Tuesday, 28 January 2014

We celebrate diversity because of the gospel of God!

We celebrate because we have been saved. Col 1: 21-22 says,

‘Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.’

There is reconciliation between you and God - and me and God, so we can have access to God and reconciliation with one another. In Eph 2:14-19 it goes further. It says,

‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility...

The dividing wall of hostility has been dealt with, in the biblical context between Jews and Gentiles. The promise to a Jew (Abraham) is now fulfilled through Christ and the gospel comes to all nations. We are those that through Christ can have access to one another – the dividing wall of hostility has gone. Behind the picture of the barrier and the dividing wall of hostility is the reality of the temple where there were barriers so that non-Jews could only go so far, women could only go so far, into its courts.

Then there is the barrier between God and man. Eph 2:15 shows us that by abolishing the law and its commands his purpose was to create within himself one new man/new humanity out of the two, thus making peace and
:16 in one body to reconcile them both to God by his death on the cross, the means by which he put to death their hostility.
:17 He came to preach peace to those who were far away (Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (Jews).
:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
:19 Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and  members of God’s household.

So the gospel does not only reconcile you to God but with people who are different to you, different nations and languages and tribes.

Through reconciliation that only God can bring about, we become a powerful message, a powerful testimony of a powerful missional community, because if you walk into this church now, you can come from anywhere. You can work in the city; you can come from the streets. You can be male or female, you could be black or white – you could come from anywhere in the world and find someone who looks like you. So we become a powerful testimony to the great mission given us by God. We start to authenticate the message. We are the body of Christ - we represent reconciliation with God and therefore reconciliation with one another... and our very unity speaks volumes!