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January 18, 2021 7:00 pm
For Martin Luther King Day, Reverend Ben Gordon preaches to the BJU student body from Ephesians 2:14-16
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina today on The Daily Platform will be hearing a special sermon for Martin Luther King Day. Rev. Ben Gordon from Hope Baptist Church will be speaking in the title of his sermon is racial reconciliation is a gospel issue. Dr. Steve Pettit will introduce him well. We are delighted this morning to have Pastor Ben Gordon hear us speaking in chapel. Ben is the pastor of the Hope Baptist Church here in the Greenville South Carolina community minutes from Springville, Illinois. He is the second eldest brother of six boys in his family.
He is very thankful for a faithful single mother who taught them the importance of a stubborn trust in God throughout circumstances. Ben was up became a believer in his teenage years he came here as a student at Bob Jones University and received his undergraduate degree and his Masters degree in theology.
He is a bi-vocational pastor that means he works a full-time job plus pastoring a church and I have always loved Ben he's always had a passion for the Lord is seal for the Scripture. He has a burden for expository preaching of evangelism and discipleship in the inner-city context.
So delighted to have his dear wife with us today Tracy and they have three beautiful children. My COBE Kobe and Ava. So Tracy would you stand and stare. Would you stand with Tracy the day and Ben would you, let's give them a warm Bob Jones University lock right is good to be here turn. Ephesians 2 will be looking at this text and reading and referencing a few others as well.
Thankful to Dr. Pettit and the University for the opportunity speak to you on the topic of racial reconciliation.
Actually, the topic suggested by Dr. Pettit. This is a huge issue and I will not be able to scratch the surface in time I have but I pray by God's grace we can all grown our understanding and embrace of it from a biblical perspective. I'm sure most of you are aware that next Monday is the day we celebrate MLK Junior day. Most people young and old back on the work of Dr. King and are thankful and realize that it was beyond beneficial for society and the church. Dr. King's work brought us a long way forward in the path towards racial reconciliation. Unfortunately, we are still in a fallen society with a fallen racial past and you look at the news or better yet ask people of other races you will find that there still much division racial heart felt by many. We know that the church should be a gospel counterpoint to the culture and racial unity. But, unfortunately, historically, that has not been the case today. There are many in Christian circles buried at varying age groups that, although they see racism confronting racism right so reconciliation is a good thing they don't necessarily classify as a gospel issue that offered many people tell me that you know that is the social political issue but not a gospel issue. I heard this from many people love and respect of also had two people tell me that the private masses are taught in on either use the talk about race in the chart.
In this day and night really only adds to racism and division. Maybe you feel about things like this are you about along similar lines. I think many of us have anemic understanding of how the gospel speaks to racial division. I want to submit to you today that racial reconciliation is a gospel issue and must be addressed with the full weight in REITs and principles of the gospel human depravity and sin is the cause of all racial tension division and the gospel is the solution. This is a gospel issue now what do I mean by racial reconciliation of the gospel issue, things I do not mean racial reconciliation does not equal the gospel or is an issue that you need to have rights or justification is an imperative or outflow of the gospel, but is not equal. The gospel just like love your brother is a demand of life changed by the gospel would not equal the gospel or save you nothing. I don't make racial reconciliation can simply be realized or you racism can simply be stopped by just preaching the gospel of regeneration are a statement like this many times. But all this talk about racial reconciliation and just preach the gospel and will take care of itself immediately to preach the gospel in C cell saving magically Bambino racial reconciliation will happen throughout our American church history, many people who will write on the truth of the gospel in justification by faith and grace were dead wrong and even wicked on their thinking on race and we would not do that to any other issue or sin right just preach the gospel conversion a person must target less pornography.
This preach the gospel and all marriage problems will go away. My point is not that we belittled the gospel or diminish the gospel and dressing racism, racial reconciliation that we apply that glorious gospel we cherish, meditate and preach eternal gospel indicative and then we walk and apply it does eternal gospel imperative. This is the case that was immediate all books but especially Ephesians we cannot afford to have this, let go and let God. Theology and race issues this it will be an impediment to our gospel witness. This is simply a sink amazing sanctification issue on walking in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ that don't look like us, so racial reconciliation is a gospel issue one text that screams that in there others. Ephesians 2. Look at verse 14 with me.
Ephesians 2 verse 14 for he is our peace, are not Christ, who had both who have made both wine and had broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in himself playing one new man, so making peace and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby in this text we see that Christ is the peacemaker. There is peace in the person of Christ, we have peace with God and peace with each other in Christ Jesus, who is our peace has made us a Jew and Gentile, one how the text says he has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
You might have a translation that says broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility, this phrase is possibly losing to the wall in the temple that separated Gentiles and you only areas of his middle wall of partition is a dividing wall to hostility and is usually the highlight the colossal social, cultural, ethnic divide that separated Jews and Gentiles.
