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From Grace to Race

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
October 22, 2021 8:00 am

From Grace to Race

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 22, 2021 8:00 am

Everybody’s got a theory about how to deal with the issue of racism in our country. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans says the only way we’ll ever solve the problem of skin is to deal with the problem of sin. Join him for this eye-opening look at the connection between race and grace.

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The cross was established to deal with sin, but we want to spend all of our time talking about skin. Dr. Tony Evans says when God is dismissed from society, harmony and unity cannot be achieved. If we're not fixing the problem of race, it's because we haven't fully understood the glory of grace. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

It's not uncommon these days to hear talk about racism, but Dr. Evans points out it's not a new thing. The Bible records it, addresses it, and shows us that cultural evils are always rooted in spiritual sins. So if we truly want to overcome the sin of racism on a personal and societal level, we need to embrace a lesson God teaches us at the cross of Christ. Let's turn to Ephesians chapter 2 as he explains. When writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul spends the first half of the chapter talking about the magnificent grace of God. He tells us we are saved by grace through faith. He tells us that in the ages to come, God wants to manifest His grace. He comes in verse 10 and he says it's because of this grace that we are now workers.

We need to get to work and get the job done now that we've been redeemed by Jesus Christ. But curiously, when he finishes talking about grace, he goes to race. He moves from grace to race, and he says that the first work of saved people, of people who named Jesus Christ, ought to be the work of racial reconciliation. He says that the very first thing, because in verse 10, he tells us about our work. But then, beginning in verse 11 all the way through verse 22, he talks about race, that grace should lead to fixing the problems of race.

Or to put it another way, if you aren't, if I'm not, if we're not fixing the problem of race, it's because we haven't fully understood the glory of grace. And he comes and he opens it up to the biggest racial problem in the New Testament. It was the problem between the Jews and the Gentiles. Therefore, based on the grace of God that ought to produce the work in the people of God, remember that you formerly the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcision, which is performed in the flesh by human hands. The uncircumcised were the Gentiles. The circumcised were the Jews.

And like the Berlin Wall that separated NATO from Warsaw, there was a division not to be crossed. The Jews rejected the Gentiles. They were not racially pure.

They were not religiously acceptable. And there was a divide between the two, but now both were claiming the same faith. Paul speaks into this calamity and he says, now that you're saved, you've got to fix this.

Now that you're believers, you've got to solve this. Now that you name the name of Christ, the problem was, even though they were on their way to heaven, they hadn't yet learned, can we all get along on earth? It's like the saying goes, to live above with saints we love, or that would be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know.

That's a whole different story, because somehow the thought that we're gonna do okay up there doesn't translate too well to us being okay down here. And yet, Paul is not willing to wait for us to get the glory to fix this thing and to make it right. But the problem of race that leads to racism and other form and all of its form of inequities is because we bring our histories with us. The Gentiles only knew how to be Gentiles, and the Jews only knew how to be Jewish, but yet they find themselves sharing the same faith and now belonging to the same church. But they brought their past with them. You and I know it's not easy to let go of yesterday, especially when you're used to it, or maybe there's pain in it, but yet now you're this new creature in Christ. And how do we fix this rather than have it go on year after year, decade after decade, century after century? He says, but now, verse 13 of Ephesians 2.

Did you see that? But now. In other words, this is a whole new situation. This is a whole new reality. This is a whole new circumstance. Our problem today is we've got too many Christians trapped in their old racial identity.

Because they're trapped there, they miss but now. He says, but now in Christ Jesus, you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, making both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall by abolishing it in His flesh, which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace. Now these are Christians He's writing, but they weren't at peace. They were in conflict with one another.

Four times between these verses, up through verse 17, He uses the word peace, peace, peace, peace, and He says that this peace comes with an understanding of what you are now. I do a lot of marriage counseling. The reason I do marriage counseling is because couples come to me who are in conflict. There's no peace in the relationship.

They're at each other's throat. They are talking about divorce. There's anger, misuse, abuse, insensitivity, and they come to me to help them sort out their marital difficulties. I have discovered they never understood marriage.

Let me say that again. They never understood what they got into, and because they brought their past with them, what their mamas and daddies taught them, what their previous singlehood was like, they did not understand that the two become one and what that means and how that looks. And because they never understood the root of marriage, they're living in the fruit of conflict. Because Christians across the racial line, color line, culture line, and class line have not understood the root of what has happened when you come to Jesus Christ.

We bring all of that stuff and fight over it because we're not going back to the root. He says when you come to Christ, God is not trying to fix something old. He's trying to make something new. He calls it one new man, not fixing too old racial people. He does not mean by this you lose your identity. What he is saying is your previous identity is no longer your point of reference.

