A big frustration of some preachers is when they forget to make an important point during the sermon. Such was the case for me this last Sunday. While I remembered to emphasize it in the second morning worship, it slipped my mind in the first worship service. Please consider this carefully.
The sermon on “Seeing My Brethren the Way God Sees Them,” based on Galatians 3:26-29, focused a good bit on “All Are ONE in Christ Jesus” in verse 28. By repeating the phrase, “there is neither… nor,” this text stresses that there is no room in Christ for social discriminations of any kind. We then focused on ten applications to make from this passage.
In Christ, one’s relationship with God and acceptability to God, AND therefore, one’s relationship with me and acceptability to me has NOTHING to do with: their nationality—there is neither Jew nor Greek; their social position—there is neither slave nor free; their gender—there is neither male nor female; their age—there is neither old fogey nor young whippersnapper; their birthplace—there is neither northerner nor southerner; their economic status—there is neither upper class nor lower class; their political views—there is neither Democrat nor Republican; their education level—there is neither Ph.D. nor 7th grade education; their native language—there is neither English speakers nor non-English; their skin color—there is neither black nor white. We serve a God who shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35), therefore, His children must NOT show ANY partiality (Jas. 2:9).
Here is the thing to remember (and the point I forgot to make in the first sermon on Sunday) about God’s use of the “there is neither…nor” argumentation in verse 28: It goes both ways! Sometimes, in a sermon like this, listeners who feel discriminated against for one of these ten reasons (or another) may think to themselves, “Preach it! Tell ‘em! I hope brother or sister so-and-so is listening to this!” While discrimination in Christ is unacceptable, we must recognize that discrimination is not a one-way street!
Both the old and the young can be guilty of discrimination against each other. Both Democrats and Republicans. Both the rich and the poor. Both blacks and whites. Both men and women. When one person (or group) discriminates against another in the Lord’s church, it is absolutely unacceptable. But it is equally unacceptable for discrimination to be shown in the opposite direction (which happens). Brother and sister in Christ, let us not hope that God’s Word being preached has an impact on others before we first make sure that it has an impact on us personally. “Neither…nor” includes me in one way or another.