January 29th marks our second week in our discussions as a church family about race and the story of God. Last week, Bailey walked us through some Bible passages that showed us that God’s end goal is to have, amongst other things, a multi-ethnic people group for His name that includes a great reversal of racism and division. In fact, the Bible tells us that at the end of all days, God will have a people group before Him praising Him from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
Remembering these two things, Brandon Clements’ sermon took one step further to help us understand the problem of racial division we have inherited in America to help us better see the path to racial reconciliation.
Looking at Ephesians 2:11-22, Brandon reminded us that racial division has been a problem in church culture since the very beginning. Paul calls the church in Ephesus to remember that there was a time when all of us were separated from Christ, regardless of our race or heritage. There was a time when Jews held themselves as the true people of God, and anyone else was categorized as a Gentile and seen as an enemy and an outsider.
We continued by looking at the nature of racial animosity between people groups. Brandon gave us two points to challenge us to think about these things:
- When we talk about race, we’re not just talking about race. We’re talking about culture. We’re talking about class, and poverty. It’s not just about skin color.
- We are sinfully wired to desire superiority over others. Because of how sin has corrupted mankind, we constantly trade value with one another to try to find something to make someone else feel invaluable, and to make ourselves feel more valuable.
This brings us back to what Paul is sharing with the Ephesian Christians in chapter 2. Paul is saying that, because of Christ and through Christ, God is accomplishing racial reconciliation and unity amongst diversity here and earth AND in heaven. The mission of the Gospel in the church is to aid in making earth like heaven. We can’t just do that in the ways that we pray and give, but we have to do that in ways that we are constantly reconciling and bringing in people that are not like us, racially and otherwise.
Through the church, God is doing an new thing to bring reconciliation. Brandon shared two ways with us specifically.
- Jesus puts our hostility to death. The Bible says that Jesus is tearing down the walls of hostility that used to divide us before the cross and resurrection.
- Jesus forms us into a new race. My race is now “child of God.” My race is now, “Christian.” No other cultural identifier matters
And finally, Brandon gave us two questions to pray over as a lifegroup and as a family to help us recognize and put to death any dividing wall of hostility left within ourselves.
- Ask God to show you your superiority tendencies. Expose the ways we see ourselves as more valuable than others.
- Ask God to show you ways you can show off this beauty of the breaking down of the dividing walls of hostility at the cross of Jesus.
May we never grow tired of growing in the knowledge of God and the love of one another.
Songs from this Week
God We Exalt You Here- Emmanuel LIVE
What A Beautiful Name- Hillsong Worship
King of My Heart- Sarah Macmillan
Jesus Paid It All