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God's City

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 12, 2020 8:00 am

God's City

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 12, 2020 8:00 am

Men have often tried to establish utopiaa sort of heaven on earth--but God has established that there be but one paradise, and mans feeble efforts fall far short of the glory God has planned for His people. Join Dr. James Boice on this final holiday edition of The Bible Study Hour as he compares mans idea of a perfect world with that of God.

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Changed the studio. Regardless of what might happen to us. We are still his troubles may come sooner or later they'll inevitably, but it's no matter we are for sickness.

Michael is our job.

We are his supposed death to come into our immediate family supposed close or very close to us sick. We snatched away. We are still here as they are still hands.

We will always be his. Hebrews 13 never will I leave you never will I forsake you. Likewise, Jesus Christ the son said now I am with you always, to the end of the age. Paul wrote either death nor life, angels or demons either the present of the future, or any powers, neither height or depth or anything else in all creation be able to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

For centuries, men have tried to create heaven on earth. A world where people live and work in harmony for the good of the whole and the fulfillment of the individual but man's concept of utopia falls far short of the paradise that God's plan for those who love him welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically, the new Jerusalem will be a city of holiness will be no sorrow or conflict in the presence of God will dwell there, but a predecessor of that kingdom already exists. Join Dr. Boyce as he calls the church that predecessor to the holy city to be distinct and separate from a sinful world so that world might be attracted to it literature of the world is filled with utopias but all of these utopias are different from the one that we find in the 21st chapter of Revelation this book we read of the new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The remainder of the chapter spells out the details of that revelation and it differs from the utopias of human literature in these ways. Most of the utopias of this world either stress on the one hand, what's the author of utopia would like to see happen. Example would be Plato's Republic, Bertha Rose, Walden, or on the other hand, the author of these utopias worn about what might happen.

An example would be Huxley's brave New World or George Orwell's 1984. The difference of this utopia is that it's a strange combination of something which already is and yet is to be an even fuller measure at the time of Christ's return and theology. This is usually spoken about in this why it's the contrast between the already in the not yet kingdom of God is already here, in the sense Jesus said the kingdom of God is in the midst of you yet at the same time, he instructed us to pray by kingdom, the new Jerusalem holy city is a perfect example of that. If you study this 21st chapter of Revelation, you find that the new Jerusalem is characterized by certain important things. The most important thing is that the presence of God is there.

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, now the dwelling of God is with man, and he will live with them will be his people, and God himself will be there God. It follows from this is a second characteristic that the city is marked by holiness were told that there are no unbelieving or violent murders are sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts are idolaters or liars.

All of those are excluded.

No unrighteousness will come in again we read that there will be no death, no sorrow, no suffering in the city. John doubted me as he writes this has in mind that perfect city, little one day be yet as we read that and think about those things. It's perfectly obvious that each of those is true in some measure of the people of God. Even now we look forward to that day when the presence of God will be seen and known in all its fullness, but God is with us now in the person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, I send my spirit to be with you and dwell with you, and he shall be in you.

One thing that characterizes the churches that it's the place where this time God Almighty dwells or again holy city is characterized by holiness, but the church itself is characterized by holiness. Granted there's much unholiness as well with John as he writes in his first letter giving the marks by which the true church and true believers may be known, says the holiness is one of those marks so here's something in which, by God's grace we hope to grow as God himself informs us increasingly the image of Christ. The same thing is true of death and sorrow screw no death. Now death for the Christian is not like death for the non-Christian.

It's an inference in the life and always sorrow we sorrow not as others who have no hope.

According to the teaching of the apostle Paul.

In other words, as we come to this great vision of the holy city, the Christian utopia we come to it as a reminder of what we shall one day be now we are and will increasingly be even in this life as God works in us to conform us to his image. So we ask as we must. Are we today as we should be what can we do to be more God would have us to be being his city in the midst of this world. I think we have to begin with the fact that even the evangelical church is sometimes quite secular. Certainly there's a preoccupation with surrealism, there's uncertainty in the things that we believe it's often quite difficult to distinguish in terms of lifestyle between those who are a follower of Christ and those were of this world.

