Expats of Christ

New Philly Hongdae (video streamed to Sillim, Itaewon, Busan; one week delay for Sydney)
Preached by Christian Lee on March 15, 2015, Sunday.
Duration: 63 minutes (audio)
Theology of the City: Part 2

NP Hongdae


Discussion Questions

Citizens of Heaven, Expats on Earth

  1. Read aloud Phil 3:20. What are the implications of being citizens of heaven?
  2. Read aloud I Peter 1:1. What are the challenges of being citizens of heaven while exiles (aliens, expats) on earth?
    Citizens of Jerusalem in the City of Babylon

  4. Read aloud Jeremiah 29:4-7. The word translated welfare (ESV) is the Hebrew word shalom. What did you learn about shalom during the sermon?
  5. How did God instruct the Jewish exiles from the city of Jerusalem to relate to the pagan city of Babylon? Why would these instructions be relevant for Christians today? [1]
  6. Christians have certainly tried in the past to setup a nation-state like the Jews once had in their history (think: Constantine and Rome, Europe, Puritans, etc.). What evidence do we have that this does not fit with God’s redemption plans and what are the negative effects of such approaches?
  7. Read aloud Matt 5:14-16, then Matt 5:10-12. What kind of treatment did Jesus say Christians should expect from the world? Go around and have people share one experience when they were commended for their faith or persecuted for righteousness sake.
    Getting Personal

  9. What are the differences between an expat and a tourist? If you are an expat, what has been your honest attitude toward the foreign city in which you currently live?
  10. Read aloud this quote from John Stott:
    “Christians need to move into the cities, and experience the pains and pressures of living there, in order to win city-dwellers for Christ. Commuter Christianity (living in salubrious suburbia and commuting to an urban church) is no substitute for incarnational involvement.”[2]

  11. Why are people so drawn to commuter Christianity? Why is this approach so common amongst believers toward the church and the city?
  12. How would an incarnational approach toward the church and the city differ from commuter Christianity?
  13. While you are here, how can you personally engage the city with a selfless, servant heart (for those who are only in the city for a short time, how can you engage the church)? How can you add value and seek the shalom of this city without being foolishly optimistic or depressingly pessimistic?


  1. There’s a specific answer but feel free to skip if no one in the group can articulate it:

    During the time of Abraham and afterwards, God’s people existed as a huge biological family. From Moses onward, God’s people existed as a nation-state with laws and an army and a ruler. During the exile, God’s people existed as a dispersed network of congregations (called synagogues) living in many different nation-states. Since the Israelites were not in charge of the government, if someone broke God’s law they were not executed but expelled from the synagogue. After the exile, the Jews returned to being a nation-state but the NT does not envision the Christian church in this way. The NT authors refer to the church as a diaspora of exiles (expats) and this exilic approach was how the NT church engaged Roman cities: “Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that the church should continue to relate to the human cities of our time, not as the people of God did under Abraham, Moses, or David, but as they did during the time of the exile.” (Keller, Center Church, 148)

  2. Tim Keller, Center Church, p. 149.

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