The Christian City is the antonym – opposite – of the city of God. It is our first contact with God, but it is not the last bus stop. We are expected to move forward in the knowledge of Christ, unto maturity (2Pet. 1:3-12).

But the picture I see of the church is one of lukewarmness, which God said He hates – as He commented on the Church at Laodicea (Rev.3:14 -20). Eventually He stepped out of the Church as a system, not as the body of Christ, which from the beginning has been vibrant and pure.

But it is the opposite we see today What with the mechanized services: the loud but empty praises, the endless testimonies of the goodness of God, the message/exhortation that repeatedly tells you how you can receive more from God and the prayers that “seals or activities ” the sweet promises of God in your life.

In a world full of discordant voices: chaos and calamities occurring by the minute, jobs being lost daily, waywardness and immorality on the rise, drug addiction and other youth related problems weighing down parents, church as we see it today seems to be the only succour for the troubled mind.

Not only do people see it as the place where after trying other means, you can “easily” receive to meet your needs; here also you are sure to hear the soft words that soothes as the balm of Gilead. There is always a scripture to show you pointing hands at the devil for all your problems, even when you are living in sin! I wonder how the devils feel sometimes. It sure must be tough being blamed for all “the problems” in the land; especially when you know you are not totally responsible for all problems.

Where have we put scriptures like Ps. 119:67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” How about Eccl. 10:8: “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.”

While it is good to placate and sooth frayed nerves, the only problem here is that receiving from God is not the total Gospel. It is just a minute aspect of the Faith. God had other things in mind when He conceived the concept of Church. The church is not the beautiful edifice that delights the eyes of men but rather a people called out of the world to live a life that delights God.

To God, church is not a one stop (final destination) affair; church is where you begin your journey to heaven. It is theplace where you receive a call from God to leave Egypt for the Promised Land. It is the place where you are equipped for the journey – learning to overcome the adversaries in the wilderness. And it is the place where you learn about the nature of the God you are journeying to meet in heaven.This is the life time school where you pick up the character that endears you to God and at the same time prove your sonship to principalities and powers and those around you as you overcome temptations to live a life pleasing to God.

We are the salt of the earth, and the light too. This is our calling. Whatever we do for the Lord: be it evangelism, good works, teaching, preaching, praying; it is to fulfill this calling. But when you see a generation that has deviated from this, then you will of a necessity ask, where are they heading to? Definitely not the Promised Land (the heaven that the Apostles and the Patriarchs of old journeyed to).  Life is a journey; so also is Christianity.

Rick Joyner writes about prophetic events, the prophetic state of the Church and how God would want us to handle them. In 1987 he compiled a set of visions into a book titled, “Visions of the Harvest.” The last chapter talks about the state of the Church (in future – he was writing in 1987). He titled it, “Escape From Christendom.” It was credited to Robert E. Brunel. It recounts a dream where he saw a man set out for The City of God. As I read, I said to myself, “how very true of the Church setting today.” And then it dawned on me that many don’t know the state of the Church today – neither can they make a difference between Christian city and the city of God. It was at that point that this revelation came and the need to share it was conceived. I took the message across West Africa and now I am sharing with you. Here’s a portion from VISIONS OF THE HARVEST.

” Here’s the dream that started it all: In my dream I see the lone figure of a man following a road. As the sun sets beneath the hills, a city comes into view.

Nearing it, the traveler sees what appears to be a large group of churches. Spires and crosses pierce the skyline. His pace quickens. Is this his destination? He passes an imposing structure, a neon sign flashing “Cathedral of the Future.” Farther on a floodlit stadium supports a billboard boasting that fifty thousand people crowd into evangelistic meetings there three nights a week. Beyond this, modest “New Testament” chapels and Hebrew Christian synagogues luster together on the street front.

“Is this the City of God?” I hear the traveler ask a woman at the information booth in the central square. “No, this is Christian City,” she replies. “But I thought this road led to the City of God!” he exclaims with great disappointment.

“That’s what we all thought when we arrived,” she answers, her tone sympathetic. “This road continues up the mountain, doesn’t it?” he asks. “I wouldn’t know, really,” she answers blankly.

