Unit 04 01 The Book of Acts Embracing All Nations 

Hi, I'm David status. And this talk is about the book of Acts and how in that book, we see God's grace embracing all nations in Jesus Christ. That didn't happen in just one moment. It was a process. It involved a lot of different crucial actions by the Holy Spirit and by the church. And it brought with it a number of challenges. It's not always easy for very different nations and very different cultures, to want to reach out to each other. And it's also sometimes very hard for people with such cultural differences to get along in the same church. The book of Acts shows us some of those things. And it shows how God's Holy Spirit kept pressing his people to reach out farther, and at the same time, to be more closely united with people of various nations. Jesus gave his marching orders in Acts one, verse eight, he said, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. He told His apostles, that they would have a message that would be going far away beyond just their own nation. And on Pentecost, he gave the first taste of that with a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And as the apostles began to speak, people heard them in various languages, we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues. God is speaking to people from all sorts of different languages. And then, when Peter preaches on that day, and explains what's happening, he quotes from the prophet Joel, who had said, God's message, I will pour out my spirit on all people, your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. And then Peter went on to explain that this promise of the Holy Spirit for all kinds of peoples, this promises for you and your children, and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call. So it's very clear from Jesus marching orders, and from what happened on Pentecost, that this gospel is going to go to the ends of the earth and the Holy Spirit is going to be given to people from every nation. Now, this didn't always lead to an easy path. Even before the church had many non Jews in it faced some challenges over cultural differences act, chapter six, says, the Grecian Jews among them Jews who were more influenced by Greek background and spoke the Greek language, the Grecian Jews, among the believers there in Jerusalem, complained against the Hebraic Jews, the ones who were more native and accustomed to Israel, and to speaking more in Aramaic, or Hebrew. And these were different shades of culture. And the Grecian ones complained, because their widows they thought, were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. Now, it's interesting how the church responded, seven, spirit filled man, all of them with Greek names, were chosen as leaders to handle this problem. And one of those was Philip the evangelist. So it's no accident. I


think that seven people with Greek names were chosen as participatory leaders to make sure that the Greek speaking people among them got a fair shake. Now today, still, different cultures can experience practical problems in the church and not just people from entirely different nationalities. Sometimes there are generational differences of culture, sometimes a church, which has some first generation immigrants, and then a later generation that grew up in the country to which they emigrated, can be quite different in their culture and in their tastes. And it can be a real challenge. I know in the United States, it was a big challenge for German speaking immigrants to deal with what happened when their English speaking children grew up, and we're filling the church or among Dutch speaking immigrants, the same issues have arisen among Chinese immigrants or Korean immigrants where you have what you might call the immigrant and native speakers, and then the people who are more accustomed to the new land that they're in so you can get culture clash in the church and we need to realize and, and face the fact that this can happen and seek the spirits wisdom, and one thing that's necessary is to make sure that the leadership is not just have the one background. Here they chose people with great names to help participate in leadership. Well, Jesus had said you'll be my witnesses to the ends of the earth, but they didn't exactly leave town and head for the ends of the earth. At least not until they were driven out of town after Stephen was murdered by a mob, we read that on that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem. And all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Remember, Jesus said, you're gonna be by witnesses in all Judea and Samaria, but they didn't exactly voluntarily go there. They were scattered there, and those who had been scattered, preached the word wherever they went, Philip went down to a town or a city in some area, and proclaimed the Christ there. Now, this is a major moment. For centuries, Jews and Samaritans despise each other. The Samaritans trace their descent to some of the 10 scattered tribes of Israel, but they have intermingled with other nationalities and their religion, too, had gotten kind of jumbled up. And they thought they were being faithful, and they couldn't stand those Jews who look down their noses at them, and the Jews didn't like the Samaritans. So among the Jerusalem church, you'll notice nobody exactly volunteered to go to some area, but in the persecution, they had to flee in various directions. And so the spirit drove Philip there. And the gospel was spread in some area and they embraced it. God also had Africa, targeted. Now an angel of the Lord. This is Acts chapter eight. Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, go south to the road, the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. Notice how Philip is important here. He's God's ambassador to Sumeria. And then later on Peter and John follow up and the Holy Spirit comes on the Samaritans. And now the Lord calls Philip to carry the gospel to an African person. It remember Philip is one of those with a Greek sounding name, who was there to help settle some of the cultural clash that was going on in the Jerusalem church. Then he's one God chooses to reach people of a rather different culture among the Samaritans. And now God has Phillip meet up with an African so he started out and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, and important official in charge of all the treasury of Canvas, queen of the Ethiopians, this man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home, was sitting in his chariot, reading the book of Isaiah, the prophet, the Spirit told Philip, go to that chariot, and stay near it. So you notice, the Spirit is the one leading the gospel, to go to this African person. He's a eunuch, which means he's been neutered from being a male, and he works for a queen. So he's a very powerful man, who has somehow come to know about the God who is worshipped in Jerusalem, but at the Jerusalem temple, the foreigners aren't really allowed into the inner court. And so he goes there seeking this God, and even has a scroll of its scriptures, but he's really hasn't found what he's looking for. Philip ran up to the chariot, and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. Now, I can't help but wondering if Isaiah the prophet was especially attractive, and that this man had read the scroll more than once trying to understand it. Here are a few excerpts from Isaiah, Isaiah chapter 56. The Lord says, Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say the Lord will surely exclude me from his people. And let not any unit complain, I'm only a dry tree. For this is what the Lord says, I will give within my temple and its wells, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. It sad for a unit never to be able to have children. And yet God says, I'm going to give him an eternal name. And if he's a foreigner, well, he's going to be welcomed by me. And the foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord, to serve him to love the name of the Lord and to worship him. These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy, in my house of prayer, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Now you can see why the scroll of Isaiah would appeal to a foreign unit who is seeking the one true God. But he's actually when Philip comes upon him not reading that part. Although that may have been attractive to him. He's reading another part, the understand what you're reading Philip Palast. How can I he said unless someone explains it to me, so he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch was reading this passage of scripture from Isaiah. He was led like a lamb like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before the sheer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation, he was deprived of justice, who can speak of his descendants, for his life was taken from the earth. That's part of what we today call chapter 53 of Isaiah. The eunuch asked Philip, tell me please, who is the prophet talk? about himself or someone else than Phil, it began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus, that Jesus was the one who was led to the slaughter, that he was wounded for our transgressions and died for our iniquities, as Isaiah put it, so he told him the good news about Jesus and told him this good news of salvation through the blood and resurrection of Jesus could come to all people, including foreigners, as they travel along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, look, here's water, why shouldn't I be baptized, and he gave orders to stop the chariot, then both Philip and the unit went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. And Scripture tells us and the last thing we see of this unit key went on his way, rejoicing. And then the Lord Philip led Philip somewhere else to continue his testimony. So Philip helps resolve a difficulty in the church at Jerusalem. He carries the gospel to Sumeria. He connects with an African who then heads home rejoicing over the gospel, and undoubtedly tells more people about Jesus there in Ethiopia, where he is an important government official.


Peter, meanwhile, has come to know that the gospel is for all nations. But he needs a little clearer, convincing. And he has been used by the Lord to lay his hands on people in some area and bring the Holy Spirit and His ministry there. So Peter knows what Jesus wants. And yet, the Lord wants to make it even clearer. So one day as Peter is taking a noontime nap, he falls into a trance, and he has a vision. And it's a vision of a sheet being let down from heaven, and in the sheet are various animals, that under the Old Testament Jewish law, no Jew is permitted to eat. And in the vision, Peter is told, well take him and eat. And Peter says, no, no, no, I've never eaten anything that's unclean. And the voice from heaven says, Do not call anything impure, that God has made clean. And God's message there is twofold. One is the old dietary laws and the special laws for the Jews as a separate people are no longer required or binding. And even more important, the thing that these laws symbolized, a separation from other nations, has also been dropped, and other nations are to be included. And Jewish people previously would not eat or share a meal with non Jewish people. And Peter is about to have a major change in his life, because he's about to receive an invitation to go into the household of a Gentile and share a meal and time with him. And on the other end of the equation, a man named Cornelius who is a Roman soldier, this is a major move because the Roman soldiers had been occupying Jerusalem, they were agents of a foreign power. And so you can see why Jewish Christians would not be really eager to be buddies with Roman soldiers. And yet, the Lord has prepared Peter through a vision and now the Lord communicates with this Roman soldier called Cornelius who was another man, though he was non Jewish, who was seeking to know the one true God and he knew that one true God had worked, especially among the Israelites.


