[00:00:00] Well, good morning, everyone. And welcome on this holiday weekend. So glad that you're here and welcome to you here. Welcome to you on any of our campuses. Welcome to those of you are online. We've got Maddie here from North Carolina, Sandra from Oregon, and a whole bunch of other people from all kinds of places.
[00:00:16] So. We're here together. And so glad that you're here. So today what we're going to do is we're going to continue a series. We started last weekend, it's called Priceless, and it's trying to determine the actual value of something. And what's something really worth? There was a premise that we started with that
[00:00:31] I just want to kind of, let's just review for just a moment. And again, I got a lot to talk about, so I'm going to move very fast. But it all kind of is built out of a verse, which is Luke 16:15, which is something Jesus said. And what he said was this, what people value highly is detestable in God's sight.
[00:00:49] That's a shocking statement when you think about it, but it really starts to make you realize that we live in a world that's in, it's in conflict. That values are pulling at us. All [00:01:00] right. And last week I said this statement, God, places value on what the world doesn't the world places value on what God doesn't.
[00:01:07] And you and I live in this world and we're going to have to figure out whose values we're going to follow. Right. And that's just the dilemma. And that's what we're wrestling with in this series. Now, last week I made the point. I hope you were here, and I hope you heard that in God's eyes, you are absolutely priceless.
[00:01:23] You are priceless and you, you matter more than you could ever imagine. You are incredibly valuable to God. Now I want to just do something right now. I want to start. By kind of recapping the idea of why do I know you're priceless and to get there, I want you to think for just a moment about the creation, because you're so valuable because you were created by a creator.
[00:01:46] All right. So let's just spend a moment and just go with me and let's just talk about creation. I want to make this statement. I think what God created on the entire in the universe, the world, everything is just astounding. [00:02:00] It amazes me, you know, when you look up and you see the sun and the moon and the stars, and you, you realize that we live in this universe and the Bible says it was created by God and the next universe over.
[00:02:13] And the one beyond that one and all the universes that we are discovering, those all made by a creator. So when we talk about you being priceless, the value you hold is in huge part because of who made you and who he is. Well, he made all of that, but he also made the planet that we live on and the planet we live on is just an incredible creation.
[00:02:34] In fact, it's interesting that God is a creator created something so remarkable. A lot of people worship the creation rather than the creator. It's that remarkable? The creation is that remarkable, whether it's a thing or a person. But let's just keep going with this. Okay. So we live on a planet that is like, I love the planet.
[00:02:53] I love the mountains. I love the oceans. I love the lakes. I love the streams. I, we could just go on and [00:03:00] on. I, I love the forest. I love the, I love the animals. I love the birds, I love the fish, God created all this. God created bass boats to catch the fish. Loved that, but here's what I need you to understand. If you don't get this, you won't understand what I'm trying to say.
[00:03:17] God, God's creation is remarkable. But the highlight of his creation was none of the things that I mentioned, not this universe of the next one or anything in it. It was you. And I know this is a lot to get around, but that's the significance that you got to understand. If you want to know what God values.
[00:03:36] In other words of all the things he made, when he, when he made you, he peaked, he, he, he like, like he dropped the mic. Boom, can't top that. And then he rested and he who has done. Nothing has been created beyond you. It's a, it's a heady thought. It's, it's a tough thing. In fact, let me remind you of where we get this.
[00:03:58] This is Genesis [00:04:00] chapter one, but particularly let me show you verses 26 and 27, then God said, all right, let us make man and mankind in our image, in our likeness so that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky over the livestock and all the wild animals. And over all the creatures that move along the ground.
[00:04:19] So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, he created them male and female. He created them. Now I would suggest that there are three truths revealed. In fact, James Emory White, who I'm incredibly indebted to in this message for some content that have just been challenged by some things he's taught.
[00:04:38] He's a pastor in South Carolina. But he says there's three headlines. You don't want to miss in that passage. Let me show them to you. Number one, you, you, you were made, you were made by God, God made us. That's the first headline you made by God. Doesn't say how God made us. And we can debate that till the cows come home, but that you were [00:05:00] made and you were made means out of nothing, which you've got to understand.
[00:05:05] Let's talk about the conflict. I am a theist. You need to understand this. All right. It shouldn't shock you. I am a theist. What does that mean? That means, I believe in God. I don't believe in any God. I believe in a God as revealed in the scriptures. This is my bias. That's why I'm playing my cards on the table.
[00:05:23] I'm telling you who I am. All right. And I have a worldview because I am a theist who believes in the Bible. Uh, somebody who doesn't believe in the Bible and doesn't share that worldview would be an or believing God would be an atheist. Right. And they wouldn't agree with what I, but because I believe in the Bible, I go to the scripture and I go, okay, explain this to me.
