Let’s listen to what Jesus said was most important. “Love God (with the best of your energy)…love your neighbor in the same way that you take care of yourself,” – Luke 10:25-37 Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus moved with compassion “suffering with” – Matthew 9:6 14:14 Mark 1:41 6:34
Jesus followers responded with agape love, personal devotion to God, and a selfless commitment to a common good.
They had a deeply held belief that all people were created in the “image of God” – Genesis 1:26-28
They were responding to the teaching of Jesus about the Kingdom of God (referred to in Romans 14:17) whose essential ingredients included “righteousness (healthy right standing relationship between a person and God and others), peace (Shalom peace which brings each party to a state of being complete and made whole), and joy (a state of happiness content with life). They worked toward such unity, realizing that it requires humility, patience, love NT keep unity thru bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1) view Holy Spirit help with new ways of thinking and feeling (Ephesians 4:23).
We will become overwhelmed by the sight of humans horribly mistreating other humans if we don’t understand the love agreement that God has always been calling to, and its essential ingredient of a change in our behavior. “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10
If we change our behavior and lead others to change their behavior, in the way that God calls us to, then the evil of racism need not be overwhelming.
They learned this from God’s repeated call to action, as seen in “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14-15
God spoke through the prophet to His people during their time of brutal captivity, “Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:7
My prayer is that we learn from the New Testament believers actions recorded in the Bible, as they took very seriously both the personal and the group responsibility required by God. It is like two pedals of a bicycle. We will always fall down if we only lean into one (either personal or group responsibility).
It’s amazing to me, just how relevant the sermon series of 2018 (still available on our website) are to today:
2018 2/25 Good Neighbor (Good Samaritan)
2018 4/15 Peace House: How can a home bring peace to a neighborhood?
Many in our church are already active in missional work for positive change. Such as teachers, working to improve the quality of education so that it would be equal for all. Our church gave away more than 1,000 boxes of groceries last week to help people in need. Our prison ministry has helped many men and women in positive life change of all kinds.
We need Truth and Reconciliation Commissions where public officials confess the wrongs committed, naming the hurt that has been caused by the system, with specifics, makes amends and restitution, and the makes fresh commitments to change without empty promises. It’s time for a new plan of action.
What is God saying?
What have we learned?
What should we do about it?
How should we respond?
1. Receive Jesus as Savior and the Holy Spirit as Guide.
2. Daily inventory, confession of wrong, forgiveness, fresh commitment to change.
3. Ask yourself, what personal prejudice do I have that must change?
4. Let us work together to identify and plan what steps we should take as a group.