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. Matthew 5.14–16It's a simple description of our identity and purpose. Be different. Be distinctive. Be conspicuous. Christ calls his followers to become a city on a hill. It's not hard to understand, it's just impossible to do... apart from God.
How does God create this city within a city? What fuels it's citizens in a way that gives glory to our Father in heaven?
Puritan Richard Sibbes answers it this way:
...grace will become glory, and come forth into the sight of all.and the Apostle Paul describes it similarly in 2 Corinthians 2:14:
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.God's grace in Christ transforms people. And, as they live together in allegiance to their Savior King, with the perfect law of love written on their hearts, they become an alternate city. This "city on a hill" lives on the alternative energy of the Gospel and foreshadows the completion of the kingdom of God where love, beauty and joy will exist forever without the destruction of sin. And, because this is all from God, there is no boasting in anything other than His perfect wisdom and sovereign goodness.
This is the mission of the church: To glorify God as we experience and proclaim the transforming power of the Gospel to all people.
For many of us, this sounds like a "nice" little blog post until we think of our own lives. And there, in our deepest struggles, we see things that have not changed and... we believe the Gospel... right? Surely there is something more - some other truth or method must be missing. Yet, Paul boldly summarizes his ministry to build the first-century church by saying that he "decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)
But how does this message affect our lives everyday? How does the death of the God-Man as a wrath-adsorbing substitute for sin change the sexual addict? How does knowing that I am justified before God help me love my wife more completely?
We are trusting God to build solid answers to questions like this in this year's Leadership Training Class (LTC) at Summitview. It is our prayer that, as God teaches us to "hold our original confidence firm to the end," we will better encourage one another to not "be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:12-14). Our goal? To become a "city on the hill" that reflects the kingdom of God and lifts up Christ the King so He might draw all men to himself (John 12:32).
Tuesday Night, LTC kicked off with a look at Romans 3:21-28 in a message entitled "What is the Gospel?" You can listen to it here. As you listen, pray that God would root the church in these things and amaze us with His power and grace.
Summitview Community Church Auditorium, 7:00 - 8:45 pm.
Sept. 7: What is the Gospel? (Romans 3:21-27)
Oct. 5: How is the Gospel An Agent to Change? (Titus 2:11-14)
Nov. 9: Discovering Roadblocks to the Gospel: Asking and Listening Rightly for "The Sentence" (Hebrews 3:12-4:2)
Dec. 7: The Role of Prayer and the Holy Spirit in Change (John 16:4-15)
Jan. 11: How Gospel-Change Addresses Sin (Romans 8:13)
Feb. 8: How Gospel-Change Works With Depression (Phil 4:4-9)
Mar. 8: How Gospel-Change Works in Family Issues (Eph. 5:22-33 and 6:1-4)
Apr. 5: The Role of the Church in the Sanctification of the Believer (Hebrews 10:19-24)
May 3: Set the Captives Free: How the Changing/Freeing Power of the Gospel Affects Our Evangelism (Titus 3:1-8)