August 1, 2014
READ: Acts 2:37-47
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer (v.42).
A question I often hear (and also ask myself) regarding diversity is this: “God calls us to reach out to those who are different from us, but how far are we supposed to go?” Is it enough to serve and minister to people who are different, or are we called to do more?
Acts 2 is a wonderful guide for us. It seems on the surface that there are two separate and distinct accounts in the chapter. But as we view them together, we gain insight about what happened on Pentecost. Firstly, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and enabled them to speak in the languages of the people from various regions gathered in Jerusalem (vv.3-6). The people were amazed to hear the believers speaking their languages and to hear the message that Peter preached (vv.14-40). In turn, 3,000 of them “believed what Peter said [and] were baptised and added to the church that day” (v.41). What took place reveals God’s heart of love for people of all lands and languages.
But that’s not the end of the story, because the new believers didn’t simply go their separate ways. They became part of the church and began doing everything together: worshipping, eating and sharing their possessions with one another (vv.42-47). This is the full story of the Pentecost—not simply that 3,000 diverse people were baptised, but that they were baptised into the church—they became brothers and sisters in the diverse family of God.
What a challenge this is for me to realise that God’s heart for diversity doesn’t just mean ministering or serving those who are different. It means to be in true relationship with others, to share our lives together and to see believers who are different from me as family members in the body of Christ. —Peter Chin
365-day plan› Luke 10:25-42
Read Acts 8:26-40 and 10:1-48 to see how far the diversity of the church eventually extended.
How might God be calling you to reach out to believers in Jesus who are different from you? How can you encourage the church to reach out to all people?