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Seeing Race Through Jesus' Eyes (Part 2 of 2)

Air Date 07/29/2016

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In this powerful message, Dr. Tony Evans uses biblical illustrations to explain God’s view of race and how Christians should respond to racial issues, such as those that have been playing out in our society in recent days. (Part 2 of 2)

Episode Transcript

Opening:

John Fuller: On today's "Focus on the Family," Dr. Tony Evans addresses racial unrest.

Teaser:

Dr. Tony Evans:We've got voices about which life matters. All life is created in the image of God, therefore, all lives matter.

End of Teaser

John: Today you'll hear Dr. Evans with a biblical perspective on race and your host is Focus president, Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Well, we're about to continue a great message from Dr. Tony Evans and if you missed part one--and I say this so often, but this one I'm really stressing it--I strongly encourage you to get the CD or our audio download, the app for your smartphone, 'cause you don't want to miss this. Tony is explaining a biblical viewpoint on race relations. And so often, we dance around this rather than talk about it. So, we're talkin' about it, using the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan, a race despised by the Jewish people and it's been fascinating to hear how Tony sets that up and how he describes Jesus reaching past those racial barriers to bring the Good News to this woman, who was not in the in-crowd and ultimately, to the entire city.

And Tony's got a lot more to say on this, so let's step aside and we're gonna come back and offer some takeaways at the end of the program.

John: All right. In the meantime, get the CD or audio download of the first part of this presentation when you call 800-A-FAMILY or at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio, where we'll also link over to our app, so you can listen on the go. Let's hear more now from Dr. Tony Evans, picking up as he offers another illustration from the Bible related to racial relations, as we continue this "Focus on the Family."

Body:

Tony: Galatians 2, verse 11 through the end of the chapter, my boy Peter. Peter was a super Jew. (Laughter) If Peter was a soul singer, his favorite song would be, "Say it Loud: I'm Jew and I'm Proud." I mean that (Laughter) he's a super Jew.

One day he's having devotions on his rooftop and a sheet comes down from heaven with all these unclean animals on it and God tells him, "Eat." Peter says, "I can't eat that, I can't eat that. That's all unclean." God says, "Don't call unclean what I call clean."(Applause) I don't care about your background, your history. I don't care about all that. If I call it legit, it's legit whether it's part of your history or not. So, what I want you to do is, I want you to go to Cornelius's house and I want you to tell him about me and he's a Gentile. I know you didn't grow up with Gentile[s]; you're not used to Gentiles. You don't like Gentiles, but I told you what to do (Audience Reaction) in spite of the background you have.

And so, Peter obeys. He goes to Cornelius's house in Acts 10 and he tells them about God and Cornelius and they all make a commitment to God. And now it's Jews and Gentiles and then they all Christians and stuff and Peter discovered something, them people knew how to cook. (Laughter)

Peter discovered something. He discovered food he knew not of; he discovered pork chops. (Cheering) 'Cause he couldn't eat pig, a God, but God told him you can eat anything now. So he discovered hog maws, chitterlings, pig feet (Laughter). He's discovered this Gentile menu.

While he's eating with the Gentiles some of his boys from the hood show up. (Audience Reaction) It says, "Some of his Jewish brethren came and saw Peter eating with the Gentiles." Wait a minute Pete. Wait a minute, Pete. (Laughter) Wait a minute, Pete." Now we gonna have to live with 'em in heaven, but we don't have to hang out with them on earth. This is unacceptable for you to be with them people." That they, the Bible says the circumcision, the Jews who showed up, intimidated Peter so much that Peter got up from his chair and left the Gentiles. It says the rest of the Jews who were with him got up too and walked away from the Gentiles 'cause they didn't want to offend their own race.

Peter gets up and he's the leader, the rest get up 'cause a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew. (Laughter and Applause) See, if our pulpits were right we would have solved this problem of racism a long time ago. (Applause and Cheers) But that also explains why the civil right[s] movement was able to change it, because the church got out in front of it. (Audience Reaction and Applause)

So, Peter gets up. He walks away and there's another statement made in the story in Galatians 2. It says, "Even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy." Well the reason he's singled out is because we're told in Scripture Barnabas was born in Cyprus. Cyprus is a Gentile colony of Rome. So, he lived with Gentiles, grew up with Gentiles, went to school with Gentiles, played ball with Gentiles. He grew up in a Gentile environment, so he knew what it was to live with other folks. But that's how bad racism is. It'll make a good man bad. (Cheers and Applause) Even Barnabas! Not Barney! But to satisfy not offending his own race he disobeyed God. He'd have probably gotten away with it except Paul wanted some pigs feet, too. (Laughter)