Cornelius saw an angel appear in his house and say, sent to Joppa for Simon, who is called Peter, he will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved. God is setting up this meeting to spread the Gospel from a Jew, to a Roman. I'm just a little aside here about the work of angels in missions. This is something we might overlook. But the fact is that God uses His angels to expand missions. He's using people these days from every tribe and language, who know the gospel to spread it widely. But he also uses nonhumans, to spread His gospel. Of course, it's all the mighty work of God's Holy Spirit. But the angels are a part of this. Remember, it's an angel of the Lord who told Philip to go meet to the place where the Ethiopian was, and now it's an angel who tells Cornelius send a job for Simon who's called Peter, the book of Revelation, chapter 14, verse six, it says, Then I saw another angel flying in midair. And he had the eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth to every nation, tribe, language and people. The angels are involved in spreading this gospel to all nations. And as Hebrews one verse 14 puts it, are not all angels ministering servants sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. Now, not all of us have a vision of an angel telling us to go meet with someone else. But it is a tremendous encouragement, isn't it? To know that God's angels are always at work that while we're doing our events realism and outreach on the ground, the angels are at work in the air. And the angels are doing their work mostly behind the scenes, assisting us in the international spread of the gospel, what a blessing. At any rate, after Cornelius has the vision from the angel to call for Simon, and Simon Peter has had this vision, then Peter comes to that house, and he begins to speak. And he says, I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear Him, and do what is right. And while Peter is still speaking these words and telling them the gospel of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon all who heard the message. The Holy Spirit shows no favoritism, he brings the gospel to this Roman soldier who would naturally have been an enemy of Peter, and brings them together in one spirit with one savior, as part of one body, the church. Now, we read earlier that the gospel spread out because of persecution, they had been sitting in Jerusalem, but the persecution drove some to some area. And now we read about another effect of that same persecution. Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen, traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews, with some of them. However, men from Cyprus and Sirene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. So they've been scattered by this persecution. And at first where they're scattered, they just find their fellow Jews and tell them good news about Jesus. And that's certainly worth doing. But then some others say, Well, you know, we should be telling more than just our non Jews, and maybe this spirit scattered us for this very purpose. Notice here in the book of Acts, the spirit used that persecution in Jerusalem to scatter Christian Jews not only among halfbreed, Samaritans, but also among the Greeks. You read about that tragic, at least what seems to us tragic story of Steven, and you realize it's not so tragic. After all, Steven saw heaven open and Jesus at the right hand of God, and His face is like the face of an angel and he was full of joy. The man who was overseeing Stephens execution, Saul became a Christian and the mightiest missionary and the persecution that Saul instituted, and that was carried on after the execution of Stephen scattered Christians to spread the gospel into some area and into Greek speaking parts of the world in various Roman colonies. So don't think that God is defeated when one of his great spokesman is murdered. God is always in charge and accomplishing great things.


One of the challenges as Samaritans came to know Jesus as Greeks came to know Jesus as some Romans and people of other nationalities came to know Jesus was what do we do with cultural variety in the church? And in particular, what do we do with this question of God having chosen the Jews and given them a special law to govern their lives prior to the coming of Jesus? Well, there were some Jewish people who thought that Gentile converts needed to become identical to Jews and live by the Old Testament Jewish law. So men came down from Judea to Antioch, and we're teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. X 15 verse one, and the rest of x 15 tells us about a leadership meeting that occurred in Jerusalem and there the Holy Spirit guided the people present at the meeting to accept Gentile Christians without requiring them to become like Jews, the men and boys did not have to be circumcised, they did not have to follow a special diet as Gentile believers, or follow the other regulations that God had given for the life of the Jewish nation prior to the coming of Jesus, with the coming of Jesus, all of those signs and symbols had been fulfilled. And with the coming of Jesus, the barrier between Jews and other nations had been broken down. And so God guided that council of acts 15, to welcome people of all nations without