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← Fitly Framed Together - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 17 created 01/08/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. You can turn in your
    Bibles to Ephesians 2.
  2. Brethren, I'm ready to leave Ephesians 2,
  3. but not yet.
  4. Before we bid farewell
  5. and explore the wonders
    that lay ahead in chapter 3,
  6. I want to say a personal word.
  7. What I'm saying today is personal
  8. to me and to our church here.
  9. Look, I want to talk about race.
  10. I want to talk about
    the color of our skin.
  11. And you know,
  12. I don't know the best words to use.
  13. I've heard, well, if you're from Asia,
  14. you're offended if
    you're called "oriental."
  15. I've heard that blacks don't like
  16. to be called African American sometimes.
  17. Look, I hear what whites are called,
  18. whether it's gringo or guero.
  19. I don't know all the right terminology.
  20. So, let's just have a bit of
    thick skin among ourselves.
  21. I may not use all the exact right terms.
  22. But here's the deal,
  23. I don't want to leave Ephesians 2
  24. without really bringing the rubber
  25. down to meet the road.
  26. This is practical in my estimation.
  27. Really practical.
  28. And sometimes, it's hoped
  29. that when you deal with a chapter
  30. like Ephesians 2 -
  31. especially the last half
  32. from about v. 11 all the way to the end,
  33. it deals with racial issues
  34. at a level that is practical
  35. to racial issues among Christians
  36. anywhere at any time.
  37. And sometimes as I'm
    preaching these things,
  38. I'm hoping that people
  39. are making the application.
  40. But you know what?
  41. Sometimes the application
    needs to be made for us.
  42. It can be helpful.
  43. I want to tell you about
    the personal impact

  44. that Ephesians 2 has had on my own life.
  45. I didn't know why I had
  46. this picture in my mind
  47. of sitting at Community Baptist Church,
  48. and I can just see where I'm sitting -
  49. Pat Horner preaching up there,
  50. and he's probably
    preaching on Ephesians 2.
  51. Gospel.
  52. But I just have this picture
    in my mind of sitting there,
  53. as my mind is beginning to put together
  54. the realities of what the church
  55. should look like.
  56. I'll just tell you right off,

  57. some of you know this.
  58. I went to a church in Michigan.
  59. The pastor - he didn't believe
  60. blacks could be saved.
  61. He believed they bore the mark of Cain.
  62. Now, I didn't know that.
  63. I wouldn't have gone there.
  64. Craig and I had little brothers
  65. in the Big Brother Little Brother program
  66. we were bringing from
    the inner city of Kalamazoo.
  67. And he told Craig after I came down here,
  68. "I don't know why you
    guys ever brought them.
  69. You know they can't be saved."
  70. Ruby and I got married.
  71. That pastor from Michigan
  72. specifically told Craig he would not
  73. send us a card
  74. because I had married a Hispanic girl.
  75. I didn't know these things about him
  76. when I was there.
  77. I would not have gone there.
  78. I came down and I sat
    at Community Baptist Church,

  79. and I began to see some diversity.
  80. And there was a pastor
    who seemed to like that;
  81. encourage that.
  82. I remember when Charles Wilson
  83. came over from Japan.
  84. He was transferring in the military.
  85. So now we had Hispanics
    and whites and blacks.
  86. I don't remember if there were any Asians.
  87. Yeah, there were. The Tagawa's.
  88. They're kind of Hawaiian I guess.
  89. So, I saw this diversity.
  90. And the thing is I'm hearing Scripture.
  91. And really, I find nothing more impactful;

  92. more prominent;
  93. more of an extensive treatment
  94. in all of the Bible than I find right here
  95. in the second half of Ephesians 2.
  96. If you train your eyes on v. 21,
  97. notice the words: "being joined together"
  98. V. 21 "In whom the whole structure
  99. being joined together."
  100. That's what the New
    King James and the ESV say.
  101. The New American Standard:
  102. "being fitted together."
  103. The King James Version:
  104. "fitly framed together."
  105. That's the word that I especially want

  106. us to lay hold on today.
  107. It's one word in the Greek.
  108. "Fitly framed together."
  109. So, let's read v. 19-22,
  110. and just notice how this
  111. "fitly framed together."
  112. And then, a close; a similar word in v. 22
  113. being built together.
  114. "So then, you..." now look.
  115. If you're just visiting with us;
  116. you're just joining in right here,
  117. you need to recognize who the "you" is.
  118. The "you" is specifically
    speaking to Gentiles.
  119. You Ephesian Gentiles.
  120. And that's exactly what the emphasis is.
  121. You who are Gentiles
  122. who have been saved.
  123. You non-Jews who have been converted
  124. "...are no longer strangers and aliens,
  125. but fellow citizens with the saints
  126. and members of the household of God,
  127. built on the foundation of the
    apostles and prophets,
  128. Christ Jesus Himself
    being the Cornerstone,
  129. in whom the whole structure,
  130. being joined together grows
  131. into a holy temple in the Lord."
  132. Now, notice this.

  133. He basically comes along and says
  134. almost exactly the same thing in v. 22.
  135. It's a lot of synonymous verbiage.
  136. You know what the big difference is?
  137. "You also..." that's the big difference.
  138. You see what he's doing here?
  139. "In Christ, you Gentiles also..."
  140. That's the remarkable thing to Paul.
  141. You're included!
  142. "You're also being built together
  143. into a dwelling place
    for God by the Spirit.
  144. You know what this last half
  145. is all about?
  146. It's a Jew-Gentile thing.
  147. That's what's happening.
  148. Look back up at v. 11.
  149. "Therefore remember that at one time..."
  150. Here it is.
  151. "...you."
  152. Now you see, I'm not making this up.
  153. What's on his mind?
  154. You Gentiles.
  155. That's specifically what he's got in mind.
  156. That's who he's speaking
    to whenever he says,
  157. "you" throughout this latter half
  158. of Ephesians 2.
  159. "You Gentiles in the flesh..."
  160. Now notice this:

  161. "called the uncircumcision."
  162. They don't call themselves that.
  163. That's what the Jews call them.
  164. It's derogatory.
  165. You know different races typically
  166. invent derogatory names
  167. for people of other races.
  168. Do you ever notice that?
  169. Even in our own generation?
  170. That's common.
  171. They're called the uncircumcision
  172. by what is called the circumcision,
  173. which is made in the flesh by hands.
  174. Brethren, we need to
    feel the difference here.