'Cause according to Galatians 2, Paul says, "When I saw what Peter was doing I condemned Peter before them all. He acted a fool in public. I, in public, said to Peter, 'You are embarrassing the truth of the Gospel.' You're making Jesus Christ look bad." This is not some social decision you made. You have embarrassed Jesus Christ and the Good News of the cross, which means He brings people together across racial and cultural lines at the cross. The only qualification you need at the cross is you're a sinner who needs a Savior, regardless of your class or your culture and you have messed with that message. (Applause)

One of my favorite verses of Scripture, Galatians 2:20, "I'm crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, it's Christ who lives in me. The life which I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." That great verse, many people don't know come at the end of this story. So Paul is giving that verse to Peter to tell Peter, "You got the wrong identity.

Your identity, first, is not in your culture, your class, your background and your history. Your identity first is in your Christ and in your Christian commitment," (Applause) because, Peter, truth overrides tradition. Truth overrides color. Black is only beautiful when it's biblical. (Cheering) And white is only right when it agrees with holy writ. There must be a standard by which you judge your race. (Applause) And as long as it's under that standard, then you have the right to be different. God is not askin' you to like soul music and He's not asking me to like country western, thank God. (Laughter) You can have all the differences you want as long as it doesn't conflict with the authority of God, the rule of God, the person of Jesus Christ (Applause) and your Christian commitment. You must be Christian first and if we could get enough Christians to be Christian before white, Christian before black (Applause), Christian before Spanish (Applause), it doesn't take 240 years to fix this. It takes about two minutes and 40 seconds.

We had a guy who came in our church some years ago and he was noticing more and more Anglos coming to the church and he was getting a little upset. He said, "We gettin' more and more Anglos joining our church." And I said, "Yeah." He said, "Well, you know how they are." (Laughter) I said, "What you mean?" "Oh, well, you know, they got this way of doin' things; they gonna try to take over." Blah, blah, blah, he went through all this stuff. And I could tell he had some bad experiences maybe and so, I said, "Well, you better keep winning blacks to Christ so we outnumber 'em." (Laughter)

He said, "Well, I don't know if I can stay here." I said, "Bye." (Applause) That didn't take long. (Laughter and Applause) I didn't offer him a seminar, a workshop or "let's get to know each other program." Okay, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he had some negative experiences racially that affected how he was feeling. Good, I can understand it. That happens so we will work with you to deal with that but what we will not let you do is let your experience control how the church of Jesus Christ works.

Program Note:

John: Dr. Tony Evans, explaining a biblical perspective on race on today's "Focus on the Family." And he's getting back to his main text in the Bible, the Gospel of John, chapter 4, the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well.

Now Tony has written about this topic and that book is called Oneness Embraced. We've got that book and a CD of this program at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or call for more details, 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459.

End of Program Note

Tony: So what we have done is, we've allowed culture and color to overrule the faith and so, you've got even Christians divided all over the place. [They] don't know where to stand on issue[s], don't know which position to take. That's because you're trying to dissect it culturally and color-wise, rather than biblically and spiritually, which would save you a whole lot of time. (Applause)

The Bible says "Let God be true and every man a liar when they conflict with Him." And so, the story thickens as we get to this last section. The woman says, verse 25, "I know when Messiah comes He's called the Christ. When He comes, He gonna make everything alright." Well doesn't that sound spiritual? (Audience Reaction) When Jesus comes everything is gonna get better. When we all get to heaven (Audience Reaction), what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory. (Laughter) Jesus said, "I, who speak to you am He." Lady, I'm already here. You waitin' for somethin' that you don't have to wait for.

By the way, let me explain something just in case you don't know this. Whatever the race you are now will be the race you will be in heaven. Okay? Let me get that straight. Whatever race you are now will be the race you will be in heaven; you are eternally black. (Applause) You are eternally white. You are eternally Spanish, Indian, you know, whatever you are now, will be what you are in heaven. You are intentionally, racially profiled! (Laughter) by God. John says in Revelation Chapter 7 verse 9, he said, "I looked up in heaven and when I looked in heaven I saw people from every nation, every tribe, every kindred and every tongue." He says, I could see the differences among you." So whatever you are is what you will be. So, stop putting that cream on your face. (Audience Reaction) Stop staying out in the sun all day (Applause) to become somethin' different than you've were made. You have been made that way eternally. (Laughter)

So, remember our disciples. Remember our disciples? Verse 27, at this point the disciples came and they were amazed that he had been speaking with the woman, yet no one said "What do you seek or why do you speak with her?" Now the disciples, you know, they went to get the chicken, and they come back and they notice he's speaking with a woman. They're not surprised he's speaking with a female. They've seen Jesus speak to Martha. They've seen Jesus speak to Mary. They've seen Jesus speak to the woman with the issue of blood. They've seen Jesus speak to a lot of females. What's messin' with them is He's speaking to a Samaritan female, which explains why He let them go into town to buy food. He could have never dealt this women, with this woman with these racists hanging around. (Audience Reaction)

But neither did he let them stop Him from doing what he was supposed to do. (Applause) So just 'cause all your posse isn't right, doesn't mean you don't do what's right. Jesus did what's right and He told them, "I'll catch up with ya later." (Applause) So, they come and when they come, the woman runs into town and she says, verse 29, "Come see a man who told me all things that I've done."