[00:05:46] And then I try to make sense. So I understand. Um, so God created you and me, and I'm just telling you, you are a one-off creation of a master [00:06:00] craftsman. You, you, you are, you're just an incredible work of art. And you matter because of who he is, you also matter not only by who made you, but you matter because of the price that he was willing to pay for you as revealed in scripture, if you were the only person alive, God would still do what he did for all of us.
[00:06:18] And that is he would die for you. So you spend eternity with him. You're so incredibly valuable and scripture tells us this. All right. The first headline is that God made us. The second headline has God made us in his image. That's the thing we've talked about the imago dei. That God used himself as a pattern in designing us. That he literally put traits of himself in us.
[00:06:42] He made us different than the animals, which is what we just read. He gave us a soul and that that soul is makes you different. It doesn't talk about animals having souls. I know that might upset you. Well, we certainly know cats don't have souls. Okay. [00:07:00] But you know why you have a soul and you know, what have the animals don't have?
[00:07:04] You have the opportunity because you were created in his image to relate to him. Too, to have a relationship with God. And I want to suggest to you and listen carefully, because this is important. Since if that view is right, the theist view of God. You can't be all you were designed to be outside of a relationship with your creator.
[00:07:26] You'll be less than what he desired you to be. And so it's very, very important that we understand this. That's why last week, as the big idea, I threw this at you. When we lose sight of God, we lose sight of ourselves. It really matters who God is. But the third headline that's in that we were made we're made in God's image is that we were made with distinction.
[00:07:50] Is he, it says he made us male and female. All right. He didn't make us one thing. He, he made us different. And if you look around the room, you'll see us. Okay. We're [00:08:00] we're male and female in many other ways were also different. It's not the only distinguishing mark. You're this one-off creation, which means this blows my mind.
[00:08:10] There's what, pushing 8 billion people on the planet now, nobody, but you has your fingerprints, your it, I can't even imagine how much hassle that was. Like, but that's not it. You have your very own vocal pattern and vocal pitch. It's mapped to you. You have the blood vessels in your eyes and your retina and whatnot that unique to you.
[00:08:32] You're alone, they even say that the outer rim of your ear is a one-off creation. Why think it's amazing to create just one of those things, but you put all those together. You're just absolutely an utterly remarkable. And, and by the way, you know, another difference between us all is our skin color.
[00:08:50] And God didn't make us all the same skin color. He brought variety in when he created us that way. I just need you to understand folks. You're [00:09:00] just very, very valuable to God, regardless of any difference between us. You're very valuable. So James Emory White said this, he said every single human being, every single one, because they are image bearers of God
[00:09:14] has absolute incalculable value and significance. That's you. That is you, doesn't matter the color of your skin. Doesn't matter how much money you have, where you live, where you're born. Doesn't matter the state of your mental or your physical capability. You're just you. And I feel the need to quote the famous theologian
[00:09:36] Dr. Seuss. Today you are you that is truer than true. There is not one alive. Who is youier than you. You are the youeist person created. You are absolutely incredible. Now you need to understand that. Um, everything I just shared is a Christian worldview and not everyone holds [00:10:00] that view, but if we don't start there.
[00:10:03] You're not going to understand. When I plead with you to realize you are cherished by God, he cares about nothing more than the plight and the heart of his people. You just need to know that. Okay. The sun's burning. He's cool. All right. The Earth's rotating. It's cool. He's got his mind and his eye on you. Right? Now
[00:10:25] you go, okay. Well, that's cool. Why don't we talk about all that? Because when I want to talk about today is what destroys the beauty of what God created. I want to talk about on this weekend MLK weekend. I want to talk about what I think is the insidious thing that just seeks to destroy the beauty of God's creation.
[00:10:44] And I got to start with creation because I want to talk about racism. All right. Now, hang on because we're going to go deep on this. All right. Let me just explain something. I don't need to explain to anybody in this room or anyone anywhere on this planet. That [00:11:00] racism is wreaking havoc. It's deepening its in its intensity, it's erupting in violence.
[00:11:07] Uh, it pits people against people and many people would argue it is the thing that is tearing the fabric of our society apart. So let's not minimize it or play it down. It's a very real thing. I'm not gonna spend any time talking about how we got here. I would encourage you though to become educated in the history of
[00:11:28] not only the United States, but the history of, uh, you know, race. I would say this to you, the more uncomfortable you are reading something probably the more you ought to read it. We have a problem. Us, we have a problem. We call it confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is where we're only listening to those who agree with us.