  175. Some of you who have stayed aloof -
  176. well, maybe that's not
    the best word to use,
  177. but those of you that
    stayed most connected to -
  178. even in the church -
  179. racial issues,
  180. you get an idea
  181. about the differences -
  182. the differences of opinion;
  183. how polarized these things can be.
  184. You don't feel that when it comes to
  185. circumcised - uncircumcised.
  186. Because we're not familiar with it.
  187. We don't have to deal with it.
  188. It's not familiar to us.
  189. It's not part of our experience.
  190. So we really don't get it.
  191. But let's try to get it again.
  192. I talked about it way back,
  193. but let's talk about it again.
  194. Jesus is dealing with a
    Syrophoenician woman

  195. and even He says the Jews are children;
  196. the Syrophoenician woman is a dog.
  197. Jesus comes to a well in John 4.
  198. The woman is surprised that a Jewish man
  199. would even speak to her.
  200. And she says so.
  201. Jews don't have dealing with Samaritans.
  202. Do you know that when Paul
  203. has to rebuke Peter in Galatians,
  204. in his dialogue with Peter,
  205. he says we are not Gentile sinners.
  206. That was basically the attitude.
  207. Gentiles are lawless.
    They don't have the law of God.
  208. They don't have the true God.
  209. They're just sinners - Gentile sinners.
  210. That's how Paul, an apostle
  211. to the Gentiles themselves,
  212. would categorize Gentiles to another Jew.
  213. They're just Gentile sinners.
  214. Not without hope,
  215. but that's how he classified them.
  216. You remember how, again,

  217. derogatorily - here's the Pharisees.
  218. You want to say something
    wicked about Jesus,
  219. what did they say?
  220. You're a Samaritan.
  221. You have a devil. You have a demon.
  222. Derogatory.
  223. You know what?
  224. There was hatred between
    Jews and Gentiles.
  225. Both thinking themselves superior.
  226. Both at odds with each other.
  227. There was not unity.
    There was not harmony.
  228. Do you know what the point

  229. of the second half of
    Ephesians is all about?
  230. It's that Christ's blood was shed
  231. to tear down; to destroy the barriers.
  232. You see that.
  233. Look at v. 14.
  234. "He Himself (this is Christ)
  235. is our peace
  236. who has made us both one."
  237. Ok, my agenda today is not to deal
  238. with Jew and Gentile other than
  239. how Jew and Gentile are a great reflection
  240. of black and white
  241. and any other racial
    issues that we have today.
  242. Listen, the same truth applies,
  243. that by the blood of Christ,
  244. black and white Christians are made one.
  245. That's a reality folks.
  246. Don't try to tear that down.
  247. Don't try to back away;
  248. don't try to wiggle your way out of it.
  249. And I'll just say this right off.

  250. Brethren, you know one of the truths
  251. that we find about Scripture,
  252. is that the devil comes and casts tares
  253. among the wheat.
  254. Have you ever read that?
  255. Anybody read that?
  256. What do you think that means
  257. on a practical level?
  258. You think it means we might
    have some tares in here?
  259. Or in the church at large?
  260. You think so?
  261. Let me ask you this.
  262. What color is their skin?
  263. The tares.
  264. What color do you think they are?
  265. If you were to examine their skin,
  266. what do you think?
  267. All colors.
  268. You know what?

  269. Just because someone
    professes to be a Christian
  270. doesn't really mean they are.
  271. And if they in any way speak to you
  272. in a way that would cause you
  273. to back away from this reality,
  274. turn it off.
  275. I don't care if they're white;
  276. they're black, they're green.
  277. The reality is that if we
    are black and white
  278. and we are in Christ, we are one.
  279. We are not separate.
  280. We are not two distinct peoples.
  281. Yes, you may like Menudo.
  282. You might like grits.
  283. I may prefer steak.
  284. Well, you probably like it too.
  285. But, yes, we may have those flavors.
  286. But you need to consider your identity
  287. at the deepest level.
  288. We are one.
  289. That's what Scripture says.
  290. One.
  291. "And He's broken down..."

  292. that means He's destroyed,
  293. "...in His flesh, the
    dividing wall of hostility."
  294. He tears it down. Now, I know,
  295. when it comes to Jew and Gentile,
  296. we may be speaking about
  297. legal realities - even realities
    from the Old Testament,
  298. but what I'm telling you
  299. is that the reality is the same.
  300. That among the Gentiles,
  301. no matter where we come from,
    no matter what our background is,
  302. no matter what country
    you were born in,
  303. no matter what language you speak,
  304. no matter what color your skin is,
  305. if we are in Christ together,
  306. we are one.
  307. That is the greatest point of our identity
  308. in all the world, the universe, eternity.
  309. That is the greatest reality.
  310. Our identity is in Christ.
  311. Now listen,

  312. "we are made one."
  313. The reality is that Gentiles aren't made
  314. into physical Jews.
  315. There's a spiritual reality,
  316. but they're not made into physical Jews.
  317. Jews aren't made into Gentiles.
  318. What happens is this,
  319. and Paul clearly says this,
  320. all former categories dissolve away
  321. and are replaced by a new category.
  322. That's what you see right there in v. 15.
  323. "That He might create in Himself
  324. one new man
  325. in place of the two."
  326. Did you catch that?
  327. There's a replacement.
  328. The Gentiles don't replace the Jews.
  329. The Jews don't replace the Gentiles.
  330. Both categories are replaced
  331. by one new man.
  332. And you know what happens?

  333. All these new men; all these new women,
  334. they are collectively together
  335. in what's called here "one body."
  336. Do you see that? v. 16?
  337. "...and might reconcile us both to God
  338. in one body through the cross."
  339. Now as I said when we
    dealt with that text,
  340. that's not Christ's body.
  341. That one body idea shows up in Ephesians
  342. and in Paul's writings over and over,
  343. and he doesn't mean the body of Christ.
  344. He means the church.
  345. It's one body.
  346. Christ is the Head.
  347. One body.
  348. Do you know what it's comprised of?
  349. A bunch of people who were
  350. formerly disunified Jews;
  351. disunified Gentiles.
  352. But now they're all together
  353. in one body.
  354. And what's happening?
  355. They're being reconciled to God.
  356. We've just come away from a season
  357. where "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,"
  358. is commonly sung:
  359. "God and sinners reconciled."
  360. But you see, Paul's point here -
  361. it's not just any sinners;
  362. it's sinners who
    formerly in their lostness
  363. were so radically divided
  364. and now in one body,
    they're brought together.
  365. They have reconciliation together,
  366. both by way of the cross
  367. and be certain of this,
  368. there is no reconciliation at all
  369. apart from the death
    of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  370. This is the church.
  371. It's reconciled.
  372. It's something absolutely new.
  373. Both Jew and Gentile.
  374. And you know what happens?
  375. The door gets thrown wide open
  376. to draw near to God
  377. for everybody in the body,
  378. and that's what you find in v. 18.
  379. We have access.
  380. And notice,

  381. "for through Him, we both..."
  382. Don't you like how he keeps coming back
  383. and he says, "we both..."
  384. One new man in place of the two.
  385. We both have access.
  386. And again, I'm not wanting to deal
  387. primarily with Jew and Gentile today.
  388. I want to deal with every color of skin
  389. and ethnicity that we have in this room,
  390. because the reality is,
  391. there is a people here.
  392. And it doesn't matter what
    shade of skin we have,
  393. that by reconciliation through the cross
  394. the door has been opened
  395. so that we actually have
  396. real communion with God,
  397. and we can enter before Him.
  398. Again, we're dealing with
    the greatest realities

  399. about our identity.
  400. Your greatest identity is
    not the color of your skin.
  401. Your greatest identity is the fact
  402. that you are one who has been paid for
  403. by this blood
  404. and the doors are thrown open for you
  405. to come right into the presence of God.
  406. And you know what happened?

