Archive for nations

Ethnicity Into Eternity… Mickey Sutliff

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Mickey Sutliff with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2020 by paulthepoke

Acts 17:26 …and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation…

God is the one who determines or sets the boundaries and times for the nations, which ‘He created from one man’ (Acts 17:26).

Acts 17:27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

And He is at work in culture, nations and ethnicities ‘that they should seek Him and find Him’ (Acts 17:27).

It was my experience and became a personal value to see the intentionality and unique ways the LORD works in culture & ethnicities (nations) to reveal and draw men to Himself.  As I walked life & worshipped with my African American brothers and sisters, I saw our LORD and Savior in ways that were new, broader and more glorious. I saw Him from new facets of perspective and how He meets us in our life circumstance (which flow from our upbringing, culturally, socioeconomically, etc.) that I could not see from my own limited experiences and circumstance or even the way in which my own cultural background ‘fashioned’ Him.

Revelation 21:24-26 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it…

Based, not only on Revelation 5:9 & 7:9 but also Revelation 21:24-26, the ‘nations’ are still identifiable and noteworthy in the ‘new man’ (Ephesians 2:15-22) that will move into Eternity with our LORD.

Ephesians 2:15-22 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

I believe this is significant, even though we are unified into one new identity in our Lord Jesus. We will also still retain our identifiable ‘ethnicity’ to be an eternal glory for the LORD to His redemptive purpose and the unconditional reach of His love. These ‘secondary identities’ of ethnicity become the ‘song of the Redeemed’ to the Lamb of God in Revelation 5:9 “…for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Consider, God raises His redeemed to be imperishable, immortal, spiritual, heavenly, etc. (as described in 1 Corinthians 15:42-57), AND YET chooses to retain the ethnicities of each forever and ever…. If it is important to the Father to maintain these distinctives as a glory to Son in eternity, it should be one that I need to embrace and seek to see in the Church this side of Eternity. Understanding our ‘secondary’ ethnic identities as an eternal value and priority of the LORD with respect to expressing the redemptive work of Christ, should lead us to value AND pursue diversity within the Body, desiring to see our local bodies reflect the eternal glory scripture has revealed to us.

Diversity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ… Mickey Sutliff

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Mickey Sutliff with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2020 by paulthepoke

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…

What was at first a need to broaden my understanding and create personal value for African American culture and history, I found the LORD was expanding my vision in seeing the Body of Christ in a new and broader glory. As we walked in an intentional cross-cultural church, the LORD opened my eyes and heart to how diversity within the local body and Body of Christ universal reflects the unconditional reach of the gospel and God’s purposes in salvation. Not that I did not understand or know that ‘God so loved the world…’ but how little we actually experience in our local church the reality of this truth that will be our ‘reality’ in heaven and how this reality reflects the glory of our Lord.

Through time spent in Scripture and walking out the Christian life within a cross-cultural church, I began to see a connection between the proclamation made by the ‘four living creatures & 24 Elders before the throne’ in Revelation 5:9 and the whole of redemptive history throughout the Scriptures. Revelation 5:9 reveals the worthiness and glory due to the Lamb Who Was Slain flows from His shedding His blood “for men of every tribe, every tongue, every people and every nation…”

I found the ‘nations‘ at the heart of God’s redemptive purposes from Genesis to Revelation. God’s promise & redemptive covenant with Abraham included not only blessing his descendants but also ‘…all the families of the earth’.

The Old Testament, where Israel dominates the focus of God’s blessings, the incorporation of the nations into His eternal family is interwoven throughout the Psalms & the Prophets.

  • Psalm 96 extols the glory of the Lord and His heart for the nations.
  • Jonah is focused on God’s love & compassion for a ‘nation’ not Israel and rebukes the prophet for his lack of compassion for them.
  • Isaiah 56:6-7 speaks of ‘foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, to love the name of the Lord… I will make them joyful in My house of prayer, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’.
  • Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter at Pentecost, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh’.   

As I began to engage the LORD in this dialogue about the gospel, the Church and the nations, I began to see in our diverse church family the expression of the unconditional reach and reconciliating power of the gospel. The Church should reflect the redemptive purpose as revealed in Scripture, which will be more tangible when those who gather are not all homogeneous in its make up. Diversity within the gospel reveals more fully the reach of the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it is cultural or socioeconomic or ethnic diversity. Ideally all of these, Ephesians and James speak to these diversities specifically.

Ephesians 2 speaks to being ‘no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord… being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This picture laid out by Paul, reminds me of Isaiah’s vision of the LORD in His temple, and the seraphim proclaimed, ‘the whole earth is full of His glory’. The Church is His temple, as described by Paul and His glory will be made manifest by the Church. The gospel is not limited to one people group or ethnicity or to those of economic blessing or poverty (James 2:1-13).

God’s people, as revealed in Scripture, reflect the breadth of humanity. Even Jesus’ own 12 disciples were from the broad spectrum of Israelites.

Predestined With Free Will: Nations

Posted in Jude, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2019 by paulthepoke

Psalm 115:2-3 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.

God is in control over the nations. Yet, the nations have free will to choose their destiny.

Click on the link above for video/audio.

A nation’s destiny is based on one simple foreign policy decision. How will that nation relate to God’s chosen people, Israel? And God states…

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” -God

A nation’s course of history is determined by their interaction and response toward nation Israel. The Old Testament is full of examples of God’s judgment toward the enemies of Israel. Likewise, nations who show favor towards Israel are blessed.

In Psalm 2, God makes it perfectly clear who is in charge. Notice, the nations are exhibiting their free will. They are “raging” and “plotting”. Nations are gathering together under their sovereignty. Their choice is to take on the Creator, God. And the nations think they can break free from God and His will.

Psalm 2:1-3 “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

God’s response to humanity’s rebellion towards Him… He laughs. He taunts. Then God explains how things are going to be. The Creator is in charge despite the creation’s free will. Note the terms wrath, terrify, and fury. God means business and He will emphatically put down the rebellion. His answer is The Lord Jesus Christ. Jerusalem is the headquarters.

Psalm 2:4-6 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

It is stated that He (Jesus) will rule with a rod of iron and shatter them (the nations) like clay pots. Yes, nations can choose the destiny of their nation. Their free will and choice are no match. Nations are either with God or against Him. God will rule and Christ will be in charge.

Psalm 2:6-9 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

A warning has been issued to the leaders of Earth. Use some common sense. Homage to the Son is expected.

Psalm 2:10-12 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Use your free will and choose the Son, Jesus Christ. Take safety in His provision for sin. He has you covered. Otherwise, sin will be judged. There is accountability and consequence to your free will sin. The destination is an eternal lake of fire.

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