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Years ago, when African Americans entered certain white churches, they were quickly escorted out. Apparently, the group thought of itself as a private club rather than the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul insisted that God’s church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles–all people who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Even though Paul suffered for that theological position, he never backed down. He wrote in Ephesians 3, “This is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the inheritance by God’s children.” He also wrote, “Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Paul insisted that this was God’s eternal plan from the beginning. He carried it out through Christ Jesus our Lord. God’s plan from eternity was that people from every tribe and nation would have equal access to God’s salvation. Today, God wants to use the church to be a model of what heaven will be like–people gathered to Christ from every race, culture, and nation. We dare not hinder God’s plan by making the church a private social club.

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