Aug. 09, 2020
a. #trending: A topic currently popular or widely discussed online, especially on social media websites.
b. June/July: #racial justice
2. The Biblical Response To The Sin And Injustice Of Racism:
a. “If you preach the gospel with the exception of being specific to the times you're living in, then you're not preaching the gospel at all.” Martin Luther
i. The gospel is never irrelevant…it is the answer to every issue, in every season, in every period in human history.
ii. At some point, it is the anecdote to the issue regardless of the time you're living in…which is why it is the Living Word.
b. Racism: A conscious or unconscious sense of superiority based on one’s race.
i. The issue of racism devalues the image of God in another person and produces the sin of ethnic partiality which results in injustice.
ii. It is real, and it is sinful.
c. Three Goals:
i. Challenge us to think about this issue from a different perspective.
ii. Challenge us to love our neighbors with greater awareness and empathy.
iii. Challenge us to engage and learn from the experience of others and then actively seek to be a part of the solution to racial injustice.
3. Philippians 2:1-11…
a. Paul is writing to the Christians at Philippi who were being pressured by the culture around them and losing their Christ-like perspective…
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
b. Paul is telling us to keep our eyes on Jesus…
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
c. Paul understood that we have a tendency to think only about our own feelings, about our own opinions, about our own needs and about our own position at the expense of all others...
d. Paul then offers us the antidote…humility.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
e. Paul is telling us Jesus was radically committed to the interest of others...
…he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…
f. Jesus was criticized for being too welcoming and too accommodating, for breaking social restrictions that were built around race and a person's station and life and even their sinfulness from the religious minded people.
i. Jesus went into the neighborhoods where they lived. He listened to their pain. He loved them right where they were.
ii. What happens inside of us when we can walk next to Jesus, and yet feel no empathy for some of the people that he came to save?
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
g. Paul says that having the same mindset, the same purpose of Christ means that we're willing to make sacrifices for reconciliation. Even if it's a costly solution… Jesus set the example, “…even death on a cross.”
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity (there is only one human race) out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
h. Paul was referring, not just to the barrier between us and God, but really, he makes mention of the racial barrier, the barrier of hostility that existed between the Jews and Gentiles.
i. Paul says, God’s desire should be our desire…to see one human race come together.
j. The reconciliation Jesus came for is both vertical and horizontal…he came that we might be reconciled to God AND reconciled to each other.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
k. We must be committed to this ministry of reconciliation and committed to this ministry of racial reconciliation and justice for all.
4. Our Response As A Church…
Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
d. Imagine…Isn't this what we long for as a church? Isn't our desire for Christ to be high and lifted up for all people to be drawn to him? For all knees to take a bow to Jesus and for every tongue to confess his Lordship? Isn't that what we know to be the only answer to heal and bring justice to all the racism and prejudice in our world?
e. Join me and let’s do our part to make this a Kingdom reality…on earth as it is in heaven!