Summary: Live out the unity we have been given. [This message was given in the context of an inner city and a suburban church meeting together for worship.]
Pr: Let’s stop just talking about racism; let’s do something about it…
LIVE OUT THE UNITY WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN!
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• Change your attitude
• Be more than friendly; be friends.
• “Find a foxhole” and mobilize for ministry
RMBC 04 November 07 AM
I know that it’s not pretty, but I find myself looking more and more like my dad.
Now, he thinks that I am looking better all the time, but I am not so sure that he has the right perspective on the matter.
Dad has always liked to line up the Decker noses as he puts it.
He thinks that they are distinguished.
I think they just cover a lot of space that could be used for other purposes.
Dad also thinks it’s funny that I have become bald sooner than he did.
I actually fail to see the humor in that.
Well, I do admit it.
There are some striking resemblances between me and my father.
Listen for a moment in Galatians 3 as Paul says that we should have a striking resemblance of Jesus.
(26) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, (27) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
When people see us, they are to see a striking resemblance, they are to see Christ.
And we are to be clothed in Christ.
So much so, that when we are seen, Christ is seen.
The context of this comes from Roman culture.
For when the Roman child came of age, he took off the garments of a child and put on the toga of the adult citizen.
In the same way, when we believe, the garments of the old life – its habits, its addictions, its attitudes – are removed.
And they are replaced with new garments that are observed in a new attitude, new love and and new desire to serve Him.
The old is gone; the new has come.
The old clothes are gone; the new ones are put on.
And now, we are true children of God that everyone can see.
When we come to verse 28, Paul makes a powerful point about the nature of those that belong to the kingdom of God.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Paul was dealing with a significant problem in the church in Galatia.
There has been a group of people that had infiltrated the churches he had started – a group called the Judaizers.
The Judaizers believed in Jesus, but they believed God’s acceptance was restricted to those who were already Jews or who would join Judaism by following the works of the law.
You know what Paul said to that?
Paul’s point here in this verse is that all human distinctions are done away with in Christ.
The gospel is not for the select.
Rather, it is for all.
There can be no doubt that when Paul wrote this verse had in mind the typical prayer of a rabbi at the beginning of everyday.
For a typical rabbi would pray:
“Blessed be God that he did not make me a Gentile; blessed be God that he did not make me ignorant or a slave; blessed be God that he did not make me a woman.”
See how Paul has refuted the rabbis’ three points…
Cultural divisions are to have no part in the church.
Paul set himself against anything that demanded a cultural or national conversion to Judaism to become a Christian.
No one had to become a Jew to become a Christian.
The gospel was for everyone.
It was available to the Jew or the Gentile (who was everybody that was not Jewish).
Neither one has superiority over the other.
That division was gone.
One’s social status was irrelevant to acceptance in the church.
Though Paul never seems to deliberately condemn slavery, he begins the fight here.
Interestingly, in the Roman world, it is estimated that thirty-three per cent of the population may have been slaves.
Some believe that many of the early church leaders would have been slaves.
This means that some of the owners would have been put in the position that they were to submit to the people they owned in the context of the church.
Paul makes the point strongly here…whatever social divisions apply in the culture, they do not within the church.
The slave and the free were equals in the church.
The concept of the inferiority of women and practice of sexual prejudice were to be eliminated from the church.