I watch the man turn away from her and trudge on up the mountain in the gathering darkness. Reaching the top, he stares out into the blackness; it looks as though there is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond. With a shudder he retraces his steps into Christian City and takes a room at a hotel.

Strangely unrefreshed, at dawn he arises and follows the road up the mountain again; in the brightening light of the sun he discovers that what seemed like a void the night before is actually a desert-dry, hot, rolling sand as far as the eye can see. The road narrows to a path which rises over a dune and disappears. “Can this trail lead to the City of God?” he wonders aloud. It appears to be quite deserted and rarely traveled.

Indecision slowing his steps, he again returns to Christian City and has lunch in a Christian restaurant. Over the music of a gospel record, I hear him ask a man at the next table, “that path up the mountain, where the desert begins, does it lead to the City of God?”

“Don’t be a fool!” his neighbor replies quickly. “Everyone who has ever taken that path has been lost…. swallowed up by the desert! If you want God, there are plenty of good churches in this town. You should pick one and settle down:”

After leaving the restaurant, looking weary and confused, the traveler finds a spot under a tree and sits down. An ancient man approaches and begins pleading with him in urgent tones, “If you stay here in Christian City, you’ll wither away. You must take the path. I belong to the desert you saw earlier. I was sent here to encourage you to press on.

You’ll travel many miles. You’ll be hot and thirsty; but angels will walk with you, and there will be springs of water along the way. And at your journey’s end you will reach the City of God! You have never seen such beauty! And when you arrive the gates will open for you, for you are expected.””What you say sounds wonderful,” the traveler replies. “But I’m afraid I’d never survive that desert. I’m probably better off here in Christian City.”

The ancient one smiles. “Christian City is the place for those who want religion but don’t want to lose their lives. The desert is the territory of those whose hearts are so thirsty for God that they are willing to be lost in Him.

My friend, when Peter brought his boat to land, forsook all and followed Jesus, he was being swallowed by the desert. When Matthew left his tax collecting and Paul his Pharisaism, they too were leaving a city much like this to pursue Jesus out over the dunes and be lost in God. So don’t be afraid. Many have gone before you. “Then I see the traveler look away from the old man’s burning eyes to the bustle of Christian City. He sees busy people hurrying hither and yon with their Bibles and shiny attaché cases, looking like men and women who know their destiny. But it is clear they lack something which the old man with eyes like a prophet possesses. In my dream I imagine the traveler turning things over in his mind. “If I do go out there, how can I be sure that I will really be lost in God? In the Middle Ages Christians tried to lose themselves in God by putting the world behind them and entering a monastery. And how disappointed many of them were to find that the world was still there! And the people here in Christian City who are preparing to go to some jungle or a neglected slum, maybe they’re coming closer to what it means to be lost in God. But then, a person can travel to the ends of the earth and not lose himself. “The traveler turns again to see the old person starting up the road for the narrow path down to the desert’s edge.

Suddenly, his decision mobilizes him and he leaps to his feet, chasing after him. When he catches up, they exchange no words. The ancient man makes an abrupt turn to the right and guides him up still another slope which steepens as it rises toward a peak shrouded in a luminous cloud. The climb upward is a very difficult one. The traveler appears dizzy and begins to stagger. His guide pauses and offers him a drink from a flask hanging over his shoulder. Panting, he drinks it in great gulps. “No water ever tasted sweeter than this,” he says with great feeling. “Thank you.” “Now look there.” The old man points beyond them to a vista not nearly as monotonous and desolate as it had  seemed earlier. The desert below has taken on many colors and gradation. In the far distance a blazing light is throbbing and moving on the surface of the horizon like a living thing. There is the City of God!” End quoteI wonder how that city really looked like in his dreams. And how I wish all “Christians” would see it; I’m sure it will be the greatest motivator ever, to propel us on the road to heaven.”

But God in His wisdom doesn’t show everybody; He would rather that we look for it, like Abraham the father of faith did: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Heb. 11:8-16

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