This was a hostile division usually had no dealings with Gentiles, so this is really even deeper than racial division. Good news is there's no wall of vision or hostility that the cross of Christ cannot break down. Verse 16 says that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby the phrase slain the enmity assignment cross, Christ put to death till the hostility that separated Jews and Gentiles. Jesus work on the cross eviscerated this wall of hostility, of culture, religion, animosity that existed between Jews and Gentiles. I made one new body we seek moving on. Verse 1722. Every one of us in Christ are part of this household of God by the spirit fellow citizens of one another. Moving on the chapter 3 was a pause of the mystery that had been hidden for ages has now been revealed by the spirit. What is that mystery verse six tells us clearly that this mystery is that Gentiles are fellow heirs of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ spirit.
Now, since that is all about racial reconciliation, razor unity, but it emphatically speaks to and implies to if God has made Jewish Gentiles believers one body in Christ equal partakers of the promise of the gospel that means she has made people, every skin color, every culture, ethnicity, one in Christ, no matter what culture you come from. If you are saved by grace you are reconciled to God and to each other so looking at this text. Racial reconciliation razor unity is not the implication of the gospel its demand as one theology professor said racial reconciliation is not implication of the cross is the work of the cross, Christ has made us one he just torn down racial, social, cultural barriers that could divide us and made us people and one in Christ. This is an objective gospel reality. We must, by the spirit of God worked to maintain what Christ has already accomplished is very striking that when the first application that Paul makes after expounding on the glorious gospel truth in chapters 1 through three in chapter 4, he exhorts the people of God, to walk in unity with the lowliness and meekness, long-suffering, long-suffering, sees me forbearing one another in love, endeavoring or eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is how we should relate to one another. No matter how divisive this world is Christ has made us one is work on the cross has reconciled us together with humility and gentleness. Patient brand with one another in love must work to maintain the unity of the spirit that Christ has already established nothing reestablish the resurrected Christ.
Racial reconciliation is a gospel issue, but what are some quick principles that we should meditate on it. Revert to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Racially, first we must embrace our diversity in Christ.
I wasn't really quickly here that that phrase in Christ not gloss over phrase. We must embrace our diversity in Christ may not all diversity that can be in Christ, to be embraced.
But embracing our diversity in Christ means that we appreciate and celebrate our divinely made racial differences as a reflection of the gospel. One popular phrase that I hear often as a solution.
Racism is we need to be a colorblind society may be yourself and said that and I just try my hardest to be colorblind I will see: Noven will see you as a black man. I mean God is not colorblind is any. I think I understand the heart of those sentiments and some people misinterpret popular MLK code not being judged by color their skin, but the content of their character as ammo for this colorblind ideal thinking really mean well, but this color blind ideal is nevertheless problematic. Not really helpful in achieving real unity and reconciliation wanted to be generally unhelpful to people that experience being singled out by color your desire especially nonminority to you. I'll be colorblind does not alleviate current racial pain that minorities can experience the reality of the ethnicity is in color have an effect on the experiences that you know I have on issues, especially those in race to try to be naïvely colorblind and keep it can keep you in a safe space and not really being able to see racial hurt fully inhibit your ability to really understand the as her brother and sister sister Christ in a holistic way. The real issue is now that you don't see color, but you don't wrongly judge stereotyping discriminate based on color but more importantly this utopian, colorblind, ideal misses the mark. Biblically, God is not colorblind God is mainly black and purpose and he is put you in your ethnicity on purpose and not be ashamed of that act like it doesn't matter. Not only does our diverse ethnicities. This can save reflective crate of God and something it should be appreciated, but God is on a mission to rescue people of every tribe and tongue and ethnicity to be part of his chosen people are ethnic division, diversity or skin color does not race. In fact, and have in fact is highlighted in trying to Revelation 550, keep going to the time here in chapter 5 we see John having a glimpse into heaven and in heavenly creatures and the 24 elders worshiping us on redemption and look at whether praising Christ for verse nine says they sang a new song, saying about worthy to take the book and open the seals thereof, for that was slain to have redeemed us to God by blood out of every no subcategories, kindred tongue people, nation, kindred means tribe or social vision of people based off Mark based off the lineage makes is where we get our word ethnicity from we see this diverse culture, ethnicity and language and people being highlighted again in the redemptive context in Revelation chapter 7 we see it diverse, more diverse multitude of redeemed people praise the Lamb that was slain. Look at verses nine and 10 in Revelation 7 is that after this I beheld analog great mobs who would know make a number of notice.