Let me say that again. He's not saying Jews and Gentiles aren't Gentiles because he talks about Jews and Gentiles throughout all of his letters. What he is saying is that this new thing, this new relationship, is your starting point for everything else in your experience with one another and how you are to view yourself. The moment that this new relationship in Christ is not the starting point for your racial identity, you will forever live in racial conflict and confusion and debate and crisis.

Why? Because you're starting at the wrong place. He says he himself is our peace. What we have not discovered in our racial conflict and confusion is that we're messing with Jesus Christ because he is our peace. He is our point of reference. He is the one who has established one new man. Or to put it in everyday language, you are Christian first, and your color, your culture must adapt to that. It is time for the Church of Jesus Christ to create something new, to create something that the world has never seen, to create a brand new church under the lordship of Jesus Christ without us losing our uniqueness but creating something new because Jesus is our peace. He is the one who establishes a whole different way of operating so that people from different backgrounds can still sit next to each other, so that the PhD and the GED can still hang out together.

Why? Because they belong in their loyalty to Jesus Christ, and he sits in the seat of their relationship, and he can overrule them. See, we've got too many black Christians Jesus can't overrule. We've got too many white Christians Jesus can't overrule. We've got too many Christians of every hue that Jesus can't overrule, and you know it because they will quickly go back to their culture.

Well, I think, I feel, I was raised this way, and now they'll revert back on you real quick, which means they don't understand Jesus is creating something new—one new man. And he uses this concept, this truth, to let us know that, verse 16, he might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross. Jesus Christ wants to reconcile.

These are two races. He wants to bring harmony, unity, togetherness, and he wants to do it through the cross. See, the cross is not a 2,000-year-old relic. It is a contemporary reality. Why?

Because the cross was established to deal with sin. Dr. Evans will tell us how to go about the reconciling work of Jesus Christ when he returns in just a moment. Stay with us. Black lives matter. Racial reconciliation. White privilege. Racism. Race relations are at a boiling point in America today. We know racism is a sin, but how does our society fix it? In his book, Oneness Embraced—Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We're Stronger Together, Dr. Tony Evans turns to both his real-life experiences and what he's learned from Scripture to show you how to strive for unity across racial and socioeconomic divides.

The time is now. Learn more about Oneness Embraced at TonyEvans.org. Today's message, From Grace to Race, is part of an historic collection we put together called Tony Evans Top 40—40 of his most powerful sermons over the last 40 years, some originally preached four decades ago, and some, like today's, that are practically brand new. For a limited time, volumes three and four of this four-volume collection can be yours as a way of saying thanks when you make a donation to help keep this listener- supported broadcast coming your way. Make the arrangements today, and we'll get this great collection of audio messages on CD or digital download into your hands right away. Our Resource Center is open around the clock to help you.

Just call 1-800-800-3222 day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222, or visit us online at TonyEvans.org, where you can browse through our huge collection of resources and sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. I'll repeat our contact information after part two of today's lesson and this. Well, the first time I went to the Holy Land, it made the reality of the Bible jump off the page and become an experiential event. Dr. Tony Evans says that same experience can be yours, thanks to a big-screen event coming to theaters near you. Journey with Jesus. You'll see the actual places where Bible history happened, but it's far more than just a travel film.

We've taken the site. We're surrounded with Scripture. We're surrounded with practical applications for your life, because we wanted this not just to be a sightseeing event, but to be a spiritual experience. Watch the Bible come alive in ways you've never felt before. Join Tony on a journey with Jesus, coming to a theater near you November 15th, 16th, and 17th. It is our prayer and our hope and our expectation that having seen the movie, you will be reignited. Your fire for the Lord will be relit. Visit TonyEvans.org today for theaters, showtimes, and more info.

That's TonyEvans.org. The cross was established to deal with sin, but we want to spend all of our time talking about skin. And if you spend all of your time talking about skin, you're gonna miss sin, because the only reason there's a problem with skin is because we won't address the sin. You don't reconcile by simply saying, let's all get along.

Let's meet together. You must identify the sin, apply the cross, address the sin through repentance, so that the reconciling work of Jesus Christ can be ignited. Oh, we mentioned the cross, but the cross is not the final say-so. Having been built together, he says in verse 20, on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. The cornerstone was the alignment stone that you lined up all the other stones with.

It lined things up like a surveyor lines things up. The cornerstone lined things up. And he says, based on—watch this—the apostles and the prophets. Now the apostles and the prophets were set up for the writing of the Word of God. So when he talked about the prophets and the apostles, they're not just people.

They are biblical authors. He is saying, if you're gonna align with Christ, you have to align with the Word of God. If you're gonna fix this race problem, the Bible has got to overrule you. We got folk going to sociology books before they go to the Bible. We got folks studying critical race theory before they go to the Bible.

No, the Bible sits on top of all of those other things, and there may be great benefit in studying all of those realities as long as the Word of God sits on top of it and is the point of reference for it, with Jesus Christ being the final decision-maker of it. The book of John chapter 17 verse 24 says, perfect them in unity so that they will see my glory. You know why the church isn't seeing God's glory? It's because we're illegitimately racially divided. We use our culture and our race as an excuse not to reconcile. And as a result, the world doesn't have a model to look at, so we're fighting in here and they're fighting out there.

