Why Talk About Race?

Because God Has Spoken – Part 2

August 8/9, 2020

 

The aim of this series is to educate us, equip us, empower us and encourage us to pursue biblically- based, Christ-exalting, Spirit-led, gospel-driven racial and ethnic diversity and peace, especially in the household of God.

We all bear the image of God.

Search me, O God and see if there is any offensive way in me. (Psalm 139:23-24)

We all bear the image of God.

God loves the whole world. – For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” (Galatians 3:8)

Nations” in the scripture, is literally translated, ethnic groups.

Ethnocentricity = one’s race or ethnic group should be treated as superior or privileged to all others.

And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. (Luke 4:21-22)

“Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon [Phoenicia], to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. (Luke 4:24-29)

Faith in Jesus trumps ethnicity, principality and nationality.

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations, but you have turned it into a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17)

“Go make disciples of all nations (ethnic groups), baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

The mission of the church is not racial reconciliation, but the mission of the church mandates racial reconciliation.

We cannot love God if we do not love our neighbor.

How do you know you’re not racist if you’ve never been in a ditch with someone that doesn’t look like you? How can you claim that you are close to God if you’ve never taken a step toward someone who is far from you?

“Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

“Love takes concrete steps in the direction of someone in front of you that the culture around you has told you is less than you.” – Love Does, by Bob Goff

“If you listen, look, learn, and laugh with others, you will learn to love.” – One Blood, by John Perkins God values and redeems all ethnicities.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Revelation 21:23-26)

Where God clearly speaks, we cannot remain silent.

Discussion Questions:

1. The scriptures affirm in John 3:16 and many other places that God loves the whole world. This love is affirmed in both testaments. See Genesis 12:1-3, Psalm 117, & Isaiah 49:6. Why did Israel fail to realize and affirm God’s love for all peoples? How do we see this love lived out in the life of Jesus?

2. Jesus intentionally tied the two great commandments together, implying that we cannot love God if we do not love our neighbor. What causes religion to want to separate these two commands?

3. Why did Jesus introduce the subject of race when defining “neighbor”? See Luke 10:25-38.

4. Has God said anything to you on the subject of race in the past? Is He saying something to you today? Do you want Him to? Share with those in your household/group what that may be.

Prayer: “God, what do you want to say to me?”