Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.09.35 PMMAKE THE BIBLICAL CASE for a church where everyone looks and is wor$h the same.

…………’s not there. The New Testament doesn’t model it or teach it.

The churches of the 1st century – including the church at Jerusalem – were a mix of races and economic classes coming together through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to worship God, together. The churches were a mix of Jew/Gentile (race) and rich/poor (economic class). Believers worshipped Christ as one, with Jew/Jew (same) Gentile/Gentile (same) and Jew/Gentile (not the same). All in the same church. Together. One, the same and not the same. This was what was known as “church”.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being our cornerstone.” [2:19,20]. Jew/Gentile – who hated each other previously- now worshipping as one in Christ with others who were the same, but also with others who were not. The reality of these new types of relationships was what Paul called the “mystery of Christ” through the gospel [3:4-6]. It’s also a vision of heaven [Rev. 5:9,10; 7:9,10].

Even Jesus brought together opposites when he choose the original disciples. Matthew the Jewish tax collector worked for Rome and was hated by Simon the Zealot, who saw Matthew as a traitor. Peter and John were extroverts, Nathaniel an introvert. Some came for a working class background, some not. They were Jewish for sure, but they had very different backgrounds and personalities that would point to the diversity of the coming church Jesus would establish.

Today we mostly worship in the opposite way of what the early believers modeled and taught. We choose to worship with others who are one in Christ with us and by and large the same as ourselves (looks/$$/likes) almost exclusively. It’s easy to understand because, hey, why wouldn’t I like you when you’re…just like me! There’s some good in that and it can make some things about church ministry easier to do.

But the big problem with mono-ethnic and mono-socioeconomic worship environments is that they tend to breed two problems in believers: spiritual complacency and sinful lifestyle comparisons/competitions with other believers like themselves. Sameness can be a cruel idol. Perhaps homogeneity has for too long been robbing the gospel of it’s power, the church of its testimony and God of His glory.

In a time of increasing hatred between races and animosity between the 1%/99%, the church today has an enormous opportunity to be a light in the darkness and bring healing between people through Christ. But we need to realize that sometimes the biggest opponent of the church becoming the redeemed Ephesians 2:19,20 community she should be isn’t out there. It could be us.