Mature Class Study, teacher Alyce Crain.
Diversity means having different types, forms, ideas, or ways of thinking. We see God’s passion, creativity, and love in diversity.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…
Diversity in creation: God created everything for his people, his praise, and his pleasure. In our universe there are over 100 billion galaxies. In our galaxy, the Milky Way, there are over 100 billion stars. On earth there are 5,513 species of mammals, 10,425 species of birds, 10,038 species of reptiles, 32,900 species of fish, 1,000,000 species of insects, 102,248 species of spiders/scorpions, 60,000 species of trees, 268,000 species of flowering plants. God saw everything he made and it was good. Mankind has corrupted so much, but step outside and enjoy the creation of God that shows part of his love.
Diversity in the church: God created diversity for his glory. God needs diversity to feed the saints and to reach out to all kinds of different people, different needs, and different cultures. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. Gifts are given for the benefit of the saints and to reach out to souls.
I Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
God gives gifts for a specific purpose and gives specific gifts to people. He gave Alyce an ability with graphic design for a specific purpose. She felt her ability was mediocre but God used it for a specific time. Then God had someone who studied graphic design and had a gift for graphic design to take over the tasks Alyce had been doing. You can be good at many things, but God will show you which gift he wants you to use it in his kingdom. God needs you to nurture your gift so you can use it and share it with others. God will show you when and where to use your gift.
I Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
We’re all diverse in culture and personality but we’re bonded together by the Holy Spirit to be an outreach in our community. True unity is only through the Holy Spirit, like E pluribus unum – one out of many.
I Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
We’re diverse in gifts, understanding, and spiritual strengths. Children need to understand their diversity and how to work with it. It’s attractive when someone sincerely wants to worship and serve God from their heart. We need to encourage children and let God work with them. We’re all valuable in the body and special, no matter how many friends or gifts we have.
I Corinthians 12:14-19 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him…
The body of Christ needs to be balanced and equal, so there’s no big “I”s or little “you”s. God wants the whole body to be healthy. If your little toe is hurt, the whole body pays attention and works to protect and send healing to it. The knee and hip get may get out of wack, the spine or neck gets tight, and even migraines occur because of the imbalance. Everything is affected. Someone may be very quiet but they need our attention to get healthy – for the health of the whole body.
I Corinthians 12:20-26 But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
We are a body by our faith= what we believe, our hope= what we look forward to, and our charity= how we apply God’s love (through our diverse gifts) in our interactions with others.
I Corinthians 12:27-31 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
I Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
God wants us to reach out to our diverse community. He doesn’t want us to be afraid of diversity. Our congregation mirrors the ethnic diversity of our community. California is number 1 in the U.S. states for diversity: cultural (ideas, customs, social behaviors), economic & household, socioeconomic (interaction of social and economic factors), and religious & political. Sacramento was Time Magazine’s “Most Diverse City” in 2002. Sacramento County diversity per the 2021 census: White 44%, Hispanic/Latino 24%, Asian 17%, Black 11%, American Indian 1.5%, Pacific Islander 1.5%, and other (Middle Eastern) 1%. There are 1/3 of the households that speak non-English as their primary language.
Acts 2:9-11 lists the different nationalities of Jews gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Pentacost). God gave the gift of tongues or languages so they could all hear the wonderful works of God in their own language. Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites (east – Iran), and the dwellers in Mesopotamia (northeast – Iraq/Syria), and in Judaea (south – Israel/Palestine) and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia (north – Turkey), in Egypt (southwest – Egypt), and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene (west – Libya), and strangers of Rome (west – Italy), Jews and proselytes, Cretes (east – Greece) and Arabians (southeast – Saudi Arabia).
Are we conveying the gospel in a way people can understand? Jesus used parables that referred to life examples that people could relate to. He spoke to them about their needs. If they needed healing, he spoke about healing and healed them. When we reach out to the lost, are we speaking “their language”? God will give us the gift to speak their language through the life examples we show to them. If we provide for their needs, God will talk to them. Jesus used foundational scriptures to show how they applied to people’s lives. We can speak their language by showing this beautiful life to them – the practical application of God’s word in our life. Take time to enjoy God’s creation and diversity.