So the men of the city are on their way out to check out this Jesus because of the cross-cultural, cross-racial witness of Jesus to this woman. The disciples in the meantime are saying, "Rabbi eat," verse 31, 'cause we went all the way into town. It's about a 5-mile trip down, a 5-mile trip back. That's a 10-mile trip to bring Jesus some lunch, 'cause it's 12 o'clock noon. So, they bring Jesus some lunch and they say, "Okay Rabbi, we got your lunch; eat.

Jesus says, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." "Say what?" (Laughter) We done gone 10 miles and you've already eaten? (Laughter) Disciples were asking verse 33, "Who brought Him something to eat?" after we done gone into town to buy food? And Jesus hits 'em with here's the bottom line message, verse 34, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work." (Applause) What fills me, satisfies me is doing the Father's will, not satisfying your racist, socialist, culturalist agenda. (Audience Reaction)

And then he said then verse 35, "Don't say four months and then comes the harvest." He said, "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields they're already white unto harvest." Stop puttin' it off. Don't say, "We're gonna get around to this point four months from now. We'll get around to this later. We'll fix this later." He said, "If you'll pay attention and look up, you'll see the fields are already ready." Now when they looked up, what did they see? They saw all those Samaritan men coming across the field. So what did Jesus do? He set up an opportunity for them to relate to people of different races. (Applause) He set up a scenario.

That scenario must always be set up by the body of Christ, who's to reflect Christ where anybody can come through these doors who respect our faith in Jesus Christ and regardless of history, background, race or culture, they are welcome in the family of God fully (Applause), because we have a standard.

And I love how it closes. Verse 39, "From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all the things that I've done.' So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them and He stayed there two days." Did you just hear that? Wait a minute. When we started, the woman is shocked He's willing to drink out of her cup. A couple of hours later, He's hangin' out on the weekend. (Laughter) He stayed with them two days. How do you go from people don't even drink from the same cup to a couple of hours later, "Why don't you stay with us for the weekend?" 'Cause when you do it God's way it doesn't take that long, that's why. (Applause and Cheers)

But now here it's real easy in here, you see, it's real easy in here 'cause yeah, we can all get along in here. What happens when you go out and you have to face your own race? What happens when your biblical view is not the popular view? What happens when you're rejected for not being black enough, white enough, red enough, yellow enough, Spanish enough, when you have to take that stand, responsibly, kindly in love, but clearly. That's when a lot of folk hear messages on love, and unity and all that is good inside the house. (Audience Reaction)

It's like the story of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Lone Ranger and Tonto are goin' across the plains and a group of Indians they go to the northern ridge and this group of Indians show up and they gettin' ready to attack the Lone Ranger. So Tonto says, "Kemo Sabe, what we do now?" So the Lone Ranger said, "Well we gotta go east." So they go east and now there's a group of Indians on the eastern ridge; they're gettin' ready to attack the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

So Tonto said, "Kemo Sabe, what we do now?" He said, "We gotta go west." They go west. When they go west there's those long group of Indians on the western ridge, getting ready to attack. "Kemo Sabe, what we do now?" Tonto says. "Well, there's only one place we can go, we gotta go south." So they go south. When they go south there's a group of red Indians on the southern ridge and now they're being closed in in four directions by the Indians. So now, the Lone Ranger asks the question. The Lone Ranger says, "Tonto, these your people (Laughter); what we do now?" Tonto said, "What you mean we, Paleface?" (Laughter)

See, folk jump ship when the goin' gets tough. But what God is looking for are some serious Christians on this issue who start biblically and spiritually and work it down racially, socially and culturally. You do not start with your culture and work it up. You start with the Word and the authority of your faith and work it in. (Applause) May God help us to do our part locally, personally, in our families and through our influence to bring people to a spiritual, biblical approach to the issue of race, culture and class, so that at least we can model before the biblical solutions to a society in chaos. Shall we stand?

Audience: (Applause)

Closing:

John: And that's how Dr. Tony Evans wrapped up his message at a Sunday morning service at his church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. And what a privilege to air this two-part message on "Focus on the Family."

