Neither Jew nor Gentile: Guide
ONE Message Series
Acts 2:39; 10:34-36; Revelation 7:9
Neither Jew nor Gentile
“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34).
Last week, we explored Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 5:16 that “from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” This is clearly a statement of an ideal – an ideal that must be embraced and learned over time. How would you trace your own growth in understanding and practice of this ideal of Christian character? Specifically, how have you grown in the matter of racial and ethnic empathy?
Was the separation of Israel from other groups intended to be a distinction by geography, race, color, or faith? Does your answer account for persons such as Rahab, Balaam, and Ruth?
Texts such as Isaiah 49:6 explain why Israel was a Chosen People. Can you understand how this unique status could have become equated in the minds of some with a racial and/or national identity?
In Peter’s sermon on Pentecost Day, the Holy Spirit led him to say that what was happening that day was not only for the Jews but also “for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” What did it take for the meaning of that statement to come clear to him?
Try to imagine Peter’s confusion at trying to understand the vision described in Acts 10:9-16. What events clarified the meaning of his vision? What bewilderment did his actions cause when they were reported back in Jerusalem?
The biblical story of the Ministry of Reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles can seem “long ago and far away” – unless we relate it to events in our own experience. The intellectual confusion, emotional anxiety, and lifestyle adjustments of the early Jew-Gentile tensions has a variety of parallels with our own culture’s struggle with racial issues. What are the most significant insights you see in the biblical materials that can guide your own life experience?
Regarding racial justice, what specific things can you do to foster a Ministry of Reconciliation in the places where you have influence?
As you end this week’s study, pray for God to give you opportunities to help heal the racial divisions that a “worldly point of view” is still willing to tolerate in our world.