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  1. What Abraham’s Faith Has to Do with Our Eternal Destiny

    Posted on April 27th, 2015 by David Burnette

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    Why should it matter to us that a man who lived approximately two thousand years before Christ simply believed God’s promise?  Here’s one all-important reason taken from the Multiply material under the section titled “The Faith of Abraham” (169-171):

    The New Testament makes a big deal out of the faith of Abraham. And rightly so. In Genesis 15, Abraham stood before God and voiced his confusion over God’s promise to make him into a great nation. Abraham said to God, “You’ve made these promises [back in Genesis 12], but I have absolutely no offspring. I have only a servant in my household to be my heir.” God responded by bringing him outside and telling him to look toward the heavens and count the stars, if he was able to number them. And then God said, “So shall your offspring be.”

    And what did Abraham say in response to this? Nothing. Genesis 15 doesn’t record a single word from Abraham in response. It seems that he was speechless. But the Bible does tell us one important thing about Abraham’s response: Abraham believed God. God made a huge promise that seemed impossible, and Abraham simply took God at His word. He believed it would happen just as God said. And then Genesis 15 adds a very significant comment: “He believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness” (v. 6). His simple belief in God’s promise was “credited to him” as righteousness. He was declared to be in a right relationship with God because of his faith.

    Romans 4 adds an incredible commentary on this statement and applies it to those of us who follow Jesus today:

    The words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (vv. 23–25)

    Paul was saying that Genesis 15:6 was written down for our sake so that we would believe in the Jesus who died to pay for our sins and the God who raised Him from the dead. Abraham lived some four thousand years before Jesus came to the earth, but he was declared righteous because he believed what God said about what He would do through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus Christ. We live some two thousand years after Jesus came to the earth, but we are declared righteous when we believe what God says about what He has done through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus Christ.

    Through Abraham, God set into motion His plan to redeem the world by creating a people for Himself. And ultimately He would send His Son Jesus Christ, Abraham’s descendant, to set the world to rights. We will discuss Jesus much more in future sessions, but for now, it’s important to see the plan as it develops with Abraham.

    – The Multiply discipleship material is free online, or you can get a hard copy wherever books are sold.

  2. SC15 Follow Up Info

    Posted on April 25th, 2015 by Jonathan

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    Thank you for joining us for Secret Church 15: Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action. Here’s a list of things that may be helpful for you as you debrief, digest, and move toward May with us… all, of course, after you get some sleep to recharge!

    1. Answers: Those blanks you missed (admit it, it happened) – fret not! We’ve got you covered. Go to Radical.net/SC15 for answers to all the blanks in the 200 page study guide!
    2. Replay: For those of you on the East Coast who couldn’t finish the entire simulcast, take advantage of our replay option. Go back, and finish it next weekend (or anytime you like). Many churches are planning on doing this anyway. You have access to it through your simulcast account for 30 days. Registration includes the study guides, which will be shipped to you even if you register now.
    3. Secret Church Offering: You can donate online at Radical.net/offering or mail checks made out to “Radical” to 5511 Hwy 280, Ste. 215, Birmingham, AL, 35242.
    4. The Prayer Focus: Tonight, you heard a lot about what Christians in Vietnam face as they live their faith out in an area of the world that has many unreached people groups. We invite you to pray for Vietnam with us throughout the month of May. In addition to occasional posts on the Secret Church blog, use the prayer guide in your simulcast account, the material at PrayForVietnam.org, and the prayer focus Facebook & Twitter accounts.
    5. Discussion Guide & DVD: In the coming weeks, we’ll make the Secret Church 15 DVD and Small Group Discussion Guide available in our store. Until then, you can pre-order them at Radical.net/preorder. Different from the study guide (which we still highly recommend that you use), the Small Group Discussion Guide is designed to guide a small group to think through each of the four teaching sessions from SC15. It has key terms defined, main points, and discussion questions.
    6. Session Highlights: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, and Session 4.
  3. 1 Comment

    Session 4 Highlights for Secret Church 15

    Posted on April 25th, 2015 by David Burnette

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    In the final session, Session 4, David Platt covers ethnicity & immigration, liberty and persecution, the injustice of the lack of gospel access among the unreached, and the ultimate hope of the believer–a new heaven and a new earth.

