The City – Gospel in Life

The City

Tim Keller |  October 2, 2005

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  • Purpose and Calling
  • Cities
  • Restoration
Isaiah 25:6-26:6
RS 187-04


Isaiah tells a tale of two cities: the strong city and the lofty city. The former is divine, available through salvation, and based on peace and joy. The latter is human, self-created, and based on pride and accomplishment. Christians are called to seek the peace and prosperity of the city, both in prayer and as servants of society, looking forward to the final and eternal heavenly city where the trials of this world will cease.

Isaiah 25:6–26:6

Isaiah’s teachings delve deep into the meaning of cities and their role in God’s grand plan. The story talks about two different cities, each with a special part in God’s design. The final idea is about a last city, representing the end goal of God’s plan and our duty to build a city for everyone.

1. Why cities are important

In the Bible, cities are places where people come together, sparking creativity and new ideas because of the mix of people living there. They’ve always been the birthplace of new trends and set the direction for culture. The spiritual, moral, and social health of a city can affect the whole society. Early Christian missionaries knew this, so they mainly worked in cities to create a big change in society.

2. World history is a story of two cities

The story discusses two symbolic cities, one built on human pride and self-salvation, and the other on God’s salvation. The first city is all about self-creation and self-justification, which leads to exhaustion, while the second city is about peace, service, and “shalom,” or total wellness. The teachings of Jesus and Jeremiah highlight the power of grace and the challenge to build a community in every city that mirrors divine values, encourages good relationships, and uses resources wisely, all for the city’s peace and success.

3. The beauty of the last city

The idea of the last city, symbolized by a mountain, shows the end of suffering and God’s promise of salvation. Jesus’ self-sacrifice and victory over death encourage believers to serve and sacrifice, contributing to the creation of God’s city. Christianity isn’t just for the weak; it offers fulfillment and joy in the New Jerusalem, with the gospel encouraging personal change, social justice, community building, and cultural renewal.



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