Loving All of God’s People (Numbers 12)
Priorities in life are important. The things that you prioritize are the things that you get done. If you don’t have priorities, than you won’t achieve God’s long term goals for your life. Our current message series if called “Four Priorities for Life.” This summer we’ve looked at the priorities of Loving God and Loving God’s Word.
Today, we’re going to begin to look at the third priority, the priority of Loving God’s People. My message today is entitled “Loving All of God’s People.” When I speak of God’s people, I am talking about those who are believers in Jesus Christ. Now, many of the principles that we will be talking about apply to our interactions with non-believers as well, but in this message we are talking about God’s people. In the Old Testament, God’s people were primarily the Jews of the nation of Israel. Even there, God opened the door for those of other nationalities to become part of Israel.
In the New Testament, God’s people are the church, comprised of both Jew and Gentile of every nation. The church is to be an all-inclusive community of those who believe in Jesus Christ, irrespective of language, race, nationality or appearance. When the church was birthed on the day of Pentecost, we read …
Acts 2:5 (NIV) Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
We learn in verse 11 that these God-fearing Jews included those of other nationalities who had converted to Judaism. The point is that the church is made up of people from every kind of background. What unites us is our common faith in Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation gives us a picture of the church, the body of Christ, in heaven.
Revelation 7:9 (NIV) After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Each of those people is a believer standing in worship of the Lamb, Jesus. Notice again that they are a completely diverse group, including every nation, tribe, people and language. There is no discrimination in the church, everyone is treated equally. I believe that local churches, Life Church included, are to be pictures of the Kingdom of God, reaching out to and welcoming people of every age, race and nationality.
God’s people are also called the body of Christ in the Bible. God’s Word uses the picture of the body to explain that each believer in the church has a different function or ministry.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28a (NIV) Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed …
The passage goes on to list the ministries that God has appointed in the church. Each ministry different and distinct, but all are required for the proper functioning of the church. We all need each other in order for God to accomplish His purpose through us. So, we must learn to love and work with those who are different from us and who have been given different ministries by God. Some parts are more visible than others, but both the visible and the invisible are required for the body, the church, to function correctly.
Today, God wants to encourage us to love all of God’s people, without exception. Today, we’re going to look at an Old Testament passage from Numbers 12 to learn how better to love all of God’s people, especially those who are different from us in one way or another.