Equality In the Kingdom #4 Race
Thus far in our exploration of equality in the kingdom of God, we have considered that the invitation to enter is given to everyone, with no exceptions every person may choose to enter. The scripture has revealed to us that women are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom for they too received the Holy Spirit at the same time as the men. It is the Holy Spirit who gives gifts to the followers of Christ, men do not determine what gift is given to whom. Last time we discovered that in that same event we call Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, was on all gathered, not just the 11 disciples effectively eradicating any notion that there are elites in the Kingdom, we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. Today we are going to look at race. Is the Kingdom open to only a certain racial stock? What we will find is that the color of your skin, the place you were born, the language that you speak are not even a consideration when it comes to being a citizen in the Kingdom.
In the throne room of God these praises are sung to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, to Jesus:
Revelation 5:9 (NIV)
"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”
We are to understand the identifier “men” to mean all humanity.
Systemic racism, I am sure you’ve heard the term. It’s become a political buzz for building a brave new world. Systemic means system-wide discrimination, here in these United States, denying advancement to anyone who is not a white male. Systemic means every institution created by white males is racist. Systemic means every tradition created by white males is racist. Systemic means that no institution in our society, business, education, sports, politics, military, public service, is exempt. Systemic racism calls for a complete overhaul of this oppressive and unjust system. System of what? Of governance, of economics, of family, faith, the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the Constitution are all to be done away or reformed into a just society.
Racism occurs when one group of people consider another group of humans inferior with different abilities corresponding to physical appearance and therefore can be segregated based on the superiority of one race over another opening the door for prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of different ethnicity.
There is no denying that racism has plagued this country since its inception. This racism flourished not only against the black man, but also the Native Americans and every other immigrant group that came to America. It’s the status of the black man we will consider.
One of the wonders of America is its ability to right its wrongs. Slavery was the status of the black man. White people of the Union fought and died in a great Civil war to abolish slavery from 1861 to 1865. After the defeat of the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Clan formed and terrorized African Americans, along with Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Atheists, Immigrants, and leftists, the KKK is an equal opportunity hate group. Though free, the black man was still a second-class citizen. In 1870 the 15th amendment removed that second class status giving the Black man the right to vote, but many states put up barriers to register. Now emancipated the Black man dealt with no privilege in the system, but rather prejudice, and segregation. Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916 by Margret Sanger who sought to curb the population growth within the Black community.
Greenwood District Tulsa Oklahoma from May 31 to June 1, 1921, the worst racial violence in the history of the US of A occurred. A white woman screamed a black man was arrested, tensions escalated resulting in 1,500 homes loot, burned; two newspapers, a school, a library, a hospital, churches, hotels, stores all in the 35 blocks predominately Black neighborhood. By June 2nd 6,000 African Americans were under armed guard sequestered at the local fairgrounds. The Greenwood District was known as Black Wall Street, the most prosperous black community in America.
The Buckeye Bullet won 4 gold medals in the Berlin Olympics 1936. His name was Jessie Owens.
Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, the year is 1947
In 1948 President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 integrating the armed services. It took half a decade for this Order to be fully enacted, often with the Black Man given menial positions of service. Today the Black man is on equal footing with every other ethnicity in the Military. Progress.
1954 Brown verse the board of Education in which the Supreme Court ruled the end of state-sponsored segregation in public schools. Desegregation was a victory but equal public education still is a goal yet to be realized. It took another Supreme Court decision in 1962 to end racial discrimination in restaurants.
From the Lincoln Memorial the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963:
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free; one hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination; one hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; one hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.
The Land of the Free and the home of the brave with liberty and justice for all, even after 100 years, had not secured liberty and justice for all her citizens.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination against American Citizens regardless of race, religion, or gender. The Civil rights Act was another corrective step in the right direction, still a million more steps needed to be taken. Some of those steps lead to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama when on March 7th, 1965 where 600 activists were met with deadly violence by local authorities and white vigilante groups. The march to Montgomery was to bring awareness to state-sponsored roadblocks to register black voters in the South.
On March 15, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson went on national television to pledge his support to the Selma protesters:
“There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.” “Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negros, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”
By August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 specifically banning literacy tests as a requirement to vote and removed the poll tax you had to pay for the privilege of voting.