forcing them to all become of the same exact cultural practice. And still today, the spirit guides us to accept others without forcing our culture upon them. This has often been a hard thing for missionaries to understand, and for people of the receiving cultures of the gospel to understand that first, that you don't always have to dress exactly like the people who brought you the gospel. You don't always have to eat exactly like the people who brought you the gospel. You don't have to have all the same cultural patterns as those who first brought you the Gospel. The Gospel comes into your own culture and transforms it from the inside. out. And God lets his good news and his way of life take shape in a variety of cultural forms. And the Holy Spirit guides us to accept other cultures and cultural expressions without forcing our culture on them. And x 15 is one of the great declarations of that led by the Holy Spirit. Well as the book of Acts continues, that doesn't mean all prejudice has dropped away. Certainly those to whom the gospel is being brought in the various areas still have their racial prejudices. That's one of the sad things about human sin. We don't like strangers, we can't stand people who are different than we are. And we tend to despise people who aren't of our cultural group. So for example, in the city of Philippi, which is a Roman colony with a lot of Greek speaking people, of course, because it's in Greece, the apostles Paul and Silas are accused. Really, they're the real motive behind it often is because money was drying up, because they driven a spirit out of a girl who told fortunes, but the accusation against them is used to fire up racial prejudice. These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice. So they're accused of being way too Jewish. And we know that Jewish people are a culture that we don't like. Well, if Gentiles people who are non Jews were prejudiced against those who were Jewish, that also there was prejudice in the other direction. The apostle Paul, who was hated for being Jewish by some non Jews, was also hated by Jews for being too friendly with non Jews, a Jewish mob in Jerusalem. According to x 22. This Jewish mob in Jerusalem wanted to kill Paul when they thought he had brought a non Jew into the temple. Well, when some Roman soldiers came along, order was restored somewhat in the crowd settled down for a bit. And then Paul was given a chance to speak to the crowd. They listened to Paul speak for a while about Jesus, and even about the resurrection. Until Paul said that Jesus had told him go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles. Whoa, that was too much for those Jewish listeners. The crowd listened to Paul until he said this, then they raised their voices and shouted, read the earth of him, he's not fit to live, and they were tearing their clothes and throwing dirt in the air and yelling at the top of their lungs, all because this Jewish person said God wanted good news to go to Gentile, non Jewish people. So this wickedness of prejudice is something that exists among many, who are not born of the Spirit of God. And even among those who are born of the Spirit, it's often a lingering sin that needs to be overcome. The apostle Paul, of all the apostles thought most deeply about this because he was in a special way, the apostle to the Gentiles, called directly by God, to bring this about. When Paul preached in the city of Athens, he made it clear that there is one race, not a whole bunch of different races, one race, the human race, we all come from Adam, one man, and we are all at the end of time going to stand before another man, who's also the Son of God, the second Adam, Jesus Christ. So Paul proclaims from one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth. And He determined the times set for them in the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him. Now God commands all people everywhere to repent, for he has set a Day when He will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead. So it doesn't matter what culture you're from, you originally came from Adam. It doesn't matter what culture you're from, what nationality you're from, where you live on the earth. All peoples everywhere are called to repent, because all peoples everywhere are going to stand before the throne of Jesus. And God has proved that by raising Jesus from the dead. I'm not from a Jewish culture. But Jesus is for me. There are many others who are not from Jewish culture, but Jesus is for them because Jesus is the one. He was Jewish. But he came for all people to die on the cross to rise again, to transform life. We come from Adam, we're headed toward a meeting with Jesus. And this is for all peoples, and we're all one race, the human race. The apostle Paul made that very clear. i At first, he kind of had to make it clear that the gospel was not just Jews but also for Gentiles. Unfortunately, over time, sometimes Gentiles became too anti Jewish, and other circumstances developed, where it became that Christianity was perceived by some Jewish people as really not being for Jews. And so today we have a situation where some Jewish people think that Christianity might be okay for Gentiles, but it's impossible to accept Jesus as Messiah, and still remain a good Jew.


