The Gospel of Diversity or the Gospel of Jesus?

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LISTEN NOW!

Acts 2:5-11 (NIV)

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

CONSIDER THIS

I’ll admit it. Many times, when I come to passages like these in the Bible (including genealogies), I have a bad habit. I shift into hyper speed-reading mode and buzz through. Another way of saying it is I slip into “blah blah blah” mode. I pay little attention until the action starts again. You too? If so, I invite you to join me in the bad Bible reading habits repentance line.

Let me assure us, there is a treasure trove of revelatory wealth in every single people and place name in Acts 2. Sadly, after reading the Bible now for forty some years I have not yet tapped this treasure. That said, I have been given another BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) on this text this time through. 

The Father and the Son intentionally and carefully chose the Day of Pentecost on which to send the Holy Spirit. We see a lot of the reason in vv.5-11. There are some fourteen-ish different ethnicities called out in these verses. For good measure, let’s do a slow read of the list now:

9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans zand Arabs—

So back to the BFO. The Church is born and endures as a diverse community united in the gospel of Jesus Messiah. 

We do not make the Church diverse. The Holy Spirit does. In fact, the Church is diverse. The Church is God’s property, not our project. From the Day of Pentecost to the Eschaton, the nature of the Church Jesus is building is comprised of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. 

There is a diversity given by the Holy Spirit, and there is a pseudo-diversity propagated by the spirit of the age. I once saw an advertisement for a large local church, and their tag line read, “Where there is diversity there is God.” I thought to myself—this is precisely wrong. That is an ideological statement. In fact the opposite is true. “Where there is God, there is diversity.” This is a theological reality. 

When diversity is the goal, in time it will become the god. This is how a program of ideological inclusivity gets propagated. When the gospel of the Kingdom is the goal, diversity will be one of the effects—among many others. The gospel is already radically inclusive. The invitation is to anyone, anywhere at any time to repent and believe. 

Here’s a warning. Many people, including many well meaning followers of Jesus are being swept up by the spirit of the age and its utopian ideological frameworks as relates to matters of diversity, ethnicity and race. These well intentioned people are asking the wrong questions. Wrong questions do have right answers. The problem is they are still wrong. The question is not how do we achieve more diversity. Neither is the question how do we achieve unity. The better question is how does the gospel of Jesus unite us on Earth as it is in Heaven? 

Let us, however,  remember the best question. It is question #1 from the Day of Pentecost,  which interestingly comes at the end of verses 5-11. 

12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Still Day One.

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the Day of Pentecost. We inquire of you,
Father, what does this incredible expression of diverse peoples on the Day of Pentecost mean? What did it mean then? What does it mean now? We need revelation and insight. We witness so many efforts at diversity leading to profound division. We know this is not the witness of the Gospel. Holy Spirit, unite us in Jesus and make us your witnesses. Praying in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

So how does the Gospel of the Kingdom unite us in Jesus Messiah? 

P.S. 

UPDATE ON MY DAD. He came through surgery fine with a good report and is recovering well. I cannot thank you enough for your prayers for deliverance from cancer. We pray now for the restoration of full health. Thank you dear friends.

NEW ROOM CONFERENCE. I’ll go quiet after today for a bit, but I will be back with more encouragement. The rates increase tonight at midnight for our 9th Annual New Room Conference September 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The banner the Holy Spirit has given us to raise over this meeting with God:  How to Start a Fire. Use the code DTNRC to get deep discount for you and a friend or more. Today. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

4 COMMENTS

  1. That’s good news indeed concerning your dad, prayers for his full recovery will continue, praise God.
    Concerning your question regarding the Gospel, unity, and the miracle of Pentecost. Like you said, the timing of Pentecost was no coincidence. This festival celebrated the harvest of the first fruits, this was the harvest of the first fruits of souls for the KOG. Secondly the miracle of tongues was a reversal of the curse of Babel. Whereas the pride of mankind brought about their forced dispersal, the act of repentance, belief and baptism into Christ brought about their and our gathering into one body. The text in Revelation 7:9 foretells of the end goal.

  2. The Gospel unites us by leading us out of darkness into the light of Christ and transforming our heart so that we can see the truth that sets us free from the deceptions that cause divisiveness. When we see the truth that all people are loved by God and created in His image, we will embrace them as fellow human beings, regardless of our differences. By the power and presence of Christ living inside us, we will even obey Jesus’ command to love and to bless our enemies.

    Christ-bearers have a special kinship as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Even if they’ve never met (and come from different backgrounds and racial groups), they recognize an inner, spiritual relationship when they encounter each other in the Spirit.

    I wrote a book about how God has often connected me heart-to-heart with people who look and think differently than I do. It’s called: “Off the RACE Track–From Color-Blind to Color-Kind” and is available if you click on my tiny profile picture.

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