What the Bible Says About Race and Ethnicity

Scripture Teaches Us That Racial Diversity Is Part OF God's Design

Dan Franklin
Oct 24, 2021    36m
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Does the Bible address race and racism? This message of unity reminds us that racial diversity was always a part of God's Design. We were all made in his image and sent out to inhabit all nations and tongues. We can find unity rather than division when we focus on our shared belief in the one true God. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] We're in three weeks within the Stronghold series, where we're zeroing in on questions surrounding identity and the one that we're talking about this week relates to our racial identity and how that plays into who we are.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:32] Let me tell you a quick story. A bunch of years ago, I was a college pastor up in Oregon, and there were these two guys part of the college group, one was named C.J. and one was named Justin. And C.J. was about as conservative as any 19-year-old guy has ever been, I mean, just he checked all the boxes, he was staunchly on the Republican right of all the issues, and Justin was the exact opposite, he checked all the boxes for being on the political left, and these guys would just argue and fight like brothers. And not just like brothers, they filed like two men who had been on the House of Representatives for 40 years, and we're still bickering out their issues. And there were times that they were fighting that I would be like the referee just trying to calm them down because they would get so heated, they agreed on nothing politically.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:23] Now there is one college group event where we'd all got together, and we were doing a Bible study and I'd split the group into different groups. I said, all right, go get in these small groups, discuss the passage, and then come back together. So they've gone into their different groups, and C.J. and Justin had both gone into the same group together. And you guys are like, uh oh. So when it came time for all the groups to regather, and we were going to walk through the passage together, I see C.J. and Justin walking right back towards me from where I'm standing, they have goofy grins on their face, and they have their arms around each other's shoulders as they're walking. And they walk right up to get close to me, and I'm sort of like, clearly what had happened, there was something that had happened in that discussion, there was something that had melted hearts and broken down the walls that had previously divided them. And so I said, what's going on? And they said as we were talking, we realized something, they said we realized we're both Raiders fans, and that was all they needed. All they needed was something deeply held that they had in common to break through all of the secondary issues.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:38] Now, obviously, this is a silly story, but it's a silly story that still makes a bigger point. And the bigger point is that we find unity when our shared value is greater than our different value. When what we hold in common, when what we hold dear, and what we share, is more significant than the differences that divide us. And I'm not making any news by saying our country is dealing with a lot of division right now, and we're looking for something to unify us. And we're trying, you know, is it the flag? Is it the national anthem? Is it our history? What exactly is it that's going to unify us?

Dan Franklin: [00:03:15] And one of the ways that we are largely divided in our country is over the subject of race. And so, quick question, do you think the Bible might have something to say on this subject? We're looking all over the place; how do we find an answer to this? Does the Bible have something to say that would guide us on how we find unity in what seems to constantly divide us? What we're going to see in a number of passages, but in particular in Acts chapter 17 from the Apostle Paul, is him talking about something that unifies us that overshadows all of the things that divide us.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:55] But first, let me just give a little bit of background for this passage. So in Act 17, what we find, is we find the Apostle Paul in Athens. He's been going around proclaiming the Gospel, talking about Jesus to whoever will listen. And he goes to Athens, and as he walks through the city, he notices that there are idols everywhere. And most likely, because of the way that idolatry worked, there are idols to about every different ethnicity and nation on the planet, and there were also idols to just about every walk of life. So you've got the god for fertility, you've got the god for harvest, you've got the god for the weather, you've got gods for all kinds of different things.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:34] And so Paul starts engaging with people around Athens because there's a lot of armchair philosophers that just like to talk about ideas and so he starts getting into personal conversations with them. And eventually, they get to the point that they say, you know what? This is really good, we love hearing new ideas, we're going to give you a platform, and we want you to stand up here and we want you to tell us all of your ideas. And so Paul starts off by saying, all right, I walked through the city, it's clear you guys are religious. You've got an idol for everything, so you clearly think that connection with the divine is important. In fact, he says, you even have an idol that is inscribed to the unknown God. It was as if the Athenians had said we don't want to leave anybody off and accidentally tick off a God that we don't know about, so we'll just have an idol dedicated to the God we don't know.