We have a clique
You probably have your friend group that you hang out with from school, your sports team, the band, or another activity you’re involved in. It’s your clique. You feel comfortable with them and it’s not too difficult to get along. However, sometimes your clique doesn’t get along with another, maybe from your school. They’re different from you guys, they don’t like the same stuff, and they just rub you the wrong way. It was the same way in the early church.
Ephesians 2:11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts.
Two major cliques existed: Jews and Gentiles. Jews were descendants of God’s people that you read all about in the Old Testament. Gentiles were those who had grown up not knowing God. Even though both had been told about Jesus and believed in him, there was not peace between them.
We focus on the differences
The Jews and Gentiles had been raised different, grew up in different beliefs, and had lived their lives very different ways. Even after becoming Christians, they kept focusing on their differences. We see next that Paul shows them that their reasons for being separated are not very important at all.
Ephesians 2:13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
Jesus died so that we could have peace with God and with others, not just with God. The Jews and Gentiles disagreed on a lot of cultural stuff, but they had one major thing in common: Christ. You might feel like there are some groups that are difficult to get along with because they are so different from you. But God calls us to change that.
We need to get rid of cliques
Living separated from others is not why God died for us on the cross. He did that so that we can have peace with God and peace with those around us, and not just those who are like us. Instead of focusing on the differences of those around you, find common interests or life experiences that you can build on. You don’t have to go and be best friends with everyone, but try to make sure that you are loving and kind to everyone you interact with.
Not only that, go out of your way to make peace with someone you know is lacking that. The next time you sit down to lunch with your friends, look around to see outside of your group. There might be someone you notice sitting alone that you’ve avoided. Try inviting them to sit with you and your friends, or offer to sit by them. Jesus invites everyone. If he can, so can we.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Share a time when you became friends with someone different than you and how it’s impacted your life.
- Why is it hard to get along with people who are different than us, or come from a different background than we do?
- Read Ephesians 2:11-12. What is a Gentile in this verse? Make a list of all the disadvantages that the Gentiles had according to these verses.
- Read Ephesians 2:13. What do you think it means that Christians are “united with Christ”? How does this reverse the situation that Gentiles were in from verses 11-12?
- Read Ephesians 2:14. What does this verse say to people groups who don’t like each other in 2016?
- After hearing this message, how much do you think peace between different peoples and cliques matters to God?
- What is one thing you can do today or tomorrow to break down cliques around you?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.