  407. I'm out there at Community Baptist Church.
  408. I'm not a pastor yet.
  409. I don't even know if I was preaching.
  410. But things are beginning
    to formulate in my head.
  411. Thinking about that pastor -
  412. it's now been made clear to me
  413. where I came from.
  414. It's like what is all that?
  415. And I'm watching the church at Community.
  416. I'm hearing verses like come out
  417. of Ephesians and there's a picture
  418. that begins to develop in my mind
  419. about what the church
  420. should be looking like.
  421. And the thing is here
  422. Paul's not done.
  423. Paul's not done.
  424. He just keeps going on and on.
  425. He wants to drive this point home
  426. over and over again.
  427. Your identity is no longer
  428. in your circumcision
  429. or your uncircumcision.
  430. It's no longer in the color of your skin.
  431. Your truest identity is not on that level.
  432. Your identity is somewhere else now.
  433. And look at v. 19.
  434. "...fellow citizens with the saints,
  435. members of the household of God."
  436. But then he goes even further.

  437. The reconciled ones are all being -
  438. and here's that word -
  439. jointed or joined together.
  440. Fitly framed together.
  441. "...Into a temple for God to dwell in."
  442. And you know, the thing about it is
  443. some might wonder at that.
  444. I just said Paul goes even further.
  445. Does that even sound right?
  446. Some might wonder that I say
  447. Paul goes even further.
  448. Look, to go from family to building -
  449. it is really an escalation of imagery
  450. to go from the one to the other,
  451. but it might not feel like that.
  452. Why? Well, family seems warm.
  453. It seems loving.
  454. It's just not as nice a picture
  455. to think about building pieces in a wall.
  456. Is Paul's imagery really escalating here?

  457. Oh yeah.
  458. Don't think warmth.
  459. Think cohesion.
  460. What's that word?
  461. That's like glue.
  462. Cohesive. Super glue.
  463. You glue something together.
  464. Adhesion or cohesion.
  465. It's the stickiness.
  466. It's something being stuck together
  467. or built together.
  468. That's the imagery of cohesion.
  469. Being furthered.
  470. Is there cohesion in all
    being in the same country?

  471. To some degree.
  472. Is there cohesion in
    being in the same family?
  473. Yeah, maybe even more so.
  474. But when you're fitly framed together
  475. as a piece of construction material
  476. into the same wall,
  477. you know what?
  478. There's a truer merging of parts
  479. than even in a family.
  480. You say really?

  481. Yeah, you know what?
  482. One of the boards in that wall
  483. does not say,
  484. well, I think I'm going to get
    married and move to Missouri.
  485. They're together.
  486. You see, families - people can go

  487. different places.
  488. There is a closeness in family,
  489. but there's a cohesion in building parts
  490. that comes even closer.
  491. The idea of Jew and Gentile
  492. so closely fitly framed together
  493. into the same structure
  494. seems to be so exceptionally
    important to Paul
  495. that you know what?
  496. It's assumed that he actually
  497. invents a word right here.
  498. Now, I'm not the world's
    most renowned etymologist.
  499. (studier of words)
  500. But Lloyd-Jones says Paul invented it.
  501. He said there's no indication
  502. that the word ever shows up
  503. anywhere else in history;
  504. anywhere else outside of Ephesians.
  505. And it can't be found
    in any secular writing.
  506. It's thought that what Paul was doing
  507. was he was grasping for imagery
  508. or for a term and he was limited -
  509. limited enough in his own vocabulary
  510. that he needed to create a word
  511. to try to communicate to these folks
  512. exactly what he meant.
  513. And what he did was he basically took
  514. three separate words
  515. and stuck them all together
  516. in apparently what was
    an invention of his own.
  517. The three words are this:

  518. The first one is "sun,"
  519. which means "together with."
  520. The second one is "harmos."
  521. Now Jeff's going to correct me
  522. if my Greek pronunciation isn't right.
  523. You know, it's funny.
  524. As Americans we like to say
  525. about Greek or Hebrew,
  526. well, that isn't the way you say it.
  527. We actually had a Hebrew Christian
  528. sit at our table before.
  529. Brethren, he said words
    from the Old Testament
  530. in ways you would not
    even recognize them.
  531. And you know, we're
    correcting one another.
  532. Well, this is the way you say it.
  533. But if you actually heard the way
    that it was said in the original language,
  534. we'd probably all recognize
  535. that we're just doing good enough
  536. if we can communicate in our own
  537. Anglican pronunciation.
  538. But, you have "sun" - together with;

  539. "harmos" which means "joint."
  540. Joined together with.
  541. And then "logeo"
  542. which is the verb of "logos,"
  543. which has the idea to arrange in order.
  544. You know what happens?
  545. The King James Version
  546. actually comes the closest
  547. to striving to bring
  548. all three components out.
  549. They actually use three
    words in the English
  550. to parallel the three in the Greek.
  551. Fitly framed together.
  552. It's the idea of logeo is to arrange;
  553. like even an arrangement of music
  554. or an arrangement of a sentence.
  555. But it's to put something in order,
  556. and it's a picture -
  557. it's what God is doing to us.
  558. It's not something that
    we're doing to ourselves.
  559. God is placing in the church
  560. and joining together with
  561. and fitly framing.
  562. It's the idea of harmoniously
  563. fitting together.
  564. It is a tight cohesiveness.
  565. And Paul just invents this word