Here's the reality, Jesus and his whole family were Jewish. All of Jesus apostles were Jewish, all the New Testament writers were Jewish. And God still has this remnant of people who follow Jesus and are Jewish. I spent some time in Israel with a group called Jews for Jesus. And God uses some Jewish people in mighty ways, as testimony for him. The gospel of Jesus is for all the Holy Spirit given by Jesus is for all and this includes Jewish people, not just non Jews. There are some in India who will say, Oh, Hinduism is really the proper religion for people from India and Christianity, it's new to India, it doesn't really belong there. It's opposed to our culture. Let other people be Christians if they want, but not really not for us in India. And sometimes there can be some pretty ferocious persecution of people who follow Jesus. Well, here's the reality. The Apostle Thomas went to India, for almost 2000 years, there have been Christian people in India. Now that's not part of the story of the book of Acts, the book of Acts mainly follows the expansion of the gospel westward, although on that day of Pentecost, there are people there from various eastward regions as well that the Bible doesn't follow the trail on all of those. But we know from church history, that Thomas went to India and there are monuments in India and various markers indicating the presence of Christianity in India for a very long time. The great Bishop, emptiness of Alexandria in Egypt, moved from Africa to India, and that was about 1800 years ago, a bishop from India was at the Council of Nicea in the year 325. So Christianity is not some brand new thing in India that was brought by recent missionaries. It's been there a very, very long time. The same could be said for China, we know and have strong evidence that in early centuries already, there were people in China who had become Christians, and the message of Jesus had spread it east spread eastward, into China, about Africa. Well, sometimes there's a perception among some African Americans, at least, that Islam was the original religion of Africans, that Christianity was the religion of those European and American slave owners and segregationists. And so to be really true to your African roots, you ought to be come a Muslim and get rid of that slave owner, white man religion of Christianity. Well, here's


the reality. Christians were in Africa 600 years before Muslims invaded Africa. And besides Muslims were profiting from the slave trade, as well. I'm not excusing what some are calling themselves Christians, maybe some leaving were real Christians did in the slave trade. I'm just saying that many peoples of the world favorite slavery and the greatest opponents of slavery were raised up from among the Christian church. And so to think Christianity is not for Africa. We've read in the book of Acts, how that African went on his way, rejoicing shortly after the resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And the churches of Africa. Some of the mightiest thinkers, were living in North Africa, the great Augustine the great pan Tina's the whole school at Alexandria, these were some of the mightiest thinkers and greatest Christians in the history of the Christian church. That's not to say Christianity is not for Africa. And certainly today again, it's not just ancient history that Christianity was powerful in Africa. But again, today, Christianity has swept in power in the mind of the Holy Spirit throughout Africa. And it's a wonderful thing that many, many Africans from all sorts of tribes and nationalities have come to Christ. And it's important for Africans to realize that racism is not just white versus black and Africans realize that sometimes one tribe or ethnic group will hate another. Both are black, but they have their ethnic differences and they hate each other. And we need to heed the gospel of Christ telling us to embrace and to love one another. There has been a problem throughout the centuries, sometimes of resistance to missionaries based on racism, and sometimes there have been people in supposedly Christian churches, even major leaders who are so racist They didn't even think the gospel should go to certain peoples. Charles Kingsley was a great intellectual and highly educated. He was Chaplin to the queen in the late 1800s. He was canon of Westminster. He was a Cambridge professor. He also happened by the way to be in love with the theory of evolution. And his the his notion of evolution meant that black people didn't evolve as far as white people and didn't have the divine spark in them, and therefore, they weren't worth spreading the gospel to because they couldn't be spiritual. Here's what he wrote, The Black people of Australia exactly the same race as the African Negro cannot take in the Gospel. All attempts to bring them to a knowledge of the true God have as yet failed utterly, poor brutes in human shape, they must perish off the face of the earth like brute beasts. What a sickening and horrible thing to say. Sadly, even some who were godly missionaries had a trace of superiority and racism. But here, let's listen to a missionary who had it right. John Payton said, what I have seen here in my missionary work with shattered a pieces everything that the famous preacher had proclaimed, had Christ been brought in the same way in other places, Equally Blessed and results would surely have followed, for Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knew that Christ was meant for all nations, he carried the gospel to one group of people with black skin and two, black skin is not a sign that you can't have the Holy Spirit, or that you're somehow subhuman. But I laugh, but these were not laughing matters, and they're not laughing matter. Still, today, we're racism. And a sense of superiority exists, we should laugh with scorn at the folly of racism, but not take it lightly. Professor tiano is a mission professor and dean at Trinity International University. He's one of the professors that I earned my PhD with. Professor tiano says, the 21st century is the century of global Christianity. Since God expects all Christians to be about advancing his rule in the world. mission today must become the responsibility of the global church. He says people of color now represent the majority of Christians in the world, making the case for Christianity on the basis that it's a worldwide global religion. Can especially in Africa erase the stigma of Christianity as a white man's religion. Professor tianfu himself, originates from Africa, and yet is teaching at one of the most important evangelical universities in the world. And so there's a great exchange of, of people from various nations teaching one another, the ways of the Lord.


