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Monday, June 22, 2015

Charleston, Racism and My Approach, the Gospel

An interesting report on this morning asks the question "is racism a mental illness?" I believe it some people, not all. Racism is an infection  that spreads hate throughout one's body much like the bacteria contracted from the little deer tick. Racism is spiritual Lyme Disease. It effects mind soul and body. There is no cure for Lyme Disease. There is a cure for racism.

My approach for addressing racism and the first step necessary for eradicating it (new converts can and must learn to turn from their racism and that doesn't happen over night) in individuals is and will be declaring the gospel and allowing the Holy Spirit to give the racist a new heart if He wills (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Others may choose to approach this evil through psychology or psychiatry and drugs. I consider such attempts temporary at best. Not bad, just temporal. My concern as a Christian and as a pastor is to apply the gospel to the racist in hopes of witnessing eternal changes.

A word of warning from the word of God to church-goers

I made a vow of sorts not long after I began preaching that I would never assume that just because the folks in the pews are sitting there and possibly "members" of the church they are saved. One of the reasons for my vow was my one-on-one intercourse with so many of these folks. The hatred that spews from the mouths of church-goers and the worldly lusts that pours from their hearts served as a wake-up call to this young na├»ve preacher. I have stuck to that vow. Here is the word of warning from the word of God to these people.

1 John 2:6-10 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:14-16 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:20-21 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

For any God-called, God-gifted pastor, those words are deeply disturbing. I hate the notion that there are those in my congregation who are self-deceived into believing that they can love God and at the same time hate anyone, period. God says it can't be done. It is my task to preach the whole counsel of God even when it offends. Perhaps God will use the gospel truth to save the offended (Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Medication is sometimes needed. But a new heart is always in order.

When Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator's plain word, they died spiritually immediately and they died physically eventually. That sin that set death in motion effected the whole man, body, soul and spirit. And now most human beings will find it necessary to take some form(s) of medication. Our brains are effected by the fall of man and we experience the fall in that part of our bodies in the forms of depression, bi-polarism, grand mal seizures, autism and tumors, etc., etc., all illnesses requiring serious meds. The same can be said of the human heart. I myself have had open-heart surgery (quadruple by-pass) and am now on blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds. All that because of Adam and Eve.

But there is a heart disease that only God can fix. And He can fix it. It manifests itself in many different ways, ways which the Bible calls sin and "the works of the flesh" (Mt. 15:18-20; Gal. 5:19-21). But God can perform open heart surgery on our dead-in-sins hearts. And He does every time a soul comes to Him through faith in Jesus. In fact, every believer in Jesus Christ has had a spiritual heart transplant. Our old hearts were that diseased.

Jeremiah 17:9 " The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Ezekiel 11:19 "Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 "that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

The only cure for racism and hatred is a spiritual heart transplant. That can be had only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.








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