This week, Pastor Chris continued in our Empowered series with a word on the biblical premise for a multiethnic, New Testament church. This idea goes back to God’s promise to Abraham to bless all families, meaning every race, ethnicity, and nationality. Jesus entered into the world preaching to both Jews and Gentiles, dismantling barriers and the walls of hostility so that the gospel would go into the world, creating one new man. On the day of Pentecost, a new covenant age began when Holy Spirit came and fell on the body of Christ. As Christ’s disciples, we are called to pursue reconciliation with all men and to reflect the multiethnic reality of Heaven here on Earth.
Acts 1:8 (ESV)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 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.”
Acts 2:1-7 (ESV)
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Biblical Kinds of Tongues
- Known Language (Public Ministry Tongue) – This is a language you did not know, but now you instantly know through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:22 (NIV)
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.
2. Unknown Language with Interpretation (Heavenly Language) – This is a language of Heaven spoken publicly that must be interpreted.
1 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:5 (NIV)
5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.
3. The Tongues for Self–Edification of the Believer (Language of Intimacy) – This is a language used in your quiet time to have your inner person built up.
1 Corinthians 14:4 (NIV)
4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
- Building up of our faith
Jude 20 (NIV)
20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
- Spiritual rest and refreshing
Isaiah 28:11-12 (NIV)
11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
- Assistance in prayer
Romans 8:26 (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Acts 2:8–12 (ESV)
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
4 thoughts to understand the concept of reconciliation:
- All people are created in the image of God.
- Jew and Gentile are reconciled in Christ.
- Sinners and God are reconciled in Christ.
- You and others are reconciled in Christ.
The NT Pattern a Multiethnic Church
Acts 13:1 (ESV)
1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
|The witness of Jesus to all kinds of people in Acts: Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, the physically handicapped, pagan mountain people, a prominent merchant woman, a jailer and his family, Greek philosophers, governors, and kings.||chs. 2–5; 8:4–40; 10:1–11:18; 14:8–18; 16:11–15, 25–34; 17:22–31; 24:24–27; 26:1–29|
The Call for Vertical & Horizontal Unity
Ephesians 2:1–10 (ESV)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:14–16 (ESV)
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
- Peace – to join together that which was separated.
Ephesians 2:17–19 (ESV)
17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:22 (ESV)
22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
God’s Great Plan
John 17:21–23 (ESV)
21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Revelation 7:9–10 (ESV)
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
- How does the idea of a multiethnic church relate back to Abraham in the book of Genesis?
- Read Genesis 11:1-9. What happened to this group of people and why?
- What happened at Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came upon the people? Why is this significant in light of what happened at the Tower of Babel?
- Would you consider the American church current day to be multiethnic as the New Testament church is meant to be? In light of your answer, how should we as Christ’s followers respond?
- Pastor Chris said that God’s eternal purposes are to reconcile all things in Christ. How can we be followers of Jesus who carry reconciliation when the walls of hostility in our country are so strong?
- Are you one who feels strongly about racial injustice in our nation? Go before the Lord this week and intercede on behalf of our nation, seeking Gospel reconciliation from on high.
- Meditate on Ephesians 2:14–16 this week, interceding for those affected by the walls of hostility in our nation and abroad.