[00:11:49] We only read the things that validate what we already believe, and that's fine. That's fine. It's just going to shrink your world. It's going to make your world very small, but [00:12:00] because you'll never learn anything until you step over the boundary of your comfort. All right. And what I mean by that is. That until you're willing to wrestle with experiences that people have that are not your experience or viewpoints that are not your viewpoints.
[00:12:12] You'll never learn anything beyond what you already know, which means the, you get the smaller you become. I would encourage you to go the exact opposite way. I read a lot. I read a lot of stuff. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I wrestle with ideas that are not they're foreign to me. They're not at home, but that's how you learn.
[00:12:30] So I'd encourage it. But that was free. That was just a sidenote. But what does the Bible say about race? What does the Bible say about racism now? I want to just say something. Are you sick of it yet? Are you sick of hearing about it? Do you cringe when I say we're going to talk about racism, do your eyes roll up to the top of your head.
[00:12:47] All right. It's a word that's so supercharged with emotion anymore. It's thrown around. It seems like one of the worst things you can say to a person right now just get around to everything is just say [00:13:00] you're a racist. And when you just said is racist, the problem is nobody I've yet run into now. I'm sure there are people.
[00:13:07] I just haven't personally met them. Nobody has walked up and said, Hey, you're talking about racist. I'm it! You're talking about me. I've never met anyone. I know there are people. Okay. So it's not like I'm saying they don't exist. Nobody wants to be a racist. You don't want to be. I don't want to be, nobody wants to be a racist.
[00:13:24] Nobody's like, you can talk to people and they'll deny they can have the most, you know, kind of a white supremacist attitude and they go, I'm not a racist, but I'm not a racist. It's a weird word. It's a word that really means nothing anymore because nobody wants to ever say I identify with that. And so it's an interesting, difficult thing to talk about.
[00:13:45] It's one of these things though that you can't not talk about it because listen, it said this way. If. Every one is a racist then no one's a racist. If everything's racist, nothing's racist. We have [00:14:00] to explain what talking about when we talk about racists. And you'll understand if you'll sit with me, why this is so important.
[00:14:07] Now, do we talk about this in our church? Because pastor, do you believe that our church is full of racists? Absolutely not. I don't believe that for a moment. Not for a moment. Do I believe that. I believe that most, if not all of us would condemn racism, we're not of that. That's not why we need to keep talking about it.
[00:14:29] I think we would condemn racism in any and every form. I don't think there are people in our church that are running around wearing white, white robes and lighting crosses on fire and fire hosing people of different color of skin. And I don't think people set dogs on people. I don't think many people would, or any would wish for somebody harm?
[00:14:52] I don't think we wish ill on people. I don't think we would do any number of things. We don't identify with white supremacists. We don't [00:15:00] condone violence against anyone. We don't celebrate when there's a mass shooting like what happened in El Paso where a guy travels all that distance to actually gun down people
[00:15:09] he was targeting. None of us celebrate that. So, no, not at all. I don't believe that. But here's what I do need you to understand. We've got to talk about racism because listen, carefully racism is one of the primary things that is destroying the beauty of God's creation. I got to let that soak. We got to talk about this because it is one of the primary things that is destroying the beauty of what God actually created. I want to be very clear when we talk about racism, I'm not thinking about one group to another group. Racism flows every direction. It doesn't affect one people group, but nobody else. And again, I could get this affects, it affects the native Americans. If it affects the [00:16:00] Latinos, the Asian, and we can just blacks, whites, everyone, everyone.
[00:16:05] And it goes every direction. All right. And, and I want to be really clear about that. The the problem is though I think we necessarily think much about what racism actually is. So let me just do that for a minute. Racism is believing in racial superiority of one group over another group.
[00:16:25] Okay. That's what it is. It's believing that somehow one's race determines your capability or your value, your capacity and your value. It's it's sometimes in Christian circles. A belief that God loves certain colors of skin more than he loves other people of different colors of skin. And that if you're a certain color, you have more God, more access to God than others would have, who don't have that.
[00:16:52] And that you matter more. And I want to just be really clear. I don't [00:17:00] think most of us want to believe that I just don't. I don't, I don't. And if you count, if you came up. And you, you said to me, well, you call you're a racist. I promise you, I, you wouldn't stick. Cause I don't feel that I am. So I want to be really clear what we're talking about.
[00:17:14] Nobody wants to land in the destination called a racist. This is the point. I don't want you to miss. Nobody wants the title. Nobody's running around going call me that. Call me that call me that. The problem is that as the years have gone by, we've become so sophisticated how to navigate around actually being labeled as a racist.
