They came from the four corners of the world to worship, but they never expected anything like this. They heard. They saw. They were simultaneous amazed and perplexed. What they saw and heard prepared their ears to listen for more. When the words struck their hearts they asked, “What do we do?” Pentecost ushered in a new era. It took diverse parts and harmonized them into a solitary cohesive unit. Those Jews from all over became one. The church in its incredible diversity became a single body.
They gathered from an array (Acts 2:8-11) of cultures to be forged into a solitary group. It gives us our first look at the church of Christ. Cultural differences are a potential obstruction to unity as are the various languages which they spoke, but neither proved to be insurmountable. God cleared those hurdles with the miraculous gift of tongues, enabling all of them to turn their attention to the crucified and resurrected Christ. He is the balm that heals divisions among people (Galatians 3:28).
It was an unlikely collection of Jews that formed that first congregation. God rarely does it the way that we think He will. Who would ever choose such an improbable group as the apostles? Jesus took a few fishermen, a despised tax collector, a thief and a few other unknowns and gave them the most important job in history. He drafted a violent antagonist (1 Timothy 1:12-13) to go to a group (Acts 26:17-18, Galatians 2:7-10) whom he would have found repulsive. Predictability is not one of the traits that we find very often when we analyze the ways of God.
The diversity of the first church did not stop them from uniting. It was the prayer of our Lord that His followers come together (John 17:20-23), and He gave everything that is needed to accomplish that goal. The Holy Spirit delivered the essentials (Ephesians 4:3), and in the Pentecost event we see it in plain sight. Diverse parts were knit together into a single entity (Acts 2:43). It truly is amazing what the Lord can do.
The church is on display so that everyone can see what the plan of the Lord is. We are a demonstration of what is possible. Isolation devastates. The church offers an alternative, a place to belong. Everyone with respect for the Lord and a submissive, obedient spirit is welcome (Acts 10:34-35). Everyone! That means the meek and the mean, the crude and rude, the nice and the ugly all find a home in the church. That includes even you and me, no matter where we have come from. He will reject no one who comes to Him on His terms. In His hands, an unlikely collection of sinners are knit together into a single beautiful tapestry of the saved.
Call to Praise Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:14-15
His word on it: John 17:17
Sermon: “A Family of Truth”