We have to begin with those problems and recognize that it is a problem in that it affects the advance of the gospel in the world at large. What I think we need is for the evangelical church the true city of God to be distinct and to be distinct all the important areas that are the one area in which we need to be distinct is in a clear grasp of our authority. I was speaking before of authority and I pointed out that in past ages the authority of the church is always been the authority of the word of God that has been eroded in religion in America. Now the authority is the authority of consensus that man even in positions of authority within the denominations no longer feel bound by what the word of God teaches. Unfortunately, this is sometimes also probe the so-called evangelicals I've been in many gatherings swearing at evangelical man who would say that he believes fully in the authority of the Scripture. Nevertheless, I am a particular issue, which is a great problem and an issue of immorality or wrongdoing or some such thing.

While that particular thing just doesn't bother me well that kind of answer isn't good enough. It may be that it doesn't bother him, but the question which follows up on that is why not this is something that's contrary to the word of God and our standard is the word of God and we must be bothered by it, and more than that, we must do what we can see the things change so we are evangelicals really going to be evangelicals were going to have to be distinct in this area you have to make a choice in such things. Eventually, whether we like it or not, because when the drift of the culture is away from Christian moorings as our culture is certainly drifting.

Then we don't have the kind of support which we did have an earlier age is still evangelical positions, but so long ago, we still had something like the remnants of a Christian culture in the United States and although people who were living in that culture were not necessarily Christians are bound by the Christian worldview, they nevertheless had inherited from the past.

Certain laws and morays and patterns of behavior that were formed when there was a Christian consensus are laws the best of our laws are the result of the thinking of Christian people or those influenced by Christian people in previous ages but all that is changing laws are changing things or passing away, and if are going to be distinct were going to have to be aware of that and make a choice great example here is what happened in Germany in the. When the axis powers took over here you had a case where the culture was moving rapidly in the non-Christian direction and unfortunately carrying much of the established church with that there was a group within the church of Germany which resisted the trend which banded together would call themselves the confessing church in which said, in effect, we are people of the book we stand upon the Bible.

Here we are, regardless of the consequences. Why did they have to make the choice simply because in the period of history such as that. You cannot claim support from any other branch of knowledge or science you see in a Christian. You can take a stand for right and supported by what the scientists and the doctors and the psychologist and the educators are saying we can say what all of this is borne out in other fields of knowledge, but in a time of rapid departure from a Christian consensus the Christian position is not supported in the other fields of knowledge, so Christians are faced with the choice either of being swept along by the culture as much of our Christianity is are increasingly coming to the realization that God has indeed spoken in this book that the truth is given in this book are our absolutes, but by his grace were going to stand by these things, whatever comes going to have to be distinct in that area were truly going to be the city of God as a secondary in which we have to be distinct and this is our theology.

We talked about the world's theology. We all know what that is. Things are fine. All you have to do is work a little harder word of God tells us that things are fine. Things are not good things are desperate. Speaking spiritually, men are dead in trespasses and sins. What we need is a miracle.

And only God can do the miracle.

This is the kind of theology were going to have to have an if we don't have it.

Well time is going to come when you can't tell the difference between the church and the secular world. The course pays off because where theology is distinct and women will be attracted to that which is distinct who is attracted to great big amorphous mush. Nobody at all where somebody is distinct and they know what they believe people will begin to follow right after talk about the depravity of man that men and women of themselves cannot even understand spiritual things, let alone respond in faith to God that faith which is love and commitment, and the result of his work in the heart right after talk about God's election of people left of themselves would go their own way. Like the swine rushing over the cliff to destruction. We have to understand the God by grace reaches down and saves some there's nothing in themselves and commends them to God were going to have to talk about the particular aspects of the redemption of Christ. How is he died upon the cross.

