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Kainos People, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 16, 2024 9:00 am

Kainos People, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 16, 2024 9:00 am

When the church pursues ethnic unity, the Enemy usually sends obstacles to try to stand in the way. In this teaching, Pastor J.D. shows us that the effort and commitment needed to achieve ethnic unity are undoubtedly well worth it.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. No longer am I primarily a white man or a black man or a Hispanic man, I'm a son of Jesus. And that means that you and I share more in common in Christ than we differ on in culture. I'm still white, you're still black or Hispanic or Asian, but in Christ we are new men and women.

We are kynospeeding. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author and apologist J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, it's been said that Sunday morning is the most segregated portion of the week here in America.

Why is that? Well, today we're jumping back into our brand new teaching on ethnic unity. And I think it's safe to say that whenever the church pursues ethnic unity, the enemy usually sends obstacles to try and stand in the way, because unity is the opposite of Satan's desire for the body of Christ. But today, Pastor J.D.

shows us that the effort and commitment needed to achieve this type of unity is well worth it. Have questions about this ministry or want to catch up on the previous teaching? Remember, you can always visit us at J.D.

Greer dot com. But right now, open your Bible to Ephesians chapter two and let's pick up where we left off yesterday. Here's Pastor J.D. Furthermore, Jesus' death and resurrection, Paul says, verse 15, creates a whole new race, a whole new kind of humanity. That word for new there in verse 15 in Greek is kynos. Everybody say it with me. Kynos.

Say it again. Kynos. Kynos doesn't just mean new, as in most recent, as in this is my new car.

I traded in my 2015 Toyota Camry for a 2023. New in kynos, it means an entirely different kind of man. A whole new type.

I traded in my horse and buggy for a car. That would be a kynos transportation change. Not new as in most recent, but new as in a whole different kind. In other words, in Jesus' resurrection, Paul says, he created a whole new kind of people, a whole new race of people, so to speak.

Now, let me be clear. That does not erase our previous ethnicities or make them unimportant or irrelevant. No, God made the various cultures as a display of his glory. God created that because he just thought it would be so wonderful if we had different cultures. Revelation 22 says that we will bring the best of our individual cultures into heaven as a display of God's glory, which I can't wait to experience. Paul then goes on in chapter 3 to make this amazing statement. He says, that supernatural union of Jews and Gentiles together in one body was so that, and I quote, God's multifaceted wisdom may now be made known to the church, to the rulers and the authorities in the heavens.

Hey, Summit, question. How's God's wisdom going to be made known to the skeptical world? What makes the rulers and authorities take notice is the unity in the body of Christ by bringing together what could not be brought together in the other place. So that's why I say ethnic unity is an important part of our mission and not a distraction from it. Ethnic unity is not the gospel, but it is a validation of our gospel.

Let me turn to the work ahead and identify what's going to make it challenging. First of all, number one, Satan. The next several chapters of Ephesians are all about the demonic powers and how they're aligned against the church. Y'all, Satan hates this kind of unity, especially in the church, because this is the demonstration of the gospel. This is what gets the attention of the world, so he hates it.

So you can be doggone for sure that he's going to be opposing it this week. Let me tell you how he might do this with some of you. He's going to suggest to you that it's just too hard.

I've had that a number of times. I'm saying, you know what, this is good, but it's just too hard. It's just too hard. For others of you, he's going to whisper into some of your ears this week that this is all about politics, even though I have said literally nothing about politics. He's going to say it, and you're going to believe him.

I just need you to be aware of who your enemy is, and I need you to resist that satanic voice. Number two, pride. Whenever we talk about this, what makes it really difficult is it cuts us down to the core of our pride.

