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Call to Worship Hebrews ? (Tom Whipple?)
Worship songs.
Great time at the Lock-in, thank you to everyone.
Tonight we will start Behold your God @6:30.
Pass out books tonight.
Reminder that this coming Sunday Allen Lindholt will be here both to preach and to teach a class on Prepardness within the Church.
After the class we’ll have our elders meeting on the 14th.
The following week I will be gone to the G3 conference.
Devotional time
1 Song


This morning we have the wonderful joy of getting back into Galatians and finishing up chapter 3.
I want to begin the whole message by saying that as we go through this text today, it may appear as though at times I am saying some things that are hard to hear.
I would ask though that you would hear me out.
The text for today is .
Read and Pray.
The year was 1896.
8 people stood together to debate one of the touchiest issues of the era.
An issue that brought about much tension and strife from the outside world but inside that room, there was a 7-1 victory soon to be announced.
7 people in favor of the decision and 1 person who stood as the lone dissenter.
1 man would dissent from the average view of the day and would stand firm in the face of trial to uphold his convictions.
A conviction that would put this man in the spotlight as the one of the most hated men in the southern United States.
The people I am talking about were those elected to protect and to preserve the constitution and the rights of the people.
And the decision that they were faced with was whether or not the Constitution guaranteed equal rights and protection as well as public services to all people.
Or if the Constitution only guaranteed those rights to those who were white.
At the end of the day on May 18th, 1896, the court handed down the famous decision from Plessy V. Ferguson.
And in this landmark decision, the Supreme Court handed down its verdict which made the claim that a form of segregation between the two races of people, those black and those white, was not only tolerable but should remain.
This decision was monumental.
It was a 7-1 decision.
A major loss to the Christians of that day who fought against segregation.
But a major win for those Christians who argued for segregation.
And no, I didn’t misspeak, there were Christians on both sides of this argument.
Much like there has been for countless many years.
But for me, it was the dissent handed down by John Marshall Harlan that really resonates today.
This is a quote from his dissent;
“The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is therefore to be regretted that this high tribunal, the final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a state to regulate the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race. In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case.”
You see, Justice Harlan was a Christian man who had very deep convictions.
In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case.
Convictions about how it is that we as people should interact with other people.
Other human beings.
The one race created by God in His image but corrupted by sin.
Justice Harlan didn’t believe there to be any reason for a division of people on the basis of their color, wealth or anything else for that matter.
Instead he believed that the Law of the Land and the Law of God looked upon all men as being created equal.
So here is my question, why was it that a supreme court Justice who no doubt was mocked publicly for his standing against slavery, segregation and equality as human beings.
Why is this man could see that the Constitution which is written to govern our land is colorblind, but so many men and women throughout history who professed to be Christians haven’t been able to see something so clearly spoken of in the Bible?
How is it that even now, some 70 years since the segregation laws of this country have been removed.
How is it that in so many of our Churches today there is a form racism which still exists?
Whether its disagreements concerning interracial marriage.
Or its how our Church is literally divided by the color of our skin.
How is it that this form of racial segregation still seems to find its way into the Church today?
We are a people who should always be on the right side of history.
And yet I read stories of men whom I deeply revere as profound men of God.
Men from the eras gone by such as a Jonathon Edwards who owned human beings as slaves in the 18th century.
Listen, I love Jonathon Edwards.
But he was in deep sin in this area of his life.
He was deep in sin by thinking he could own another human being.
Yet he was a man who was a failure and yet used in great and mighty ways by God.
So how did we get to the place that we’re in today in our society, our culture and our Church?
This place where this same form of division can still be very clearly seen?
How did we get here?
Today I will argue for the answer being that we, although we are Christians, are not what we should be.
We are not how we were created to be and we don’t see Christ for who He truly is.
None of us do.
Whether it was Jonathon Edwards and the sin in his life of owning a human being as a slave or whether its Cory Matlock standing before you today.
Just because I can offer up the answer to the problem does not mean that I have made my way to the solution perfectly.
We don’t have the ability to become who we were created to be.
We can strive for it.
But we will only truly reach it on that day that we enter into our eternal home.
God in all of His righteousness purposed to bring sinners into His family by adoption through Christ.
But this doesn’t perfectly fix our sinful nature.
We still have to fight against that sinful nature and we will have to until the day that we die.
And one of the attributes which go along with our sinful nature is this idea of division.
Whether it is racial or some other form, we have a drive within us that calls for division.
Yet this isn’t anything new.
Think for just a few moments about the first century world.
The Jews who were God’s chosen people despised the Gentiles.
So much so in fact they referred to them as Dogs.
They despised the gentiles so much that to be in their presence was to make themselves unclean.
But it wasn’t just the Jews.
The Gentiles felt the same way about the Jews.
They despised one another and viewed one another as immoral creatures who were sub-human.
Add to this the great division of the first century between the Slave and the freeman.
Yet this slavery was different.
This slavery didn’t depend on the color of your skin but was more dependent upon your social class.
Slaves of the first century world was given no value.
No value, no worth and most assuredly no dignity.
If a man owned a slave woman in the first century and chose to have relations with her, it was not only viewed as socially acceptable but it was viewed that way because the slave had no rights.
The slave owner could rape his slave in broad daylight on a road way and not a soul would say a word.
Not only that, but if the slave refused his or her master, they could be put to death for a form of insubordination.
Throw upon this the division between economical classes and you find yourself a breeding ground for racism.
Racism that many scholars would argue was far worse than that of the racial slavery tied to the United States.
Not that what we had here wasn’t bad because it was vile, but what you found in the first century was far more atrocious.
In some weird way, the whole thing just worked in its culture.
Not that it was right but for the time and the people they seemed to find a way to get along with it just fine.
But out of all of these divisions that I listed off here, do you know which one I find most disheartening?
The one that out of all the forms of racism, this one is the worst?
The Jews hating of the Gentiles, that is the one that is the worst.
Listen to this for a moment.
I’m reading this out of my ESV for a moment for ease of understanding:

