TEXT: Jeremiah 28:10-29:7

MESSAGE: “Seeking the welfare of our city”


Exile: someone who is absent from their true home.

Certainly there was an Eden on this very unhappy earth. We all long for it, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most humane, is still soaked with the sense of “exile.” — J. R. R. Tolkien

Q: Do you feel like an “exile?

“As Christians in America, we can easily find ourselves unsure of how to interact with the culture around us. It’s easy to feel like there are only two choices: retreat from culture, or assimilate to culture. For people who grew up in a Christian household, there is the tendency toward the first option—shutting out the world around us in order to “protect the purity” of the community. But this leads to Christians that never engage with society, and you have to engage with the world if you’re going to love the world. On the flip side, for newer Christians who didn’t grow up in a Christian family, there can be a tendency to be just like the people in the culture. Under the facade of “witnessing to friends” the new Christian’s life might not really look all that different from cultural norms; they offer nothing of Gospel value to those around them. But there is another way forward that is not such a simple binary. And this way of interacting with culture hinges on the concept of being an exile.” — Jason Pelletier

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” — Jeremiah 29:7

Our vision as a church is to be a church for our city that seeks new life in Jesus.

“…we describe digital Babylon as accelerated (life moves faster) and complex (life is uncertain and difficult to predict). The reaction of many people to these facts of exile is a low-level anxiety that never really goes away and that occasionally ratchets up to high-level anxiety. Three out of five young adults tell us they are “stressed out”; seven out of ten say they are “concerned about the future.” And in Barna’s first comprehensive study of Gen Z, the generation coming up after Millennials, anxiety is a recurring theme, especially related to things like education, career, money, and relationships. Apprehension infiltrates many aspects of modern life.” 

— Dave Kinnaman and Mark Matlock

Q: Do you feel like an “exile?

TEXT: Jeremiah 28:10-29:7

What vision does God give to his people living in exile? He encourages them to: (1. Identify False Messages 2. Trust God’s Guidance 3. Embrace Life Now)

  1. Identify false messages (28:15-29:1)

“Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies. 16 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord.’” 17 In the

seventh month of that same year, Hananiah the prophet died. 1This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

“With assimilation, you say, “Oh, you can live with us, and you can have all of the best jobs, as long as you become just like us.”…Do you see what the goal is? Do you see the strategy? You assimilate the people group intellectually, socially, culturally, and spiritually, so that community loses its ability to have its own distinctive understanding and interpretation of the world. Within a couple of generations, they’re gone. They want the jobs. They want the money. They want the power. In order to get it, you have to become culturally and spiritually and intellectually and socially just like the Babylonians. In a couple of generations, they’re gone.” — Timothy Keller

“Young people are looking to their devices to make sense of the world around them…they are using the screens in their pockets as their counselors, their entertainers, their instructors, and even their sex educators, among many other digital-Sherpa roles. Why make the effort to talk to your parents or teachers when you can privately ask the smartphone in your hand?” – Dave Kinnaman

       2. Trust God’s guidance (v. 4)

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon…”

“Notice the starting point, that God has sent these exiles to Babylon (v. 4;7). At the very least, then, they should accept the situation…” — Derek Kidner

       3. Embrace the present (v. 5-7)

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

“God gives clear directives: build houses, provide for yourselves, and have families. In other words, they are to have the posture of presence. God is saying they are to spend their time not moping about what was lost from the old country but actually thriving in the new land.” — Steven Smith

TAKEAWAYS: We must see that…

  • We are exiles
  • We are a counter-culture

“In order to live well and wisely in the complexity of digital Babylon—and thereby defuse anxiety—we must build our muscles of cultural discernment: the ability to compare the beliefs, values, customs, and creations of the world we live in (digital Babylon) to those of the world we belong to (the kingdom of God). And once we’ve made that comparison, to anchor our lives—including our use of technology—to the theological, moral, and ethical norms of God’s kingdom.” — Dave Kinnaman

  • We are for the city

“If you have a vision for a great church, you will end up with neither a great church nor a great city. But if you have a vision for a great city, you will end up with both a great city and a great church.” – Ray Bakke

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