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Friday, September 6, 2013


Picture this: a church service where people from different continents, ethnic backgrounds, and customs—all are together for the purpose of worshipping the Lord. Everyone gets along. Everyone mixes easily. The differences only make the members of the church more interesting—and more interested in others. Visitors feel welcomed, and no one feels out of place.

Truthfully, this sounds like our church. Over the years, the only peopled continent not represented in our midst has been Asia. Oh yes, we’re in Spain, but let’s take last night for an example. There were people from three continents, five different ethnic groups, and four nations. It was a baptismal service, and the young man getting baptized had invited his relatives, so we had four first-time visitors who are Spanish in nationality but not in ethnicity. They are gypsies.

We have learned so much from the different people in our church. Our Australian woman taught us Australian English terms for pick-up trucks, parking lots, and more. Our Africans have shared about their different customs and traditional beliefs. We live in a bi-cultural region, which is very interesting, and our other Europeans and South Americans have also taught us so much. The people in our church learn from each other. A lot of it isn’t cultural, either. It’s things like patience, long-suffering, temperance, praying for the brethren, loving and forgiving. We’re a family.

God is pleased with inclusivity. He doesn’t reject anyone who comes to Him.

Here’s why I believe God is inclusive:
  • Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
  • 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
  • Jesus said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (John 6:51).
  • Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
  • I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world (John 12:46-47).
  • And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21, also in Romans 10:13).

I love this object lesson from God: Peter is on his housetop praying. He falls into a trance and sees a vision of the heaven opened and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven (Acts 10:11b-16).

Here’s Jewish Peter, who had never eaten anything unclean. His response to the vision is perfectly normal. (Did he think it was a test of his Jewishness?) He says, “No way would I eat those things. They are unclean.” The vision is repeated three times, and each time, the Lord says, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

By that third time, Peter finally understood God’s message. It had nothing to do with eating. It had to do with people, people whose hearts God had cleansed, people that God would cleanse in the future. In fact, his first opportunity to put his newly learned knowledge into practice is downstairs at that very minute. Cornelius’ messengers are at the door.

Cornelius is a Gentile, and Peter travels to his home in Caesarea. Cornelius and all the people in his house are eager to hear Peter speak. Peter tells them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him (Acts 10:28, 34-35).

Peter preaches the good news of Jesus to Cornelius’ household. While he was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on them. It was so obvious that these Gentiles had believed in Jesus that the Jewish people with Peter were astonished. Peter baptized the new converts and later defended to the Jews his decision to preach to Gentiles.

God is inclusive.

It doesn’t matter about your background; He loves you. He died for you.

If you already know Jesus Christ personally, make sure that you don’t value one people group more than another. That you don’t shun anyone because of his ethnicity, religion, or outward appearance. That you don’t think you’re better than anyone else—because you’re not. That you actually put others before yourself. That you become selfless, like Jesus.

Let others’ differences be interesting to you. Embrace them as people. Love them like God loves them.

In heaven, we’ll be with people from every nation, language, and background—for eternity.

Praise the Lord that He’s inclusive!

. . . not willing that any should perish,
 but that all should come to repentance.
(from 2 Peter 3:9)

(The Peter and Cornelius story is from the whole chapter of Acts 10.)


  1. Me encana como explicas esto, tiene mucha razón. Si el Señor no hace acepción de personas para que hacerla nosotros? Se vive y se está mejor cuando todos nos tratamos como a iguales.

    1. Gracias, Tere, por tu comentario. Lo aprecio. Bendiciones para ti también.


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