TEXT: Acts 17:26-28
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
From Paul’s speech to the Athenians, we have seen three principles that will enable us to break out of the problem of the color line. (1) We must realize that all people are born of the same common ancestor and the same blood. Some would even say that there is really only one race — the human race. (2) Where we live and the times in which we live are appointed by God, and it is our job as believers to love our neighbors and live at peace with all people no matter their race, ethnicity, culture, language, or social status. (3) In order to overcome racial division, we must first seek the Lord because it is through Christ that such barriers are broken down by the radical transformation of the sinful human heart.
Unfortunately, in the church, we have often let our racism infect or theology. We usually won’t say this out loud, but we think and act as if God is closer to us — to our race, to our people — than He is to other people. We tend to think of God as being on our side, whatever our side is. But, as Abraham Lincoln said, the important thing is whether we are on God’s side. John Wesley said, “We must not narrow the cause of God to our own beliefs.” And Paul says God “is not far from every one of us.” So, if we are to truly move beyond the problem of the color line, we must recognize that God is just as close to the people we are prejudiced against as He is to us — and, oftentimes, He is closer to those who are downtrodden and oppressed by the majority or by a powerful elite.
Paul draws on some common secular literature of his day to further make his point. He says in verse 28, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Yes, the people you hate, the people you despise, are as much the children of God as you are in the creational sense. (And if you hate people based on their race, you might need to reconsider whether you are a child of God in the spiritual sense.) William Baker writes in the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, “This God has created all men from a common ancestor, and this common origin strikes at the Athenians’ racist view that they had originated from the soil of their Attic homeland and were thus superior to all other men. Paul quotes three Greek poets: A-ra-tus who wrote ‘For we are also his offspring’; the ‘Hymn to Zeus’ by Clean-thes which says essentially the same thing; and E-pi-men-ides who wrote, ‘For in thee we live and move and have our being.’ These words, of course, were addressed to Zeus, but they nevertheless corroborate Paul’s ideas (and testify to the breadth of Paul’s education).”
Paul used the words of secular Greek poets who had been dead for hundreds of years to refute the racist ideas of the Athenian intellectuals. The church will not overcome racism by conferences and books and seminars and debates. We won’t overcome racism by photo-ops and diversity quotas. We won’t overcome racism by blog posts and think pieces. All of that is good — in its place — and some of that is needed. But the problem of the color line will only be overcome when we start treating believers of other races and backgrounds as true brothers and sisters in Christ. And racism in society can eventually be overcome if we preach the Gospel, bring people into the family of God, and let Jesus do His transformative work in their hearts.
If you are a Christian listening today, here are three things you need to do:
1. Confess and repent of your own sins. You already know what they are.
2. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to repent of their sins and get back to their first love
3. Pray for souls to be saved, and do your part by witnessing to the lost.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.