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:24] And Paul says, there's a God you don't know, and I'm going to tell you about that God. And so in verse 24, he says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else." He says, I want to tell you about the God that you don't know, and the God that you don't know is not just some obscure God from a far-off locality, and he's not just a God or over some small part of life that you've left out, he is the God of heaven and earth, he is the one and only true God. And he says, he certainly isn't contained by a temple, and he certainly isn't dependent on us to give him something, he gives us all things. I'm going to tell you about the God that you don't know, and the God that you don't know is the one true God.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:26] And then what Paul does from there is something deeply profound, he tells the Athenians two realities that bond the human race together, that cut through our differences and divisions, and bring a basis for unity that is not found anywhere else. Paul is going to talk about two realities that are our deepest basis for unity.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:57] The first one is in verse 26, and what Paul says here is that we are unified, we are united, by one Creator. Verse 26, "From one man, he...." God, "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands." Now, Paul mentions two things in this one verse, Paul mentions two things that are really big deal, and that sometimes could feel like they're in conflict with each other. One thing that he mentions is the absolute unity of the human race. We may have lots of ethnicities, we may have lots of backgrounds, we may look differently, we may have different skin color, but we are all one because we were created by one God from one man. So he talks about the unity of the human race, but he also talks about the differences of all the nations. The one God that I'm telling you about is the God who not only created all the different nations from that one man, but who spread the different nations and cultures all throughout the world. The fact that we have different nations, and different ethnicities, and different cultures, is not a mistake, it's not even a mark of the fall, it is a mark of the sovereignty of God guiding nations to the point that...We all know there are nations that once were a nation and now are not nations, and there are nations that are now nations that previously weren't nations, God is in charge of all of that. So the fact that there are different nations, the fact that there are different ethnicities, and the fact that there are different cultures is not a problem, it is not a threat to the unity of the human race.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:45] Now, we all know that different ethnicities and different cultures do things differently. If you travel around the world, or even in the United States, where we're largely a culture filled with immigrants, we experience the fact that different cultures with different backgrounds do things differently. Even with something as simple as food, right, travel within a 10-mile radius of where we are right now, and you're going to get a lot of options for your food. Praise God? We are like awesome, I love burgers, I'm glad we have more than just burgers, we've got Mexican food, and then we got Chinese food, and we've got Italian food and, we have Mediterranean food, we've got all these options because in different cultures, they do food differently. In different cultures, there are different things that are normal to wear for our dress. In different cultures, there are different ways that we celebrate holidays. So all of this, we recognize, right, there are differences in the different cultures, there are even differences with different cultures and how we do church. This is true if you travel around the globe, and it's true if you even visit churches that are predominantly made up of different cultures here in the United States,

Dan Franklin: [00:09:56] I've shared a couple of times that twice I've been out to a preaching conference in Jacksonville, Florida, that's hosted by a church that's predominantly made up of black members. And so both times I've gone there, I'm like, I'm in the far minority, you know, about 80 percent black people and about 20 percent others. And so I still remember, I'll never forget this. the very first night of the first time I went to this conference, we had our first session, and the first speaker was up giving the sermon. And I'm sitting there in my seat, and I've got my Bible open and I've got my pen out and I'm taking notes and I'm following along and I'm politely listening, and suddenly, the guy right in front of me, right in the seat right in front of me, just stands up, ad I was just like, Dude, like, what are we doing here? Like, I'm trying to do what you're supposed to do when a sermon is being given, I'm sitting quietly and politely, I'm not distracting anyone, I got my Bible open, I'm taking notes, I'm doing what you're supposed to do when you listen to a sermon. Why do you got to be so rude and stand up and put all the attention on you? Now, of course, I didn't say any of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:02] But it became evident very quickly that this guy wasn't doing anything that was out of the ordinary for this setting, because throughout the sermon, different people would spontaneously stand up as a way of physically using their solidarity in what was being proclaimed from upfront. That a truth was being spoken, and somebody wanted to stand to show, I'm in line with this truth. Now you could come back from something like this, and this is the sad thing, here's our temptation when we experience some of these cultural differences, we tend to have a temptation to do one of two things. We could either come back from something like that and say, they're doing it wrong. Like every church I've been a part of, you sit, and you politely listen. If it's something that's a really big deal, you might say, amen, but then people look at you, and you kind of stop, so you might do something like that. During a song, you might choose to stand up when others are sitting, but not usually, you know, usually you just sort of politely listen, and so they're doing it wrong. So, that would be the first temptation. And the second temptation would be to be like, they're doing it right, we're doing it wrong, like we're all supposed to be like that.