    ETHNICITY AND IMMIGRATION

    1 Key Passage:

    “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)

     2 Memorable Quotes:

    “My barber in the Caribbean looks just like me. You’d think he was an African-American until he opens his mouth. When he speaks, he speaks Jamaican patois so it is clear that he’s not an African-American. My administrative assistant is also proudly Jamaican—very white-skinned. The lady in my barbershop looks a lot like my wife. You might think she is African-American or even Caymanian. She is Honduran. This notion of artificially imposing categories on people according to color—biology—is sheer folly. It’s an impossibility. This is why much of the field on race and ethnicity has largely abandoned the attempt to identify men based on biological categories of race.” (Thabiti Anyabwile)

    “As citizens of an other-worldly kingdom, we care for all people (regardless of ethnicity or status) in this ever-changing country.” (David Platt)

     3 Brief Takeaways:

    • The category of ethnicity is more helpful and biblical than the category of race as we pursue diversity.
    • God has promised to bless all peoples, and this blessing comes through Christ’s death.
    • There should be unity among God’s people for the sake of his glory in the world.

     

    LIBERTY AND PERSECUTION

    1 Key Passage:

    “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

     2 Memorable Quotes:

    “When force is applied, the will is not aroused. One can enter the Church unwillingly, one can approach the altar unwillingly, one can receive the sacrament unwillingly; no one can believe except willingly.” Augustine

    “Freedom of religion is ultimately given by God, no just granted by government.” (David Platt)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • Religious liberty is not primarily a political issue, but rather a gospel issue.
    • We obey our government unless it requires us to disobey God.
    • Followers of Christ should speak and serve on behalf of the persecuted church around the world.

     

    THE GREATEST INJUSTICE OF ALL (THE UNREACHED)

    1 Key Passage:

    I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:14-16)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    “God alone knows the definition of terms [here]. I cannot precisely define who all the nations are, but I do not need to know. I know only one thing: Christ has not yet returned; therefore, the task is not yet done. When it is done, Christ will come. Our responsibility is not to insist on defining the terms; our responsibility is to complete the task. So long as Christ does not return, our work is undone. Let us get busy and complete our mission.” (George Ladd on Matthew 24:14)

    “The beauty of the gospel creates a burden for mission.” (David Platt)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • For the unreached, their current knowledge of God is only enough to damn them to hell.
    • The plan of God warrants the sacrifices of his people, and the Son of God deserves the praise of all peoples.
    • We as Christians live to reach people from among all peoples for the praise of God, whether by praying, giving, and/or going.

     

    THE ULTIMATE HOPE FOR ALL

    1 Key Passage:

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis)

    “To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes.” (Charles Spurgeon)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • For the unreached, their current knowledge of God is only enough to damn them to hell.
    • The plan of God warrants the sacrifices of his people, and the Son of God deserves the praise of all peoples.
    • We as Christians live to reach people from among all peoples for the praise of God through our praying, giving, and going.
  4. Session 3 Highlights for Secret Church 15

    Posted on April 24th, 2015 by David Burnette

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    In Session 3 of the Secret Church 15 simulcast, David Platt covered the topics of slavery and sexuality …

    SLAVERY

    1 Key Passage:  “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: he shall be with you as a hired worker and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return to the possession of his fathers. For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God.”

