SERIES: God on Race
Week #2: The Origin of Race and Religion
Racial issues are at the front of our nation’s narrative these days. We hear many voices screaming at us about these issues, including each other. I propose we listen first to the Word of God. Last week I preached a sermon called “The Rise and Fall of the Human Race.” We learned from the Bible that God created on race, the human race. As humans, no matter our skin color, we are Universally Created in the Image of God, Universally Fallen, and Universally in need of Redemption; Equal in the eyes of God. Our theme song last week was, “I’m Better than You.” This theme only progresses this week as we consider the Origin of Race (as the world defines race) and Religion.
1. Humans attempted to achieve power independently of God
Reflective of the first sin in Eden. Rejecting God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. People decide they will make their own name and their own way to God.
Genesis 11:4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
- Power over God – We’ve Got a better way. We want to make a name for ourselves. We want to build ourselves a city and a tower. (“I’m better than You”)
- In effect they created their own humanistic (man centered) religion.
- This is the pinnacle of pride. The curse of being children of sinners. We lust for our own fame.
- This kind of pride in cultures today exhibits attempts at power over God and power over others.
2. God confused and dispersed people by language and geography.
Genesis 11:7-8 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
- The result of God’s disciplinary dispersion is different “races” in our terms and different “religions”; man made systems to find their way to God.
- The ultimate result of the sin of pride is disunity. Without Christ this leads to oppression, segregation, wars, conflicts, societal chaos, racism, even genocide. (“I’m Better than You and I’’ll Prove it)
3. How do we find peace with God and racial reconciliation?
- Only as we are conformed to the image of the Creator.
Colossians 3:10-11 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
- Question: If we Christians of all colors cannot work in alignment empowered by the Holy Spirit for peace who can? (It’s not enough to say if “they” would just get saved.)
We have a huge responsibility as followers of Christ, as the church of Jesus Christ, filled with all nations, tribes, and tongue to work together for reconciliation. In the church. Among the churches. In Society. (Salt and Light)
We have been reconciled ourselves to God thru Christ our Lord
We carry the message of reconciliation – the Gospel.
We are indwelled with the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to reconcile.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Interesting: God confused and dispersed people because they were unified and “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”
Imagine: What if the church of Jesus Christ, people of every color, became unified not to make a name for themselves, but instead to participate in the ministry of reconciliation as God makes a name for Himself. Nothing is impossible. Racial reconciliation in America is not impossible (IF) the church will lead the way empowered by the Holy Spirit. The problem is, we have gone the way of the culture instead of the way of Christ.
Response: What steps can you take immediately?
- Pray for racial reconciliation in the church in America.
- Build genuine relationships with people of different ethnicities. Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Who sits at your table that doesn’t look like you?
- Who do you pray for regularly that isn’t in your “tribe.”
- Who do you listen to in effort to understand? (What I am learning)
Begin your session by using the following questions/discussion to get the conversation started…
Q: What have you seen God do in your life or in your household over the past week that can only be attributed to Him?
Q: What specifically are you praying for today when it comes to your relationship with God and how He is at work?
Spend a few minutes in prayer – thanking God for how He is working in your group, praying for the different requests that were shared, and praying for your discussion and study today.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.
Q: Read Gen. 11:4 – What is the problem with what the people are doing? (“Make a name for ourselves…” Remember, “I’m better than you.”)
Q: In what ways are we still making the same mistake as the people are in Gen. 11:4? How do we see this displayed today?
Q: Read Gen. 11:7-8 – Why did God disperse the people and confuse their language? (It was disciplinary action for their pride.)
Q: What ultimately caused the disunity in Gen. 11 and is still causing disunity today? (Pride. “I’m better than you.”)
Q: How did (and has) sin effected this dispersion? (In that same pride man made systems have come out of it and caused (and is causing) division. Remember, “I’m better than you…and I’ll prove it.”)
Q: Read Col. 3:10-11 – What is the only solution to these issues? (We must be conformed to the image of the Creator.)
Q: How does the gospel address the issue of racial reconciliation and how does the gospel call us to action?
Q: Read Gen. 11:6 – What is possible when there is unity? What is possible when there is unity and a desire to make God’s name great instead of our own?
Q: Who sits at (can you invite to) your table that doesn’t look like you?
Q: Who do (can) you pray for regularly that isn’t in your “tribe”?
Q: What can you begin doing now to expand who is at your table or in your “tribe”?
Q: What is your “action step” this week? How are you planning to apply what God has spoken to you?
Pastor Brian encouraged the church to pray for racial reconciliation in the church in America. Additionally, he called us to build genuine relationships with people of different ethnicities and to love your neighbor as yourself.
As you conclude, encourage and challenge your group members to spend time with the Lord this next week, asking Him to forgive where we have been prideful and to expand and unify your “tribe”. Pray that this would direct how we view, love, and treat the people in our world.
SCRIPTURES FROM THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:
- Gen. 11:1-9, Col. 3:10-11, 2 Cor. 5:18-20
NEXT WEEK’S MESSAGE: God on Race: Equally Sinful, Equally Saved