He died for his own, and particularly for them in order that his work might be effective, and they might be brought in the glory after talk about that grace by which God draws men and women to himself. Irresistibly, as we said not that we do not resist with the God changes our thinking, planning his life within our heart and so opens our minds to that which we couldn't understand before.

And as a result of which we come. Moreover, were going to have to stress that this God who has done all of that does not give up or quit or stepped back once we come into the kingdom but rather that this God perseveres with us because he knows that all we like sheep.

Not only have gone astray, but will go astray and do go astray, and so perseveres with us in order that we might be led into his way, what's wrong with evangelicalism in America today is that it hardly has a theology of the best.

It has the basic gospel. While it might have been good in the time of Christian consensus is not going to be good enough. When our culture is going rapidly secular going to have to become stronger in that area were going to have to be distinct in our priorities were going to have to learn no back up on the fact that our priorities is given to us in the word of God or not the world's priorities.

Above all, were going to have to speak about what God does in the human heart by a miracle to transform people as one, and the essential basic cure to the problems of society technology blemishes written in a book entitled the invaded church of a number of social problems and he said that the solution of the social problems ultimately is not in what you're able to manipulate socially. What's required is what he calls a new man is the way he writes about it for modern secular humanism including Marxism the poison of racism can be removed from social reform in education, biblical Christianity sees the problem in a different light. Real enemy is racial and cultural pride, not ignorance behind this pride is unbelief. Hardness of heart, what the Bible calls Original Sin was are necessary to protect the defenseless, but they can only hold the dike against sin. The gospel alone takes away sin and this means that the final solution to racism and other social ills is biblical evangelism going to have to be distinct in those priorities.

Another area in which we have to be distinct as our lifestyle.

How do we use our time. The world is competing for our time. One of the goals of our society is to fill up our time and to do it in such a way that the time is used in the interest of consumerism to promote the economy in such things at the peril of our souls about these areas. What about the enormous preoccupation that America has with sports. I think Christians spend an enormous amount of time in sports might be different if we were actively engaged in sports that is exercising the body as well as the mind. This is a passive thing and it fills up our time. Dr. Anthony Capello who is a teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, says in his judgment the most serious threat to America is the preoccupation that we have with sports other way of talking about the same thing is the amount of time is spent on television.

We've all heard the statistics we know how bad it is for the half five hours a day on the average, most people I think that's true of most Christian people as well. I can think of a more worthless way to spend an hour in the sit down and watch television times from time to time.

There are things on television that are really worth watching. I can think of the last one and I'm not sure I know the one to come. The Bible tell us about that. What is the Bible say the Bible says redeem the time, because the days are evil. That means make your life count. Don't waste it on that which is worthless. We can talk about how we spend our time on Sunday so many places Christian attendance in churches is going down seems to be the trend even in evangelical churches. If it's the Lord's day, if it's a day to be filled with activity and joy and rejoicing in Christian activity. Need to ask ourselves whether were really taking advantage of it.

For those ends. Are we using it to witness to friends. Do we take people on the lot.

We spend time with them and we invite them to church.

All of these things the Lord will direct us in those areas but we have to raise the questions. First of all, I find that our culture is increasingly encroaching upon Sunday. You see it with your children, our schools have got so many activities taking up the time of our children that fill up Monday through Saturday but they really don't have time to squeeze in anything else. And so what happens when they decide that they need to have another orchestra practice or another band rehearsal or another dress rehearsal for the play. They can squeeze it in Monday through Saturday.

What are they do only squeeze it in on Sunday morning.

That's happening didn't use to what is happening very much in our time.

What are we going to do well. I think we can win victories in that area. I've known cases where Christian people of said to their children.

Well, I'm sorry. I would be very glad to see you in the activity, but we go to church on Sunday morning.