    Leviticus 25:35-43

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “The gospel ‘lays the explosive charge . . . that . . . ultimately . . . lead[s] to detonation, and the destruction of slavery.’” (Murray J. Harris)
    • “Biblical instructions concerning slavery do not imply biblical approval of slavery.” (David Platt)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • Slavery is not part of God’s original design, but because of the influence of sin, God regulates the practice without approving it.
    • The Bible redeems the image of slavery, as Christ becomes our Master and we become his glad slaves.
    • Believers ought to pray for the strength and salvation of trafficking victims, for conviction, repentance, and salvation of traffickers, for government corruption to cease and be replaced by justice, and for the church to awaken to this issue.

     

    SEXUALITY

    1 Key Passage:

    “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “The most important revolution of the twentieth century [was] the sexual revolution . . . Contraception replaced conception. Pleasure was separated from responsibility. It was as if a license was given out, legitimizing the bending of every part of our lives around serving ourselves. Since that time, divorce, remarriage, abortion, premarital sex, and extramarital sex, as well as homosexuality have been accepted by increasing percentages of the public. Pornography is huge business. [And] this is not just a problem with society out there. Many churches have found their members plagued by failed marriages and illicit affairs, by so-called private sins that turn into public disgraces, some of which are known, some of which are not yet known.” (Mark Dever)
    • “The simplest way to understand porneia is to think about the things that would make you furious and heartbroken if you found out someone was doing them with your husband or your wife. If someone shook your wife’s hand you would not be upset. If someone gave a casual side hug to your husband it probably wouldn’t bother you. A kiss on the cheek or even a peck on the lips in some cultures might be appropriate. But if you found out another person had sex with your wife or saw her naked or touched certain parts of her body you would be furious. If you found another person made out with your husband or talked about sexual activities or made certain gestures you would be heartbroken. Why? Because these are all activities that are appropriate for a married couple but are inappropriate when practiced outside of the lawful relationship of a man and a woman in marriage. Any sexual activity between those who are not married, or between two men, or between two women, or among more than two persons, or between family members, or between those married to other people—any sexual activity in these contexts is sin and can be included in the prohibitions against porneia.” (Kevin DeYoung)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • God created men and women with equal dignity and distinct roles, and this is for our good and his glory.
    • The marriage relationship between a husband and a wife should reflect Christ’s relationship to the church.
    • Christians should flee sexual immorality, which includes all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman.
  5. Session 2 Highlights for Secret Church 15

    Posted on April 24th, 2015 by David Burnette

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    In Session 2 David Platt addressed the topics of abortion, orphans & widows, and poverty. Here are a few highlights …

    ABORTION

    1 Key Passage:

    For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
    My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
    Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:12-16)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “To endorse or even to be neutral about killing innocent children created in God’s image is unthinkable in the Scriptures, was unthinkable to Christians in church history, and should be unthinkable to Christians today.” (Randy Alcorn)
    • Think of a little girl named Rachel. Rachel is two months old, but she is still six weeks away from being a full-term baby. She was born prematurely at 24 weeks, in the middle of her mother’s second trimester. On the day of her birth Rachel weighed one pound, nine ounces, but dropped to just under a pound soon after. She was so small she could rest in the palm of her daddy’s hand. She was a tiny, living, human person. Heroic measures were taken to save this child’s life. Why? Because we have an obligation to protect, nurture, and care for other humans who would die without our help—especially little children. Rachel was a vulnerable and valuable human being. But get this … If a doctor came into the hospital room and, instead of caring for Rachel, took the life of this little girl as she lay quietly nursing at her mother’s breast, it would be homicide. However, if this same little girl—the very same Rachel—was inches away resting inside her mother’s womb, she could be legally killed by abortion.” (Gregory Koukl)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • Abortion is first and foremost an affront to God.
    • God values the unborn and has an intimate relationship with them
    • While God will judge those who have participated in the sin of abortion, the gospel is sufficient to redeem fully those who have participated in abortion in any way.