  566. and says to these Gentiles,
  567. do you really recognize how one you are?
  568. How closely fitted together?
  569. And obviously there's
    something profound in this.
  570. When Paul does this;
  571. when he invents this,
  572. brethren, this is the church.
  573. That's what we have going here.
  574. That's what we have a picture of here.
  575. He wants to try to explain
  576. to these Ephesian Gentiles
  577. to feel their close cohesion
  578. with these Jews and with everyone else
  579. who's a Christian.
  580. God takes each one of these living stones
  581. and carefully arranges them by design,
  582. and He puts them in here
  583. and fitly frames -
  584. you think about framing a window.
  585. And they're fitted.
  586. It's almost like there's one after another
  587. and they're fitly framed together
  588. and joined together in cohesion
  589. and a tightness.
  590. This is the church.
  591. And do you know what
    the building blocks are?
  592. They're living stones,
  593. and they've got every
    different shade of skin
  594. under the sun.
  595. That's the reality.
  596. Various nationalities,
  597. skin colors -
  598. they used to be separated,
  599. disjointed,
  600. unharmonious, conflicting, clashing...
  601. It's like as a child,

  602. I remember I got a battleship model.
  603. Remember the old models?
  604. You put them together.
  605. I don't if young people
    even do that anymore.
  606. And you pull the top off
  607. and you basically have
    these frames of plastic
  608. with all the individual
    parts across there.
  609. And you've got, typically,
    several sheets of these things,
  610. and you pull them out.
  611. And you've got the big pieces
  612. like the halves of the hull and whatever,
  613. and you begin to put
    all these pieces together.
  614. At first, they're all disjointed.
  615. They're disconnected.
  616. But then you take out that model glue
  617. and you begin to put them together,.
  618. And you know, some of
    the pieces are the same.
  619. Many of them are not the same.
  620. They're not like each other.
  621. It's not like a cookie cutter thing.
  622. If you just opened it up
  623. and you had a hundred pieces
  624. that all looked identical,
    what do you create out of that?
  625. It's the same with the church.

  626. Paul uses other illustrations
    in 1 Corinthians 12,
  627. but where do you get a body
  628. if everybody's an eye?
  629. You don't.
  630. Where do you get a battleship
  631. if everything is a gun turret?
  632. You don't.
  633. You end up with some
    ugly horrendous thing.
  634. It doesn't even go together.
  635. You could glue it all together,
  636. but it's going to be a monster.
  637. But as a child, you put
    all those pieces together.
  638. This is what God is doing in the church.
  639. Fitly framing.
  640. And brethren, I'll tell you this.

  641. About 17 years ago,
  642. when we started this church,
  643. I was just naive enough to think
  644. and to actually believe
  645. that texts like this
  646. had real life implications.
  647. I believe that.
  648. I actually believed that if such
    radically different people
  649. as Jews and Gentiles
  650. could actually lose their
    own native identities
  651. and so identify with Christ,
  652. that they could come together
  653. in the same churches
  654. and function together and live together
  655. and love together
  656. and spread the Gospel together.
  657. I actually was naive enough to think
  658. blacks and whites could
    do that in San Antonio.
  659. Along with the majority population
  660. of the Hispanics.
  661. And thankfully, if God threw Asians
  662. into that mix as well.
  663. I thought it might be
    just reasonable enough
  664. to think that if we
    located our church meetings
  665. here on the east side of San Antonio,
  666. we might actually witness
  667. the same power
  668. that brought Jew and Gentile together
  669. bring all sorts of different
    people together here.
  670. That was my thinking.
  671. And you know what? Some might think
  672. that I'm reading too much into the passage
  673. in these last two verses of chapter 2.
  674. But the image produced in my mind,
  675. it wasn't just a theoretical image.
  676. It was an image that I saw
  677. came right down to local churches.
  678. See, I didn't really imagine the temple

  679. being built and all the stones over there
  680. are black;
  681. and all the stones right there are white;
  682. and all the stones right there
  683. may have a reddish hue
  684. or a yellowish hue.
  685. I didn't see it like that.
  686. I saw them fitly framed
    together in my mind.
  687. Maybe you think I'm
    reading too much into it,
  688. but like I say, I was just naive enough
  689. to think that a brother with dark skin
  690. could be placed in there.
  691. And then a Hispanic sister
  692. could be placed next to that.
  693. And then an Asian sister
  694. could be placed next to that.
  695. And I actually believed,
  696. well, if God could do that back then,
  697. God can do that now.
  698. I mean, if God is capable.
  699. And the thing is,
  700. I didn't just think,
  701. oh, that's for heaven.
  702. See, we have to wait for heaven
  703. because here everybody's going
    to be in their Korean church;
  704. everybody's going to be
    in their Indian church;
  705. everybody's going to be
    in their white church;
  706. in their Hispanic church,
    in their black church.
  707. And we wait for then.
  708. Then, of course, it's all
    going to mix together.
  709. You see, I just kind of thought
  710. that the fact that we're being built
  711. together this way actually has to do with
  712. the here and now
  713. and right in our generation.
  714. And I kind of thought that
  715. side by side we could work together
  716. for the sake of the Gospel.
  717. Brethren, I'll tell you this.

  718. I did not know exactly
    how it would happen,
  719. but in those first seven months
  720. of the life of this church,
  721. this was becoming more and more
  722. of a burden.
  723. Now, let me tell you,

  724. we started by meeting on
  725. the south side of the city.
  726. I'm not going to say it's all Hispanic,
  727. but heavily so.
  728. That's where we had a Bible study
  729. for a number of years.
  730. But you know, as time went on,
  731. I didn't want to stay there.
  732. I had my eye on this part of the city.
  733. And I know there were voices saying
  734. well, that's not right.
  735. If God called you to be on the south side,
  736. who are you to be moving away from it?
  737. Well, I'll tell you what
    God was doing inside me
  738. was trying to think strategically -
  739. if we're going to have a church
  740. where blacks and whites and Hispanics
  741. and other ethnicities are likely
  742. going to come together,
  743. what I felt like was
  744. if we could be close to downtown
  745. and maybe actually off into a more
  746. black part of the city,
  747. I thought that's the
    strategic location to be.
  748. Now, you may take issue with that.
  749. But that was my whole thinking.
  750. My thinking was,
  751. let's go to where the needs are;
  752. let's go to where the prostitutes are;
  753. let's go to where the drug problems are;
  754. let's go to where they need the Gospel;
  755. but let's also position this
  756. where we're close to downtown.
  757. You've got maybe what tends to be
  758. the more white areas to the north.
  759. You've got the more
    black areas to the east.
  760. West side is little Mexico.
  761. South side is going
    to be heavily Hispanic,
  762. but it felt central.
  763. That was my thinking: central.
  764. Because that was the desire.
  765. Now as I looked out at the church,
  766. it was all Hispanic in those first days
  767. except me.
  768. But I began to pray.
  769. I recognized, no matter
  770. where you are in this city,
  771. if God's working with us,
  772. Hispanics are going to be there.
  773. But it's going to take an extra effort
  774. to try to bring whites and blacks
  775. into the same church.
  776. So, strategically, where should we be?
  777. And I began to pray,
  778. Lord, please...
  779. And it wasn't just skin colors;
  780. I often prayed -
  781. those that were here in the early days,
  782. it was often that the converted lawyer
  783. would sit next to the
    converted prostitute,
  784. whatever their colors.
  785. But I wanted this different
    social strata as well.
  786. God saving from the rich.
  787. I know not many (1 Corinthians 1),
  788. but some and many of those
  789. in the poorer sections.
  790. Look, could we have moved
  791. up to the north side?
  792. Could we have moved
    up to Stone Oak?
  793. Yes, we could have.
  794. I mean, there was
    freedom there to do that.
  795. But that wasn't the agenda -
  796. not in my heart.
  797. Not based on texts like this.
  798. I had an image in my mind
  799. of this multi-colored
  800. fitly framed together,
  801. and I didn't want to
    wait to heaven for it.
  802. I wanted to see that cohesiveness
  803. worked out right now.
  804. Because brethren, I really believe
  805. that it's a testimony
  806. about the grace and the power of God.
  807. I believe that.
  808. I believe it says something about
  809. what the power of the cross
  810. is able to accomplish in people.
  811. And I knew what I saw
    up there in Michigan -