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:08] Either way, we think we've all got to be doing this exactly the same way, both of those temptations are misdirected. It is not a threat to the unity of the human race, that there are things culturally that we do differently. In fact, the fact that we do things differently is part of the glory of our creative Creator that he made all of us, and yet we express things in different ways. The fact that there are many nations, and the fact that there are many cultures, is not a threat to our unity.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:45] The first thing we see in this passage is, God is the one, he sets up the boundaries, he sets up the timing, and he sets up the nations. But don't miss what he says at the beginning, when he says, "From one man he made all the nations." We not only have diversity in our culture, we have unity, we have something that bonds us together, and while it's a simple sentence, "From one man he made all the nations.", this is a hugely important sentence for our understanding of humanity and of race and of ethnicity because there are some other options. What the Athenians might have believed, because of all of their idolatry, is they might have thought, well, this god created the people from this nation, and this god created the people from this nation, and this god created the people from this nation, so lots of competing gods created all the people from different nations.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:36] And if you believe something like that, there wouldn't be really a strong reason to have the conviction that all human beings are equal. Because these gods aren't all equal, so maybe this god was better and wiser and stronger and made people that are better and wiser and stronger. On the other hand, what Paul doesn't say is, all right, there's one Creator, there's one God, but he sort of created some people and then he made version 2.0, and then version three 3.0, and he kept getting better and better until we get the iPhone 12, and eventually things just keep improving. It says from one man, he created the whole human race, we share a common set of first parents. And that shows not only are there not different gods with different amounts of power creating people, but there's one God and He created us all in the same way from the same first family.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:31] I don't know if you've ever thought about this, but if you don't believe this, if you don't believe what Paul is saying here, that there is one Creator and he created us all from one first family, it's hard to find a basis for believing that every human being is equal. Because once again, if you just believe we're at the top of the evolutionary ladder, and that a whole series of things that's happened to bring us as human beings to where we are right now, who's to say that some human beings aren't more evolved than others? And who's to say that that doesn't fall along racial and ethnic lines, so this group of humanity is actually better than this other group of humanity? But if you believe what Paul says, if you believe that the entire human race was made by one loving, all-powerful, creative God. And if you believe that the entire human race came from one first set of parents, that we carry that common lineage, suddenly racism not only becomes something that we see as evil, but racism becomes something that we see as stupid, it just doesn't make sense. If we are all made by the same God, and we all have a common heritage from the same first family, then that means that racism is incoherent.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:47] Let's talk for a few minutes just about racism. So racism, boiling it down, racism is a form of something where we exalt one segment of humanity, and we devalue another segment of humanity. We do it with all kinds of different things, we can do with how smart somebody is, how much education somebody has, how much money they have, and we can also do it on among racial and ethnic lines. Saying, all right, this group of humanity is going to be exalted and treated as important, and this other segment of humanity is going to be treated as unimportant and they're going to be devalued, that's what happens with racism, and racism can be individual, or it can be structural. So what that means is racism can be just one person mistreating another person based on their race or ethnicity, or racism could be that there are a bunch of laws and structures built into a society that brings advantage to one group of people and brings disadvantage to another group of people. So racism shows up in all kinds of different ways in society, individually, and structurally, throughout history.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:52] Now, racism is not something, you don't read the Bible and just come along a verse randomly in Deuteronomy or in Ecclesiastes, that's like, thou shalt not commit racism. We're all kind of like, where's that verse that tells us that racism is bad? The reason that we know that racism is evil is not because there's one verse that tells us, don't commit racism, but it's because we know that we're created in the image of God and because racism is an evil manifestation of deeper sins that we carry around in the human heart. The two main ones would probably be these, they would probably be pride and partiality.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:30] Racism comes from pride because pride says, I am of greater value than you. And so that can come through in a million ways, but one of those ways is to say because of my racial or ethnic makeup, that makes me better than you. And you don't have to read the Bible for very long to figure out that God is not a fan of our pride. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” I heard one pastor one time say, I've got enough problems in my life, I don't want God opposing me. God opposes the proud, so if you are finding pride in your ethnic or racial identity, that's a problem. Now, here's the deal, there's a difference between simply saying, I identify with my heritage, or I'm not ashamed of the color of my skin, you shouldn't be ashamed of the color of your skin, you shouldn't be ashamed of your heritage, or of your cultural identity, there's nothing to be ashamed of. There's a difference between saying, I'm not ashamed of this, this is a part of who I am, and saying, this is how I know I matter because of my racial or ethnic identity. Pride is one of the core sins that leads to racism