All nations in kindred and people and towns stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white relevant & and palms their hands and cried and took with a loud voice, saying, salvation to our God would sit upon the throne, and unto the land so we can see in heaven. People from all people, groups, skin shade and ethnicities in heavenly praise in the gospel is there anthem some form of tribe, tongue, and people and nation admits in seven times the book of Revelation. Not now in redemptive context, but managing these diverse categories of people in the last days, and eternal state seven times a huge deal there is that intentional multiethnic name the gospel. We can't ignore must embrace seeing a diverse body of believers walking in unity got worse and together the small taste of our eternal state messaging situs there's coming a day when all this racial division and pride in these barriers may be eradicated and people from every racial background culturally worship the Lamb that was slain for us in unity since God highlights the beauty of ethnic diversity in the gospel. We need to value and shares it is reflecting the gospel mission as well. Embracing our diversity in Christ also means we must listen and learn and empathize with the perspectives of other brothers and sisters in Christ, about a racist.
The church benefits from the perspective insights and experiences.
Each culture brings the table assuming our experience of encountering racism or recognizing what's races of the end-all be-all is naïve at best. But really arrogant, not the turnabout flipping astutely for this directly is the translation rating here is that do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
But each of you look not only to his own interest, but the interest of others. This type of humility was embodied in the life and death of Christ. This gospel humility should be our framework as we seek to relate to one another at different ethnicities ever going to walk in real transparent deep unity with one another.
Going to have to intentionally build meaningful relationships with people who don't look like you must listen to our brothers and sisters who have a different experiences separate X perspectives when it comes to race and racism reconciliation.
Listen for the sake of understanding not just for the second, that one talking point we can't stay in the God who literally is just waiting to respond or not listen to anything. We got the second right today. Not don't be a galleon name Adobe that got all that I heard from a pastor on this issue be more concerned about not understanding the other person and being understood. We all are fallen, and many of you think of all your own group and racially homogeneous environment. We really haven't had any deep meaningful relationships with other minorities or ethnic groups other than your own. But what can happen and does happen is and racially I slightly broken, racially isolated environment. You start filling your head with potentially false and harmful stereotypes about people you don't really know that while deciding which family says TV in the media portrays you not have a good friend in college why God he loved Jesus he loved me he did not hate other races, but in one of our conversations is very apparent that his brother had some real development to 200 race we're talking one evening a single event like yeah you know what you do, not a normal black guy.
He said that if it was like a compliment house will be like you know what things wrote my Mangino by God's grace. I calmly asked him what is a normal black person Dennis that are not really articulate his thoughts.
Again, this man love the Lord allows me to his current credit as we continue to talk. He realized that that is problematic and he needed some development on those issues that others phrases would be one step worse than that and I dressed it there very defensive are like. How dare you have a black friend ordained as a minister. Unity raises regulation first place if were going to have genuine racial unity were going to have to humbly listen and empathize with other minorities in racist perspective. We are fallen, and that depravity affects every area of our life just because we have some racial development to do does not mean every outright racist but it does mean that we need to humbly seek the perspective and dollars are diverse brothers and sisters in Christ and repent. If necessary, a couple caveats on these important one almost robust ministries and inner-city ministries and short-term missionary trips to other countries is awesome and needed that people break out of the cup cultural comfort zone for the sake of the gospel to be proclaimed by the nations, both domestically and internationally. But telling minorities inform children about Jesus and then posted on Instagram's name to show your love for everyone is not really breaking ground the racial reconciliation I'm talking about building relationships with people of other cultures and races with the posture of a learner. Student and listener seeking more to understanding your trying to teach that you can do and some of ministry endeavors, but often that's not the case. And unfortunately, proximity to other races is not always equal understanding. I love this section of the sermon from my favorite BW professors, Dr. Branca helped make this point needing to humbly understand what another viewpoint is that many years ago when the country of China began to open up the West, and Kristin started to enjoy more freedoms.
There's a roster move in and open Bibles and Bible schools and training centers to help facilitate the burgeoning growth of Christianity in China. On one hand I find myself rejoicing, celebrating, praying for the advance of the gospel in the country while the other hand, some felt terribly wrong.
All this talk about lopsided Russian with our expert Bob analysis at American South, immunizing graduate students and over American professors with oppressive academic credentials and offer American degrees because we know the Bible right but don't you suppose that a church that has been bitterly persecuted and present martyr driven underground for cell generation might have something to say to us still quoting here, it's possible that, is it possible that the privileged white Americans with abundant access to God's revelation might have a whole lot to learn.
For black pastor in Nairobi, a Chinese underground house church pastor in Beijing a little village church pastor in India that is the humility of mind seeking to learn and understand if another inspector's perspective writing this impart your own wisdom or caveat here. This is important. You are making.