Let me quote John Piper here. Racial tensions are rife with pride. The pride of white supremacy. The pride of black power. The pride of intellectual analysis. The pride of anti-intellectual scorn. The pride of loud verbal attacks and protests. The pride of despising silence. The pride that feels secure and the pride that masks fear. Where pride holds sway, there is no hope for the kind of listening and patience and understanding and openness to correction that mature relationships require. Or to say it much more simply, let me quote the black preacher Tony Evans. We got skin issues because we got sin issues. So beware where your own personal pride is going to kick into gear.

Church unity, Paul says, grows out of the soil of humility, and there is no other way. Number three, preference. Our cultural preferences, hear me, they're not wrong. And no one should ever tell you they're wrong.

And anybody that's ever told you that, if you've interpreted something I've said that means that, I was not telling you correctly, it's not wrong. We all have cultural preferences, and they certainly apply to worship. It's just sometimes, for the sake of unity, we set them aside to help somebody else feel more comfortable.

In fact, just about any time Paul talks about food in the Bible, you can apply what he says to music in the church. I told you earlier this year that I'm sometimes blown away by the different kinds of people that I look around and see on a Sunday morning when I go to different ones of our campuses, or I look around at one campus and see. We got a lot of you, I told you, that have raised Southern Baptists. You come in here your first few weeks, you're wearing a suit and tie because that's just how you grew up.

You look around, you're like, Crocs and flip-flops, that's what's going on here, I'm not doing that anymore. But you come in, you come in, you sing, we start singing, that chest goes out, you love bellowing out, especially those hymns. You got a Bible like eight inches thick under your arm, and you're coming in. When it's time for the message, you take out your notebook, you're writing stuff down, you let out these punctuated, you know, staccato, amen, amen, amen.

Right? That's different, I've told you, from some of our black members, some of whom came out of churches where they'll come in the first few weeks, they'll be talking back to me in full sentences. Not staccato amens, but sentences with nouns and verb clauses and questions. I love it, but you're like, it's a certain kind of person that's sitting in the church. And I told you, I contrast that with our Korean members who, I mean, they're some of my favorite worshipers.

I was watching a row full of them one time at Briar Creek, the Briar Creek campus, and I told you, they weren't singing the songs, they were shouting the worship songs. But then I told you that the sermon started, and they say nothing. I mean, nothing.

Just quiet. To the point that I was depressed, and I asked one of them, I'm like, is something wrong? Am I preaching bad stuff?

Do I not connect with you? And I told you, one of the guys was like, no, we love your preaching, it's just in our culture, when somebody else is up talking, it's very disrespectful for you to make any sounds while that person is talking, because it distracts other people. Now, contrast that with some of our members, some of you guys who stretch before you come into church, because if you ain't sweating, you ain't praising, right? And I hadn't even gotten to a bunch of y'all in our church who just don't know what you're doing. In fact, we love it, and we are watching you, and it should make you self-conscious, but just so you know. There's this progression, you come into church, oh, people lift their hands in here, and so Tim Hawkins says this, the first thing you do is you, they're up right here, this is kind of the chicken wing, the elbow flap, that like, oh, they're getting it.

Then you shift to where you're carrying the TV, then it's a big screen TV, then you're the mime in a box, you know. Then you just go straight through the progression of, you know, Village People, Rocky, Touchdown, that's kind of the way that you're going. And by the way, I haven't even brought up our Hispanic brothers and sisters, I go down there sometimes, and our services are over, and y'all, they're not even through the first song yet. And I'm torn between my urge to worship and to dance along with the beat, their music inexplicably makes your hips start moving, and my wife is like, stop it, stop it.