[00:17:35] And so the deal is, is this, listen, listen, it's not a fixed identity. I'm not guilty of being a racist, but you know what I am guilty of? Look, look at me, please look at me. I am guilty of having racist ideas flashed through my head. I am. And I say that to you to embolden you to own it. If you do too. And my guess is you probably do.
[00:18:00] [00:18:00] I'll talk about that in just a moment, but that's the hard thing to admit. I don't want to admit that. Because here's what I need to say. As soon as I said that, listen carefully. Look at me. Racism is sin. I'm calling it. It's sin. No, you go. I don't think we should talk about racism at church folks. If we should not talk about sin at church, who should, where should you talk about sin?
[00:18:22] That's what preachers are supposed to talk about. This is why I feel the necessity to go. We got to stay on this. We got to keep talking about it. And it's, it's an, it's not the only sin, some of the most prevalent sin. It's not the worst sin. It just destroys the beauty of what God created. And we should not sit by and let that happen.
[00:18:43] Let me say something else before I go any further. When I talk about racism, I have zero intention of making you feel shame or guilt, zero zip, nada. And you know, what happens is this is what I've learned as the years. The past five years, I've just said, we should stay on this. We should talk about this.
[00:18:59] But what I have [00:19:00] found is people come up to me afterwards and they're angry. And maybe you're feeling this right now. And they'll say something like, would you talk about that? You made me feel, you made me feel, and I've got to call this out folks. I'm not making you feel anything. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty.
[00:19:14] I don't want to make you feel guilty. I'm not trying to make you feel shameful. I don't want you to feel shameful. But could it be possible that when we talk about sin, That the spirit of God, which lives in you. If you're actually a believer, could be trying to bring to light something that he wants you to see? Don't blame me for what the spirit is are doing in your life. I can't control that. I'm not trying to make you feel any, I'm not trying to get you to go do anything.
[00:19:39] I go, I just think we need to realize what's at stake here in, in this thing. I, uh, I think we got to understand. I said it's become more sophisticated. I've watched this happen literally before my eyes, but on a grand scale, like the racism that we deal with today, it's not like it wasn't the civil war, which [00:20:00] I've read a lot about that.
[00:20:01] It's not even like it was in during the civil rights era of the sixties. I've read a lot about that. It's more sophisticated than that. It's a little bit darker these days, maybe because nobody wants to claim it. Now, let me explain what I'm talking about. Let me explain a concept that has been really helpful for me.
[00:20:23] I'm not a racist, but I, I struggle with racist ideas because of a thing called shadow racism. That's the phrase, just wrestle with this shadow racism. Let me give you a very real, very personal example of shadow racism that I would experience, and I just own it. All right. I'm just telling you, I would experience this.
[00:20:47] If I were walking down a darker street and I saw under a streetlamp coming at me, two white men come in my direction. I would have a certain reaction. Okay. It might be a flush [00:21:00] of fear. I don't know. I depends on the setting, but I, but here's the shadow racism. If there were two black men coming my direction, I would have a different reaction.
[00:21:10] It's it's the same. It's two men coming at me, but the difference is, is that I'm going to give the whites the benefit of the doubt. I wouldn't give the black that's shadow racism, and I'm telling you that could happen. What I just described could happen to me and my brain would kick in and go, what are you doing?
[00:21:27] And I'd have to spirit of God would convict and go. The two white guys might have far more ill until the two black guys could be the most righteous guys on the planet, but I didn't see them that way. The other ways that shadow racism could, could cross your path might be. And again, I don't know, I'll just give you some examples of how it might, you're at a dinner and you're, you're on a date with somebody and you look over to another table and there is a, a white woman who's obvious on a date with a black man [00:22:00] or a black man, a black woman, and a white, whatever you go, that's just wrong.
[00:22:05] That's just wrong. And there's something inside you. I just, I don't like that. I don't think they should be together. If I have time, I'll show you, you know, biblically. There's absolutely not a thing about that biblically wrong, just so you know, there's not a thing. It would be shadow racism might be, if you're on a plane or you're on a bus or you're on a subway, which you know, not lately, but you, you know, you have a seat next to you and somebody sits down and all of a sudden something goes through you where you.
[00:22:34] If you're a woman, you clutch your purse a little tighter, you know, or if someone's walking down the street, you go, you just, you just tense up. It's shadow racism. It's like you're making a decision. Shadow racism is what's so frequently here in the news. When somebody calls the police on somebody of a different ethnicity and they go, I'm just sure.
[00:22:57] And all these accusations come out and the police show up and go. [00:23:00] Why in the world? Did you think that. And it's just because I've just reached a conclusion. And let me tell you, honestly, what's probably the most frightening, uh, place where a shadow racism might come out. Just be ready is in your home. Because he, I, if, if I have racist thoughts flashing through my head, I'm smart enough to know, not to say them publicly, except when I'm preaching.
