Tim Keller | November 19, 1995
Christianity’s incredible growth and transformation of the Roman Empire happened through God’s plan, not through politics or armies. This plan focused on big cities. Early Christians, led by God, trusted that ministering in cities could bring happiness and healing to the world. This wasn’t just a personal choice, it was a key part of God’s plan to heal the world.
1. The reality of the plan
God directed Philip, a church leader, to Samaria, showing the early Christian plan of sharing the good news in cities, the important and influential places of that time. This approach, shown in Paul’s missions to Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome, took advantage of the openness and diversity of city dwellers. The early Christians’ focus on cities, rather than quiet, similar areas, was key to maximizing the transformative power of the good news.
2. How the plan was discovered
Philip’s journey to Samaria happened because Christians were spread out due to persecution, a divine plan to share the good news in different places. This spiritual spreading, which separates Christians from their old cultural or political groups and aligns them with heaven, can also happen physically as part of God’s plan to heal the world. The good news’ transformative power reshapes who we are, letting us live in unexpected places and live radically for the greater good and the happiness of the city.
3. The power behind the plan
The story of Philip boldly sharing about Jesus in an unloved Samaritan city shows the transformative power of Jesus and that all people are equal in God’s eyes. It also highlights the hope found by the marginalized Ethiopian eunuch in a verse from Isaiah, leading to his baptism and joy. This story reminds us that the good news offers acceptance and belonging to everyone, no matter their social status, and encourages Christians to embrace their role in cities.
4. The result of the plan
The transformative power of the good news brings about deep joy that fills an entire city, not just a few people. Christians are called to spread this joy, serve and heal their communities, even if it costs them. Realizing that we all need grace can lead to a city-wide celebration of joy.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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