eBehold fmy servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, gin whom my soul delights;

hI have put my Spirit upon him;

ihe will bring forth justice to the nations.

2  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

3  ja bruised reed he will not break,

and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

khe will faithfully bring forth justice.

4  He will not grow faint or be discouraged1

till he has established justice in the earth;

and lthe coastlands wait for his law.

5  Thus says God, the LORD,

who created the heavens mand stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

nwho gives breath to the people on it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

6  “I am the LORD; oI have called you2 in righteousness;

I will take you by the hand and keep you;

I will give you pas a covenant for the people,

qa light for the nations,

7  rto open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

sfrom the prison those who sit in darkness.

God chose the nation of Israel.
He delighted in them and chose to redeem them so that the light that shall come from them should open the eyes to the blind.
Open the eyes to the Gentiles.
God chose Israel to bring the light of redemption unto the darkness of all of humanity and instead of offering that joyous redemption to a lost and dying world.
They stuck their noses in the air as if they were better than everyone else.
As if they, in and of themselves were the righteous of all the earth and to be around the lost would mean that they would now be unclean.
Do you see the irony here?
The Jews were no different than any other people.
Abraham was a Pagan when God called him out of the land of UR and into redemption.
There was nothing special about him as the person who be the seed of Israel but it was all of God’s mercy and His grace.
And instead of seeing that they were called into redemption by the grace of God, they saw it as a chance to thump their chest.
The Jews began to treat the Gentiles as the most vile and wretched creatures on the face of the earth.
Think about .
Yet that’s not what they were called to do.

And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

The Jews thought the Gentiles to be wretched and filthy creatures who were only there to mess up their pure and righteous character.
Yet they were called to bring the light of redemption to the gentile world.
This was a form of first century racism.
It was nothing new for the first century world and it was also nothing new when a group of people began to claim that the mark upon Cain and the curse of Ham.
This is a real thing.
Maybe here in the south you’ve heard this taught before I don’t know.
But there was for a period of time this teaching that when God marked Cain in Genesis, his mark was that the color of his skin changed into black.
The same teaching has existed with Noah’s son Ham being cursed as well and in fact, has been used many times over to support the idea of racially motivated slavery.
Sadly it was even used by those who would proclaim to know Christ.
Yet there is nothing in either of those accounts that would allow for some form racial division or even slavery for that matter.
But as men always have and always will, they found a way to make Scripture speak in ways that benefit themselves.
The Jews of the first century did it with the Law of the Old Covenant and men even to this very day will input their own ideas on top of Scripture so that it meets their agenda.
The problem that we encounter though is that is not the agenda of God.
In the garden when God created mankind, there was no racial divide.
There were not multiple races created.
Instead there was one race and it is the race made in the image of God.
It is the human race.
They were not created to be divided in the garden but instead to enjoy the abundance of this life that God has given them.
But as with all areas of this life, sin crept its way into the human heart over the color of skin.
You can trace this all the way back to .
In that passage you find Miriam and Aaron speaking against Moses because he had married a Cushite woman.
Listen to what it says:

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopiana woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