Every Christian who names the name of Jesus Christ must be actively, purposefully involved in reconciliation. Because like a football team, they're different races, but it's only one uniform. Different cultures, but only one uniform. Different backgrounds, but only one uniform.

Why? Because they all headed toward one goal line. We're only headed toward one goal line, the exaltation of Jesus Christ through His reconciled body, with the cross and the teachings of the Word of God having the last word—not what your mama taught you, not what your daddy taught you, not what your culture taught you, unless it agrees with what God says. I love the way the Scripture says in Colossians 1 verses 19 to 23 that if you want to see God, you better focus on reconciliation, because Christ came to reconcile people.

Reconcile people vertically to Him, reconcile people horizontally to one another. It's time for racism to end. It is time for the racist to confess their sins. It is time for those who refuse to forgive to confess the sin of unforgiveness. No justice, no peace—got that. No forgiveness, no peace. You better get that. Both must be simultaneously true for the one new man.

Why? Because of this Scripture, in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, beginning in verse 16, therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh. We don't look at people like that.

That was the old life. That's how hell looks at people first. He says, now that you know Jesus Christ, that's never the starting point. He says, but now if people are in Christ, they are a new creature.

Now look at verse 18, now all things are from God—that's our new preference point—who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us—here it is—the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ. You know what an ambassador is? An ambassador is somebody who goes to another country on behalf of their country to represent their country on foreign soil. You're on earth. That's the foreign country. But you are an ambassador from heaven, and what's your ambassadorship about?

The ministry of reconciliation. And let's give the world something to see that overrides racism, that overrides evil, whether it's individual or structural, and that demonstrates what the kingdom of God looks like when people are held to that standard. In movies, they show you previews of coming attractions. These are the hot clips of the upcoming show.

Always the love scene, the fight scene, or the chase scene, because those are always the hot clips, because they want you to tune in based on the previews. Well, one day there's a big show coming to town. God is the producer, the Holy Spirit is the director, Jesus is the superstar, and it's gonna be a worldwide production. But in the meantime, He's left you and me here as previews of coming attractions. We're supposed to be the hot clips of the upcoming show.

People are supposed to see how we live and how we relate to one another as a clip of the kingdom that is to come. When they see how hot the clip is through the Church of Jesus Christ across racial lines and cultural lines, then they might ask, where can they buy a ticket to the whole show? Of course, that's when we can tell them, you don't have to buy a ticket. The price has already been paid. And did you know the price for you has already been paid? Jesus died on the cross in your place for your sins to pay the price for your rebellion against Him. The price has already been paid. And simply by acknowledging your sinfulness to a holy God and by placing your faith alone in Christ alone as your substitute, your sin bearer, He bore your sins on the cross, and He will exchange His goodness for your evil and make you acceptable to a holy God.

Yes, He will, and He won't charge you for it, because the price has already been paid. Will you go to Jesus Christ right now? Will you acknowledge your sinfulness and your need for a Savior and let the Lord know, Lord, I'm a sinner and I choose Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death as payment for my sin.

Thank you for forgiving me. I will now receive the free gift of eternal life. And if you by faith will accept Him, He will give you salvation right now. To learn more about what it means to accept that salvation and become a member of God's kingdom through Christ, visit tonyevans.org today and follow the link that simply says Jesus.

There, Dr. Evans will explain everything you need to know about what being a real Christian is all about. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Well Tony, we'll come back in just a moment with a final challenge for believers, but first a quick reminder. You can get the full length version of today's lesson as a part of Tony Evans Top 40, a collection of his best and most powerful messages of all time. Remember volumes three and four of this four volume collection can be yours right now with our thanks for your donation to the Urban Alternative. We depend completely on the prayers and gifts of friends like you to keep Tony's teaching on this station. Just visit tonyevans.org to make the arrangements or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222 where someone on our resource team is always available to assist you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Over time our love for God either tends to grow more rich or more routine. On Monday, Dr. Evans explains that when that second one happens, it not only leaves our hearts empty, it leaves our churches empty too.

Right now though, he's back with this closing challenge for each of us. If you are a believer, maybe you've been hurt racially, culturally, maybe you see injustices and inequities. Rather than just complain about it, become a minister of reconciliation.

Become an ambassador. Let the Lord know that He can use you this week to heal a wound in somebody's life, because there are people who have been wounded by racism or reverse racism or the misuse of power or injustices, and they need healing. You're gonna be a healer, not just an instigator or complainer. Would you tell Jesus Christ that this was what the cross is all about? Thank Him for reconciling you to Him, and thank Him for now making you a minister of reconciliation. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-04 11:32:24 / 2023-08-04 11:40:58 / 9

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