Mission to the City - Week 1
Mission to the City: Week 1
Applying the Gospel’s Narrative Arc: Outline
- While running, Haddon asked me if we will have the same parents when we come back to life.
- The gospel is a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant can swim.
- There is one gospel but different forms in which this one gospel can be expressed.
What is the Gospel?
- First, briefly share with those around you---what is the Gospel?
- Good news about what Jesus has done that has implications both personal and global.
Good News Elements:
- (1) The identity of Jesus as Son of God and Messianic King
- (2) The death of Jesus for sin and justification
- (3) The establishment of the reign of God [Kingdom] and the new creation/renewal
Thinking about the Gospel:
But the Gospel is bigger than us. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis says this: “What I learned from the Idealists, and still most strongly hold, is this maxim: it is more important that Heaven should exist than that any of us should reach it.”
- Global (Lewis-every religion is Cosmic)
- God created the world, and it was very good (Gen 1-2)
- One word-Shalom, peace. Earth was full of God’s peace.
- Where the story begins, God’s vision, identity/values
- “In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing…it seemed to come from all directions at once…Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was beyond comparison, he most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful, Digory could hardly bear it.”
- “Aslan stood in the center of a circle created by all the animals he had just made, and he said to them, “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
- God imagined a universe, and set it into motion. Sun, moon, stars, mountains, bird, butterflies, and his crown jewel, a man and a woman. His crown jewels were given a mission, to have dominion of the earth and subdue it. To care for the world in God’s name.
- Genesis teaches us that God’s creation is real and good. It also teaches us about the nature of the relationship between God and humanity. Adam and Eve had “response-ability”. • They had the ability to respond to God (personally), • They had the ability to respond to each other (corporately), • And they had the ability to respond to the creation (cosmically).
- Adam and Even rejected God’s rule over them, His kingdom. They were representatives of all humanity-so their actions impact us too.
- Adam and Eve sinning had a devastating impact on the world (Gen 3-11)
- Narnia was in perpetual coldness, devastated by a great evil. The world was in bondage until Aslan renewed and redeemed all things. Our world, too, is in bondage. Waiting for final liberation.
- Effects of sin: suffering and sorrow, a life of idols.
- The fall radically distorted the human heart and every aspect of creation, thus distorting the purposes God intended for his stewards. The mission was the same, the mandate remains, but now they must have dominion as fallen persons over a fallen world. This is key, the task of forming culture is still written into the human heart.
- The Fall - After the Fall, these three capacities for response were damaged and defaced. The Fall affects all three dimensions – personal, corporate, and cosmic: • Adam and Eve hid from God (personal). • Adam blames Eve; Eve blames the serpent (corporate). • Genesis 3:17 says the ground is “cursed” because of Adam and Eve (cosmic). Notice how all the dimensions, healthy in creation, are inverted after the Fall.
- God’s unfolding plan of redemption. A master plan to rescue fallen sinners and redeem His world. In the Person of Christ, God Himself renews and restores. The grand climax of the narrative, the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- We can participate in the mission of the kingdom in both word and deed.
- Our sin unleashed worldwide forces of destruction and disintegration.
- There is a promise of a day of salvation, as early as Genesis 3, a day where all will be made right. The seed of Eve will crush the serpent. God chooses, even here, to redeem his people and his world. The story points to redemption, the renewal of all things in the cross and resurrection of Christ. We yearn for peace again.
- Redemption extends to the whole cosmos. Romans 8:19-21 says that “creation itself will be liberated from its bondage” (cosmic).
- For our purposes, the story starts in a garden and ends in a city, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. God will purge the world of all evil. God’s relationship with his people ends not in a garden, but a city.
- We will see everything made new. We see only the first fruits now but cosmic restoration is coming! Our mandate remains, God has given us responsibility, dominion, be creative, understand what He has made. Love the world as God loves it. The call to care for God’s world, throughout the bible’s narrative arc, is powerful and all-consuming for those who know the king. Care for God’s world in his name, have dominion as you form families and cities, societies and cultures.
- 96:10- Earth will be renewed, the trees will sing for joy. Revelation 21, 22.
- “About half an hour later - or it might have been half a hundred years later, for time there is not like time here - Lucy stood with her dear friend, her oldest Narnian friend, the Faun Tumnus, looking down over the wall of that garden, and seeing all Narnia spread out below. But when you looked down you found that this hill was much higher than you had thought: it sank down with shining cliffs, thousands of feet below them and trees in that lower world looked no bigger than grains of green salt. Then she turned inward again and stood with her back to the wall and looked at the garden.
