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How to Build a Kingdom City - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2024 6:00 am

How to Build a Kingdom City - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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May 17, 2024 6:00 am

We begin a new series called Kingdom City. Skip’s son, Nate Heitzig, shares a message about defending your city against Satan.

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We should never remove ourselves from contact with the world thinking that the world's just too far gone. There's no hope for our cities.

There's no hope for our countries. We as believers are called to be an influence for good in our society. Do you believe that?

Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, we begin a new series titled Kingdom City and hear Skip's son Nate share a message about defending your city against Satan. But first, here's a resource that'll help you know God's character and his plans for mankind. Does God exist? And if he does, is it possible to know him?

How you answer those questions shapes how you see the world and navigate life. And Skip Heitzig knows how important it is to have an accurate view of God's character. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. In Skip Heitzig's book, Biography of God, learn to recognize and remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. The truth is, I am a fellow traveler on the same road that you are on and we have access to the same information, the same documents, but I hope to offer a fresh perspective on God himself. Biography of God is our way to thank you for supporting Connect with Skip Heitzig as we reach a lost world with the gospel. Request your copy with a gift of $50 or more when you give securely online at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888.

That's connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Now let's turn to Nehemiah 1 as we join Nate for today's lesson. We live in a time in our society where I don't think we've ever been more disjointed and divided in our country than we are right now. As you look around the world, especially the past four years, there is so much division in our country. There's so much division even in our families.

People not be invited to Thanksgiving or Christmas because they voted for one politician or another because what they think about COVID is different than what someone else in the family thinks about COVID. I don't think we've ever seen our country more divided than it is right now. You might be close when you look at the 60s and the Vietnam War and you look at the peace movement, the division that happened then, but I think that what we're seeing now is worse than any time in history when it comes to division and the disjointed nature we're seeing in our country. Families are falling apart like never before.

The divorce rate is skyrocketing. We're seeing a rampant spread of immorality through our culture. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that we live in a fallen world.

Would you agree with that? We live in a fallen world. It seems like every year the boundaries keep getting pushed a little bit further. The crimes become more shocking. The moral line becomes more and more blurred. It appears that our country, our city, is in moral ruins. The walls that used to protect our families, the walls that used to protect our kids, the walls that used to protect our values, those moral walls have crumbled and it seems like our moral bedrock is in ruins when you look at our country.

The moral beacons that our society once stood behind and stood for aren't there anymore. The headlines become more depressing. All you have to do is look at this year's headlines, the news headlines, a few of them to prove my point. And I want to keep in mind this is only this year's headlines. This isn't the past four years. If we look at the headlines over the past four years, I think it gets even more bleak and even more depressing. But just this year, here's a few of the headlines.

Disney exec says half of characters need to be LGBTQIA or minorities by the end of the year. New Mexico Senate passes HB7 abortion protection and gender affirming care legislation. That's what we're standing against this weekend with the referendum project and the Not My Kid movement. Another one, America's crime wave is not a right-wing myth. And another one, rising frustration over homelessness crisis. I don't know that things have ever been darker spiritually in our culture than they are right now. And as believers living in an ungodly world, as believers living in these cities and these countries, we can be prone to look at what's happening and wonder if we can make a difference. Have you ever felt that way, looking around at what you're seeing in society saying, man, are we just too far gone? Is society too far down that road? Can we do anything? Is there anything that can be done to bring our country back, to bring this world back? Perhaps you've watched this world get worse and you felt overwhelmed.

Maybe you've concluded that there's no use in trying to do anything because there's just no way that you could ever make a difference. According to the Bible, Christian, that simply isn't true. And we should never, as believers, retreat and hide in our little Christian subculture bubble. We should never remove ourselves from contact with the world thinking that the world's just too far gone. There's no hope for our cities.

There's no hope for our countries. We, as believers, are called to be an influence for good in our society. Do you believe that? We're called to be an influence for good. And I want to let you know that's not just spiritual good, that's physical good as well. We are called to be in cities, and by the very nature and presence of Christians being in places, we are to make those places better. We are to make those neighborhoods better. We're to make those cities better, those counties better, those states better, those countries better. Our Christian character, our lifestyle, our love, and our work should not only be convicting society, it should be changing it and having a physical impact on our city. When you look around Albuquerque, there should be physical evidence that Christians are in the city.

There should be evidence on our streets, evidence in the homeless shelters, evidence in the policies and politics that are getting passed that Christians are in this place. We should be making a difference in our culture. As we read about the early church in Acts, we see that they had a profound impact on their culture. They changed their society.

