Sermon 15-7-19


Eph. 2: 13 to 18:

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

One spirit. One spirit in our times of multiculturalism? But isn’t it good when people of many cultures live together in peace and share the nice things brought down from their forefathers? Certainly it is nice to eat good unusual food and even to listen to music from other lands and maybe see them dance in their beautiful ethnic dresses.

All this is nice entertainment. And it is a way to peace to share and come together with people of other cultures.

1. Cor. 6: 12 & 13: All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body [is] not for porneia, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

King James translated the word porneia as fornication, but it refers to a festival of physical love in honour of the Ancient Greek love goddess Aphrodite (See Greetings from Paradise, chapter ‘The Letters’). The prohibition of porneia refers to the worship of a very popular other goddess.

The above verses refer to worldly law. 1.

Cor. 6: 1: Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Food was one of the issues of contention. It is not good to eat food offered to idols.

1. Cor. 8: 7: Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat [it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

In other words, be friendly to people of other cultures, eat of their food, listen to their music, even though you don’t understand the words, admire their beautiful clothing, but:

John 1: 7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe.

Therefore it says in

Eph. 2: 18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

One Spirit! One spirit, the Holy Spirit is what brings peace to the world. Under what spirit do we come together in our multicultural celebrations? First of all what is our spirit? Do we worship God? Do we love our neighbours as ourselves? (Matt. 22: 37 to 40) Or do we compete? Do we believe, believing is a religious act, that only the strongest shall survive? Is our god not God, but the bull of whom there is an image outside the Wall Str. Stock Exchange?

What about the people from other cultures? Do we understand the words to their music? Do we understand the reason for their celebration? Does this lack of knowledge mean we are not sinning in celebrating with them?

Deut. 7: 1 to 6: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth.

Should we share this? Or:

Surat I – nasaa (4) 88 to 91: What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray – never will you find for him a way [of guidance]. They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper. Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them. You will find others who wish to obtain security from you and [to] obtain security from their people. Every time they are returned to [the influence of] disbelief, they fall back into it. So if they do not withdraw from you or offer you peace or restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you overtake them. And those – We have made for you against them a clear authorization.

Do you think there will ever be peace in the Middle East except the people of these nations turn to Christianity first?

Cherish the Holy Spirit of God. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and love thy neighbours as you love thyself.

Don’t shun others because of their background. Follow their invitations, celebrate with them, make friends with them and when possible guide them towards the Holy Spirit.

Discuss with them what their scripture says. As there are many Christians who have never read the Bible, there are many people of other religions who never read their holy book. People are good, particularly in good times, but what happens under strain, when someone cannot handle life in our society anymore and then turns to his holy book for guidance.

Certainly there are dark spots in the history of Christianity, but these dark spots are acts which violated the Commandments of Jesus. Should we take criticism for that from people in whose Holy Book these very offences are prescribed as law?