You keep those hips in place, stay in your lane, stay in your lane. Now, a few months ago, when I went through that list, I asked you, now, which one of those worship styles is God's favorite? And the answer is, amen, amen. Let me just say this, in order for you to be a part of a multi-ethnic church, you're going to have to be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes with people who are not doing things your way. Paul says in the church, we put the needs and the interests of others before ourselves. Why wouldn't that apply to worship? In fact, Vance Fitment, who was here a few weeks ago, said, the way that you can know that you're part of a truly multi-ethnic church is that you often feel uncomfortable. He said, if you are saying you're part of a multi-ethnic church and you don't feel uncomfortable, then you might be part of a multi-colored church, but you're not part of a multicultural one. What you've got is a bunch of different colored people, people with different colored faces, who've all come in and they're learning to do things only your way. People sometimes say to me, well, I don't like it when we do that in worship. And I always want to say, well, maybe this whole thing is not about what you like. If you want to be somewhere where it's all about you, go pay $800 a night at the Ritz-Carlton, and it will be all entirely exclusively about you. But this church is not about you.

It's about the glory of Jesus and the urgency of the Great Commission. When you come in here, that's what you should expect this place to be about. Number four, naivete. One of the things that my friends of color tell me is that many of us in the majority culture don't think we have a culture. Other people have cultures.

Ours is the standard against which all other cultures are measured. Or sometimes we refer to other people as having ethnicity, and we do it without the slightest sense of irony. Y'all, I hate to burst your bubble, but white caucasian is an ethnicity, and it has its own cultural perspective. We've got our own very unique, particular, sometimes confusing views to others about conflict resolution and romance and parenting and child rearing and money and dress and music and time and respectfulness and family and so many other things. There are other perspectives on these things. And that's okay.

It genuinely is okay. Some cultural perspectives are just different. Some are wrong. Every culture, including ours, including those around us, every culture has weaknesses and blind spots that make that culture particularly susceptible to certain errors. Some cultural perspectives are right.

Just like each of our cultural histories have made us blind to certain things, our cultural histories have also made us more aware of certain aspects of God's truth. Some are different. Some are right. Some are wrong. The least we can do is work hard to understand the cultural perspectives that we're all bringing into this place, which brings me to the fifth obstacle, poor listening skills. For a lot of us, when it comes to discussion like these, our poor listening skills really begin to display themselves. The writer James in the Bible tells us that we ought to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. If there were ever a context in which to apply that verse, it is this context. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer.

You can always find more resources online free of charge by visiting jdgreer.com. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to remind you about our current featured resource this month. You know, when we're shaken by the world and the issues and problems we see, even like what we're talking about today, our best starting place will always be overflowing with the Word of God. The Lord calls us to take a step of faith and then another and another, and the only way to walk and step with Him is to truly know Him. So to help us grow in this way, we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards.

The psalmist understood the Word's power in battling temptation. I have stored up Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Arm yourself with the wisdom found only in God's Word by committing it to memory this next year.

Ask for your set of cards when you give us a call today at 866-335-5220, or go online to jdgreer.com. Start the new year off right with God's Word in your heart. Now let's get back to our teaching today.

Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Notice James says there is a place for you to speak. It says be slow to speak. That doesn't mean never speak. It just means that you listen far more than you talk.

Now that raises questions that we need to ask ourselves. When it comes to talking about this stuff, do you seek to understand more than you seek to be understood? After the discussion is over, are you back in your house, laying on your bed, thinking about all the things that you should have said that would have helped them understand what you were saying? Or are you thinking about, did I really understand what they were saying, and did I feel that, and did I communicate that to them? Because that's what James is telling you to do. Another way of saying that is, could you repeat somebody's position back to them in a way that they would not only agree with, but say that you really understood them, and you might have just said it better than they said it themselves?

Because Paul is saying the gospel is going to teach us to do that. I'll make this very, very personal. In fact, maybe this is too transparent, but I got very racially offended one time. I needed a little afternoon snack, so I pulled into the drive-thru at Hardee's. I counted the change, and I had just enough for a Frisco burger.

Jehovah Jireh. And so I pull into the drive-thru thing, and I pull up the window. Who pays for not only change, but cash?

