Exo 3:4-8 “And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
When God is moved with compassion, there is going to be a move of God.
For the past several months, not just our country, but across the world, there have been restrictions because of this virus.
Not just that, but three lives have been snuffed out by a different kind of plague. It’s visible, racism. It’s time for a change. There must be urgency and restrictions and care that we put forth in dealing with the COVID plague.
It’s not everyone. We support our police officers, but we also support our black brothers and sisters. We stand against corruption. Justice and righteousness aren’t a part of the equation and that must change.
This plague of racism must be talked about in the church. The silence in the church will be judged in the streets.
A natural solution to a spiritual problem is futile.
This senseless violence is heartbreaking. We don’t have all the answers, except we know that Mr. Floyd’s murder was indeed murder. Racism upsets God. It should not be this way in America.
We’ve had this problem since before our nation was formed. Racism is sin. It denies what God wants for the human race.
Our way forward is love, not hate, not violence.
Jesus said, ‘Peace be unto you…’
I believe the pandemic and these murders are part of a spiritual agenda. It is all driven by a planned, strategic agenda spawned in the pit of hell. There must be a response.
This is a free country. We have the right to protest peacefully. If we’re denied justice, all of us are denied justice. Dr. Martin Luther King taught that if we use violence to combat violence, it won’t work. We don’t fire with fire, instead, we drown it with water.
No matter how angry or upset, we still respond with love. We can only defeat evil with good.
Rom 12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
These attacks are all based on fears. There have been studies done on people’s greatest fear. Some listed death, others spiders. According to the surveys done, the greatest fear was fear of public speaking. Death was listed third.
The core of public speaking fear is fear of rejection. Racism rides upon the backs of that. If fear of rejection is the force, we make ourselves vulnerable. Even the slightest rejection overwhelms all the compliments.
There is a greater force, the love of God.
There’s a story in the Bible of Tamar and Amnon, not a happy one. Amnon was sick with love for his half-sister Tamar. A friend advised him to force himself upon his sister. After that happened, he ended up hating his sister as much as he had loved her. It wasn’t love, it was just lust. Her rejection of him was worse than the abuse.
When Jesus talked about loving your neighbor, He didn’t mean the guy who lived next door. He meant neighboring nations, people who weren’t like you, not the same color. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself.
Mat 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
We are to love God. Every time the Israelites stopped their love for God, they were conquered by other countries and were taken away. Not all were taken away, but those left behind tried to make a life for themselves. Some of them married people of other races.
The Samaritans wanted to help with the rebuilding of the walls of Jericho. The Israelites were racist against Samaritans. Jesus said to get past that. He said to love your enemy. He said if you want to be known as Jesus’ disciples, you’ve got to love.
Who are you supposed to love? God and your neighbor. In answering the question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Jesus answered by telling the story of The Good Samaritan. A man was beaten up and a levite passed him by. A priest passed him by. A Samaritan saw, heard, and cared. He dressed his wounds and took him to an inn and paid for him to stay. He stayed all night and the next day, left more money for his care.
This is a picture of Jesus Christ and His love for me. Jesus looked down from His place of holiness and pushed back the feathers of the angels and saw beyond His own borders and saw the bondage. Fallen angels had put people in bondage to sin. Jesus came beyond those boundaries and saw the affliction and heard their cries and He cared and loved. His love transforms lives.
Jesus went into the depths and pits of hell and saw and heard and cared. How can God love a wretch like me? We can love Him because He first loved us. We must go beyond and love like He loved, going beyond our own borders and love people who aren’t like us, loving people we don’t like, loving people who are different.
1 John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
If you choose to not to love someone you can see, how can you say you love God?
Mat 5:44-48 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
You’ve got to love the way God loves. If we don’t love like God, what is left is coldness, hatred, and frustration. ‘I’m only going to love people like me.’ It’s a continuation of the problem. You’ve got to love your neighbor across the borders.
There are several different kinds of love, eros (sexual), phileo (friendship, brotherly), store (family, community), agape (mature love, selfless love, sacrificial love).
Agape love is the what Jesus is talking about when He said to love your neighbor.
1 Cor 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…”
I John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
2 Tim 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
I don’t need you to validate me, I’ve got His love.
I’m a white man. I have never worried when I got pulled over, except fear of getting a ticket, but I was never afraid for my life. I’ve never had a woman clench her purse in an elevator because I walked in.
God told me recently, ‘You don’t see, you don’t hear, and you don’t care.’ You’ve got to go beyond. God is saying, ‘I see, I hear, and I care, and I’m coming.’ Love identifies us with Jesus.
John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
People are looking for the love of God.
People were first called Christians first in Antioch. The disciples got together and had to decide whether or not they should accept Italians in the church. These Italians weren’t circumcised. The Apostles had to come to a conclusion that Jesus was against racism.
David had people from other countries all around him, part of his army.
After the disciples finally understood, people started coming in. In Antioch, a black man was a leader. There was an Asian man and an Indian man leading as well.
Judgement came at the tower of Babel, but when God’s spirit came, people came together, nations came together. You’ve got to put on Jesus like a garment and love and respect others.
James said if you respect one person more than another, you don’t have God’s love. It’s not politics, it’s spiritual stuff. It’s getting into politics and the police department, but it’s spiritual.
There is a solution, the solution is to show love beyond the borders.
Why do we show love? Because He loved us.
How do we show love?
They couldn’t call the people in Antioch Italians because they weren’t all Italian. So, they called them Christians to cover everyone.
How do I fight injustice and racism? It starts in the church. Politics don’t necessarily affect my home. I can affect my home. God can affect His house.
Rom 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Rom 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”
Forgiveness isn’t asking God to avenge you. Forgiveness is doing what the good Samaritan did and caring.
You don’t see, you don’t hear, so you don’t care. You’ve got to see the affliction. Look at what’s going on. Hear the cry. Cross the line and care about people. Show love. See, hear, and care and know that God is coming. He will rescue and restore.
God hears and sees and cares.
COVID-19 shut down many people’s prayer and there is so much fear and frustration in our world right now in the midst of murder and riots and violence. We’ve got to respond with love.
Open our ears to that still, small Voice.
Go find somebody different from you and do something nice for them.
Questions for further study:
- If God does see and hear in our country today, what are the afflictions He sees and the cries of hearts He hears in our land?
- What are some of the ways we can bridge the gap between racial groups first of all in our church and secondly in the world in general?
- What scriptures read in today’s lesson stuck out to you as real solutions to the issues that surround racial tensions?
- How should we pray specifically for our country?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.