     

    ORPHANS AND WIDOWS

    1 Key Passage:

    For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “It seems to me that widows have entered into a dimension of dependence on God that prepares them for the ministry of intercessory prayer. The widow’s mite was recognized and commended by Jesus because ‘she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’ (Mark 12:44). Perhaps the widow’s ‘might’ is most mighty when these women band together as helper-defenders in intercessory prayer. Older women who do not have the daily responsibilities of jobs are another power source for intercessory prayer.” (Susan Hunt)
    • “We care for orphans not because we are rescuers. . . . We care for orphans because we are the rescued.” (David Platt)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • God cares for and protects orphans and widows, and he commands his people to as well.
    • We ought to pursue orphans as a response to God mercy toward us.
    • Caring for widows pleases God and demonstrates the gospel.

     

    POVERTY

    1 Key Passage:

    “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” (Proverbs 21:13)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “Tell me what you think about money and I can tell you what you think about God.” (Billy Graham)
    • “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” (C.S. Lewis)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • God is the sovereign owner of all things, and we are his stewards.
    • God cares for and defends the poor, and he commands his people to as well.
    • The Christian’s use of money and possessions carries eternal consequences.
  6. Session 1 Highlights for Secret Church 15

    Posted on April 24th, 2015 by David Burnette

     

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    After each of the four sessions of tonight Secret Church 15 simulcast, we will highlight one key verse, two brief takeaways, and three memorable lines for each topic covered. Hopefully you’ll be encouraged to catch the simulcast replay if you haven’t already seen it. In Session 1 David Platt introduced tonight’s topic and explained the gospel of Christ.

    THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE GREATEST OFFENSE

    1 Key Passage:

    For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

    2 Memorable Quotes:

    • “The doctrine of Christ’s divinity seems to me not something stuck on which you can unstick but something that peeps out at every point so that you’d have to unravel the whole web to get rid of it.” (C.S. Lewis)
    • “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unheeded.” (A.W. Tozer)

    3 Brief Takeaways:

    • The gospel is a greater offense to unbelievers than any social issue.
    • The gospel is the good news that the just and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that everyone who turns from their sin and themselves and trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord will be reconciled to God forever.
    • Christians must engage the culture with conviction, compassion, and courage. This will involve praying, submitting to the authority of God’s Word, and proclaiming the gospel.
  7. We have an important announcement that will affect those with tickets to tonight’s Secret Church gathering at The Church at Brook Hills:

    Due to security concerns, the elders and leadership at the church have decided to close the church for the simulcast. The simulcast will take place, but not at Brook Hills. If you are a ticket holder, information has been sent to you via email. Please check your email immediately.

    If you have questions or need further assistance, please email us at scsimulcast@radical.net.

    Thank you for your understanding. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

    – The Radical Team

    * Brook Hills Ticket Holders: Please continue checking your email. Additional information has been sent, and any further updates will be communicated via email.

  8. Well Said: SC15 Edition

    Posted on April 24th, 2015 by Jonathan

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    This evening, thousands around the world will gather for Secret Church 15: Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action. In light of this, our Well Said today will feature one article from the past week on each of the topics to be covered.

    Abortion:  Tennessee passes wait period, licensing mandate for abortion centers, Courtney Crandell, WORLD

    Orphans and Widows: Adoption Doesn’t ‘Fix’ Kids, Kelly Rosati, Christianity Today

    Poverty: Fields of Faith, Keri Carpenter, Samaritan’s Purse

    Slavery: Explainer: What You Should Know About the Human Trafficking Bill, Joe Carter, Acton Institute

    Sexuality: 4 reasons why we’re asking you to #PrayForMarriage, Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC

    Ethnicity and Immigration: Racial Reconciliation and the Church, Tony Evans, Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement

    Liberty and Persecution: Religious Liberty Is Not Freedom From Ridicule, Russell Moore, ERLC

  9. grand-central-station-690180_640

    In 2007, David Platt preached a sermon series titled Abide. Abiding in Christ is the starting point for the Christian life; everything else is simply an overflow of our relationship with Jesus. The first message in the series was on Matthew 11:28-30, in which Jesus said to his disciples,

    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Over the course of the sermon, he explains Christianity in its most elemental terms:

    We give up all we have to Jesus–the full weight of our complete and utter inability to obey God.
    Jesus gives up all He has to us–pardon for our sins and power to obey God.