The Lord's day.

We spend it worshiping. You just won't be able to do it. The children of God, the school and they said that there teachers. I'm sorry we won't be able to be in the band are in the play because we can come in Sunday morning.

That's the time when our family goes to church and sometimes the teachers of said all I do know anybody do that anymore. All right will change it to another time. C victories can be one, but Christians are going to have to stand their ground that we say as well that we have to raise questions about the use of our money and other resources, especially so in inflationary time we haven't seen the worst yet. We haven't even seen the beginning of the worst I think things are going to get terrible in terms of the economy were all going to be pressed for money.

I really believe that when this happens were going to have to ask how our money should be used. How much can we really use on ourselves. How much is going to be necessary to do the Lord's work. How much are we going to use for the benefit of other people and then finally let me say that the people of God need to be distinct and one other area that is in our visible dependence upon God.

We you know the power of the Almighty God going to have to make it clear that we depend upon him. Certainly he is given us talents, gifts, wisdom, insight, we want to use those in his service in the ultimate analysis is not enough to do the job. As is not even enough to keep ourselves personally on the right track, let alone a church or to transform a culture the way were going to have to let it be known that we depend upon God that we pray we search the Scriptures and above all, we ask for his leading and all the things we do what we called to be the Lord Jesus spelled out clearly in the sermon on the bounty said you were the salts of the earth. You are the light of the world salts he said is worthless if it loses its savor. That is, if it loses that which is distinct to salt that we lose what is distinct to ourselves as God's people. We are worthless so far as the work of God in the world is concerned, we must be salty. Then he said, must be the light, as well, and that is you will shine in the midst of the darkness. The world is not light world thinks it's light, but it's not like what you see in those values. All of that orientation is the darkness of hell is only as we allow the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, that one who said I am the light of the world to shine on us reflects from us to the world. The world has any hope of spiritual illumination.

God grants that we, his people I do that in our age, and to his glory. Let us pray our father, we confess that we have not been what you would have us be that we too are secular, that the world has its hold upon us, but we rejoice that you also have a hold upon us that your hold is stronger, we would be your people teach us how to be your people in this world and grants that the city of God, with its eyes fixed upon Christ, informed by your Scripture committed the theology and the methods of your word might go on from strength to strength, and so by your grace. Many faith in the Savior. We pray in Jesus name, amen.

Your listing to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce. We all have questions about heaven. What will it be like will I recognize my loved ones.

How will we be changed if you'd like to learn more about this fascinating subject of our eternal home. We like to offer you a free copy of our CD entitled heaven. It's also by Dr. Boyce's free CD offer is just our way of saying thanks call us at 1-800-488-1888 will be pleased to send you a copy of heaven. Again, our phone number is 1-800-488-1888 Dr. Boyce reminds us that people will only be attracted to a church that is distinct from the world, help keep the Bible study hours, uncompromising message of God's truth on the air and on the Internet with your financial support of this ministry, you can make your contribution by visiting our you can also call us at 1-800-488-1888 in Canada. You can reach the Bible study our at PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine North Bay, ON P1B 0C7. Thank you. We appreciate you and all of our listeners and supporters think and act biblically is Dr. Boyce's daily devotional that corresponds with the message you just heard on the Bible study our read and subscribe to think and act by Mark Daniels thank you for tuning in Psalm 132 is a song of celebration of the ark of the covenant coming to Jerusalem. It's also a celebration of what David did for God late God would do for David join Dr. James Boyce as he impacts Psalm 132, the longest of the Psalms of Ascent, the promises contained for David and his people.

That's next time one Bible study hours preparing you to think and act biblically than today's message is part of a series on church and state called a patriot of what city we're offering this special series here around our nation's 244th birthday is reminded that the secular can creep into churches and Christians and hinder both from being salt and light. The complete messages and series are stop now to pick up a book or some audio for your summer enjoyment that's reformed for resources God of

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