They changed their surroundings. Earlier this year, we introduced our 2023 vision, and that was home for my heart. This place, these people, my privilege. And we explain to you that home really applies to three different things. Home is not just the roof that you live underneath. Home is your family. It is the roof you live under, but home is also your church. It's your church family. Home is also your city, the place to which you're called, the place that you live. This city, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is your home.

Let me tell you something. This is your place. These are your people, and it is your privilege to get involved in the work that God is doing and make a difference in the city to which you're called. We all need to take personal responsibility in these areas.

We all need to carry an ownership mentality for these three areas. So this week, we're starting a new series focusing in on one of these areas, and that is our city. And it doesn't matter what city you live in. Maybe you're here visiting. You're not from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Whether you live in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Gallup, you're part of our online community. You live in any other city around the world. We all need to take personal responsibility for the cities that we live in because it's not just a city. It's your city. It's not just a people. It's your people. It's not just someone else's responsibility to fix the things that are happening. It's your privilege to get your hands dirty and be involved in making a change and an impact on the culture and the world and the country that you live in. It is your privilege.

It is your honor. And we should never sit idle and watch our cities fall deeper into sin, deeper into crime, deeper into poverty and darkness. We need to rise up and say, this is my city. This is God's city. These are God's people.

Do you believe that, church? Is this God's city? Or does Satan already have a hold on this city and there's no hope? Whose city is this? This is God's city.

These are God's people. This is my home. This is your home. This is our family.

And so it's our privilege to do something about it. We need to strive to make our city a better place, a reflection of the kingdom of heaven. This is my city.

Is this your city? This is a kingdom city. And so I'm not going to let it fall deeper into sin. I'm not going to let it fall to ruins. I'm going to put my blood, my sweat, my tears, my energy, my effort. I'm going to give everything that I have to make this city a reflection of the kingdom values to which I hold dear because let me tell you something, my kingdom values aren't just something I hide in my heart.

They're something that translates into my walk. And if your kingdom values is only something that you talk about in your home, but it doesn't walk out onto the streets, it's not real. The kingdom values, the kingdom principles that we live by as Christians should translate into everything that we do. And so today we're starting our series, Kingdom City, by looking at the life of Nehemiah and discovering how to build a kingdom city. We're going to see three things that it takes to build the kingdom city. Number one, you need to stop complaining and start caring. Number two, you need to stop watching and start working.

And number three, you need to stop giving in and start giving all. Let's read Nehemiah chapter one, verses one through four as we get started. It says, the words of Nehemiah, the son of Hacaliah, it came to pass in the month of Chislev in the 20th year as I was in Shushan, the citadel, that Hannah and I, one of my brethren, came with men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, the survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down and its gates are burned with fire. So it was when I heard these words that I sat down and wept.

Let's stop there. The first step we see in building a kingdom city is that we need to stop complaining and we need to start caring. Here in Nehemiah one, Nehemiah is presented with a problem. Some people from Jerusalem come to him and he asks them, hey, what's going on in Jerusalem?

And they give the report. The walls and the gates of Jerusalem are destroyed and the people are in distress. It's a big problem. My question is, why is it his problem? Why is this Nehemiah's problem? Is Nehemiah living in Jerusalem?

Is Nehemiah living in the land of his forefathers? No, he's almost 1,000 miles away. He's living in Babylon. He has a good job. He's working for the king.

He's in exile. Why is this his problem to take care of? Why isn't it someone else's problem? Nehemiah could have very easily reasoned, man, I've got a good job. I'm 1,000 miles away.

I'm comfortable. He could have ignored the issues. He could have continued to enjoy the comfort of his life. As a matter of fact, Nehemiah also knew the Israelites were in captivity because of their own sin. As a matter of fact, it was God's will for them to be in captivity. They had messed up. They had challenged the law of God. They had crossed the line one too many times and God promised them if they did that, he was going to send them into exile.

And he did. So Nehemiah could have said, hey, this is the will of God for them to be in exile. Why is it my job to do anything? There's people who live in Jerusalem.

If they care enough to rebuild the walls, if they care enough to rebuild the city, let them do it. I might as well enjoy captivity while I can. Comfort can lead to complacency. Complacency can lead to callousness and callousness can lead to complaining.

Now, I know that sounds like a Yoda quote or something, but it's not. It's a biblical principle. Comfort can lead to callousness. And I think a big problem with the American church today is we're so used to being comfortable. We're so used to enjoying the comfort of a Western lifestyle. We're so used to having not just the things that we need, but the things that we want.