Jim: John, this was such a great message and we gotta keep in mind, of course, Dallas is one of those cities that suffered a tremendous loss of life within the police force there. So, I think Tony is feeling that very personally about what's happened. And I want to thank Tony for letting us use this presentation at his church for our broadcast on Focus. It's already had such a tremendous response online and in the press.

And as we wrap up this two-day program, let me just share a few ideas that we have discussed here at Focus on the Family as we've seen our nation in such turmoil over the racial tension. You know, I grew up in Compton. I went to third and some of fourth grade in Compton, California. I saw firsthand some of the difficulties that were goin' on there. It was much more evenly divided back in those days between black, white, Hispanic, but it was tough.

And I know that neighborhood and I know the difficult that families faced in that neighborhood, a lot of single parents, a lot of people that were struggling. I remember one time, the manager of our apartment complex, I had started a pick-up baseball game, my bat, my mitt, my ball. And he came out and he wanted to play with the kids. And one of the dads in the apartment complex we were in, he knew what this manager was up to. He was gonna take our ball and walk away so we didn't break a window, which is probably right.

But he came at this guy, grabbed a bat out of my hand--my bat--and beat this man unconscious, broke his arm, broke his leg. It was just the way it happened in that community. I remember my mom got home and she made me rightfully go down and apologize to him. And to his credit in a[n] almost a body cast--I'll never forget--I mean, I'm in third grade. And I said, "I'm sorry that this happened to you with my bat." He just looked at me and said, "Son, that was not your problem or your fault, so don't worry about it, but I appreciate you sayin' that." And that is what was happening in the Compton I knew.

Violence is part of some of these neighborhoods, but we cannot meet violence with violence. That's not the answer. The Apostle Paul repeatedly warned that we are not to repay evil for evil. And that is part of our Christian creed and we've got to find ways in the Christian community to open up the dialogue, to find solution.

Policemen and women are faced with an impossible assignment, to make split-second decisions. But you know what? Bad police officers need to be dealt with and there needs to be a commitment for that. And at the same time, good police officers need to be rewarded, that they're doin' a good job and uh ... you know what? The other thing, to be blunt, we need greater respect for authority at all phases--schools, government, police, church. That's just something that's missing, as well.

So, what can we do? Let's take responsibility for our own neighborhoods and communities, as believers in Christ. Let's lead the way, even though we're all busy and we have a lot of other things to do, we can't let our country be torn apart at the seams. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently said, "Good neighbors make a good neighborhood." And that's our clarion call. Let's be good citizens and let's encourage our neighbors to be good citizens. No one is exempt from sin. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul said, "All have sinned." That's all of us, white, black, everybody. "And we have fallen short of the glory of God."

To me, that means that I'm not merely a passive observer of the world's troubles. I'm part of the problem and hopefully, because of the strength of Christ in me, I can be part of the solution. But I've gotta bring those sins to the feet of the cross, the feet of Christ and confess that um ... there are biases there. It's natural. It's part of the human race and we have to seek each other's forgiveness. But be aware of where that bias is occurring and pray for forgiveness and ask for forgiveness when we violate that.

Let me just remind you, Focus on the Family is here to help people in all walks of life, to fundamentally and foundationally find salvation through Jesus Christ. In fact, in the past year, we've helped almost 700 people each day--that's 250,000 people a year--commit their lives to Jesus Christ. And if you'd like to help us in that effort of bringing people to that truth of Jesus, I want to send you as a way of saying thank you, Tony Evans' book on this topic called Oneness Embraced. And let's do that for a donation of any amount. If you can help us stand in the gap for folks and to be there for them, I want to say thank you by sending you Tony's book.

John: Make a generous donation and receive that book and also request the CD or the download of this program at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY; 800-232-6459.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly, I'm John Fuller, hoping you have a great weekend, inviting you back on Monday, when you'll hear about money and how it impacts your marriage.

Excerpt:

Mr. Russ Crosson: Yeah, when I started datin' Julie, this beautiful lady, we got into the financial thing as we moved along and asked her about her checkbook and she said, "Well, you know," and I looked at it and there was no subtraction. It was just a bunch of numbers. And I said, "Well, don't you ever like subtract?" She goes, "No, I just know there's enough in there." And I'm goin', "Oh, my, we gotta work on this."

End of Excerpt

John: Well, you'll hear how Russ and Julie Crosson worked on that and how you, too, can be on the same page financially. That's on Monday's "Focus on the Family," as we once again, help your family thrive.

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Guest

Tony Evans

View Bio

Dr. Tony Evans is founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, former chaplain of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and present chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on nearly 1,000 US radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit TonyEvans.org.