"I see," she said at last, thoughtfully. "I see now. This garden is like the stable. It is far bigger inside than it was outside."
"Of course, Daughter of Eve," said the Faun. "The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside."
Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden but whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange: she knew them all.
"I see," she said. "This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside the stable door! I see... world within world, Narnia within Narnia..."
"Yes," said Mr. Tumnus, "like an onion: except that as you continue to go in and in, each circle is larger than the last."”
“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
- The city will be a place where death will be replaced by life, where there will be no more mourning, no more pain, night will be replaced by light. Corruption will be replaced by purity. And the effects of the curse will be replaced by divine blessing. And God, himself, will reside in this city with his people.
- “ If…the story of salvation is creation, fall, redemption, restoration, then things look different…the purpose of redemption is not to escape the world but renew it. If we lose the emphasis on the corporate – on the kingdom – we lose the power of the Gospel for cultural transformation. “ – Keller
God invites us into the drama, in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
There is a prevailing Kingdom theme in Scripture:
We know the ending, that the Kingdom [all things under God’s reign] will be restored! Therefore, we have hope. But, whether you believe or not, consummation is coming. The kingdom will be restored.
When Jesus announces the kingdom, he introduces a reality that was meant to serve as a trustworthy compass for all we do in life.
A New Way: Creation à Fall à Redemption à Response à Consummation
In both instances there is both a process and a result. The process is moving from Good to Bad to ‘Perfectly Good’. But the result is a new creation. We will be a new creation and will experience that fully in the new heaven and the new earth and the earth will also be a new creation. The tension is the already/not yet.
When we are out of balance we focus on one over the other. I would assume we can all agree on the tenants of the personal. We are sinners, depraved, we need Jesus. He is the only way, etc. Emphasize reformed dogmatics.
Keller’s 4-Chapter Gospel Model
Where did we come from?
From God: the one and the relational
Why did things go wrong?
Because of sin: bondage and condemnation
What will put things right?
Christ: incarnation, substitution, restoration
How can I be put right?
Through faith: grace and trust
Incarnation: The Son of God came into the world as a man
Substitution: In our place condemned he stood
Restoration: The Judge will act
When talking about “Why we are here” NT Wright says:
“The fundamental answer…is that what we’re here for is to become genuine human beings, reflecting the God in whose image we are made, and doing so in worship on the one hand an in mission its full and large sense, on the other; and that we do this not least by ‘following Jesus’. The way this works out is that it produces, through the work of the Holy Spirit, a transformation of character.”
Why are we here? To reflect the image of the creator. To care about what the creator cares about. We want, crave, to be remade in the Creator’s image and then sent, as him image bearers, to and for the world.
Applying the Gospel’s Narrative Arc
- How did God originally intend for this to be?
- How would it function without sin and brokenness?
- How does it reflect God’s beauty?
- How has sin and brokenness in this situation or area diverged from God’s design?
- How is it keeping us from living according to God’s good plan?
- How has sin infiltrated thoughts, words, or deeds?
- How does repentance occur?
- How can we serve as stewards of this situation or relationship in a way that honors God and is a means of evangelism/discipleship?
- How can this situation be redeemed?
- How does the knowledge and assurance of future hope change our perspective?
- What do we have to lose in this life?
- What will a restored truth look like in this situation?
What about me?: A Personal Framework for Mission
Lewis says, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Who am I?
What are my strengths?
Where am I located?
When am I located?
Why am I serving?
How is God using me (right now) in the restoration of the Cosmos?
The narrative of God’s unfolding drama includes our own narrative arc of Christian worship where we gather, listen, commune, and are sent…We are sent out to inhabit the sanctuary of God’s creation as living, breathing “images” of God. We bear his image by carrying out our mission to cultivate creation and invite others to find their humanity in this story. – James Smith
Acts 17; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 2:6-7
You KNOW Grace
May we, as a church body, strive for true Gospel Renewal.
Gospel-shaped believers who belong to churches that are experiencing gospel renewal often have a deep, vital, and healthy impact on the arts, business, government, media, and academy of any society.
- Tim Keller
God says to us, sweetly, come, child, take part. When you serve a righteous king, you want the kingdom to flourish and prosper.
More in Blog
March 9, 2020Mission to the City - Week 2 - What is Culture? Secularism? Orlando?
March 2, 2020Mission to the City - Week 1
May 13, 2019A Primer on Joshua