Dan Franklin: [00:18:45] And partiality is the other one. You know, here's the deal to be a white supremacist, you don't actually have to believe that white people are superior to everyone else, all you have to believe is that you're on the team of white people, and so you're going to root for that team, and you're not really going to care about people who are outside that team. Partiality is about favoritism, and it's about choosing not to treat people equally in each situation. It was something that you see talked about throughout the nation of Israel, that they weren't to act with partiality, especially in court cases, and even among ethnic lines for Israel. Deuteronomy 27:19 says this, “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” You can look at Israel and say, well, Israel was all about Israel. No, God says, don't you dare in a court case, have two people come before you and you're the judge and you see a Jew and you see a non-Jew, and you say, I'm on team Jew, He says, don't you dare pervert justice just because somebody is a foreigner.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:57] And so that that means in our lives, if we're employers, we have two candidates before us and we don't really know anything about them, but we say, well, this one looks more like me, so I trust them more, so that's the person I'm hiring, we've sinned and committed partiality. That means if you're a teacher in a classroom and you say, well, these students, I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to because of the way that they look, and these students, I'm not going to give the benefit of the doubt to because of the way that they look, you've committed the sin of partiality.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:26] This is rampant, and again, it can apply far beyond race, but this is where the evil of racism manifests itself. And that means this, brothers and sisters, that means three things.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:40] That means number one, we fight pride in our lives. Pride is the devil's native language, we fight against pride, we look to find our identity in our common Creator, instead of something like our ethnic or racial identity, we fight against pride.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:59] Number two, we fight to be just and impartial instead of practicing the sin of partiality. We fight against it, and we recognize that there are going to be times that we're going to have gut instincts that we have to say no to. And then we're also going to have times that we screw up that we need to confess and apologize for, we fight against partiality.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:19] And thirdly, when we see any individual or structural injustice happening in the area of racism, we use our voices, and we use our gifts, to fight and stand for justice because that shines the light of Jesus in the world. Amen? We are bonded together by a common Creator.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:39] But Paul has something else that he wants to tell us about what unites us. We're united not only by one Creator, but we are united by one Savior. Let's look at verses 27 and 28, he writes, "God did this..." And that this is, he set up all the nations in the different places, "God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’" Paul ends verse 28 by making a personal connection, saying, all right for you Greeks, you have poets that write poems about the idea that we have a connection. All of us as human beings have a connection with the divine, it's obscure and we can't quite figure it out, but we know we're all connected to the divine.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:33] And before he gets there, he talks about the idea that the reason why God set up the world, and the different cultures, and the different nations the way that he did, was so that we would seek him, we would reach out for him...And the Greek word here is almost like when somebody is in the dark and they're grasping around...that we'd seek him, that we'd reach around for him, and that we would find him because he's not far from any one of us. Do you guys want to know something really great about God? He wants to be found, God is not hiding from anyone, God wants to be found. And he doesn't just want to be found by Jews, and he doesn't just want to be found by rich people, and he doesn't just want to be found by Americans, he wants to be found by all the nations.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:23] And just real quick on this, some of you right now are like, well, wait a second, I read the Old Testament and God seemed to choose a favorite. Like, we talked about partiality, God seemed to choose a favorite, he picked the Jews, and they were his people, and he was going to bless them, and who cares about everyone else? If you read the Old Testament, you realize very quickly that's not what's going on when God chooses the nation of Israel. If you want some interesting and humbling reading, later on, go read Deuteronomy chapters 7 and 8. Because God overtly says to the Jewish people, don't think I chose you because you're anything impressive, I didn't choose you because you were strong or wise or noble. And the Jews are like, thanks, I guess. He says, I chose you because I needed a nation to put my love upon. So God is not saying these people are better, so I'm going to choose them. So why did he choose One Nation? We get a clue of it all the way back in the story of Abraham. In Genesis 12, Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, here's what God says to him in Genesis 12:3, he says, "All peoples on Earth will be blessed through you." The vision of the Jewish people was not that one segment of humanity was blessed, it's that all segments of humanity would be blessed through this nation.