  812. that was not a testimony
  813. to any power of any cross.
  814. Not that kind of - was it racism?
  815. Or was it horrible ignorance?
  816. Definitely not a man qualified
  817. to be in the pulpit.
  818. But did Jesus say this?
  819. Did He say, well,
  820. people will know that you're My disciples
  821. by the fact that blacks need to stay
  822. in their churches,
  823. and whites need to stay in their churches,
  824. and there's Hipanics in theirs.
  825. Because we don't love one another
  826. enough to work through the differences.
  827. Is that what He said?
  828. Is that how the world's going
    to know that we belong to Him?
  829. That is not what He said.
  830. What He specifically said is that
  831. "by this all people will know
  832. that you are My disciples,
  833. if you have love for one another."
  834. Brethren, the truth is

  835. that this is the truth.
  836. And you know it.
  837. If we can't make it in the
    same church together,
  838. it's a lack of love on somebody's part.
  839. That's just a reality.
  840. Plain and simple.
  841. Do you remember the
    church there in Acts 6?

  842. Let me tell you about it.
  843. You don't feel this,
  844. but it's likely a difference of ethnicity
  845. stronger than blacks and whites
  846. in the same church.
  847. When you had Hebrews and Hellenist Jews
  848. in the same church.
  849. Did they have problems?
  850. Of course, they had problems!
  851. Brethren, some people walk around
  852. almost with this foreboding:
  853. "there are problems in this church."
  854. Of course there are!
  855. Were there racial problems in that church?
  856. Of course there were!
  857. Look, this issue isn't whether
    or not we have problems.
  858. The issue is that love works
    through those problems.
  859. You know what was happening?
  860. The widows - not any widow.
  861. Not widows indiscriminately.
  862. But the widows of a certain race
  863. in the church -
  864. the widows of the Hellenist Greeks.
  865. They were not being taken care of
  866. like the Hebrew widows were.
  867. That kind of a race thing. And it is.
  868. Somehow they were being neglected.
  869. Somehow they were being overlooked.
  870. You know what?
  871. Did the apostles say,
  872. Hellenist Greeks, this
    isn't going to work.
  873. The way to remedy this:
  874. pack your bags, go down the street,
  875. start a Hellenist Greek church.
  876. That's what we need to do.
  877. Because after all that's what
  878. just about everybody does today.
  879. That's not what they did.
  880. What they did was they looked at it
  881. and they said you know this is a reality.
  882. And they sought to meet the need.
  883. And what's interesting to me is
  884. that it has often been observed
  885. that the seven men that were chosen
  886. were actually Greeks.
  887. And I've thought about that.
  888. You know, that bothered me.
  889. That bothered me
  890. for a long time that they did that.
  891. Because I thought,
  892. shouldn't the Hebrews
  893. have been able to become deacons
  894. just as ably as the Greeks
  895. and minister to the Grecian widows?
  896. Why all Greeks?
  897. Well, it bothered me.
  898. Maybe it still does bother me a little bit
  899. that that happened that way,
  900. but maybe there's something to it.
  901. You don't have to pack up
    and move down the street
  902. and start your own church,
  903. but maybe there is something to
  904. Grecian men.
  905. Maybe they're more plugged in.
  906. Maybe they're more sensitive.
  907. Maybe they're more aware.
  908. Maybe they would be able to relate better.
  909. That's just a reality.
  910. We come from different backgrounds.
  911. Maybe it was better on a practical level.
  912. Well, that's what happened.
  913. Yeah, they had problems.
  914. And you know what?

  915. I know that if we try to have multiple
  916. various ethnicities and
    different backgrounds -
  917. brethren, I've heard it
    said before in this church.
  918. I've heard it said.
  919. I know it's true.
  920. People have said
  921. they are now friends with
  922. and they hang out with people
    that in their lost state,
  923. they would have never hung out with;
  924. they would have never been friends with.
  925. Well, of course that's true.
  926. Of course it is.
  927. We ought to expect that
    that's going to be true.
  928. Because in our lost state,
  929. we were divided; we were disunified;
  930. we were unharmonious.
  931. There was clashing.
  932. There was no cohesion.
  933. We were hated by each other
  934. and we were hating one another.
  935. And that's fairly biblically descriptive
  936. of what lost people are like.
  937. But something's happened.

  938. And you know that church didn't remain
  939. just apathetic and indifferent
  940. to the needs - to the true needs
  941. of one of the ethnic groups in the church.
  942. Brethren, through the years,

  943. I remember we had when
    we were over at Fatty's,
  944. an Indian family came from Houston.
  945. I asked them where do you go to church?
  946. Oh, we go to an Indian church
  947. in Houston.
  948. I travel over to Romania
  949. and they've got the Romanian church
  950. and the Gypsy church.
  951. Now look, again, I'm
    reading Adoniram Judson.

