Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 3
By: Dr. Barry Rock
In this letter, Paul identified himself as a “servant of the gospel” and a “prisoner of Christ Jesus.” Even in jail, he was spreading the good news of Jesus. His passion was that everyone might know the grace and salvation of Jesus. This was his mission: “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6).
His desire was to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ (see 3:8b). It is clear, God used Paul to model and to teach that God’s salvation through Jesus Christ was for EVERYONE. And that is our mandate still. God desires that His Word be proclaimed to all nations, to every man, woman and child.
Reading Paul’s letter two-thousand years removed might gives us a false sense that this issue of “Christ for all” was solved in the first century. This sense is wrong on two counts: First, there is much work to be done. Much of the world has yet to hear the message of Christ. Second, we have yet to enter into the fullness of unity as “members together of one body.”
In a Meet the Press interview in 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I think it is one of the
tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hours, in Christian America.” The context, of course, was the civil rights movement. Certainly, we have come far. In a 2012 article from the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the author stated that the percentage of American churches that could be considered multiracial has almost doubled in the last 20 years.
Our church is becoming increasingly diverse. What a glorious thing to see believers from all walks, races, and backgrounds on our campus. Yet, “Christ for all” is not accomplished. We have much to do. Certainly, we are working. We have sent Cross-Cultural Workers around the world. We are working to be more accessible to everyone in our own community.
Still, we are all faced with our own sensibilities and biases. Is Christ really for the people I don’t like at work or at school? Is Christ really for the people with whom I disagree? Is Christ really for the person who cuts me off in traffic? Is Christ really for the ones who are just different from me?
We all know the answer. The answer is, “Yes, Christ is for all!” Let us join together to pray that all we do on this campus and in our lives would model God’s vision that we may live in unity as one body. Let us be the fulfillment of Paul’s prayer: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17b-18).