1967 the Supreme Court abolish all state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Thurgood Marshall became the first black Supreme Court justice. Another step forward in establishing a fair and just society for all. Yet despite progress more problems. In the summer of 67, Detroit, Virginia Park District, another confrontation between black residents and white police by the time the bloodshed, burning, and looting ended after five days, 43 people were dead, 342 injured, nearly 1,400 buildings had been burned many more looted.
America has an innate ability to right its wrongs. All peoples are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. “Progress is the largely suppressed story of race and race relations over the past half-century. And thus it’s news that more than 40 percent of African Americans now consider themselves members of the middle class. Forty-two percent own their own homes, a figure that rises to 75 percent if we look just at black married couples… Almost a third of the black population lives in suburbia.” “Despite black gains by numerous other measures, close to 30 percent of black families still live below the poverty line.” [ brookings.edu/articles/black-progress-how-far-weve-come-and-how-far-we-have-to-go/ ] We still have a long way to go in removing racism, and it seems recent events have caused us to regress to more segregated and violent times. The media doesn’t help. If I asked you how many unarmed black Americans were killed by police officers in 2019 what would be your answer? 50? 100? 1000? The answer is somewhere between 13 and 27, according to the report you are citing. [https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/06/23/fact-check-how-many-unarmed-black-men-did-police-kill-2019/5322455002/]
The place where racism does not exist is in the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 4:4-6 (MSG)
You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
Galatians 3:28 (MSG)
In Christ's family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.
Acts 10:34-35 (MSG)
Peter fairly exploded with his good news: "It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.
In the Kingdom is equality, the only thing that matters are your faith and deeds. We have one Father in Heaven from which the entire family derives its name. We have one Lord, Jesus Christ, incarnated in as a Middle Eastern man, calling us into fellowship, into a community with all other believers. We have one Holy Spirit that binds our hearts in unity, no matter your status, your wealth, or the color of your skin. We are One in Christ, brothers, and sisters all.
This is true, yet the words of Dr. King still ring in my ears. “The most segregated hour in this nation” is Sunday at 11:00 am. (December 18, 1963). Let’s end this here at Huntington Beach Community Church. If you are Black, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, or an Islander, living in the area, come and make this congregation your church family. I invite you to be a part of a Jesus following, discipleship making, Bible-believing, group of God’s children. It’s time to make the church look like heaven. By the way, we start at 10 AM on Sunday so we get a head start on the Catholics to the Café’s, the Baptist to the Buffets, the Lutherans to Lunch. I can’t end racial division in the church without your help.
Christianity is not a white man’s religion. No, there is equality in the Kingdom, let Heaven come to Earth. Have you ever heard a preacher tell you that there is no trivia in scripture, that everything written has a purpose? I’ve wondered about the various people named in scripture, why was this person so important that 2000 years later I am reading their name? One such name is Simon (Simeon).
Acts 13:1 (MSG)
The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-
teachers: Barnabas, Simon, nicknamed Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, an advisor to the ruler Herod, Saul.
Simon, nicknamed Niger. Niger is a translation for the word the means Black: “Simon the Black.” Modern biblical scholars suggest that Simon is an African gentile who had transplanted to Antioch. Speculation of course, but it may very well be that it was a black man’s hands that were laid on the shoulders of Barnabas and Paul blessing them as missionaries. [Anonymous. Acts 13. Holman Bible Publishers, 2009, Nashville, Tennessee. Who Was Simeon Niger in the Bible? (learnreligions.com); Simeon called Niger, prophet and teacher in Acts 13 (Black History of the Bible) – essentialchurch.net ] The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news to everyone. If it were possible you could trace your spiritual ancestry to Antioch and find that it was Simon the Black that prayed for your salvation.
The Kingdom of God is color blind. We will never be able to legislate equality. Equality is a work in the heart; a work of the Holy Spirit uniting all people into one family. That’s part of the equality of the Kingdom. Let God do His work in your heart. Start seeing people not by their skin color but by the condition of their soul, saved or yet to be saved. See that saved soul as your brother your sister, and that yet to be saved soul as your assignment to love into the kingdom.
If you’re a believer you are my brother, you are my sister, come and worship with me.