Rebuilding the City- What We Are Building Towards

September 23, 2008

Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.’” -Nehemiah 2.17

I have quoted numerous times already Nehemiah 2.17 which gives us the call to rebuild the city (church), but still I think we may ask the question of, Why should we do this?

Many people today are wont to look into Acts and say “What is the true New Testament church? Let’s return to that,” and more often than not this quest leads them into Acts 2.42-47, speaking of living “with all things in common.” Now, as much as I believe that this is the true design for the church, to me the more important aspect is what we see in Acts 5.13,

None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.

To me this is the goal that we should be striving for, that the people may still not be convicted of their sins and come to repentance, but it will not be because they didn’t have the body of believers executing the teachings of Christ correctly.

A common “reason” for avoiding Christianity these days is to say, “Well, I know a bunch of Christians and their Christianity hasn’t made them any better.” Of course, we can be assured that this argument barely touches the surface of why they really aren’t repenting from their sins, but it is hard to argue with the premise when we all know these same “Christians” for who their relationship with Christ does not appear to have made any difference in their life. Thus, if we were to return to the words of Acts 5.13, what I want to call “Acts 5.13 Status,” we would at the least be removing this excuse and thus causing people to be more directly confronted with their sins instead of being able to deflect their failings off onto others.

Is this going to be easy? Certainly not. But I think that reanalyzing the things I have already posted in this series will help put us on the right path. As I’ve said before, quoting Jesus of course, the church, the body of believers in our culture, is meant to be a light unto the world and a city on a hill (Matthew 5.14), and our work of rebuilding the city should be meant to direct us to this Acts 5.13 status; that in seeing us, though the world may not change, they will at least hold us in high-esteem and thus be glorifying God through us. That should be our goal.