.
- Hebrews 12:3: Everyone becomes tired and needs rest. Just don't quit;
if you feel like quitting, first consider the odds Jesus endured and conquered--the whole world
was against Him
- Colossians 1:23-34: Nobody suffered for preaching the
Gospel more than Paul--and he called his afflictions light!
- And the writer gives the specific place to follow Jesus--"outside the city"
- Leviticus 16:27: In Biblical times, it was symbolic and customary of
God's law that sin offerings (the killing of an animal to atone for a single sin of man) were to
be performed outside the camp
- John 19:17: And just as then, Jesus was taken outside the city
to be sacrificed (crucified) because He was considered the same: a sin offering--but to
atone for the sins of all the world, to time's end
- Jesus' death marked the end of the sacrificial system because with His death, no more
sin offerings had to be made--Jesus paid up to the very last sin at the end of time
- From this we can conclude that sin originated from inside the city;
therefore, let your heart and mind "leave the city" by forsaking all the earthly treasures and pleasures this world has to offer
and dwell on considering God's Heavenly future city
- If we, believers in God, follow Him, then
shouldn't we--metaphorically speaking--follow Christ outside the city just as He did when he carried
the cross to His crucifixion? (Leadership by example--God doesn't expect us to do anything He wouldn't)
- We leave much behind as we decide to follow the Lord Jesus Christ
- Being labeled "right-wing, religious fanatics" already puts us "outside the community" by those
- People may admire our work but will always keep a safe distance from us for political reasons
(i.e., corporations/businesses severing ties with church-related events so as not to offend other
anti-church groups tied to that company)
- Outside the U.S., just being a Christian is enough to consider us enemies and traitors to other
countries' beliefs and religions which usually results in oppression and/or death
THERE IS NOT MUCH WE ARE LEAVING BEHIND, LEAVING THE CITY
- Earthly cities--especially those with symbolic meaning and those man believes he has
fortified beyond breach--do not last indefinitely
- Genesis 13:13, 19:24-28: The city of earthly pleasure, Sodom and Gomorrah,
did not last
- Joshua 6:16-21: Jericho's mighty walls came down with only the shout of
men--not swords or machines
- "9/11": the most powerful financial city in the world fell--the World Trade Center
- The quickness of the fall of Baghdad, Iraq, shocked the Arab world
- God's holy city of Jerusalem fell and was re-built; and according to the Bible, will fall
- Revelation 18:9-10: Babylon will fall again soon--with man crying for it
- All worldly cities have always been filled with false hope--there is never anything
forever-lasting in them
- Genesis 4:17: The first city was built by Adam's grandson (his son Cain's son),
Enoch; the city was named after himself (Enoch) and the foundation laid was that of earthly beauty
- The city was built with physical pleasure, charm, luxury, ornamentation and vanity, in mind--not
inner-beauty or quality; it was human-pleasing but not God-pleasing
- The problem with a godless city is not the city itself but the godless people
who live within
- Genesis 4:23: Godless people such as Enoch's descendents (Lamech)
who boast of being able to take care of themselves without help and exacting justice their
- We live in a similar day that becomes more unjust daily as people can pay for justice by
bribing those who are appointed to exact the law (such as judges)
- Even God's earthly, holy city of Jerusalem was not a lasting city
- Genesis 14:18: A "priest of the Most High God" came from there
- King David, a "man after God's own heart," (Acts 13:22) made Jerusalem a political
capital by bring the Ark to it
- Because of God's presence there, it became almost a holy city
- However, as with man's mindset from the beginning of time, man turned from God and God let
Jerusalem fall (many times) to its enemies
- Matthew 5:11-12: Gain in "leaving the city" is being
blessed by God
- There is no hope in an earthly city--whether it be built on the foundation
of God or sin
- We will never find the basis/meaning of life from a city; it's not where we live that's important
but whether the life we live, where God has placed you, is pleasing to God
- Biblical history has repeatedly shown men of God were all shepherds--they constantly moved,
seeking the Lord's will
WE ARE TO SEEK THE HEAVENLY CITY THAT IS COMING
- Revelation 21: We are promised the forthcoming Heavenly City of Jerusalem:
"1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed
away, and there was no longer any sea.
2. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride
beautifully dressed for her husband.
3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will
live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away."
5. He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true."
6. He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is
thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
7. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
8. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who
practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning
sulfur. This is the second death."
9. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me,
"Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City,
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
11. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a
jasper, clear as crystal.
12. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates
were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
13. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles
of the Lamb.
15. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its
16. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the
rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia (about 1,400 miles or 2,200 km) in length, and as wide
and high as it is long.
17. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits (about 200 feet or 65 meters) thick,(or high)
by man's measurement, which the angel was using.
18. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
19. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first
foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20. The fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth
topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the
city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light,
and the Lamb is its lamp.
24. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
25. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
26. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
27. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,
but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."
- Revelation 21:27: Among the city's description is this key element:
"Nothing evil will be permitted in it--no one immoral or dishonest--but only those
whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
- Hebrews 11:10: A City who's Builder and Maker is God
- Hebrews 12:22: A City populated not only by your
saved friends and family but the angels
- Revelation 22:14-15: Roles will be reversed--the clean will live
inside the city, the unclean outside--forever
"14.Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and
may go through the gates into the city.
15.Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the
idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
- Our mission is to seek THIS home
- Hebrews 10:34: By seeking this home, you not only not care about your
earthly possessions being lost or stolen (like the people of Jerusalem just before 70 A.D.),
you joy in it because you already know of a better home and possessions awaiting you
Seeking and finding Jesus (by becoming saved)
has eternal impact
Hebrews 11:16: Those who have faith
seek a "better country" today, just as those who had faith in Biblical times did
- ASIDE: Hebrews 11 is the Bible's chapter regarding faith
2 Corinthians 4:18: What is seen by your eyes is temporal (earthly cities);
what is unseen is eternal (the forthcoming Heavenly City of New Jerusalem)
We will live in The City where the sun never sets, with our friends and family and without
pain and sadness, forever
As the last verse of "Amazing Grace" says: we'll be rejoicing in God's City just as much
in the 10,000th year as on the first day!
The saved begin by roaming in a garden but
will end in The New City; the ungodly start in a earthly city and will end up outside