You're not making an honest attempt at growing in the perspective and understanding of the diverse brothers and sisters in Christ, if you only find that minority who already agrees with you in your thinking race issues and use it to justify or embolden your already held belief of race one is black guys at this on Fox News or some conservative media outlet today, so drop like that settles it.
I want to be real with you this morning that behavior is a huge stumbling block to reconciliation.
Not now that you don't appreciate that perspective when you only listen to that perspective, because already jive with your worldview. So is it really not that serious about understanding race issues in perspective. Other than your own.
And one thing you know, learn from others experiences empathize with their peoples payment. They claim to have experienced the hurt of racism, even if you might not initial, we agree the concept of racial hurt in your Ford to that experienced the Bible says we relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ, meet the week with those who we one thing that kills unity in this area is our politics, right and left.
We want to attack any claim of racial sin. Adjust with political talking point is that of listening, understanding brothers and sisters, we are not seen and were not Fox News or not Ben Shapiro every guidance where the blood bought body of Christ.
We need to relate to each other in humility, love, understanding in order to maintain the unity that our Savior purchase this call for racial unity is for everyone to minority brothers and sisters who have read. We need to be willingly to lovingly bear with our brothers and sisters in Christ there trying to grow these areas and we need to grow as well. Sometimes every time someone generally sincerely ask you question super easily offended and blow up for everybody no that's going to impede growth and racial unity. We by the grace of God must think the best and don't partially judge other brothers in Christ, motives or intentions. Despite our experience, despite maybe you know history of experiencing racism and love. We must not respond with hatred and bitterness and apathy and cynicism like these people never get it.
Love thinks no evil. It bears all things, it believes all things, if you truly are brought up a truly our brother in Christ. The gospel has the power to change them radically despite your experience pray patiently for bear.
Lovingly confront, but willingly forgive as Christ forgave you tail this will be messy uncomfortable at times dumping money and God will now that's okay sanctification in many areas. Our Christian walk is but it's worth it because through would look like Jesus brothers and sister. We want more than just superficial surface politically correct marketing photo unity Christ gospel work has made it possible that we might have deep, transparent and real gospel unity that is not about just colorful faces smiling together, but a diverse people of God walking together and love, gentleness, humility and understanding, learning and listening to each other saying one another's burdens, for Christ sake, this is the blood bought unity and diversity that we must maintain.
This is about reflecting the beauty of the gospel.
Let God's plan of national, ethnic and linguistic diversity in Christ teaches never to wrongly disparage an stereotype of the races but walking love, humility and understanding with each other and refrain from living a multiethnic reality that God has really underlined in the gospel.
Lastly really quickly. We must embrace our oneness and unity in Christ despite the many individual individuality we have in the body of Christ we share more than common than we have differences all people, including loss are image bearers of God encompassing one ancestor at 17 all races and ethnicities matter what color you know you are born sinners and separated from darling history. That's the reason we have all this racial division animosities because of common sense, all people from every ethnicity are often reconciliation reconciliation to God by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans 518 as Christians from bearing races. We must have. We have an equal standing before God in Christ we are fellow heirs partakers of Christ divine nature, one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is above all and through all and you will yes we white makeup different that she's races and cultural background, but we are still one in Christ and enjoy them as well. Gospel and measurable gospel blessing forgiveness access to the father. We are all victors in Christ conquers in Christ greater.
It is in us that he that is in the world. We are all chosen special people of God's own possession, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, no matter what your ethnicity is your skin shade to relationship status and income level society major DPA. Our ultimate identity is in Christ we view each other as a redeemed image bearers in Christ and meditate on that reality that sits on any thoughts of superiority, bigotry and harmful biases when they arise is sharply contrary to the ethic of the gospel to racially judge withdraw from stereotype or miss treat people, of whom Christ has died, and who got when God himself cherishes our diversity and made us one in Christ are diverse in Christ and I unity and oneness in Christ are not at war with each other. Both crews are a reflection of the gospel as one author noted at the cross. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.
At the throne there are men and women from every tongue tribe and nation. We would do well to remember about let's make this a matter of dependent prayer is a tell my church. We desperately need Jesus to be like Jesus. Let all of us embrace this gospel issue. This is a gospel issue view each other with gospel corrective lenses celebrating both our racial and ethnic diversity in Christ and also our unity as one body in Christ to God the glory the Lord help us to grow and change in your image. In this area. Racial reconciliation. Lord, let it be done by your spirit may you be glorified for your namesake is in Christ sake. Amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Rev. Ben Gordon Pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the doctrinal series called our great salvation here on The Daily Platform