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:39] In Exodus chapter 19 verse 6, God is speaking to the nation of Israel, and he says, “You will be, to me, a kingdom of priests.” Now, real quick, think about what that means, "You a will be for me a kingdom of priests." Do you know what a priest does? A priest connects people to God, that's the job of a priest. And the Old Testament priest, they would connect people to God through the sacrifices, and through prayers, and through rituals, the priests connect people to God. And God says to Israel, You're a whole nation of priests to me. So follow the logic for a moment, if there are a whole nation of priests, who are they connecting to God? All of the other nations, Israel was meant to be a light to the world that the people would look at it and say, well, they have this one God, and they are really devoted to that one God, and they're loyal to him and he has them do different things. But look, he's winning battles for them, and he's doing miracles among them, and he's giving them his law and he's giving them prophets, they were meant to be a nation of priests so that people would see Israel and all the nations would be connected to God through them. God does not pick favorites; God's goal is to be found by all the nations.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:53] But the question we might ask is, if God really wants to be found, why does he hide? How many of us have said, like, gosh, I would really, really believe in God if he would just show himself, if he would just reveal himself? So if God really wants to be found, why doesn't he just reveal himself? Well, some of the Athenians might have been thinking this, and so that's where Paul goes next in the passage. Look, starting in verse 29, he says. “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” And by the way, at this point in the speech, all chaos breaks out because Paul talks about resurrection, and nobody can stay quiet anymore.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:54] But do you see what Paul just did there? We could be asking the question, we could say, well, if God is so concerned with being found, why doesn't he reveal himself? And Paul says God really wants to be found, so do you know what he did, he revealed himself. He made known, he sent his Son, the eternal Son of God, Jesus, born of a virgin, taking on our humanity to identify with us. That same Jesus went to a cross, and through his death, paid the penalty for all of our sin and rebellion and guilt and shame. And then, you know what God did? God shot a giant spotlight on Jesus through the resurrection. He didn't want anybody to wonder, is this just another prophet, another guy, another religious guru? He shot a giant spotlight on him so that all nations, in all the world would know this is the one and only Savior.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:46] As believers in Jesus, we are bonded together by one Savior. And, you know, in a sense, as the human race, we're bonded together by one Savior. And that's not because every human being is saved, because sadly, that's not true, those of us who place our faith and trust in Jesus are saved. It's not true that every member of the human race is saved, but what is true is every member of the human race that is saved is saved through Jesus, there is no other way for us to be connected to God. Which means that there's going to be no person and no ethnicity that says, oh, you got in because of Jesus. I got in because of my good works. You got in that way, I got in because I discovered the secrets of heaven. We all come to Jesus in utter guilty desperation, and the only way we're brought into the family is by the grace of God through Jesus. We are bonded together by one Savior, and that's something that unites us, and that's something that we want to experience within the body of Christ.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:56] You know, church unity, whether it's about racial unity or about anything else that would divide us, man, you read the New Testament letters, they are always talking about church unity, this is not a new problem. I don't know if that encourages you, this is not like in the 21st century, suddenly, we're having problems with church unity, it's all throughout the letters, it's a big problem, and it's a big desire that we have. And you know, those of you who are married, you know even if it's just getting a man and a woman together in marriage, unity is very, very difficult, even if you have a lot in common. If we're going to have a church, and we're going to have people from every tribe and tongue and language, people from different backgrounds, people of different ages, people with different personalities and different interests, different desires for how we're going to do worship, or how we're going to do kids ministry, for how we're going to do student ministry, if we're going to get all those people together, do you know what it's going to take? A lot of grace and patience, a lot of us saying my unity with this other person is more important than me getting my way. It also means that we're going to have to be open enough to realize that there might be some people from different backgrounds than us who have some baggage with people who look like us. And our first instinct could be to say get over it, but that doesn't tend to be a great way to broker unity. So instead of saying, hey, you get over it, saying, all right, we are one, I want to do whatever it takes for us to be one, it takes grace, and it takes patience.