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Urban Japan

You are liable to hear a lot of varying opinions on cities from different kinds of people. Some people like them, while others don’t. One person might think that the city is noisy, fast-paced, and overcrowded. Another person might think that that very same city is just the right size to explore, there is always something going on, and they’re able to meet many different kinds of people. As Christians, what should we think about the city? Are cities important? Does God have anything to say about cities?

Discuss:

  • What comes to your mind when you think about cities? Think of Tokyo, Sapporo, Hiroshima, Nagoya, etc.

  • What do you like and not like about living in a city?

As Christians, we want to try and strive to see the world as God sees the world. We are his ambassadors, sent by Jesus to make disciples of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. As ambassadors, it’s important to know the heart and thoughts of the one who sends us! The scriptures tell us that God isn’t impressed with the sites and the experiences the city has to offer, but rather the people that are in the city. Take a look at Jonah 4:11:

And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?

Discuss:

  • How many people live in your city and the surrounding area? Look it up online if you don’t know.

  • 99% of all of those people do not know Jesus. Do the math and figure out how many people that is in your city. How does God feel about those people?

God’s heart is for the city, and our hearts should grow in reflecting God’s. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we are called to love and care for the well-being of the city. The city is made up of people who are loved deeply by God.

The gospel allows us to connect with and speak good news to the wealthiest; most powerful people in the city. It also allows us to connect to and speak with the poorest and least cared for people in our city. The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that the grace of God is available to all who believe in faith and repent. There is no one in our city that the message of the Cross is not good news for.

Take a moment as a group to read Jeremiah 29:4-7:

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

God’s people were living in a pagan city as exiles. But God didn’t tell his people to run from the city. He didn’t tell them to just put up with city life for a little while since it wouldn’t be their residence forever. He told them to assimilate to life in the city and seek the welfare of the city.

What is your church doing to seek the welfare of the city? What are you doing to seek the welfare of the city?

Discuss: How can you individually, as a small group, or as a church pray for, serve, and evangelize the city?

Consider the following questions to help you answer:

  • What could you do to remind you to pray for your city more regularly?

  • What resources does the group have that can be used to serve others? Extra time? Money? Space to have gatherings?

  • What needs do you know about in your community or your circle of influence? Does someone need a babysitter? Could you give some of the kids in your neighborhood a ride to school? Etc.

  • Does anyone in your families or workplaces have yet to hear about God’s love for them in Jesus Christ? What are ways that you as a group can help one another? Pray! Invite them over for a meal?

  • Who is one person this week you could share your faith with or invite to church?

God, in Christ, has been generous to us. How can we be generous to our city because of the gospel? God, in Christ, has been kind to us. How can we show kindness to our city because of the gospel? God, in Christ, has cared for us. Until Jesus comes again, it is our job to be churches that show the world what God is like.

Take time to pray for your city and make a plan for how you will seek the welfare of your city!

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