Week 13 of The Way: a new series on the Book of Acts
On Sunday, Tim talked about the importance of the city in spreading the gospel. Acts 11 tells the story of one of the Church's first big expansions at the Roman city of Antioch. While the Disciples originally went to share the Gospel only with the Jews there, God surprised the early church by pouring out his Spirit on the gentiles as well (Acts 11:21). The diversity of the city of Antioch made it the perfect place for the gospel to spread elsewhere as many different ethnic groups encountered the Word and believed.
The role of the city is vital in the process of evangelism. When the Disciples were first commissioned, it was done in a city (Luke 24:48, Acts 2), Jerusalem. Because Jerusalem was a hub for the Jewish world, like Antioch, it was the ideal place to spread the word of the resurrection amongst God's people.
God's plan for Creation seems directly tied to the city. In Revelation 21 we see the image of the New Jerusalem as the final manifestation of God's act of redemption throughout the world. When the new heaven and the new earth collide, an image that has traditionally represented the restoration of humanity's relationship with God, the center of it all is still the city (21:2).
Cities bring proximity. In the book of Revelation, this means proximity to God; the thing humans have craved most since the Fall. On Earth, this means proximity to those we are not expecting God to reach. The earliest Christians were not expecting God to extend his grace to the Gentiles, (Acts 11:1-18) but still God did!
Our city is likewise positioned at a convergence point for ideas, cultures, and languages.
There are many communities in Seattle: ethnic, fiscal, and different marginalized groups. Our church is also located in the epicenter of Seattle; we are the geographic middle. All the business and life happening in our city revolves, quite literally, around the block containing Denny Park. Like the early church, we are at the heart of a community that God is preparing to reach with His love and grace.
How do you feel God is calling you to join Him in caring for our city at a deeper level?
Where do you see opportunities for our A Seattle Church community to love and serve our neighbors well?
What is one way you can invite other ASC folks to love your neighbors alongside of you, that we see God’s new city come in Seattle as it is in heaven?