412 Cover With His Life
We see chaos all around but we know that God’s word says:
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
I would like to dwell a bit on this topic today.
The title of the sermon is “Lives matter.”
Before we address the question of racism I want to address the issue of life.
The value of human life is incalculable.
Value has always been based on what someone will pay for it. Market value is based upon what someone will pay for that item today.
As someone with a house on the market right now, I’m happy that the housing market is value is good.
Next year at this time, it may not be.
But the value of human life does not change from year-to-year, person-to-person, or race-to-race. Perhaps the only market in the world that is stable is the value of human life.
It has been paid for only once but the prices is not easy to express.
Jesus Christ, the creator God, paid for the life of humanity with His own!
People talk about family heirlooms or priceless momenta. Yet, nothing can compare to the life of God Himself!
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
The creator, laying down His life for the creature, and a rebellious creature at that, seems ironic.
Human life has infinite value. All human life.
It does not matter the
color, race, ethnicity
Jesus died for all.
We have inherent value. A value that is priceless. And our value is equal.
That brings me to the topic of racism.
Racism teaches the idea that one person is of more value than another.
Unfortunately, racism is a extremely old problem. Racism was alive and well during the lifetime of Jesus.
Jews, people of have been hated by many, have also hated many themselves.
During the life of Jesus, Jews hated:
They were prejudice against anyone that was not a Jew!
Jesus, and later Paul, repeatedly addressed the issue.
Jesus on Racism
Jesus on Racism
Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan simply to address the issues of national pride and racism.
The hero in the story was the terribly hated half-Jewish, half mixed Samaritan.
People were appalled that Jesus could make them the hero and make the priest the bad guy.
Jesus went out of his way to find the Syro-Phoenician woman so that He could heal her daughter.
Later, when Jesus actually did some ministry in the Samaria, the disciple were very angery that they were not offered hospitality.
And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
Sadly, they truly believed that it was righteous indignation because it was against the wicked Samaritans.
Yet, Jesus response was:
But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
Though God did ask His people to create separation between them and the world, He never supported unabashed racism.
Racism breed hatred and revenge. It is a evil whose hunger for blood is never satisfied.
I grew up in California. One neighbor was black, one was Mexican, one was white. As a child I never thought about it that much. My friends were Asian, Mexican, Native and every other shade. Children are colorblind unless they are trained to be otherwise.
It wasn’t until I was 25 that I realized that racism still existed. I moved to Southern Arkansas to be a Bible Worker. I could not believe the division between African American and Caucasians. I thought we has already addressed that in the 1960’s and I was wondering what was going on. The animosity I witnessed and was treated with left me speechless.
I was repeatedly told that I was not welcomed in the black communities, asked if I was a cop, and directly intimidated.
I pretended to be ignorant of the issue (because I was somewhat ignorant). I told them I was colorblind and I didn’t know what they were talking about.
I did get many Bible Studies in the poor black neighborhood but what I really got was a very sad dose of reality.
Paul and Racism
Paul and Racism
Paul was willing to go to any extent to relate to people for the sake of the Gospel.
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 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.
Paul was adamant that the wall of partition had been broken down by Christ and we all stand equal in him.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Racism is unchristian. You cannot consider yourself a Christ follower and view other ethnicities as lesser.
We are different and we can celebrate our uniqueness but we must not promote ideas that separate.
Further, we should be a force to speak against racism.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
The fact that George Floyd was killed unnecessarily is wrong. Whether racism was involved is unclear. Whether he was a criminal or not does not matter. Whether he was high or not does not matter. Whether he has a checkered past does not matter. He should not have been suffocated and give no aid even when they knew he had no pulse.
That being said, violent protest is also wicked. Fighting violence with violence is not only counter intuitive it is counter productive.
Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword.
Violence, looting, and criminal behavior destroys the message that is being presented by the non-violent protesters.
I wanted to join in solidarity and protest against the unnecessary destruction of life until suddenly the protest became a destruction of life.
In many places lives have been lost, of both protesters and police. This reckless destruction of human life does not help any cause.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Our nation was born during a time when individuals that were marginalized, mistreated, and abused had not right to publically air their concerns.
Minority groups had no defence and those in control could not be openly questioned.
The US constitution and Bill of Rights was a Vanguard in the world.
Our first amendment rights provide opportunity to expose oppression. They must be guarded with utmost vigilance. The day that we no longer have freedom of speech and press is the day that we will have no more freedoms at all.