Nobody uses cash. I got a handful of change. There's a black young lady at the window, and she's got my Frisco burger, and she sees I have change. She holds out her hand for it. So I have my change, and I start to hand it out the window to her, and as I do, I feel, because it's a bunch of nickels and dimes and bennies, I can feel it dropping out of my hand. So now it's going to fall down on the ground, and I'm not going to have enough money. And so she has her hand out.

I go past her hand, because I think I'm going to drop it, and just put it on the counter as fast as I can, because I was afraid it was going to drop everywhere. She bowed up, because she thought that I was refusing to touch her. And she went off on me about this, and I was so, I mean, I was like, no, no, no. I was just trying to, you know, and it was over.

It was done. I came back here to the church, and I, one of our black pastors, I was like, nah, and I started telling the story. I'm like, see, you know, going through life with a chip on her shoulder and thinking everything, you know, and he said, he said, listen, I understand. He goes, I know that's very frustrating for you.

I know that hurt. I know that offends you for her to think that that's what you would be like, that, you know, that you wouldn't touch her. He said, she, that girl needs to understand that not every white person thinks of her that way. He said, but you need to understand that she reacts that way, because probably at some point, she was treated that way by a white person. And when you both understand that in that conversation, then you'll probably be able to have the conversations that will move both of you toward peace. Here's the question. What if we had a church where people sought to listen to and understand each other like that, where we gave each other the benefit of the doubt in situations like that, where we say, yes, I do want to make clear what I'm trying to say and what I mean and don't mean, but I also want to understand why you are approaching that question the way you're approaching it.

And I at least want to understand kind of where it is. That was what was missing in my interaction with that lady, both on her part and my part. This was utter unawareness. It's like Albert Tate, the black pastor, always says, it's really hard for me to love somebody when I'm so busy defending myself. Or M. Scott Peck, the psychologist who became a Christian later in his life, famously said, to listen to somebody is to love them. And before you come back at them with a solution or a reason why their pain is illegitimate, to at least validate it and sit with them in it, that's what love is. Some of us are not very good at that. I'm not. We don't want to be a church that preaches eloquent sermons that focus so much on this relationship vertical that we neglect the pain of each other here. Paul tells us that the gospel compels us to bear each other's burdens, and that starts with listening to each other. Here's number six.

Here's the final one. Ignorance of our history. Many of us, particularly in the majority culture, have proven woefully ignorant of how the racial situation in our country came to be where it is. We barely understand what things like the Jim Crow laws were or what kind of societal disparities they created. You might know the concept of the Jim Crow law, but you probably couldn't name one.

Out of love for our neighbors, some of us ought to just read a book or take a tour of a civil rights museum on one of your vacations. Let me be very clear what I don't mean. I do not mean that we embrace some kind of revisionist approach to history like the 1619 Project or adopt CRT approaches to politics or education. Those approaches are often as worldly and problematic as what they're trying to correct.

That is not what I'm suggesting here. I'm just saying don't let the existence of other revisionist histories keep you from reading things that would challenge your own revisionist view of history. Of all people, Christians should be willing to embrace the truth about the depravity of our ancestors, about our society. Of all people, we should understand that good politics can't produce a nation.

We should understand that the best of the people still have so much corruption and depravity. It should not surprise or offend us that our ancestors were depraved sinners. That means we ought to be able to acknowledge the truth when it comes to things like the history of the church. For example, just about every black denomination in our country, the AME Zionists, the National Baptist Convention, Christian Methodist Episcopal, almost all of them were started because white people refused to allow blacks in church or in places of influence in the church. Many of Dr. King's biggest opponents in trying to get the Jim Crow laws abolished were Baptist, Presbyterian, and Anglican pastors.

The whole Southern Baptist Convention was started in 1845 because Baptists wanted the ability to appoint slaveholders as pastors and missionaries. You don't think that affects the present? We are suffering today because of the sins of our ancestors. We're not guilty of those sins necessarily. We're not guilty of those sins, but we suffer them because God visits the sins to the third and fourth generation like we've seen. It just has consequences.