[00:23:26] Like they just did. It's not smart. But I'm not going to go around advertising any racist ideas have flashed through my head, but you know, who'll know them. My spouse, Lisa she'll know, my kids will know. So the question is, okay, not like what you present, but what do people here, like with the jokes you tell the things you find funny. So all I need you to understand as we process this much to this far, is that, um, If we don't keep a guard up church, [00:24:00] uh, it's gonna have the potential of sneaking in and changing our culture into something that God never designed it to be or created at the be.
[00:24:07] So, so why not racism? Why don't we just go with racism? Let me tell you why you can't just go with racism. Galatians 3:26-28. Listen, carefully church. Listen to me for you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been United with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes.
[00:24:33] There is no longer Jew or Gentile slave or free male and female for you are all one in Christ. Jesus, you, if, if you're in Christ, you're a new creation clothed differently than the rest of the world. And God's saying, Hey, listen, I want you to live differently. You know, it is interesting when the Bible speaks [00:25:00] about people, you know what it never says about people.
[00:25:03] It never identifies people by their appearance. And by that, I mean, it's like if you read the Bible, you'll read about distinctions among people and you'll never read, you know, like they were the. Uh, you know, they were valuable because they were the most attractive or anything like that. What you'll hear is you'll read about tribes.
[00:25:24] You'll read about nations. You'll read about tongues, uh, or language groups, uh, people, groups, cultures, geography, and, but you'll never, you'll never get anything about people's appearance. OK, why is that important? Um, folks it's important because according to a theist viewpoint, Which I can't make you hold, but I can explain it to you.
[00:25:49] You get your cues from the Bible and you know what the Bible says, we all have a common ancestor, and it was not an ape. It was a man and a woman called Adam and Eve. Um, [00:26:00] the Bible does not speak about multiple races, just so you know, it speaks about one race created by God called the human race. And it's the most valuable thing that God created.
[00:26:14] The human genome project, which you might remember hearing about started 1990 in October. It ended up in April, they've concluded in April of 2003, among many incredible findings that probably the most significant finding of they're trying to understand the blueprint of the human humans. Like what do we, how were we made?
[00:26:31] They came up with a shocking conclusion that genetically we're a 99.9% alike across all humanity. Which was not what they were expecting to find, which is fascinating because that would be the case. If we have had a common ancestor, a man and woman named Adam and Eve. Scripture says it this way folks in Acts 17:26 from one man, he made all the nations, that's scripture. From one man
[00:26:58] he made all the nations [00:27:00] that they should inhabit the whole earth. And he marked out their appointed time in history and the boundaries of their lands. God, it's God's world, since creation. He's in charge according to the Bible. All right. So Peter said it this way. I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts everyone from every nation.
[00:27:24] The one who fears him and does what is right. It's an interesting word that favoritism, it literally means in the original language. God doesn't hold on to a face. I know that's a weird, but the, for the word means, God doesn't hold on to a face. What does that mean? That, when he looks at you, he doesn't go, um, I know you by your appearance, he doesn't, he knows you by your heart.
[00:27:43] He knows you by your soul. He knows you by your essence of who you are. It's important to understand. So how then did we get so many skin colors? If there was an Adam and Eve, how in the world do we have all of these? I'm so glad you asked that. Let me show you a quick video. [00:28:00] Watch this. I hear this one a lot.
[00:28:04] How can there be so many races in the world if we are all descendants of Adam and Eve? Well, check this out first off. Let's talk about the word race. Sometimes when people use the word they've mean supposed races of people who have evolved at different times rates and in different locations, of course, the word race is also a term we use to distinguish between groups with different physical traits, namely skin color, but are there really different races?
[00:28:25] Take a gander at Acts 17:26 where it is written that God from one man made every nation of men it's clear, then that the Bible teaches that there is one race, the human race. The Bible is also clear that all people in the earth are descendants of Adam and Eve who were created by God, check Genesis 1:26-28, easy enough, God created two people in his image, male and female, and told them to increase in numbers.
[00:28:45] So Adam and Eve are mom and dad of the human race. Then their children had children and those children had children and so on and so forth for many generations until according to Genesis 6:9 the world's population was reduced to eight people who were protected inside an Ark during a global flood.
[00:29:00] [00:28:59] And those eight people later walk off the Ark. And according to Genesis 9:19 from them came the people who were scattered over the earth. Oh, wait a second. What do I mean, scattered we'll jump over to Genesis 11. Let's talk about an event known as the tower of Babel, basically because of the sinful actions of the descendants of Noah, the Lord confused their language and scattered them from there over all the earth.
