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The paragraphs below are from the sermon that Carl Robbins preached last year at Together for Adoption Conference 2008. Carl’s sermon was entitled “Adoption and the Multi-Ethnic Family of God” (Ephesians 2:11-22). The full sermon will be available in our upcoming free ebook.

If you’re older than 30 you probably remember one of the most stirring speeches of the modern era. It was given on June 12, 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. Barely 2000 words in length, it was delivered at a very unique place: the Brandenburg gate in West Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gate was the most recognizable part of the Berlin wall, a huge barrier of concrete, steel, barbed wire and watch-towers that divided Europe between the communist world and the democratic world. Reagan was there to meet with leaders in West Berlin, and while there, he delivered this speech to the people of West Berlin. But the giant speakers were aimed over the wall to the people in East Berlin. The entire speech is a fascinating study in brilliant rhetoric. But perhaps most memorable are these words that President Reagan spoke into the microphone aimed over that wall into the communist world, “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for eastern Europe, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate and tear down this wall.” It has been said that this speech by Ronald Reagan began a series of events that led to the tearing down of that foreboding barrier.

Paul is painting the portrait of a man who single handedly tore down a wall much greater than the iron curtain. It’s the picture of a peace creator, a peace giver, and a reconciler. It’s a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the source of our peace with God and the source of our peace with His people.

Paul is telling us that the Lord Jesus has removed the enmity between God and us just as He has removed the enmity that existed between the Jew and the Gentile. This is a picture of our Lord’s work: that He has torn down the middle wall of separation bringing together believing Jews and believing Gentiles into one body.

Paul’s words about the inclusion of the Gentiles were written almost 2000 years ago. Is it possible that we Gentiles have been insiders now for so long that we’ve forgotten what it was like to be an outsider? That which was so difficult for the first century Jewish mind to comprehend is now given little thought at all. For 1800 years Gentiles were excluded but now according to Paul, Jesus has come to make Jew and Gentile, black and white, Asian and Latino, one in His church. In fact, Paul pictures the church in verse 15 as a single person.

There is one glorious word that sums up all that Paul is explaining: together. Beginning in verse 21 Paul says that “the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you are also being built together…” Instead of words like circumcision and uncircumcision the word “together” now describes Jews and Gentiles. Together we have the same gospel message. Together we have received reconciliation and peace instead of enmity. Together we have the same access to cry out “Abba Father” at any time and any place assured that we will be heard. Together we are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. And together we are built on the same foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the Cornerstone.

We’re together. We’re all fellow citizens and members of the same household. Jesus, by His finished work has taken away all the barriers to peace and reconciliation. Therefore, if God has declared that He accepts Jews and Gentiles, black and white, African and Asian into His family, how dare any Christian refuse to accept and embrace them. If our Holy God has embraced them how dare we say, “I think it is unwise to take them into my house?”

With this one word “together,” in verses 21 and 22, the Holy Spirit has shattered any idea of segregation and separation. We can’t say, “We have the same status, the same message, the same Holy Spirit, the same Gospel, but you can have it over there and we’ll have it over here. We’re being built together, being intimately connected like stones in the wall of a house. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that after Pentecost the New Testament knows nothing of divisions based on ethnicity or race.

Transracial adoption will be a key focus at Conference 2009. Scott Roley’s general session topic is “Adoption and the Pursuit of Racial Reconciliation” and Jason Kovacs is doing a breakout session entitled “Transracial Adoption and the Multi-Ethnic Family of God.”

Many thanks to Janet Whipple and David Cleland for transcribing and editing Carl Robbins’ sermon, respectively.

  • http://stephenanddottie.blogspot.com Stephen & Dottie

    This was probably our favorite part of the conference last year and went a long way in reassuring us as we considered transracial adoption. Thanks for posting it!

  • Pingback: The Gospel for Transracial Adoption « Just O.N.E.


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