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:29] This is a book that I just read a couple of weeks ago, it's called a biblical answer for racial unity. A number of authors contributed to it, and I wanted to read you one passage from here, from a chapter that's written by HB Charles, who's actually the pastor who led the conference that I've been to in Jacksonville a couple of times. The background for this is that the congregation that he pastored, that's largely made up of black members, merged with a congregation of largely white members, the churches merged together. Now, I don't know if any of you have been part of a church merge, any church merge is messy because you have people being like, let's do it this way, no, let's do it this way. So it's always messy, when you add racial and cultural elements into it, it's even messier.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:09] And so he was asked, what did you learn through the process of merging these two congregations? And here's what he says, "The first thing I would say I have learned is that people are people, plain and simple, people are people. We are all sinners, all of us desperately need the grace of God, everyone meets Christ from a place of weakness, not a place of strength." And then he says, "I've learned something else during the process, our recently merged congregations are able to practice unity to the degree we focus on Christ, keep the Gospel first, and let the word of God have the last say. Without a doubt, the proclamation of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ has joined our hearts and minds together as one. However, to the degree we have allowed secondary things like ministry programs, music styles, church structures, even sanctuary seats..." Can I add in, masks, vaccine status? He says to the degree to which we've allowed those secondary things to become primary, we inevitably see corresponding degrees of division. The truth is that it is impossible for us to be one if we're focusing on anything but the Lord Jesus Christ. As we lift up Christ, proclaim his saving work, and fellowship around the word, we are privileged to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ does exactly what Paul is saying here..." Referring to the passage that Rez read earlier in Ephesians Chapter 2, "...tears down walls of hostility, Jesus Christ is our peace."

Dan Franklin: [00:32:50] Here's what I want you to hear, you've got political opinions, that's fine, have those political opinions. You have an opinion about how we should do music from upfront, that's fine, have that opinion. You have an opinion about how we should do children's ministry, how we should do student ministry, whether or not we should all be wearing masks, whether or not we should all be vaccinated, all kinds of things, if you have those opinions, that's fine, have those opinions. Be careful how much noise you make about those opinions, do you know why? Because you drown out the praise of Jesus when we get too loud about those opinions. It's not that we're saying these things don't matter, and please don't hear me to be saying right now, we're going to stay away from tricky biblical subjects, we're not. Hopefully, the Stronghold series is proving this, we're going to talk about tough biblical subjects, but what we're not going to do is take our personal preferences and opinions and make them the thing we're noisiest about.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:46] You know, like I said, the couple of times that I was at that conference in Jacksonville, each time there were a couple of brief moments where I felt like I was suddenly on the outside looking in. And they were usually brief moments, they didn't last very long, but they were brief moments where a speaker would say something that would sort of reveal, most of us in here are all agree with this politically, or most of us in here all agree with this culturally, or we all kind of know what we're talking about. And I was sitting there being like, not me, I'm not in on what's going on right now. But thank God, those moments were brief, because then what would surely happen afterward, is all of us in the room would be swept up in worship and praise and adoration for our common Savior, and suddenly there was no black and white. Suddenly, there was no Jew or gentile, no slave or free, suddenly, we were all just a group of people who had been dramatically rescued by Jesus, linking arms and singing praise to the one that we love.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:48] Let's get a bit quieter about the things that are secondary, and let's get really loud about what we share in common. We have one Creator who bonds us together as a human race, and we have one Savior who is the only hope for all humanity. Let's fight against pride. Let's fight against partiality. Let's create space for one another. Let's have patience and grace so that God can get the glory and the beauty of all of this.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:23] Think about this for a second, sometimes we say, all right, well, a soul is a soul, right? So it doesn't really matter if the church is made up of people from all kinds of different ethnic backgrounds, because a soul is a soul, and one person is just as important as the other, so it doesn't really matter, just a person is a person. Yes, a person is a person, so does it matter that there's ethnic diversity in the church? Yes. That doesn't mean that every individual church is going to look the way that it might look if it was perfectly proportioned ethnically, but what it does mean is that God gets more glory when he has the power to bring unity through different kinds of people.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:01] If we found some politician, and you went to that politician's rally, and you had young people, and old people, and white people, and black people, and brown people, and people from Asia, and you had all these different kinds of people, and you had Republicans and Democrats, and all of these people coming together saying, we're all in line with that one politician, we would be deeply impressed, we'd say that shows their glory, that they can pull that off. The glory of the one true God is that he can bring people together from all different backgrounds, and ethnic, and racial heritages, and we are all one in him. So when we create space for one another, we help show glory to God, and hope to the world.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848