A Mixed Multitude Church--Creating Ethnically Diverse Churches

The book of Exodus fittingly describes the exodus of Israelites out of Egypt to the land first promised to Abraham after 430 years in that pagan kingdom. You will recall the Israelites moved there because of a famine in the land where Jacob and his family lived. Unbeknownst to them, Joseph, the second to youngest son of Jacob and firstborn of Rachel, was already there. He was appointed Prime Minister of the land by Pharaoh and was led of the LORD to stockpile food in preparation for a 7 year famine.  The book of Genesis closes with Israel in good stead with the current Pharaoh, but the book of Exodus opens with a new Pharaoh who does not care for the Israelites. It is under this king that the Israelites are put into bondage and eventually begin to call out to the LORD to honor His covenant with Abraham.

God’s answer to the cry of His people is to manifest His great power in the deliverance of His people out of bondage through the leadership of one man, Moses. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land via the parted Red Sea, where God’s power is on display for all to see, as walls of water are miraculously held in place so sons and daughters of Abraham can be free again. However, did you know that the group that crossed the Red Sea that day was not limited to sons and daughters of Abraham?  Verse 38 of chapter 12 of Exodus describes others who were with the Israelites as a ‘mixed multitude.’  The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates the words ‘mixed multitude’ as an ‘ethnically diverse crowd.’ The phrase ‘mixed multitude’ is instructive; it shows us that even while God had chosen Abraham and his descendants as His people, God was already concerned with people from all nations. As early as Exodus 12, God was saving people of all ethnicities, and the people who were saved out of Egypt were without question an ‘ethnically diverse’ group.

Today’s local church is anything but a mixed multitude in the majority of cases.

This isn’t God’s plan. One of the hallmarks of a true church is a culture where people of all races are welcomed into the congregation of believers with open arms. Lines of racial division are non-existent because of the gospel. All are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and that blood is thicker than even biological ties. Jesus said as much to His disciples in Matthew 12:49-50, as His disbelieving family thought Him mad: ‘Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.’ Recognizing that God desires to save people of every kindred, tongue, people and nation (Rev. 5:9) must compel us to create a racially diverse church to properly reflect the intent of God.

Are you committed to that which God is committed? Are you sharing the gospel with people of all colors?

The great commission given to us by God demands that we reach the nations with the gospel. What does it say about a church that supports missionaries all over the world but does not reach out to people of color in its own community?

God’s saved a ‘mixed multitude’ out of Egypt, and Christ’s church must contain a ‘mixed multitude’ to reflect the heart of God.  Are you willing to cross lines and reach across the aisle to people of all colors?

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