Some will Escobar says that there's a new global mission. In fact, he's written a book about him, the subtitle of the book is the gospel from everywhere, to everyone. No longer is it just a case of missions being a few nations sending out Christians to lots of other nations. But instead, those who once received missionaries are now sending missionaries, and sometimes sending missionaries right back to the nations for which those countries once received missionaries. There may be missionaries from Nigeria, in the Ukraine, there may be missionaries from Portugal, going out to other countries or from Brazil, going out to other countries. And so you have missionaries from Korea, a nation that once had almost no Christians, and now sending missionaries to many nations of the world, the Gospel from everywhere to everyone. This is what the Holy Spirit who we see at work in Acts has continued to do and brought about in our own day, Embassy of God, the largest church in the Ukraine, which is largely Slavic, white skinned peoples is led by a Nigerian pastor, the world's largest churches, Yoyo Full Gospel Church led by Pastor David Young eachone. At so we realize, again, that the Holy Spirit is one who does not show favoritism. He's got his work going to the ends of the earth, all around the world. Now, sometimes this means that nations who have had Christianity for a while and think they know better, have got to pay attention and listen to people from other nations in the United States and in Europe. Sometimes, church leaders began to fall away from the Bible. A leader such as John Shelby Spong, doesn't believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and yet remained a church leader throughout his life and an important Bishop. This is terrible. And he also taught not only things false about what Jesus did or didn't do, but also about what's acceptable moral behavior, marriage is no longer the only place where sexuality is to be expressed. Instead, he teaches that there are a variety of ways that we can be involved sexually with others. Spawn has taught that bishops from Africa and Asia are just one step up from witchcraft because these people are saying, Hey, we were taught that homosexuality is wrong. And so we teach against it. But he says all scientific advances have given us a new way of understanding homosexual people. In dealing with the third world this knowledge hasn't percolated down, if they have they feel patronized, that's too bad. So he knows better than those Africans who are telling him that he's a heretic and a liar and a false teacher, and that his teaching is not of the Lord. He won't listen to that he won't heed global Christian correction, but others have. And sometimes the Anglican and Episcopalian Church has its strongest witness coming now from Africa back towards the United States and towards England. Archbishop Henry Luke rhombi wrote, it's a human failure to understand God's primary design and is calling on us we tell him that his sin, we don't want to call it anything else. The problem in America and the Western world is they don't want to call it sin. They want to give it another name. We don't want this another African leader, Dr. David gifi, a moderator of the Presbyterian Church in East Africa. He says how can they bless what God has called sin? This Bible does not allow this, My people will not accept it. When your missionaries came to our land, they brought us God's word, and told us it is true. Have you forgotten God's word? Do you no longer believe it? That's the testimony of godly people in Africa back towards the Europeans and Americans who have forgotten God's word. And so the Holy Spirit who led enact and simple gospel first Africa is now sometimes sending the gospel and true biblical teaching back from Africa, to those who need to hear it. And this is all the work of the one spirit who calls us to be one great international global fellowship, who learns from one another received the gospel from one another and is spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. And it's all symbolized and sealed in baptism. The Ethiopians Great question was,


why shouldn't I be baptized? He had heard the good news of Jesus, he believed that he was filled with joy, why shouldn't he be baptized? Well, he was baptized. And then when Peter was witnessing to that Roman Cornelius and his household, he said, can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They've received the Holy Spirit just as we have. If people have been baptized by God's own Holy Spirit, who would we as leaders be to withhold water baptism from them? And so the churches, church has learned to practice baptism without barriers. The apostle Paul spoke of this most clearly in his letters, he said, you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for your all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to promise. You might not have come from Abraham in a bodily manner, you might not be part of the Jewish people, but you're Abraham's seed because of faith in God's promise, and because of what Jesus Christ has done, and you're baptized into one body. First Corinthians 12, verse 13, for we were all baptized by one spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given the one spirit to drink. Colossians three verses nine through 11 says, You've taken off your old self, and put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here, there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is it all that's the message of the book of Acts, Christ is all and he's in all kinds of people. Ephesians chapter two, is perhaps the clearest in the whole Bible in dealing with this idea of the whole wall of separation being broken down. The Apostle writes, guided by the Holy Spirit, Jesus has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility through the cross, for through him, we both have access Jew and non Jew to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you have other nations you're no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens, with God's people and members of God's house. Hold. He goes on in chapter four, there's one body, and one Spirit, just as you were called the one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is overall and through all and in all, and it is that great reality that we see traced out in the book of Acts as God includes one nation, then another, then another, then another, and he gets them to learn, to live together to work together to spread the gospel together, and it's still happening today. Praise God.

Last modified: Tuesday, July 25, 2023, 11:26 AM