    In describing our “contribution” in this divine exchange, Platt leads us through a thought experiment to shine a light on how easily we tend toward legalistic thinking:

    Scenario 1: Your alarm clock goes off in the morning and you wake up immediately because you know you have got quiet time ahead of you. And so you get out of bed and you go and you spend some time in prayer and you spend some time in the Word, and things are going well from the very beginning of your day. You are off to work from there. It seems like everywhere you go you have got things planned out. The presence of God is so real in your life. Things are going well. You are walking with Him, living in communion with Him, and you get to the end of your day, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with somebody else.

    Scenario 2: The alarm clock goes off the in the morning and you hit it about 6 or 7 times. Snooze, snooze, snooze until there is not chance you are having a quiet time – the morning is anything but quiet for you. You get up, rush, get ready, and you are off to work, and everything is disorganized. Nothing is working out the way it was supposed to. You are going throughout your day and you don’t have anything planned and the presence of God seems anywhere but near your life at this point. It is nowhere close. You are running through, trying to get things done. Finally you get to the end of an exhaustive day–some of you have been there this week – you get to the end of your day and you head home, and on your way home you have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone.

    Now with those two scenarios, here is the question that I want to ask you. In which of these scenarios do you think God is more likely to bless you in leading that person to Christ? Our tendency is, the majority of us would say, “Definitely the first scenario.” But why do we even think that? Here is why we even think that. Because we really believe that God blessing our lives is somehow based on our performance during the day.

    Why would God be more likely to bless here than there? And our answer might be because over here (scenario 1), I was walking with Him. Over here (scenario 2), I just wouldn’t feel worthy. I have ignored Him all day. I wouldn’t be where I need to be spiritually in order to be ready for that, so He probably wouldn’t use me as much. That is uncovering the hidden truth at the core of our Christianity. We have got to weed out this idea that God’s blessing is based on our performance. It is not. It is not based on our performance. God’s blessing in either one of these scenarios is based on His grace and nothing else. It is not based on what you and I have to bring to the table. The whole point of Christianity is: the best that we bring to the table is still not good enough.

    To listen to the entire sermon, “The Disciple’s Identity – Part 1: You in Christ,” click here.

  10. He Himself is Our Peace: Counter Culture & Trillia Newbell

    Posted on April 21st, 2015 by Jonathan

    In chapter 8 of David Platt’s latest book, Counter Culture, he addresses the racial divisions that are sadly evident in the culture all around us. Below is an excerpt from that chapter.

    The cultural division between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) was deep during the first century. Yet as the story of the church unfolds, we read how, to many Jews’ surprise, Gentiles began believing in Jesus. At first, Jewish Christians didn’t know how to respond. Should they even accept Gentile Christians? If so, did they need to impose Jewish customs upon them? Though Gentiles were finally accepted into the church, they felt at best like second-class Christians.

    Into this atmosphere, Paul speaks to Gentile believers, saying,

    You were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:12-14).

    Then he exhorts them, saying, “Through [Jesus] we both have access in one Sprit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:18-19).

    These words beautifully describe the unique power of the gospel to reunite people from (and, for that matter, within) different ethnic groups. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? For in the beginning, sin separated man and woman from God and also from one another. This sin stood (and stands) at the root of ethnic pride and prejudice. When Christ went to the cross, he conquered sin, making the way for people to be free from its hold and restored to God. In doing so, he paved the way for all people to be reconciled to one another. Followers of Christ thus have one “Father” as one “family” in one “household,” with no “dividing wall of hostility” based upon ethnic diversity. (199-200)

    A while back, we had the opportunity  to ask Trillia Newbell about racial diversity and unity, a topic on which she has written a book. Watch the short videos below to hear her advice on how churches can pursue racial diversity, and what this pursuit may look like in communities that are homogeneous.