TEXT: Acts 17:24-28
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
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.
Ben Witherington said, ‘Paul offers a tour-de-force argument to counter prejudice, which is combined in a deadly amalgam with bad theology. The truth is that such battles have to be fought and won in every generation of human history because humanity is still a fallen lot.’
Much of the news we read, hear, and see today comes to us through a filter of race and racism. An altercation reported one way by the media takes on a new tone once the races of those involved are revealed. Sometimes, it appears that the “story” changes entirely. We have had protests, marches, rallies, and, yes, race riots in the twenty-first century, not just the twentieth.
Why are we still struggling with this question of race even after a two-term black president? It is because, largely, until recently, we — even those of us in the church — have not begun to deal with the issue of race from a spiritual perspective. We have been trying to change man’s mind about race when what really needs to be changed is the heart. And no intellectual argument for civil rights, fair treatment, and general equality will change a man’s heart. Only God and the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do that.
The apostles and first century church leaders did not go around trying to get Jews and Gentiles to get along. Instead, they preached the Gospel of Christ in order to get people to understand that God “has made of one blood all nations of men.” We will never accept that “there is neither Jew nor Greek,” as Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28, until we understand that we “are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is, of course, addressed specifically to the Church because “in Christ Jesus” is the key phrase in that verse.
When we begin to see each other as being “in Christ Jesus,” we can begin to recognize one another, no matter our racial differences, as children of God who bear the image of God. Regarding Acts 17:26-28, John Piper said, “Notice that God is the MAKER of ethnic groups. Ethnic groups do not just come about by random genetic change. They come about by God’s design and purpose. The text says plainly, ‘GOD made every ethnos.’ Second, notice that God made all the ethnic groups from one human ancestor. This has a special wallop when you ponder why he chose to say just this to the Athenians. The Athenians were fond of boasting that they sprang from their native soil and were not immigrants from some other place or people group. Paul chooses to confront this ethnic pride head on. God made all the ethnic groups—Athenians and Barbarians—and he made them out of one common stock.”
“Genesis 1:27 says, ‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’ When you put this teaching of Genesis 1 (that God created the first man in his image) together with the teaching of Acts 17:26 (that God made all the ethnic groups from this first ancestor), what emerges is that all members of all ethnic groups are made in the image of God. No matter the skin color or facial features or hair texture or other genetic traits, every human being in every ethnic group has an immortal soul in the image of God: a mind with unique, God-like reasoning powers, a heart with capacities for moral judgments and spiritual affections, and a potential for relationship with God. Every human being, whatever color, shape, age, gender, intelligence, health, or social class, is made in the image of God.”
Accepting that each of our human siblings are made in the image of God and made uniquely by God, with whatever ethnic characteristics that that entails, is the only way that we can overcome the racial division in society. Hence, the Church must focus on reconciling people to Jesus Christ before we focus on reconciling people to each other.
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.