Monday, May 4, 2015

Harmony Is Impossible Without Diversity


Christ came to restore man’s fellowship with God. His death provided the necessary atonement to bridge the gap, and thus upon his return to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to begin gathering a people who would fellowship with God through the sacrifice of Christ. Of course, we call these gathered people "THE CHURCH!"
Fellowship is central to God’s story and to the formation of the church. It should not surprise us that the very first time the followers of Christ gathered together, the central theme was fellowship. More appropriately, we could say the central theme was a “SHARED PASSION” which united them in true fellowship.
Acts 1:14 says, “they all joined together constantly in prayer…”
The word “together” is the focal point as it describes not just their activity, but the nature of their activity. The idea being communicated is that these people had “one shared passion”. They were joined together by the thing about which they were most passionate.
Have you ever thought about what passions drive you? In most churches, many of the passions driving people are very rarely shared, and when they are, those passions are more likely something beyond the church and God (sports, hunting, music, crafts, family, etc…).
While our shared passion for Christ and the lost is the glue that holds us together. We should remember that sharing a passion does not mean we must share everything else. There is much room in God's tent for us to share our passion with others and still have many differences.
Acts 1:14 points out the “glue” that held the early church together (their shared passion) and it also describes the unique make-up of this group of Jesus people.
  • First, in verse 13, are listed the 11 remaining apostles.
  • Then in verse 14, we are told that they were joined by the women, by Mary, and by his brothers.
  • Verse 15 tells us there were approximately 120 people.
This group is unique because of their diversity. Many in the group were Galileans and fishermen. However, also there were also city-folk and even powerful, wealthy people like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. This diversity even existed among the twelve disciples (Simon the Zealot, Peter the fisherman, Matthew the tax-collector).
This group is also unique because of the importance given to women. It was not common in those days for women to receive equal billing with men, yet Luke (the author) makes it clear that the women mentioned were equal contributing members of this gathering.
We cannot look at a verse without recognizing the clear encouragement to embrace our diversity, to reject oppression, and to engage in active fellowship with all people who make the body of Christ. Remember Paul’s words in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Whatever differences you may have with another believer, the one thing you share (Jesus) is far more powerful!

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