  952. You know what, they saw converts
  953. among the British troops.
  954. He was an American missionary.
  955. But they saw converts
    among the British troops.
  956. They saw converts among the Burmese,
  957. among the Taling people
    and among the Karens.
  958. And they put them
    all in different churches,
  959. but you know what?
  960. They spoke different languages.
  961. I understand that.
  962. Look, we've got to be able to communicate
  963. to one another in a language
    that we understand.
  964. Otherwise, we're not going to be
    able to preach to one another.
  965. We're not going to be able to communicate.
  966. You know, the whole Christian life
    is involved in so much communication.
  967. If you can't speak the same language,
  968. there are real barriers.
  969. And I understand that.
  970. I understand that with the
    Spanish-speaking group
  971. that meets here.
  972. We're trying to have interpretation,
  973. hopefully put the music in Spanish
  974. up on the screen.
  975. I understand that when
    there's linguistic differences.
  976. But the reality is
  977. why the Romanians and the Gypsies
  978. have to be in different churches
  979. when they know the same language
  980. and they both speak
    Romanian very fluently.
  981. Do you know what happened

  982. when - the example I'm
    thinking of specifically,
  983. a bunch of Italians got converted
  984. in a revival situation in New York City.
  985. And I'm trying to think of the pastor
  986. who got so disgusted with the situation
  987. that he left.
  988. Was it Tozer?
  989. A well-known preacher saw
  990. where the white folks in New York City,
  991. they're preaching the Gospel.
  992. They were actually evangelistic,
  993. and you know what God did?
  994. Instead of saving a whole
    bunch of white people,
  995. He saved a whole bunch of Italians.
  996. Now, Italians might
    be considered Caucasian,
  997. but they were different.
  998. And you know what?
  999. The people in that church just felt like
  1000. it just messed up their church too much.
  1001. And so they shipped them all off
  1002. and they started an Italian church.
  1003. And whoever the preacher
    was there at the time
  1004. said, uh uh, I don't like this.
  1005. Was it A.B. Simpson?
  1006. Anyway, I can't remember the name.
  1007. But I feel the same way.

  1008. When I see those kinds of things happen
  1009. it's like wait. Isn't
    something broken here?
  1010. What are we saying?
  1011. Are we saying that those people
  1012. are too poor for them to be among us?
  1013. I recognize this:
  1014. That if we had gone up to Stone Oak,
  1015. we would not be attracting people
  1016. off of Hackberry and Cherry
  1017. to come to that church there.
  1018. Somebody recently told me but
  1019. I don't know when they visited
  1020. Hagee's church, but
    they were talking about
  1021. all the rich people up there.
  1022. That's up in Stone Oak.
  1023. I recognize this,
  1024. some rich people might be willing
  1025. to come here, but most of the people
  1026. from the inner city are not
  1027. willing to go there.
  1028. Perhaps. Perhaps there are some.
  1029. But I just felt like this
    was the most strategic

  1030. if we're going to really seek
  1031. to make this happen;
  1032. see these parts come together.
  1033. Brethren, from time to time,

  1034. I was reminded of this -
  1035. Ruby and I met with Jonathan and Letty
  1036. on Friday,
  1037. and Ruby brought up how
  1038. many different times, people who have
  1039. visited our church from the outside
  1040. and they have commented
  1041. on the racial diversity here.
  1042. And I've heard that too.
  1043. I've heard those comments.
  1044. How that blesses people
  1045. because they say things like
  1046. I haven't seen that before.
  1047. Brethren, let me tell you something.

  1048. The racial diversity that we
    have at Grace is unique.
  1049. I'm not saying we're the
    only place that has it.
  1050. But it's unique and it's special.
  1051. And look, it's not found
    in many other places.
  1052. And if we're going to keep this diversity,

  1053. we need to fight for it.
  1054. But here's the thing,
    you'll never fight for it
  1055. unless you value it.
  1056. See, I value it.
  1057. Because I look at Scripture and I believe
  1058. it bears witness to these verses.
  1059. And I believe it bears witness
  1060. to the reconciling power of the cross
  1061. and of the blood to remove the barriers.
  1062. When I hear about barriers being removed,
  1063. again, maybe you think I'm
  1064. reading too much into the text.
  1065. I recognize that there were
  1066. Scriptural barriers between
  1067. Jews and Gentiles.
  1068. I recognize that.
  1069. But when I hear about
    the barriers being removed,
  1070. again, I'm naive enough to think
  1071. that means every barrier that keeps
  1072. any ethnicity apart.
  1073. They have been broken down.
  1074. And that our identities in the two old men
  1075. that we used to be -
  1076. us and whoever else you
    want to compare yourself to -
  1077. have been dissolved if we're in Christ.
  1078. And our new greatest identity
  1079. is the new man.
  1080. Brethren, just recently,
    somebody mentioned

  1081. Hudson Taylor.
  1082. And I love Hudson Taylor.
  1083. I love his example.
  1084. Just recently, there's been some dialogue
  1085. among some in the church about music,
  1086. and maybe even racial aspects
  1087. that affect the music.
  1088. And it was suggested that maybe
  1089. the example of Hudson Taylor
  1090. might be brought in and applied
  1091. to this situation.
  1092. And I would agree.
  1093. What's the example of Hudson Taylor?

  1094. I love it. I think there's something there
  1095. for us to all glean from it.
  1096. Hudson Taylor, unlike the others
  1097. who went to China before him -
  1098. Hudson Taylor and a man named Burns -
  1099. he was used in a revival
    in McCheyne's church -
  1100. they dressed like the Chinese.
  1101. They wore their shoes -
  1102. really uncomfortable horrible things.
  1103. They grew their hair
  1104. in that really weird 1800's way
  1105. where they had the ponytail,
  1106. but the front part was all shaved.
  1107. So they had the hair
    that came off the back
  1108. in a ponytail (incomplete thought).
  1109. And you know, for a European,
  1110. you're in that sun and that heat
  1111. and it burns his head.
  1112. He wore their clothes.
  1113. So we look at that.
  1114. And sometimes that can
    be brought up today.
  1115. And it was suggested that
  1116. if we want to reach east side blacks,
  1117. shouldn't we be like Hudson Taylor?
  1118. And I would say yes,
  1119. we should be like Hudson Taylor.
  1120. But here's the thing,
  1121. Hudson Taylor went into China
  1122. because he desired to
    see a Chinese church.
  1123. You see, brethren,
  1124. I don't want a black church.
  1125. I don't want a white church.
  1126. If you're going to use Hudson Taylor,
  1127. what you want to think about
  1128. is what would Hudson Taylor have done
  1129. if instead of just reaching the Chinese,
  1130. he wanted to reach blacks,
  1131. Hispanics, Asians, and whites
  1132. all at the same time?
  1133. You might say, well, he probably
  1134. would have dressed really funny.
  1135. How do you do that?
  1136. Well, you know what?
  1137. When we came here
    to the east side,
  1138. I didn't know.
  1139. I remember we moved to Hackberry.
  1140. And it was like,
  1141. ok, we bought the place,
  1142. and it had a glass front door.
  1143. And I have this image in my mind
  1144. of us kind of looking out that door.
  1145. Ok, we're here.
  1146. What do we do?
  1147. I don't know.
  1148. But I know this,
  1149. our mandate is to preach the Gospel.
  1150. I remember going down
    to that Salvation Army
  1151. over there on Nolan.
  1152. We're speaking to people about the Lord.
  1153. We're handing out tracts,
  1154. and this guy says,
  1155. I don't know why you all
    came to the east side.
  1156. He said you're never going
    to change the east side.
  1157. I said you're right, but God will.
  1158. That's my hope.
  1159. Brethren, do you know what you find