A woman who would have came from Ethiopia and who would have most certainly been black.
Now you might be wondering, Cory, that passage says nothing about some racial divide.
Actually it does.
Moses as an Israelite would have looked like and Egyptian.
Think about that for a second.
Moses wasn’t a white man.
He couldn’t have been.
From the study of where he came from he had to be middle eastern and would resemble an Egyptian.
But here’s where the racism comes in.
Moses who resembled an Egyptian was being ostracized for marrying a woman who was an Ethiopian.
Ethiopian woman were most assuredly not white or Egyptian but were instead black.
So here you have in the Bible, the first recorded case that I know of where an interracial marriage took place and also what very clearly was a discrimination concerning the color of a persons skin.
Yet this marriage that was spoken against by Miriam was blessed by God.
You can see this because at the end of the events that transpired in that chapter, God didn’t strike down Moses but instead when the cloud rolled back, Miriam was the one who was given an issue with her skin.
Now listen, I know that for some this may be hard to hear but this is the Biblical truth.
I’m not making the Bible say what I want it to say.
Instead I’m doing what I always promised you and what God calls me to do and I am opening up God’s Word for what it says.
I realize that where I’m at and what I am saying might go against what most people have heard.
Maybe not in this Church but culturally here in the south and I am sorry if I am offensive with this.
But God’s Word doesn’t condemn in color of skin.
In fact, the Law of God is color blind.
In the same way that the United States constitution is color blind, the Law of God is also color blind.
Whatever barrier or division that we may try to insert into the Church, it doesn’t truly exist.
It didn’t matter in the beginning of all of Creation if you were white or black.
At the very onset of creation there was no rich or no poor.
There was no slave nor free.
All of those divisions are introduced through sin and because of that, there is but one hope to escape them.
There is but one hope in trying to remove some form of systemic racism in the south.
There is but one hope in trying to remove the barrier between the rich and poor.
Christ is the only person able to straddle the division.
People of every color, social class, male or female and any other form of divide are invited to come to the Redeemer.
And when they do, they have the sweet joy of watching all of those issues fade into the background.
In Christ those dividing differences no longer exist.
Whether its some form of racism that should have never existed in the first place or some form of sexism, in Christ those differences no longer exist.
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters isn’t the color of a persons skin.
It isn’t whether or not they were rich or if they were poor.
Instead what matters is if they knew Christ Jesus and had been forgiven by Him.
The Law of God will not look at the rich man and let him escape while punishing the poor.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married because she was a Cushite.
God’s holiness would not allow Him to punish a black person because of the color of their skin and allow the white person pass right on by.
Instead, the only thing measured at the end and the only thing that matters today is if you are known by Christ!
And when we are redeemed by Christ, we all then become one!
We are all equal in Christ.
The poor man is redeemed in the same way as the rich man.
The black woman is fully united in Christ just as much as the white woman.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise of redemption.
In Christ we’ve laid aside our old self and this includes anything that may be divisive.
We’ve cast aside our old identity and we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ as our adornment.
We have become new creatures in Christ now.
And this doesn’t just apply to us individually.
Instead it also applies to the Church corporally.
It applies to the Church as a whole.
It applies to the Church as a community to set the standard.
Because of Christ, where all of the age old distinctions that would normally separate us are removed, we can now relate to one another.
Relate to one another united in a common purpose and for a common reason.
In Christ we find reconciliation of these differences.
But just because this is how it should be does not mean this is how it truly is.
I would argue that Sunday morning at 11 AM, as a people we are still the most segregated hour of the week that you can find.
Nowhere else can you go and find such division.
And part of that is because it is often human nature to gather around commonalities that we share with one another.
But the whole point of the unity in Christ is that there is nothing that should unite us more than the Gospel.
And when the whole world screams for some form of segregation, we should be like Justice Harlan and be prepared to dissent.
When we see little cliques beginning to form within our own midst, someone needs to step in and say something.
The Church is not designed to be centered around the color of your skin or the amount of money in your bank account.
Instead it’s designed to be where we come together and remove all of those boundaries and limitations for the purpose of worshipping our Lord and Saviour!
It’s where we come together to share in the inheritance of Christ.
Where sinners stand on level and colorless ground at the foot of the cross and plead for forgiveness of their sin.
Because in Christ, nothing else matters but that you are known by Him!
What it would be like to stand as firm as Justice Harlan in the face of ridicule and public shaming.
At the end of the day, the only thing that divides anyone on this earth is where they stand before the Lord.
If they stand redeemed in Christ or if they are unredeemed.
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