[00:29:19] That's pretty clear and concise. Okay. So we've got lots of people who were descendants of the eight folks who came off the Ark and now they have been scattered all over the earth. That explains that we are still one race and that different groups of people ended up in different locations, but how do we get a bunch of different color people?
[00:29:32] If we are all one race, we'll follow up. This of course is a simplified explanation, but the basic principles are true. We all have a pigment in our bodies called melanin, which depending on different variables produces different shades of the one main skin color we all possess. Several genes control, the amount of melanin produced and thus the variability in the skin shade.
[00:29:48] In fact, it's easy for one couple to produce a wide range of skin shade variability in just one generation as we'll see in just a moment. Time for a quick genetics lesson. DNA is the molecule of heredity that has passed from parents to children. [00:30:00] A child inherits 23 chromosomes from each parent. Each chromosome pair contains hundreds of genes, which regulate the physical development of the child.
[00:30:07] However, to illustrate basic genetic principles pertaining to the topic. We'll just talk about two genes, the genes that control the production of melanin. So let capital A and capital B symbolize versions of the gene, that code for large amounts of melanin while little a and little b code for small amounts.
[00:30:22] Got it. Yeah. Check this out. Take a look at the upper left. Let's say dad contributes capital A capital B genes and mom contributes capital A capital B genes as well together they would produced a child with capital A capital A capital B capital B. This is a kid with a lot of melanin, unless he will have very dark skin.
[00:30:37] Easy to see. Here's the bigger point though. Let's say dad contributes capital A capital B and mom contributes little a little b. Well, the child's skin will be middle Brown shade. The combination of capital A little a and capital B a little b, which by the way, represents a majority of the world's population.
[00:30:52] Not only that, but if each parent has capital A little a capital B little b the combinations that could be produced in their children could result in a [00:31:00] very wide range of skin shades in just one generation. So. Since Adam and Eve were the first people ever. It makes sense to conclude that God placed in them a combination of genes that could produce all different shades of skin
[00:31:11] we see. Those same combinations would be present in Noah and the seven other people who boarded the ark. And because God dispersed people at the tower of Babel, he dispersed the population, thereby isolating gene poles and the different people groups over time, different cultures formed in different locations with certain features like skin shade, becoming predominant.
[00:31:27] And here we are today. And since we all go back to Noah and his family, it makes sense that we are all different shades of Brown, one race, multiple people groups just like the Bible teaches simplified for sure. But enough said
[00:31:39] 3 minutes. All right. Now I understand that a, a non theist, an atheist and agnostic, whatever I would go, I don't believe any. I get, I get that. Okay. I, I fully do understand that, but I need you to realize that if you are a theist, You got to realize there's absolutely no grounds in God's [00:32:00] economy for ranking or valuing individuals based on the color of their skin.
[00:32:03] It makes zero sense. Which brings me to the last thing I want to talk about. What do we do in a world that is so conflicted over the color of people's skin? Because it is, and again, none of us would go, no, it's not. It just is. Um, unfortunately when I tell you that God values people in that you're priceless.
[00:32:22] You live in a world that says, no, you're not. You're nothing special. You're nothing unique. You're not a work of art. We live in a world that values things far more than it values people. Maybe it's supply and demand. We have so many people who needs them all. We'd be better off with less. But the world values on appearance.
[00:32:41] The world values on wealth, on accomplishments, success, the world, values people on what's called utilitarianism. What does that mean? It means what are you, what are you contributing? What are you worth? What do you, what difference are you making? What are you doing for me? That's the world we live in and there's the conflict. As I began [00:33:00] this series.
[00:33:00] And I'll do this every week. I can't tell you where you're going to land. I can tell you where I've landed and why I've landed there. You've got to sort this out for yourself. You have to decide what do you, what do you think is true? And what do you think is false? The, the world just sees it differently.
[00:33:20] Um, scripture comes along and says, can I put a different challenge in front of you who are theists? Can I put something? And so the scripture just shows, I want to share with you a passage. I shared this many times. It's one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It's one of the most inspiring, most convicting, most challenging.
[00:33:36] I think about this passage often. I fail to do this frequently, by the way, I'm not good at it, but it's Philippians 2:3,4 and it has an ideal that I just absolutely adore. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility, consider others above yourself, looking not to your own interests, [00:34:00] but each of you to the interests of others, uh, like what, what, yeah.
[00:34:06] What God's calling us who are priceless is to realize that they are also priceless. And that God's love is big enough for you to put them ahead of you. And you're not going to lose by doing that. You're actually going to come out ahead. Now, of course it presupposes that I value myself. I, if I'm abusing myself, it doesn't say abuse others more than you abuse yourself, you know?