We have bee seeing our liberties erode year-by-year, and month-by-month.
Starting with the patriot act, we say the right for the government to remove all rights at the threat of terrorism. Interestingly, that word is again at center stage. The acts of violet protest are being labeled “domestic terrorism.”
That is a fearful title because those who have been designated as terrorists no longer have many right.
Freedom of Press
Freedom of Press
Further, in the face of fear even the common people may have their right damaged. The President has repeatedly threatened our human rights.
He has labeled certain media outlets as fake news and sought to have them silenced.
I am not a fan of a lot of our news today. Everyone is spinning the news to their view and creating antagonistic, divisive views. I don’t like what watching the news does to people.
That being said, I fear even more, the silencing of the news. We must fight for the right of people to express themselves even when we vehemently disagree with their views.
The day that we are not allowed to protest peaceably is the day that we lay down all of our rights.
At times, the media is the only voice someone may have.
That does not mean that they all agree or that they don’t spin the news but sometimes the media is needed.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Freedom of Religion
Freedom of Religion
We saw a right threatened in the way the Covid-19 was handled as well. At some point, the recommendations turned into laws that were being enforced with heavy fines and even jail time.
Recommendations to close church quickly became law. If anyone publically refused to obey they were again threatened with the charge of terrorism!
We should have the right to practice religion to our conviction if we are being mindful of the recomendations and not try to harm the high risk.
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
Even those who are high risk have a right to make decision with their own lives.
What are we going to start regulating next. Saturated fat is bad for you. Are we going to limit how much saturated fat everyone is allowed to consume each day?
These are extreme ways of dealing with issues. I believe we need to leave our health organizations in the position of making recommendations and not laws. People need to be advised not controlled.
And we once we are controlled we need to say, as the three Hebrew worthies:
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Recently President Trump threatened to make use of the Insurrection Act. This gives the President the right to deploy the US Military to quell civil disorder, insurrection and rebellion, when local and state police forces are not able to work.
Certainly, we must all agree that violence and looting must be addressed. Yet, I think we would all be loathed to accept the fact that our own army will be turn against its own people.
We should fear the use of Martial Law. All right are suspended in such cases. It is the most extreme way of using for to stop anarchy. It may have its place but is should be used in only the most serious of conditions.
Adventist and the Last Days
Adventist and the Last Days
Are we living in the last days?
Are we seeing the signs of the times fulfilled before our very eyes?
Yes and yes.
There is no more relevant message than the Advent message at this time.
Now is the time to be sharing the present truth that we know and hold so dear.
God is already letting go of the winds of strife. We are seeing God’s grace quickly removed from this nation.
The rights that once made our nation Lamb-like are all but gone.
Those right are allowed to be abrogated under any condition of “terrorism.”
Who will be called a terrorist next? Could it be those that will not cooperate with the Nation spiritually?
There seems to be very divergent opinions on whether racism is or is not a systemic problem today.
Many are making a strong argument that there is a systemic issue. Others, including black Americans are saying there is not a problem.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
Let me say this.
When my wife comes to me and says that I offended her, I have a few options. I’m pretty experienced at this and I think I have tried all the options multiple times.
I can deny that she received any wrong. I can dodge the accusation by minimizing or blaming. I can defend my actions by coming up with strong accusations towards her.
Or I can, whether I fully understand the nature of complaint try to listen and apologize.
I have always disliked apologizing for something that I feel someone should not feel wronged over. I have repeatedly tried to fight the request to apologize to my wife. I have tried to justify any grievance that has come my way.
I have learned a few things. First, men and women view an offense very incongruously.
Said differently, women find a lot more things to take offense at than I could ever imagine.
Just because I don’t see a reason for her to take offense does not mean that she does not have a right to feel offended.
If I want to have a healthy relationship with my wife the worst thing I can do is explain why she should not have a right to take offense on a particular matter.
Genders see things differently. Ethnicity see things differently. Let us be patient with one another. There is no point in arguing, justifying, or blaming. Those reposes are only more divisive.
When my wife comes to air a complaint there is only one right response: listen and empathize, even when I also feel a little offended about being accused.
When we listen the other person feels heard. When we empathize, we disarm the offended party and we are able to make peace much more rapidly.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
There has been a lot of foolish speaking lately.
There has been very little soft answers.
There has been very little listening.
Even if we do not fully agree with the statements being made we should support freedom of speech and protest against violence.
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
281 – I Gave My Life for Thee