Faithlife Sermons

Easter Together

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Intro

Thank you for being brave and hearing the call.
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NEXT WEEK – FRIENDS TOGETHER, GOOD TOGETHER, BAD TOGETHER, (from friending), BETTER TOGETHER
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I didn’t know I went to a black church until I was in my 20’s (when we moved to Michigan). This was the first time I visited a white church (it’s different).
I didn’t know I went to a black church until I was in my 20’s (when we moved to Michigan). This was the first time I visited a white church. The worship was different. I felt uncomfortable. Why? Race.
I felt uncomfortable. Why? Race.
Same Jesus. Same bible. Different feel.
Race is a social construct, a condition of human sin, and everything about it causes us to be less like Christ than He desires.
2 Corinthians 5:17–19 NIV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:
Corinth was the 3rd largest Roman city in Greece - it was a culturally/ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan area like New Jersey.
Paul, writing to the churches in Greece, a very racially diverse and cosmopolitan area like New Jersey, challenges these ethnically diverse Christians to LEAD roman society in an unusual way: BE RECONCILERS VS ASSIMILATORS.
Paul chose this area specifically because of its wealth and diversity and his Gospel message was simple - Christians to LEAD society in an unusual way: BE RECONCILED (harmony) VS ASSIMILATE (absorbed).
Today, race is winning over reconciliation. While it may be a social construct it a sinful one!

RACISM IS NOT A SKIN ISSUE IT’S A SIN ISSUE.

But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. ( NLT)
James 2:9 NLT
9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
While we are under grace, the law of God still is the standard:
Matthew 5:17 NIV
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
While we are under grace, the law of God still is the standard:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. ( NIV)
Jesus says he’s holding us to just great commands: Love God, Love each other. =================[Kin is part of skin]
Racism has been, is and always will be a sin. It keeps us apart, when Christ desires us to be TOGETHER.

HOW CAN WE BE TOGETHER WITH THOSE DIFFERENT FROM US?

A. BURST YOUR BIAS BUBBLE.

Paul says “old is gone and new is here.” We can’t hold on to bias and prejudice and claim to be new in Christ.
i. Prejudice: (prejudging) preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience
ii. Prejudice is a bubble that can be burst by experiencing life together.
Paul urges us Christians to burst our bias bubble and embrace our ministry to be reconcile-rs – “this is from God”(v18) – Christ brought us together with him / we are to bring people together in the same manner!
This big. The enemy is working hard - through government and institutions to keep us divided - and his trump card (pun intended!) is race!
Listen as President Obama explains how deceptively division is being sowed [cue Obama clip 1:57]
I want to demonstrate the bubble bias President Obama was discussing. Please help me welcome Jameel and Carol [Jameel and Carol come on stage] – they represent to people living in a bubble. They work together – but in a bubble. They go to sporting events – but in a bubble. They might even worship together – but in a bubble. The problem is whatever interactions they have in society the bubble prevents them from really getting to know the real life of a real person. You will never get to know real people in your bubble.
They work together – but in a bubble.
They go to sporting events – but in a bubble.
They might even worship together – but in a bubble.
The problem is whatever interactions they have in society the bubble prevents them from really getting to know the real life of a real person. You will never get to know real people in your bubble.
Black people fear white people. They don’t know any white people.
White people are afraid of black people. They don’t know any black people.
Americans are afraid of Muslims. They don’t know any Muslims.
Where is Jesus in all of this? Where are you on all of this?
You can’t be quiet.
This is serious, the enemy is working towards us killing each other – BUT GOD SAYS “let old go and embrace new.”

B. INTENTIONALLY BUILD A RACIALLY DIVERSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS.

Jesus died for all nations.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ( NIV)
Matthew 24:14 NIV
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Someone here may feel like they shouldn’t have to do anything (I get it) – but I remind them that all progress in the USA has occurred because of 1) the church 2) racial alliances - bridge builders
Someone here may feel like they shouldn’t have to do anything – but I remind them that all progress in the USA has occurred because of 1) the church 2) friends across racial lines [cue photo collage].. Notice how many different looking people you see from the work of Frederick Douglas, to the march on Washington or Charlottesville and most recently Sacramento - things get done by people who desire reconciliation more than anything else.
[cue photo collage]. Notice how many different looking people you see from the work of Frederick Douglas, to the march on Washington or Charlottesville and most recently Sacramento - things get done by people who desire reconciliation more than anything else.
RACISM ISN’T JUST THE PRESENCE OF HATRED. IT’S THE ABSENCE OF LOVE.
The gospel message must be lived out in our individual lives. You must embrace being uncomfortable in order to become comfortable.
You might have to do something radical, just like my friend Jacin, listen to his story [cue Jacin video].
If, Jacin, is a southern white boy, from Birmingham, Al can burst his bias bubble and intentionally become a bridge builder, then somebody here today may feel encouraged to do the same.
The best way to do this is by doing life with a small group of people that don’t avoid race, that doesn’t try to assimilate but a group that appreciates the beautiful unique ethnicities made in the image of God.
Today, commit to doing the one thing you can do – burst your bias bubble, make meaningful relationships across racial lines and begin to experience the Kingdom come!

CLOSE

Bridges - connect / give access
Who shall you connect with? Who will you give access to your life?
Bridge builders – want to do more than Easter together – they want to do life together. They challenge racism and bias. They correct their friends and colleagues. They teach the ignorant. They live outside of racial bubbles and get to know people who are humanly the same but ethnically different.
This is true holiness. This is the church Jesus is returning for:
Revelation 7:9–10 NIV
9 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. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
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. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” ( NIV)
Salvation prayer. TODAY THE BUBBLE SOMEONE NEEDS TO LEAVE IS THE ONE THAT SAYS “I’M A GOOD PERSON AND I DON’T NEED TO MAKE ANY LIFE CHANGES.” You are in danger of walking away from the greatest gift you could ever receive – eternal life and the removal of the penalty for sin. What is sin? Do what you want vs what God has outlined. Etc.
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