[00:34:30] But it's the idea that you you're incredibly valuable. And so are they, so make sure you don't lose sight of that. That's why in scripture, you can't escape the high calling of love and the song that we were led in before this message just God, teach me to love the way you want me to love it. That is a scriptural concept throughout.
[00:34:54] I mean, it's just so strong. Let me read you something. Paul said, let me read you something. Jesus said, Paul said it this way, [00:35:00] the whole law can be summed up in this one command. You want to get it all one command. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
[00:35:14] You want to get it right? You got to move love to the middle. Like get it ahead of everything. Okay. Move it from the side, get it in the center. Okay. Jesus said this way. He said it this way. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? You big deal. Uh, even sinners love those who love them.
[00:35:34] And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect her payment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to centers expecting to be repaid in full, very worldly minded, but love your enemies. Do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back then your reward will be great and you will be children [00:36:00] of the most high, because he is kind to the end, grateful and wicked.
[00:36:03] Be merciful just as your father has mercy. It's a different ethic now we're so we're talking about the word love. Here's a, here's a problem. And allow me a moment to explain something that I think is crucial. In English we have a word we call love and we can use that word any range of things, you know, we could say, I love pizza.
[00:36:26] I love fishing. And I love my wife. Did you just equate your wife to a fish? To a baked good, um, in the Greek language, which is where we get the Bible. They don't do that. They have a number of words for love. Three predominant ones quickly. The first one is called eros is where we get the English word, erotic. Eros, is sensual love.
[00:36:48] It's eros is what I want to get. It's a lustful kind of love. It's the idea that I'm looking out for me. Eros is like it's a hundred percent about me and none you or 90% about being 10% about [00:37:00] you. You are a means to fulfill something within me. That's Eros. Phileo is a different word and that that's kind of a 50, 50 love.
[00:37:10] That's, uh, that's a, what we call brotherly love. Philadelphia comes from phileo. It's the idea that if it's good for you, it's good for me. We all win. You put your 50%, I'll put my 50% in and we'll make it happen. But those are not the words that are when Jesus and Paul just shared what they shared and say do that.
[00:37:30] They use the third word and it's a more powerful word. It's the word agape. Now I know you've probably heard the word agape and then make sure you understand it. Agape is the opposite of eros. Agape is that I'm going to do something for you when you are not expected to do something for me, I'm going to put you ahead of me.
[00:37:47] Even if you don't put me ahead of you, I'm going to always look out for you more than I look out for myself. That is the high ethic of which we're called to church. And it's hard. It's really hard. [00:38:00] Um, if you'll allow me, I want to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Junior on this because he said something I think is so profound.
[00:38:08] Let me, let me read to you a direct quote from him. Agape this kind of love this other first love means understanding redeeming Goodwill for all men. It's an overflowing love, which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object doesn't depend on what they're doing.
[00:38:33] It is the love of God operating in a human heart. Agape is disinterested love. It. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor, agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people or, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes.
[00:38:57] It's an entirely [00:39:00] neighbor regarding concern for others. Which discovers the neighbor and every man it meets. Therefore agape makes no distinction between friend and enemy. It's directed toward both. If one loves an individual. Catche this. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend's own sake.
[00:39:24] It's a hard thing. This agape and, uh, Martin Luther King went on to say this along the way of life. Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives. All right. Now, here, here. Here's what I've tried to say.
[00:39:47] Thanks for being with me. All right. God's creation is awesome. It's awesome. The peak of his creation was you and everyone else like you. Awesome. Mic drop. Can't get better. [00:40:00] Racism comes in and destroys what God created because it makes us pits us against one another. And instead of looking out for others, we become very self-centered and we look out for ourselves only, right?
[00:40:14] So God created beauty, racism destroys beauty, loving one another, like we're called to destroys racism. That's what I've tried to show you right? Now again, you might be going well. I'm glad I don't have any issue with this. I hope you don't. I really do. I do. All right. I do. I want to close this message by telling you a true story.
[00:40:36] Something else I'm not proud of by the way, but it's real. I mean, I've shared it before. It's not like your first time. I've heard it if you've been around, but I just need to, I need to explain something to you that does not make me look good. And I know it all right. Not a shock. All right. But let me explain.
[00:40:53] All right. I fly a lot now. Not Mid-Corona, but pre-Corona. I flew [00:41:00] all the time. I fly nationally all the time. I fly internationally all the time. I don't do this for my own pleasure, by the way, just so you understand, my wife would do that. We'd like to travel everywhere. I don't like that. I want to go fishing.