And I know times have gotten worse. I know times are worse than they used to be before, but you're still an American living in America in a free country and you have more than the rest of the world. By and large, if you look at the standards of the world, you're comfortable.

You live in a lot of comfort. But sometimes we can be so comfortable that we can just kind of sit in our comfort and we can see things happening. We can see things getting worse and say, oh, I hate what's happening in society.

I hate what's happening in our city. But we're so comfortable, we just start getting callous. We just start complaining about what we're seeing. And we can never do anything and we can be fearful to actually say something, fearful to actually change something because we sacrifice our calling on the idol of comfort. We're scared to lose our comfort. We're scared that if we say something, the things that we might have might get taken from us. We're scared that if we do something, we might end up losing all the comfort that we've built up.

And so it could be that we're so fearful of becoming uncomfortable that we refuse to respond to the need. Some Christians are just so callous that all they do is complain. And if we're honest, it's easier to complain than it is to do something, isn't it?

Be honest. Anyone in here like to complain? I'm raising my hand because I love to complain. I love to complain because when you complain, it takes the responsibility off of you and it puts it on someone else. When you complain, it's no longer your problem, it's someone else's problem. It feels really good to complain because you don't have to do anything.

You don't have to make any changes. You don't have to be a part of the solution. All you have to do is tell people the problems and hope that someone else will fix it. Well, I'll just complain. I'll complain loud enough and long enough that maybe someone will finally do something. Some of us just love to complain. It doesn't matter what's going on. It doesn't matter how much I might have caused that problem. When I complain, it's not my problem.

It's someone else's. And over the past three years, really four years, we've gotten really good at complaining, haven't we? As Americans, as Christians, we've gotten really good at complaining. We've gotten really good at being thermometers and just telling the world how bad it is and how bad things look. Things are really bad. Things are really bad.

Why is this happening? We've gotten really good at going into little Facebook groups where everyone agrees with us telling each other how bad things are. We've gotten really good at parroting the things that we don't like to one another. We complain about everything. This country, this, this country, that. Things don't look the way that they should.

Our governor this, our governor that. Look, I'll be the first to say the past three years have stunk. They've been hard.

They've been really difficult. I wish the country looked different. I wish things weren't the way that they are and that we didn't have the crime that we have. I wish the economy wasn't in the toilet and people weren't losing their jobs and losing their pensions. I wish we had different politicians that stood against evil instead of standing against good. I wish we didn't have litter boxes in classrooms for kids who think they're cats.

I wish that last one was a joke, but it's not. I wish things weren't the way that they are. I wish things were different, but if we don't stop complaining and start caring, realizing that our city is worth saving, then nothing's going to change and in 10 years it's only going to be worse and we're only going to be complaining more. At some point we have to stop complaining and we have to start caring enough to get our hands dirty and to do something about it. We're perceived as being negative in this world far too often. Sometimes it seems like all we're known for is what we're against rather than what we're for. If we don't approve of a certain movie, boycott it.

If you don't like a certain store, pick it. If you don't agree with politicians, complain on social media. And I'm not saying that any of this is wrong. Look, it's okay to let your opinions be made known.

It's okay to exercise your rights as Americans and I believe that as Christians we should be stopping the spread of corruption in our society, but we have to combine our desire to see outward change in the world with more than just a disdain for what we don't like. We have to begin caring enough to get our hands dirty. Look at what's happening. Look at the pain. Look at the sadness. Look at the descent into sin. See it.

I'm not telling you to turn a blind eye to it and pretend it's not there, but as you see it, as you observe it, let it cause within your heart a care that is deep enough to weep before the Lord, to pray for your city, and then to get up and do something to change it. Verse four, Nehemiah does exactly that. It says, so it was when I heard these words that I sat down and wept. Nehemiah was a man of great affluence. He had a great job. He had a good role for the king.

He was the king's cup bearer. He most likely wanted for nothing. And yet when he was told of the condition of his city, that it was in ruins, that the walls were broken down and burned, he wept. It grieved him.

It broke his heart. And I found something. You never lighten the load unless you first felt the pressure on your own soul. I think we can all look around and drive around our city and see the load that people carry. You can see people in poverty.

You can see people depressed on drugs. You can see the burdens, the load, the weight they carry. You can drive around in this city, not just this city. You can drive around in any city in America and see the burden and the load and the pressure that people are feeling. But we'll never do anything to help change it and relieve it unless we feel it ourselves. And if there's one good thing that's come out of the past four years, it's that we're finally feeling it because it's hitting those closest to us. It's hitting those that we love. It's hitting our neighborhoods. It's hitting our kids.

