The Book of Psalms

Thursday: God’s City


Theme: Different Priorities and Lifestyle
In this week’s lessons, we consider the difference between the City of God and the city of man.
Scripture: Revelation 21:1-2
Another way we are going to have to be distinct is in our priorities. We’re going to have to learn and act upon the fact that our priorities as given to us in the Word of God are not the world’s priorities. Above all, we’re going to have to speak about what God does in the human heart by a miracle to transform people as the essential cure to the problems of society.
Donald G. Bloesch has written a book entitled, The Invaded Church, in which he discusses a number of social problems. He said that the solution to these social problems ultimately is not in what you’re unable to manipulate socially; rather, what’s required is what he calls a new man. Here’s the way he writes about the problem of racism: “For modern secular humanism, including Marxism, the poison of racism can be removed through social reform and education.” Biblical Christianity sees the problem in a different light. The real enemy is racial and cultural pride, not ignorance. And behind this pride is unbelief and the hardness of heart, what the Bible calls original sin. Laws are necessary to protect the defenseless, but they cannot stem the tide against sin. It’s the gospel alone that takes away sin. And this means that the final solution to racism and other social ills is biblical evangelism. We’re going to have to be distinct in those priorities.
Another area in which we have to be distinct is in our lifestyle. How do we use our time? The world is competing for our time, and one of the goals of our society is to fill up our time, and to do it in such a way that the time is used in the interest of consumerism to promote the economy in such things at the peril of our souls. How about these areas? What about the enormous preoccupation that America has with sports? I think Christians spend an enormous amount of time in sports. It might be different if we were actively engaged in sports, that is exercising the body as well as the mind. But sports is far too often a passive thing used to fill up our time on entertainment.
Another way of talking about the same thing is the amount of time that is spent on television. We’ve all heard those bad statistics that report that most people spend an average of five hours a day watching it. I think that’s true of most Christian people as well. I cannot think of a more worthless way to spend an hour than to sit down and watch television. Sometimes, from time to time, there are things on television that are really worth watching, but they do not come very often. Doesn’t the Bible tell us about that? What does the Bible say? The Bible says to redeem the time because the days are evil. That means that we are to make our lives count, and not to waste it on that which is worthless.
We can talk about how we spend our time on Sunday. In so many places Christian attendance in churches is going down, and it seems to be the trend even in evangelical churches. If it’s the Lord’s day, if it’s a day to be filled with Christian activity and joy and worship, we need to ask ourselves whether we’re really taking advantage of it for those ends. Are we using it to witness to friends? Do we take people home to lunch? Do we spend time with them? Do we invite them to church? The Lord will direct us in those areas, but we have to raise the questions first of all. I find that our culture is increasingly encroaching upon Sunday. You see it with your children. Our schools have so many activities taking up the time of our children that fill up Monday through Saturday, and even Sunday, that they really don’t have time to squeeze in anything else. And so families need to make choices about how many activities is enough.
Study Questions:

Compare the world’s priorities with those of a Christian. Why can our priorities sometimes too much mirror those of the culture around us?
Compare the world’s use of its time with how Christians are to use their time.

Application: Over the course of a week, make a list of how you spend your leisure time. Do your activities promote your spiritual, intellectual, and physical well-being? Or do you discover that you waste too much time on useless and empty practices, or even on things that are contrary to God’s Word?
Reflection: Do you and your family honor the Lord’s Day by consciously thinking about what you do and do not do on Sundays?

Study Questions
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