Let me quote my friend David Platt here for a minute. Are we responsible for the sins of previous generations? No, we are not. Are we responsible for knowing the history of racism in America? For recognizing how it influences people in our country? Are we responsible for making sure that we do not repeat or preserve the harmful effects of the past, especially in the church?

Yes, we are responsible for that, David says, and for most of my life, I have not stewarded that responsibility as I should. You ought to listen to somebody to love them. I want to make this clear. Listening doesn't mean that all perspectives are equally right.

That would be insane to say that. All cultures, all of them, have wrong assumptions. They've got moral blind spots. One of the values, in fact, I think it's one of the reasons God does it, of being in relationship, is you can point out those blind spots to each other in the right context, in relationship. Some of my cultural assumptions may make me blind to injustices happening around me that I've been comfortable with because they don't affect me directly.

Other people in my life point those out to me. On the other side, we should never be okay with the wickedness of killing unborn life in the womb or naive to the destructiveness of the sexual revolution in our society, the loss of religious liberties in this country, or the killing of unborn life. Those are not white evangelical concerns. Those are people concerns. Those are Christian concerns. We need to be willing to listen to each other and stand against unrighteousness wherever we see it, whether or not those particular concerns of righteousness or unrighteousness are usually associated with our tribe or not. Like I said, in here, we don't identify primarily with the elephant or the donkey, but with the lamb and the book that he wrote. We know that lamb is on the side of all things justice.

So there we have it. Six obstacles to be the kind of church that Paul calls for in Ephesians 2 and 3. Is there any wonder that our society cannot accomplish this?

They want it, but they cannot achieve it. That's why Paul explains to the Ephesians that what the law is unable to accomplish, whether that's the Ten Commandments or a secular law, what the law is unable to accomplish, the gospel is able to accomplish through the power of the cross and the resurrection. It does so by giving you a new identity. No longer am I primarily a white man or a black man or a Hispanic man. I'm a son of Jesus. That means that you and I share more in common in Christ than we differ on in culture. I'm still white. You're still black or Hispanic or Asian, but in Christ, we are new men and women.

We are kinase people. The gospel also motivates us to lay down our preferences for others. Think about what Jesus had to lay aside when he left heaven to come here. I mean, talk about culture shock. Think about what he was eating and listening to in heaven when he has to come down to this trash down here.

Talk about culture shock. How do you go from heaven and that music and that food to whatever it is we've got going on here? And Paul's like, if Jesus did that for you, could you not do that now for somebody else? Can't you feel the irony of coming to church to worship a Savior who gave up all his rights and preferences for us while you stand around and insist that everybody else around you worship that Savior the way that you prefer? Could you think of a greater hypocrisy that you could tell about the gospel itself? As you listen today, what was God telling you? Where do you need to lay down your life, your preferences for the sake of others? What a great reminder of how important it is for all of us to pursue unity. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. As a way to help us all ensure God is first in our lives this year, we're focusing this month on the spiritual discipline of memorizing scripture. For most of us, the problem isn't that we don't actually know how valuable the Bible is. It's that we've never brought the practice of reading it and memorizing it in line with this belief. The truth is we need a weapon to keep us from falling prey to the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for people to destroy.

And guess what? The most valuable weapon we can wield is the Bible itself. And that's why we have to keep putting it into our hearts so that when life shakes us, we overflow with the Word of God. This month, our featured resource is a pack of 52 memory verse cards for you to use as a daily weapon.

If you want to carry God's promises in your heart and remember them in your time of need, our new Summit Life memory verse cards can help make it easy and convenient to memorize scripture. We'll send you the scripture memory card set as an expression of thanks when you donate $35 or more today to support this ministry. Ask for it when you give by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Betovitch inviting you to join us tomorrow as we begin a brand new, super practical series in the book of James. That's right, more new teachings, so get in on the ground floor. We'll see you Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries. .
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