And we're beginning to see it and experience it and wake up and say, man, there's a problem that we need to fix. Nehemiah's dedication came from Nehemiah's desperation. Nehemiah's commission came from Nehemiah's care. He desired for his city to exalt the name of the Lord among all the nations.

And when he compared what his desire was for Jerusalem to be a city that exalts the name of God with what he saw, Jerusalem being in ruins, he realized something had to change and it wasn't going to change unless somebody was the change agent. How does it affect you seeing our city in ruins? How does it affect you driving on the streets and seeing the poverty and the crime and the homelessness? How does it affect you to hear about the laws and the legislation that are being passed? How does it affect you to hear about what's being said in schools, what's being told to kids in schools?

How does it affect you to see that HB7 has been passed and what that could mean for kids in this country? How does it affect you seeing so many that are without the Lord? Imagine for a second if Albuquerque was a city that was known for exalting the Lord.

Imagine that for a second. Imagine if someone said Albuquerque like, man, is that that city where all the revival's happening? Is that the city where the Christians have gone in and fixed the homeless crisis? They've fixed the fatherless kid's crisis and they've solved the solution.

There's no longer a need for foster care because Christians have risen to that occasion. Is that the city where a governor just got elected who's a strong believer? Is that the city where God is on the move and doing something? That's the city that exalts the name of the Lord. Imagine if that's what Albuquerque was known for.

Imagine if Albuquerque was at the top of every good list, not the top of every bad list. When you see the multitudes, when you see the ruins, do you like Nehemiah and like Jesus have compassion and care as you see them as sheep without a shepherd? Do you care? And maybe you say, well Nate, of course I care.

Well then I'd say to you what Andrew Carnegie said, as I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say and I just watch what they do. Throughout history, Christians simply by being Christian have influenced society almost automatically. Christians have been in cities, they have been in countries, have been in empires and simply by being Christian, Christians have changed empires, they've changed dictatorships, they've changed countries, they've changed cities, they've transformed them just by being Christians and doing what Christians should be doing. And so when I look at society and what we're seeing right now, I think that we need to wake up because I hate to break it to you but being a Christian isn't a title, being a Christian is a lifestyle.

Don't just tell me you're a Christian, show me you're a Christian. Being Christian isn't a moniker that you wear, it's a thing you do, it's a way that you live, it's a way you operate. That's what being a Christian is and I think that what we're seeing in society is because we've been sleeping. We've been coming to church, we've been taking in the word but we haven't been taking it to the streets and so the salt has lost its flavor. We're not having an effect like we used to have. We need to wake up and realize that if we're Christians through and through, when we get launched into society, society will change.

It will, if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, if we are being who we're supposed to be being because Christians change what's around them. So we need to wake up, we need to realize what's happening in our world. The first step to building a kingdom city isn't turning a blind eye to what's happening, isn't hiding in our churches and waiting for Jesus to return.

We just got done with this series, The End is Near. We know the Lord's coming. The answer to our problems isn't to hide and wait for Him to come. The first step to building a kingdom city is reminding yourself of all the reasons you love your city and why your city is worth saving. That's Nate Heidze with a message about taking spiritual responsibility for your city.

It's a message from the series Kingdom City. Find the full message as well as books, booklets and full teaching series at connectwithskipp.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can connect you and many others with the truth of God's Word with a gift to keep these messages going out around the world through Connect with Skip Heidze. To understand what God wants of us and how to follow His lead in our lives, well, we need His Word. We need to seek His wisdom, and that's why this broadcast exists. We want to connect you and others to God's unchanging truth so that you can enjoy His presence and do His will. I want to invite you to join in that important work today. Through your generous support, you can help even more people respond to this life-changing truth that's found in the Bible. Plus, you'll keep these teachings available wherever you listen.

Would you partner with me in this effort? Here's how you can give now. Visit connectwithskipp.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskipp.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity. And did you know the Connect with Skip app is designed to put tons of great resources right at your fingertips from sermon notes, an entire series, as well as reading plans.

You'll love the features of this app, so be sure to download it today wherever you get your apps. Come back next week to hear more verse-by-verse teaching to connect you with the God who loves you and wants you to live in freedom. So burdens on his word make the connection, the connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-17 05:11:58 / 2024-05-17 05:22:28 / 11

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