Have you ever wondered how the church can work and be unified when there are so many cultures, worship styles, denominations, histories, and nations? Do you ever get discouraged with where the church is or where it is heading? Join us as as we take a one-week break from the book of Acts to step back and look at the plan God is unfolding through the whole Biblical story: the story of God bringing his people together as one family under Jesus Christ. This plan is a beautiful vision of life, but it also is being accomplished in surprising ways.
What would it take for the church to come together?
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”
Zooming out on the story of God and his people is one step towards unity
- A Zoomed-Out Perspective: every human being has a shared origin
- A Zoomed-Out Perspective: every human being shares a divine purpose
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”
God’s purpose for all people through Israel:
First Act: God chose to bless Israel as the way to bless all nations.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Second Act: Israel and all nations chose to reject God
Ah, sinful nation [of Israel],
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
Third Act: God chose to redeem Israel as the way to redeem all nations.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
The women in the genealogy of Matthew 1:
God has always used all nations to move his plan forward.
27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
- A Zoomed-Out Perspective: every human being is offered a heavenly destination
Faith vs. Beliefs
“The Greek word [for ‘faith’ or ‘belief’] has a broad range of meaning that covers a wide spectrum: belief, trust, endurance, loyalty, obedience. When we translate [this word] only as ‘belief,’ the polyvalent nature of the term is suppressed and the cognitive dimension often dominates.”
-Nijay K. Gupta
Faith in Jesus unifies us and directs us towards our common, heavenly destination.