I lead a men’s bible study every Tuesday and we’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Last night we looked at Ephesians 3:1-11 where Paul tells the Ephesians the mystery that has now been revealed…that through Jesus, the Gentiles, non-Jews, were going to be saved and become part of the people of God as well.
Now considering most of us are Gentiles this is no big deal, but it was obviously a massively big deal at the time, given the difficulty the Apostle Peter had coming to terms with the whole idea, first with Cornelius and then later on with regards to table fellowship (spoken of by Paul in Galatians), and also in terms of the hostile reaction Paul received from his countrymen when he told them that he was bringing the good news to the Gentiles (which you can see in Acts).
But despite all that, it was hard for us Gentiles to really get our head around how shocking and hard that must have been…yet moments after saying that there was a knock on the glass, and there was a man in our courtyard asking to be let in.
He wasn’t dressed particularly well and he seemed slightly agitated as well, but I went to the door, asked him how we could help him, and he said that he wanted to join us, so I invited him in.
I continued the bible study, but it wasn’t too long before he started to interject, disagree and accuse the group members of a number of things. At that point I thought that I’d finish our bible study so I could talk to him myself, but he didn’t stay and left soon after and one of our group members followed him out.
Now where am I going with all this?
I asked the group after he left, ‘I wonder if this man is our Gentile?‘.
We want to see all sorts of people come to know Jesus, but how about this man? Do we want to see people like this come to our church?
To be honest, I didn’t, and I don’t think the others did either. But I was personally rebuked and came to realise that I was just like the Jews back in Paul’s time.
It all seemed so random, but I wonder if God was teaching us a lesson. That if we want to reach the people around us. If we want to see our church grow beyond 3000 in order to reach just 10% of our parish. Then we need to be ready for God to bring all sorts of people to come join our church. Not just people like us.
Thankfully, the group member who walked out with the man took the opportunity to tell this man about Jesus and how above everything else he needed to come to a conclusion about how Jesus was. And then he invited him back to bible study and to church on a Sunday. It was very encouraging.
But the question is – do we really want to see more people gathered and grown as disciples of Christ?
Do we have a heart for the lost?
Because if we do, then we need to be praying that God would bring more people, like this man, to come knock on our door, so he like the Gentiles can be co-heir, member of the same body, and partner of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 3:6)