Our inherent sinfulness is apt to take any difference we find between ourselves and others and use it to elevate ourselves while we discriminate against others. We see this disunity even among God’s people. Throughout the period of the judges, Israelite tribes and cities fought against each other. The Davidic monarchy could hold unity together through only two reigns before division split the nation. The disunity among the disciples became evident particularly when they bickered over who would sit at Jesus’s right and left hands in the kingdom. And the church hasn’t fared much better. Nearly every epistle addresses the need for acceptance and unity. The Romans broke unity over eating meat and celebrating holy days. The Corinthians divided over which apostle to follow, eating meat offered to idols, and spiritual gifts. The Galatians and Ephesians used their ethnicity to discriminate. And the Philippians were self-centeredly seeking their own agenda in the assembly. I could go on, but you get the point.
This problem shows itself in our day as well. Our churches are generally monolithic; everyone comes from the same ethnicity, dresses the same, and shares the same standards. Instead of pursuing the unity in diversity that the church is designed to be, we seek uniformity. We have little patience with outsiders and the immature. We’d rather reject people for superficial reasons than take the risk of building relationships with those who are different from us and seeking to build them up in Christ. In doing so, we have become clones of the world and its thinking, thinking that has recently spurred injustice and riots. Jesus said that they will know us by our love, but we show so little love that no one knows us. In Acts 10, Peter was called to minister to people who were very different from him in many ways but the same in others. He was forced to determine if what they shared in faith in Christ could overcome the ethnic repulsion he was raised to hold. It was God’s revelation that encouraged Peter’s acceptance of the Gentiles who believed, and that same revelation commands the same acceptance of each other by us. May the Lord cause us to increase and abound in love for each other and for all people so that He may establish our hearts without blame in holiness before God at the coming of Jesus. –Pastor Rory Martin
Sunday at Liberty
AM: Jon Stilwell–Acts 10:1-23–Dismantling Discrimination (sermon notes)
PM: Missionary Q&A via Google Meet