Pre Sermon Statement Related to Recent National Shootings: Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation

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imagesI love my church.

I love the people of my church.

My church is not a perfect church.

My church is a place of love, truth, and grace.

You would love my church too.

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching in our morning services. Before the sermon, I also had the privilege of giving a few thoughts related to the recent national shootings. My brothers and sisters in Christ responded with grace.

The statement is below. The “humiliation and exaltation” line references the Westminster Shorter Catechism, questions 23 – 28:

23. What offices does Christ fill as our Redeemer?

Christ as our Redeemer fills the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, in his states both of humiliation and exaltation.

27. In what did Christ’s humiliation consist?

Christ’s humiliation consisted in being born, and that in a poor circumstance; in being subject to God’s law; in undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God and the curse of death on the cross; in being buried; and in continuing under the power of death for a time.

28. In what does Christ’s exaltation consist?

Christ’s exaltation consists in his rising again from the dead on the third day; in ascending into heaven; in sitting at the right hand of God the Father; and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

The WSC is Christ-centered. It helps us think Gospel thoughts about life.

Did I mention that I love my church? Please come join me there in worship on Sunday.

Thank you, church family, for seeking Christ on this issues before us, and for helping me to do the same.

__________________

Good morning.

What a joy and gracious opportunity I have to stand before you today, in the place where Pastor Todd faithfully shepherds us through the word of God. With his coming absence today, yesterday afternoon Pastor Todd sent me a text to ask if I had plans to speak to the national events of this past week. I replied by saying that I had prepared a few lines, to which he replied, “Feel free to make more than a small mention.” I am grateful for his concern. Yet understand that what I say does not replace the things he must say to us with the authority of the Pastor.

Yes, I am concerned about what could happen if I am pulled over for a traffic violation, if I mistakenly am confronted by a local officer, or if Pam or my children somehow cross the path of local law enforcement suspiciously for any reason. We each had incidents this week where race played a factor in how people responded to us as strangers. Pam and I are cautioning everyone with extra cautions as they go out the door each day. It is unfortunate, but that is a reality for us, and many African Americans share our concerns and cautions.

It is true that all lives matter because we each bear the image of God. Black lives matter, blue lives matter, LGBT lives matter, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist lives matter, and unborn lives matter. We should not minimize the significance of the events in Dallas, Orlando, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul by generalizing issues when specific groups are the objects of hate. That is not piety; it is avoidance, and it is insensitive to the injustice, hatred, and lack of support felt by the groups experiencing very real threats, fears, and deaths. Loving our neighbors with the love of Christ allows us to give strong support to each cause for justice with patience and kindness, without envy, rudeness, or arrogance, without rejoicing in others’ wrongdoings, and while rejoicing in truth.

Finally, the Gospel, with all of its ramifications and demands for God’s people, is the solution. It is the death and resurrection of Christ that moves us to love; it is his humiliation and exaltation that makes us take inventory of our own racism, bigotry, and anarchy. His suffering in our place provides God with empathy in all of our pains; and his defeat of death shows he has the power to change hearts—power to overcome the sin of hatred in every person. The Gospel does not deny the need for protest and calls for justice, but should fuel them with holiness through the presence of the people of God. Each one of us must be bold in proclaiming the Gospel.

If the Gospel did not make all of the difference, quite possibly I would be making these statements at Calvary Baptist Church or Kendrick Memorial Baptist Church this morning rather than among you, my brothers and my sisters, at Calvary Memorial Church; and many of you would not be thinking of how we can work harder to make Calvary Memorial Church a place where our worship and ministries show that all lives matter.

July 11, 2016 at Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, IL

 

NYT: Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings

Version 2In this morning’s NYT:

new study confirms that black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police.

But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias.

Read the whole article here.

 

Resurrection Power or Race War? Thru Eph in a Little More than 150 Words

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Resurrection or Race War PicturesEphesians might help us work through some tensions we experience when looking at the brutal police shootings of African Americans nationwide, and of the snipers’ shootings of the Dallas and DART police officers. The church has the power of Christ – which is Christ himself, who is seated at God’s right hand “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” (Eph. 1:20-21). Christ has authority over all civilians, offices, forces, and governments on the earth.

Christ calls believers to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (5:11). Surely racism, hatred, abusive use of force, and vigilante justice are among such works. So it is not time to be passive or silent, but to act in the authority Christ gives the church as her Head.

Yet the real war behind violence and injustice is invisible, requiring believers to be the people in society who live lives of truth and righteousness, preach the Gospel that brings peace between ethnicities who despise one another, and pray with all of our might (2:11-18; 3:10; 6:10-20). So it is not time to rely on protest and removal of leaders from office only, but also to implore God to conquer the schemes of the Enemy.

The recent race-related shootings, coupled with the race-baiting statements of Donald Trump and the eight-year long racial backlash against Obama’s presidency, have primed this country for a very violent race war. Believers need to be wise, both vocally and prayerfully redeeming the time without shame (5:17), so that we might be a force of good as salt and light amid darkness, for the glory of Christ (1:6, 12, 14; 3:21).