[00:41:11] That's what I want to do. I don't want to get on a plane to travel around the world. That's not who I am, but because of my job, I travel nationally and internationally a lot. Well, because I travel a lot. Unbeknownst to me, the airline has rewarded me. Okay. And the rewards are, I get free trips and I become a member of their status elite club.
[00:41:33] Okay. I didn't apply. I didn't ask for it. I just, they gave it to me and it's got incredible, but I like it. I like it. You know what I get, I get just skip the line to check in and I can just get to go to a special kiosk and I guess can check in really quick, but my baggage gets handled with priority. All right.
[00:41:52] It's the first off the plane. I like that when I get to the gate, I'm the first on the plane. I'm one of the first, because I have the [00:42:00] status that they gave me. And, um, the coolest benefit that comes with this is that often when I go to check in, they say this line to me, you've been upgraded.
[00:42:15] I did get an upgraded. Okay. Anyone else? Am I alone? You get upgraded. What does that mean? I mean, Hey baby. I get first-class for nothing. I get first. I didn't have to pay for it. I get first-class. You know, what's cool about first class, not only are you the first on the plane of the first one, the first on the plane, did I get on the plane first and get the big seats, man?
[00:42:39] You know, they got actually reclined. You've got some distance it's comfortable and you know what up there they serve food. They don't do that in the back anymore. They serve food. Here's what I need you to understand. Here's the confession to get off my heart. All right. I could live up there. I'd like to live up there, [00:43:00] but, but it gets dark.
[00:43:02] Cause here's what I've got to confess to you. Um, that changes me when I'm up there. It changes me and not a good way because you know what I start to realize when I'm up there. Um, I felt a little better about myself than those who aren't up there. I'm not proud to tell you that, but I kind of I deserve to be up here.
[00:43:24] I, this is good. And then I start finding my attitude towards the people that are back there, you know, and the cheap seats, cattle car, could you hurry up already? So we could go. You're costing me time. Why is it taking you? So would you just put your luggage away and bad things can start going through my mind and heart.
[00:43:47] All right now, again, not proud of any of that. Why am I telling you that? Because the first time that happened, man, the spirit of God just smacked me upside the head. What's wrong with you? And I had to stare at myself a [00:44:00] long time and go, what is wrong with you? And they smacked me a number of times since, because it's not eradicated.
[00:44:07] I tell you all that to tell you something Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said. Solzhenitsyn was a Russian dissident. He wrote. He was a philosopher, but he wrote a number of works. The Gulag Archipelago was profound work. If you've never read that, here's what he said. He said, this famously listen carefully.
[00:44:25] The line separating good and evil passes, not through States, nor between classes nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart and through all human hearts, including mine. The line of good and evil is not. Those guys are bad and I'm over here with a good, I don't have any bad in me.
[00:44:49] I only have good. No, the line dividing good and evil is part of my heart is good. And part of my heart is not. And he says, and I agree. That's the state of every one of us. Now [00:45:00] what's wrong with racism? Well, one last scripture, Colossians 3:11 here. There is among us. There is no gentile or Jew, circumcised, or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is, and all the clothes we should wear.
[00:45:23] Folks, we change out of the old way of thinking the worldly way of dressing as it were. And we put on a new self that when we see one another and when we see people, we see them differently. We are clothed in Christ. That's the color of my skin. That's the color of your skin. And that's why you are so incredibly valuable.
[00:45:49] I am. And you are, and as we can treat people the way God calls us to treat people, we will make an impact in this planet and change the world. So I'm going [00:46:00] to pray and then we're going to sing a song together that we'll love, hopefully cause us to think deeply. So let's pray. Okay. So God gives us the ability to sit and listen and to absorb God. Confirmation bias.
[00:46:11] We don't want to hear what we don't want to hear, and we don't want to hear what we don't already agree with, but God we'll never learn. So I just pray that we're challenged, just the think and, and God move us into a greater appreciation of what you've done. Your creation is awesome. Nothing better than people, even though people don't value people, God you do.
[00:46:31] And we got to learn how to. Thank you for all the diversity. Thanks for all this uniqueness you made among us. God may we never believe that one particular shade of skin has more of you than any other or better than any other. God it's just the way it is. And it's a worldly thing. It's not a godly thing.
[00:46:49] And so it's not about you, so help us father and thanks again for the opportunity to meet it together as a church, both in this place, in our campuses, in peoples. [00:47:00] People's living rooms and offices and in their cars. God, I just thought you spread the word. Thanks for what you've done for us. Thanks for making us as valuable as you have.
[00:47:09] You are awesome. Jesus name. We praise you. Amen. Thanks.