One of the most fascinating verses in the Bible is found in Hebrews 11:10:
10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
God called Abraham out of a community of unbelief where he was surrounded by his family that worshiped false gods and called him into a promised land. To Abraham, the promised land he was called to looked like a city that had its foundations laid by God. Abraham saw a community in which every stone (person), was placed their by God and this community would be a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Many of us have heard the gospel and how Jesus cares for each of us individually. I certainly believe and preach that, however, in our current culture that focuses on the individual many have missed the fact that God also cares about transforming entire cities, regions, and nations. God cares about community! God has a massive heart for humanity and part of our divine call as those who have been reached is to allow that which has been done in us to flow out of us so the community we live in is transformed by the Holy Spirit.
This sounds like a lofty and noble vision to preach, but almost impossible to accomplish. What are the action steps? How do we see entire cities reached and transformed by the gospel? I certainly don’t want to pretend to have all of the answers, but one piece of the answer the Lord has shown me over the last several years is we as believers have to be saturated in the unconditional love of God.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me years ago about how a community is reached when it was saturated with Him. He then reminded me of flooding I saw when I lived in Colorado and how the ground became so immersed in water that it naturally flowed from one location to another. To me, this is a picture of what God wants to do in each of our lives. He wants us so full of Him, we can’t help but overflow of His goodness towards others.
A great example of this is found in Matthew 4:15-17:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This passage is a quotation of Isaiah 9:2 which said the people walked in great darkness. By the time Jesus entered this community the people who had once walked in the darkness had given up up and sat down. This should be encouraging to us because it often feels like the world we live in is covered in darkness and there is no hope.
There is hope, however, if we will do what Jesus instructed in verse 17. He said to repent or change the way we think because the Kingdom of Heaven is here. Jesus told these people who had given up all hope that if they’ll look at things from a new perspective, God’s kingdom of love, power, and deliverance was here right now.
Shortly after speaking these words, 4 young men begin to follow him and became his first disciples. Later He reached a few more and had the rest of the 12 apostles. Eventually Jesus’s influence grew so that in Matthew 10 He sent out the 70. Years later on the day of Pentecost the 120 who were present, eventually reached 3,000 people in one day. This is the day Jerusalem began to be transformed!
The power to change a community always starts with one. One person who will believe God and begin to think like He thinks and overflow with His goodness. Jesus gave us an example to follow. He didn’t focus on the darkness into which He was sent, instead he focused on His Father. Prior to beginning his ministry at the age of 30, He spent years with His father preparing for His assignment.
The Bible isn’t specific about all that was involved in His preparation, however, Jesus knew the word of God better than any human alive so its obvious he spent large amounts of time studying the scripture. As He studied the law and prophets, He began to read things about Himself in them. Prophecies about who He was, the power He would walk in, and the assignment He was called to. Jesus was also a man of prayer so its very reasonable to assume He spent large amounts of time praying over the things He read in the scripture asking the Holy Spirit for insight.
When He was 30 years old something was birthed in Him that the time is now and He began to fulfill his assignment. He was then baptized and filled with the spirit of God and became so immersed with the love and power of God that the Kingdom poured out of Him everywhere He went.
Throughout the scriptures Jesus instructed His disciples to follow Him. He still wants us to follow Him today. He wants us to be so full of the word and prayer that the Kingdom of God that now lives within us, comes upon us and begins to transform our lives. As this begins to happen, we will begin to transform our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods. As others see the transforming power of the love of God, it will catch like wildfire and we will enter a season of rapid acceleration where communities shift as revival takes hold.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God set eternity in our heart. This means there is something on the inside of you that knows you were born for a purpose and that purpose is to walk in the fullness of all the kingdom of God offers. This fullness stretches beyond you to transform the city you are called to. Once you’ve tasted of it, nothing in this world compares. I want to to encourage you to immerse yourself in God’s word and prayer so He births things in you that become contagious to those around you. This is what you were born for! And this is what transforms communities!