Why Talk About Race?

Fences

September 5/6, 2020

 

1. Hidden Fences

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ… (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 ESV)

…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. (John 17:21-22 ESV

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:16 ESV)

 

2. Types of Fences

…you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. (Exodus 23:24 ESV)

…leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:24 ESV)

And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17 ESV)

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
(Acts 4:32 ESV)

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV)

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV)

 

3. Access Granted

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35 ESV)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 ESV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

…and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24 ESV)

 

Discussion Questions:

Romans 12:18 reads: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How does that apply to the topic of race and reconciliation?

Pastor Zak said, “We can catch fish, but we can’t clean them. That’s God’s job. If we try to clean them, we’ll gut them.” Has there been a time when you felt “gutted” in a conversation about race? Describe how that made you feel. What did you learn from that experience that can help you have better conversations about race?

In John 17:20-21, Jesus said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Jesus is praying that believers will practice such unity in the body of Christ that unbelievers will come to believe in the identity of Christ. How can our attitude and actions be a part of answering this great prayer?

What are some of the visible and invisible fences that need to be taken down as we move forward in racial reconciliation conversations?

Prayer for the week: “God, help us to become the church you envisioned.”

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