My condolences to the families of the victims in the Dallas shootings. May the Lord Jesus provide you comfort and justice from on high. May we think soberly as we look at the grieving faces of those harmed by gun violence and the wrongful use of police authority.

See also, “I’m Not Safe; No Black Male is Safe.”

#enoughisenough #AlstonSterling #PhilandoCastile #BlackLivesMatter #justiceforSandraBland #TrayvonMartin #ktbeph

I’m not Safe; No Black Male is Safe

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Philando CastileI have extremely great concern for myself, my wife, my daughters, and my sons. As an African American man, one can have an encounter with the local police that ends in the use of lethal force simply while doing an honest job because an anonymous tip says you are brandishing (or threatening with) a weapon, and because we already live in a society racially biased against African American men and predisposed toward assuming African American men are dangerous? No African American father, husband, brother, son, uncle, or cousin is safe – not of any class, job status, or part of the country—not even in P.G. County, MD.

If you cannot reach for your ID in order to verify your identity and to demonstrate legal ability to carry a gun, you have no freedom at all if/when confronted by the police. An African American male could be missing from any table tonight, including mine, due to the wrongful use of force sometime today. I have wept watching the news stories from the last two days. I am going to do all I can to help my sons see how significant the Sterling and Castile stories are to their and my existence.

Many condolences to the families and friends of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. May the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on all of us.

#AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #BlackLivesMatter #theGospel

 

Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 4: Following the Example of our Father

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Ephesians by Eric RedmondWhat might Christian marriage be like if every Christian husband awoke daily remembering that he is an adopted child of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus (Eph. 1:5)? We have been adopted from the world’s orphanage: We were children of wrath (2:3). Now we are joined to the family of the perfectly good and always loving Father. We also have the most sharing and caring Sibling in the universe.

Sons naturally follow the example of their fathers, whether the example is great or poor. Sons of Christian fathers should follow their paternal examples in earnest. What if we were set ourselves to follow the example of our Father only? We would love without concern of reciprocation (Eph. 1:5; 2:4)

What if we ever lived to impress our Big Brother (cf. Heb. 2:11)—as little brothers naturally do? We would love without ever thinking our wives are asking too much of us (cf. 5:1).

#ktbeph

#ktbephesians

#ephesians

#biblestudy

Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 3: Wholly Recipients of Grace, not Duped

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Ephesians by Eric RedmondChrist does not intend for his people to be dupes. Instead, he expects us to be wise toward the crafty words of people of the world.

In Ephesians 1-4, one sees a progression of thought related to the role of grace in keeping us from duplicity. The grace of Christ provides salvation (2:1-10), grace gives pastoral leadership (4:7-11), by grace pastors and teachers guide members to maturity (4:12-14), and then as a result of such grace members help one another stand in the truth (4:15-16).

When we see ourselves wholly as recipients of grace, that we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast, so that we do not think that we are better, smarter, wealthier, cuter, and/or better parents or spouses than the next member, then we will be in a position for Christ’s grace to build us up in the truth as brothers and sisters who love one another.

#ktbeph #ktbephesians #ephesians #biblestudy

Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 2: “And This Is Not Your Own Doing” Pastor and Members

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Ephesians by Eric RedmondAll of Ephesians 1-3 informs how one should read Ephesians 4. Eph. 2:8-10 should inform both how one reads Eph. 4:11-16 and thinks of the pastorate and membership. The pastor is a “and this is not your own doing”—shepherd; he has no grounds for serving as one fighting for power or position. The office is not ours to maintain. It is a blood-bought, resurrection-empowered, Spirit-wrought gift given to the body with the work of our salvation in Christ.

Members are formerly wrath-bound people now joined to a holy assembly by virtue of the gracious choice of Christ to make us members in him via his mercy in election, his death and resurrection, and his present session in heaven. Membership is not controlling interest-ownership or senate democracy. A “and this is not your own doing”—view of the pastorate and membership should provoke meekness in each of us.

#ktbeph

Thru Eph in 150 Words or Less, 1: New Man, New Creation

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Ephesians by Eric RedmondThe New Man (Eph. 2:15) – the Church – is the visible, earthly demonstration of the renewal Christ will make of the full creation (Eph. 1:23; 4:10). Every believer, and every local assembly of believers, would do well to think conscientiously, intentionally, soberly, humbly, and longingly of what it means to be an example to the world, in miniature and incomplete form, of the glory coming in the renewal of all things–that is, to think and do what it means to be renewed and put on the new self (Eph. 4:23, 24).

#ktbeph  #ktbephesians  #ephesians  #bloggingephesians  #biblestudy

Spurgeon: Salvation as Theodora and Dorothea

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Ephesians by Eric RedmondSalvation may be called Theodora, or God’s gift: and each saved soul may be surnamed Dorothea, which is another form of the same expression. Multiply your phrases, and expand your expositions; but salvation truly traced to its well-head is all contained in the gift unspeakable, the free, unmeasured benison of love.

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “All of Grace,” Sermon on Eph. 2:8.

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