  1160. when you go to chapter 4 of Ephesians?
  1161. You find that the same word is used:
  1162. fitly framed together.
  1163. Paul doesn't just use it once.
  1164. He uses it twice.
  1165. And he talks about us being joined
  1166. and built together.
  1167. Again, fitly framed together.
  1168. And he specifically says this:
  1169. "when each part is working properly."
  1170. Don't you like that?
  1171. You know what needs to happen
  1172. if this thing is really going to work?
  1173. Each part needs to work properly.
  1174. You see what they did in Jerusalem?
  1175. We've got seven guys over here
  1176. who aren't yet exactly
    working just properly right.
  1177. We need to put them in this position
  1178. where they make sure that the widows
  1179. are being fed over here.
  1180. And once they were properly working
  1181. up to their gift
  1182. and the need in the church,
  1183. then the thing was good.
  1184. Let's be fair.

  1185. The church came to the east side.
  1186. It didn't go to the north side.
  1187. Let's be fair in the
    evaluation of our ministries.
  1188. Men of every ethnicity -
  1189. not every nation in the world,
  1190. but you think about the men
  1191. who have stood in this
    pulpit and preached.
  1192. It hasn't just been one color,
  1193. one ethnicity.
  1194. Think about our evangelism.
  1195. Have we tried to each UTSA?
  1196. Yes, we've tried to reach SAC.
  1197. We actually have tried to reach
  1198. every single college campus in the city.
  1199. But we didn't bypass St. Phillips.
  1200. When we've done nursing home ministries,
  1201. we haven't gone up to Stone Oak
  1202. or the Dominion.
  1203. The vast majority of nursing home ministry
  1204. that's been done out of this church
  1205. has been right on Nolan Street.
  1206. Anybody that's ever been there,
  1207. they can tell you the ethnic
    makeup of that place.
  1208. Do you know in our missions -

  1209. the missionaries we've supported;
  1210. the missionaries we've sent out -
  1211. you're pretty hard pressed
  1212. to find any kind of Caucasian people
  1213. that we have sought to reach out to.
  1214. There's been some perhaps.
  1215. You've heard me talking more recently
  1216. about Poland and Ireland.
  1217. But that's after 17 years.
  1218. Primarily our outreach has been what?
  1219. Indians of India,
  1220. The Nepalese of Nepal, or the Nepali,
  1221. Mexicans, Nicaraguans,
  1222. Indonesians;
  1223. again Papua, Indonesians.
  1224. To be fair, and I'm bringing that up
  1225. because there have been comments made
  1226. that have come to my ears
  1227. about the fact that our church
  1228. is not given sufficiently
  1229. to certain social justice issues.
  1230. Listen, you're not showing due justice
  1231. to any race or ethnicity,
  1232. unless you're willing to
    take the Gospel to them.
  1233. And that has been the primary
    agenda of this church
  1234. and will continue to
    be the primary agenda.
  1235. The reality is our Grace Houses
  1236. have housed Asians,
  1237. Hispanic, black, and white.
  1238. That's just a reality.
  1239. The reality is that when
    we have had schools,
  1240. children of different ethnicities
  1241. have been in those schools.
  1242. When we've had programs for helping
  1243. husbandless mothers,
  1244. that's primarily been blacks
  1245. that have been helped.
  1246. Brethren, here's the thing.
  1247. This body, made up of all these
  1248. different pieces and parts
  1249. and different colors and ethnicities.
  1250. It's not cookie cutter.
  1251. God loves diversity.
  1252. He loves to make us different.
  1253. And you know what we should expect?
  1254. Different people in the church
  1255. are going to have different burdens?
  1256. You know what my burden
    is for the new year?
  1257. My burden is that the Word of God
  1258. might have power in this church.
  1259. I preach.
  1260. I want that to happen.
  1261. I desire God would use me in that.
  1262. We start the APT.
  1263. I desire that reality.
  1264. I have a burden to see harmony
  1265. over in Poland.
  1266. I have a desire, yes, to see
  1267. a church started over in Ireland.
  1268. I desire to see Jinotega
    protected and grow.
  1269. I desire to see Monteray under Alberto
  1270. really prosper. I desire that.
  1271. I desire to see how God might use
  1272. Diego and myself in Cuba or in Ecuador.
  1273. I desire that. Those are my burdens.
  1274. And you know what?
  1275. You may have different burdens.
  1276. And that's ok.
  1277. And your burden does not
    have to be my burden.
  1278. You say what about bearing
    one another's burdens?
  1279. Well, yes, but you need to bear mine
  1280. just as much as I need to bear yours.
  1281. You see, the reality is
  1282. that if you have a burden for something
  1283. that you don't feel like our church is
  1284. (incomplete thought).
  1285. You know, I've noticed that
  1286. there's basically two kinds of people.
  1287. There are the people that come along
  1288. and they see a need and they go after it.
  1289. They say there's a need,
  1290. and I can answer that.
  1291. I love that.
  1292. I remember like Alex Dufre,
    she comes into the church
  1293. and she's got a burden for this,
  1294. and let's start this women's Grace House.
  1295. That's where James Jennings was.
  1296. He comes to talk to me
  1297. about a men's Grace House
  1298. and I've already been praying about that.
  1299. I saw the example of Keith Green,
  1300. and I thought, Lord, we need to do that.
  1301. And so I'm praying, Lord,
  1302. give us a house;
    give us a guy.
  1303. And here comes James.
  1304. You know, I've been burdened about this.
  1305. Lay hold on the need.
  1306. Then you have the second kind of people
  1307. that come in and say,
  1308. look what they're not doing
  1309. and they want to find
    fault with everybody.
  1310. Well, you know what,
  1311. if you see that there's a need,
  1312. don't expect that I need to be
    burdened about the very same thing
  1313. that you think there's such
    a dramatic need about.
  1314. That's the diversity of the church.
  1315. Brethren, we have a calling:

  1316. The Great Commission.
  1317. Let's take that Gospel out.
  1318. We're on the eve of a new year.
  1319. I'll tell you what turns
    the world upside down,
  1320. what changes this world:
  1321. it's preaching Christ.
  1322. What turn the world upside down;
  1323. what Satan fears:
  1324. praying people,
  1325. righteous people, holiness.
  1326. You know what he fears?
  1327. He fears holy, righteous, praying people
  1328. who love one another
  1329. and love the world enough
  1330. to take the Gospel out to them.
  1331. He fears that.
  1332. Because that does turn
    the world upside down.
  1333. People get saved when that happens.
  1334. His kingdom is damaged when that happens.
  1335. Brethren, I think, racial diversity
  1336. in this church is something to fight for.
  1337. I think it's a good thing.
  1338. I think it's a testimony to the world.
  1339. And you remember this:
  1340. Jesus said they'll know that
  1341. you're My disciples
  1342. when you have love for one another.
  1343. Do you know what that means?
  1344. That means that Jesus really did expect
  1345. the world to be watching us.
  1346. Believe me, they're watching.
  1347. Your lost family members,
  1348. your lost friends,
  1349. your lost co-workers,
  1350. they're watching.
  1351. The world is watching.
  1352. Is this worth fighting for?

  1353. To me, it is.
  1354. To me, this construction,
  1355. fitly framed together.
  1356. Our truest identity:
  1357. we are in the dwelling place of God.
  1358. We are reconciled in one body
  1359. through the cross.
  1360. One new man in place of the two.
  1361. I don't want a black church.
    I don't want a white church.
  1362. You know what I want?
  1363. I want a new man church.
  1364. That's what I desire.
  1365. (incomplete thought)
  1366. Have you ever noticed?

  1367. You'll never see the same sunset twice.
  1368. Ever.
  1369. Now, you people that
    aren't from the north,
  1370. you don't know this probably,
  1371. unless you just heard it through
    the grapevine somewhere,
  1372. there's never two snowflakes
  1373. just exactly alike.
  1374. They're always different.
  1375. You think how different could they be?
  1376. Oh, you just put your glove out
  1377. and let them fall on there,
  1378. and you begin to look at them.
  1379. It's kind of like going out at night
  1380. and looking up at the stars.
  1381. Even Paul says there in 1 Corinthians 15
  1382. no two stars have the same glory.
  1383. There's a glory of this
    and a glory of that.
  1384. It's the same way in the building together
  1385. of the church.
  1386. There's a glory about every one of us.
  1387. There's a specific glory.
  1388. There's a specific distinctness.
  1389. And in all that variety and distinction,
  1390. there's a unity.
  1391. There's a oneness.
  1392. One new man in place of the two.
  1393. One body.
  1394. One kingdom that we're citizens of.
  1395. One family.
  1396. One building.
  1397. Fitly framed together.
  1398. And I pull in that text from Philippians.
  1399. Side by side
  1400. for the sake of the Gospel.
  1401. Look, I'll just tell you.

  1402. I was here from day one.
  1403. I was the first officer in the church.
  1404. I think that God put a desire for this
  1405. and a vision for this.
  1406. It was a prayer that I have desired
  1407. from the very beginning,
  1408. that I think God to some degree
  1409. has answered.
  1410. I actually don't think it's naive
  1411. to think that this should work
  1412. here and now.
  1413. And I hope that you will seek
  1414. to fight for this
  1415. as we go forward.
  1416. Yeah, we're going to have problems.
  1417. But we need to be thinking,
  1418. how does love deal with this?
  1419. For the sake of the Gospel,
  1420. how do we move forward?
  1421. Listen to me carefully.

  1422. The world out there is full of racism.
  1423. It's full of disharmony.
  1424. It's full of hatred.
  1425. And if you rub shoulders with it,
  1426. and I was talking about this
    last week on the Internet -
  1427. a lot of what purports itself
  1428. to be Christian, is not Christian.
  1429. It's ungodly. It's wicked.
  1430. And it's divisive.
  1431. And look, it's not going to work.
  1432. If your greatest identity is being white;
  1433. if your greatest identity
    is being Mexican;
  1434. if your greatest identity is being black,
  1435. before it is finding your
    identity in Christ,
  1436. then you're going to have a problem.
  1437. You're going to have a big problem.
  1438. Brethren, this is an identity issue.
  1439. Where is our identity
  1440. at the deepest level?
  1441. Identity.
  1442. Brethren, I'm a Christian.
  1443. If you're a Christian, you're my brother,
  1444. you're my sister.
  1445. We're being fitly framed together.
  1446. If you lend an ear to the world,
  1447. they will tell you this can't work.
  1448. You ought to hate each other.
  1449. You ought to stand up for your rights.
  1450. That's not Jesus' message.
  1451. That is not His message.
  1452. So don't bring the world's trash in here
  1453. in your minds, in your brains.
  1454. Don't listen to it.
  1455. You know what?
  1456. Some people need to read their Bibles
  1457. more than they need to listen
  1458. to what's happening on Facebook.
  1459. May God help us.

  1460. Father, please, nothing
    starts ahead of You.
  1461. Lord, I believe that any burden
  1462. that was given to me
  1463. and to the rest of the brethren
  1464. back there 17 years ago -
  1465. Lord, that was Your doing.
  1466. The idea to try to be strategic
  1467. in making this happen;
  1468. to have a desire, to pray,
  1469. Lord, it was because You burdened us.
  1470. And Lord, when we prayed,
  1471. we've seen answers to those prayers.
  1472. Father, my prayer is that
  1473. as we move forward,
  1474. Lord, I pray that there would be
  1475. such an ethnic makeup of this church
  1476. as would indeed show
  1477. the power of God, the power of the cross,
  1478. the power of regeneration.
  1479. Lord, may we see the beauty
  1480. of this fitly framed together
  1481. work out right in our own midst.
  1482. And I pray, Lord,
  1483. I pray that You would raise up laborers
  1484. to lead this church
  1485. who are Hispanic
  1486. and black and white,
  1487. Lord, give us a variety
  1488. in the leadership level,
  1489. in elders, in deacons, in missionaries,
  1490. in evangelists.
  1491. Lord, I pray, bring us depth.
  1492. Lord, we see that the real agenda
  1493. is that we all attain to the full measure
  1494. of the stature of Christ
  1495. and we're all being united together
  1496. in the same faith
  1497. and the same doctrine
  1498. and the same knowledge
  1499. of the Son of God,
  1500. and I pray Lord, that that would happen,
  1501. and that it would be
    a reality in this church.
  1502. Every piece.
  1503. Every part
  1504. working as it should
  1505. when every piece and every part
  1506. is working properly.
  1507. It makes the body to grow
  1508. so that it builds itself up in love.
  1509. Lord, may that rule the day.
  1510. I pray in Christ's name,
  1511. Amen.