The following comes from Solid Joys, the daily devotional app from the ministry of John Piper. View online, or download the app on Google Play or iTunes.
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Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14)
It is scarcely possible to overemphasize the centrality of the fame of God in motivating the mission of the church.
When Peter had his world turned upside down by the vision of unclean animals in Acts 10, and by the lesson from God that he should evangelize Gentiles as well as Jews, he came back to Jerusalem and told the apostles that it was all owing to God’s zeal for his name. We know this because James summed up Peter’s speech like this: “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14).
It’s not surprising that Peter would say that God’s purpose was to gather a people for his name; because the Lord Jesus had stung Peter some years earlier with an unforgettable lesson.
You recall that, after a rich young man turned away from Jesus and refused to follow him, Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you [unlike this rich fellow]. What then shall we have?” Jesus responded with a mild rebuke, which in effect said that there is no ultimate sacrifice when you live for the name of the Son of Man. “Every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
The truth is plain: God is pursuing with omnipotent delight a worldwide purpose of gathering a people for his name from every tribe and language and nation (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the fame of his name among the nations.
Therefore when we bring our affections in line with his, and, for the sake of his name, renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join his global purpose, God’s omnipotent commitment to his name is over us and we cannot lose, in spite of many tribulations (Acts 9:16; Romans 8:35–39).
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This afternoon, when I was having the lunch with my friends after the eliminary test for province’s science olympiad, a thought arose.
I was thinking about how people – including myself – are so racist to others nowadays. The ‘racist’ I write here has a wide meaning. A simple example is when we begin to label someone as “stupid” or “freak” or the kind. Whenever we begin to reject someone because of his physical appearances, seemingly freakish demeanors, and status, we are pushing him further off God.
I live in a Christian community. My friends are mostly Christians, yet I find this irony in them the most. How come we can become like this? This attitude is definitely the devil’s, for God is willing to take every of us as His people despite of our unforgivable sins.
God accepts us as we are and we ought to accept others too to “bring our affections in line with his, and, for the sake of his name, renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join his global purpose, God’s omnipotent commitment to his name is over us and we cannot lose, in spite of many tribulations (Acts 9:16; Romans 8:35–39).”
Lord Jesus blesses you.