This week's Sunday School class comes from Dr. John MacArthur. I've listened to a number of his messages over the past few weeks and this one really wraps up a lot of good thinking specifically for the men in the church.
For the transcript go to: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-82
I had the marvelous privilege this week to spend a few hours with some of the faithful brothers in our church, some of them who have come to the seminary and others who are part of our church congregation. These are young Black men that gave up a chunk of their time to sit with me and talk through some of these issues. Thanks to Carl Hargrove for kind of leading that discussion which was powerfully fruitful for me.
I have been talking the last couple of weeks from the Word of God, as I always do, to try to help people understand what is going on in our world from a biblical perspective. That falls to me to be the spokesman for the Lord. That is a humbling responsibility that I obviously don’t take lightly. James says, “Stop being so many teachers, for theirs is a greater condemnation.” Not wanting to fall into condemnation, and having used my mouth for so many years ostensibly to speak for God, I have come to understand the seriousness of this accountability. And so I have endeavored the last couple of weeks to give you a biblical perspective on the issues that we face in all that’s going on in the social discontent and distress that is happening in our country. But today coming out of that meeting, I want to let you know that it’s time for us to move from the theology to the application.
We have people in this nation who feel profoundly disenfranchised, wounded, in many ways cheated; and we can talk to them about truth and reality, and we can talk about the Bible, and we can talk about statistics and all of that; but sooner or later, that conversation leads to the fact that we have been called to give them the gospel, right? This is why we are here, to give the gospel.
So the question that we discussed was, “How do we approach people with the gospel?” Now last Sunday morning we ended the message by saying our calling is to present the gospel. We are ambassadors for Christ, begging people to be reconciled to God through Christ. “How do we open that door?” because that is our calling. It’s not enough to stand and analyze something, it is only legitimate to do that if that becomes the foundation on which we act.
So I said to these men after about two hours plus of talking together, and it was a very gracious and loving communication. I said, “So give me five things that we need to do as believers in Jesus Christ to reach across racial lines and bring the gospel to these people and have it received.” So I said, “You get five shots, and I’ll have this as the introduction to my sermon.” So here we go. This is what they said to me.
Number One: “Tell people that racism is a sin.” Racism is a sin, isn’t it. Any kind of hate is a sin, and racism is an utterly irrational hate. Racism is what causes genocide, what caused the Holocaust, what causes ethnic battles all across the planet as long as there’s been human history. But then men in their natural state hate God, and the Bible says they hate each other. The first crime was a murder based upon anger, based upon hate, when Cain killed his brother.
Any kind of hate is a sin. Any kind of racial hate is an irrational expanded form of hate coming from any human heart; it is reflective of the fallenness of that heart. And we also know in our society that there are some people who have received more of that than others. We need to make it very clear that to hate anyone on any basis or any group of people is a sin against God of monumental proportions.
Secondly: “We need to show compassion, compassion to those who’ve experienced this.” And lots of people have. We need to open our hearts and weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. Jesus looked at the multitudes and had compassion. Even when He went to the grave of Lazarus, He wept; and He knew He was going to raise him from the dead, and He still wept. That’s the heart of Jesus.
Life is hard, and it has been especially hard for some groups of people; and that certainly speaks to the issue of the history of Black people in America. For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, they don’t want to hear the statistics, but they would love to know you have compassion for them.
Thirdly, we talked about the fact that, “We need to listen.” And that’s pretty much a basic principle, isn’t it: slow to speak and quick to hear. We may have all the theological answers, we may have all the statistical answers, but can we keep our mouths closed long enough to hear the heart of someone else? Engaging someone with the gospel is so much more effective if that comes in the context of having heard their heart.
Number Four they said: “Use these days as an opportunity to show the love of Christ.” This was really rich advice for me. Say racism is a sin, and it is. Any kind of hate coming from anybody in any direction and you can see that it is tearing this culture to shreds.
Show compassion, listen, and use these opportunities as an occasion to show love. That’s four; got one more. And the final one was this: “The only thing that’s going to break the cycle of our problems in this country is godly fathers. Help us develop godly fathers.” Now you might say that was a providence of God that it happened the week of Father’s Day. Sure set me up for this morning because I want to talk about fathers.