I CORINTHIANS 1:18, 22-25: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God..For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What is the answer to racism in our culture? We cannot deny that it still exists. I grew up in the turbulent 1960-1970’s. I experienced race riots first hand at the High School that I attended. I had hoped that we as a society had moved beyond this. However, it seems we have returned to square one.
What is the answer to racism in our culture? As I watch the news, I am reminded that the same answers that were given over 50 years ago, are being presented again today. The world’s answer to racism always centers around programs and money. Yet, sadly, there is not enough money in the world, there are not enough programs in the world, to cure racism. Why? Because racism is a condition of the sinful heart.
There is only one thing that can cure racism. It is the Cross of Jesus Christ!
- “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
To the world, and even to many in the church, this seems like a shallow and foolish answer. The church also likes to depend on money and programs. Yet, there is not an adult program, summer camp, VBS, or Sunday School program that can cure racism.
We need the power of God!
The power of God is in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. In order for light to overcome darkness, and racism is darkness, there needs to be a death to our old way of living and thinking. It is at the cross that our old sinful nature meets the very power of God to transform us! This power is not available only to a specific race or gender.
The power of the cross is available to all!
- “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
When Paul speaks of Jews and Greeks, he is including all of mankind. There is not a man or a woman, a race or nationality that is not included. The Cross of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer. It breaks down the wall of separation. It cleanses the sinful heart that once held hatred and prejudice. And, it unites all of us in Jesus Christ as sons and daughters of the Living God!
Sectarianism and racism are natural tendencies of the old sinful nature. We gather with those who are just like us and we fear those who are different. It affects both the Christian and non-Christian alike. Yet, for the Christian there is a call to be different. There is a power to become different! Paul reminded the Corinthian church,
- “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” I Corinthians 1:10-13 NKJV
Racism is wrong because…
- There is only one family of God in Christ Jesus!
- There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, in Christ Jesus our Lord!
- There is only one Cross where we all find our redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord!
- Jesus Christ is not divided!
- We all have the same Heavenly Father and the same earthly father, Adam.
The Cross of Jesus Christ is the only victory against racism in our culture. We have tried de-segregation, bussing, affirmative action, government programs, and the list goes on and on. Yet, we find ourselves facing the same hatred and the same division. The Church has the answer. It may seem foolish to the world, but to those who are called to be saved it is the power of God!
- “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 NKJV
And, the church needs to be the model of God’s love and the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. All of us are called to face our own individual battle with racism. The answer to these individual battles as believers is the same as the initial answer.
It is the Cross of Jesus Christ!
- “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” Galatians 6:14-15 NKJV
If we seem powerless against the plight of racism in the church, could it be that we have stopped preaching the Cross of Jesus Christ? Instead of “How-To” sermons, perhaps we should spend more time proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Perhaps we should open up the altars once again for repentance and reflection. Perhaps we should begin loving one another as Christ loved us. And, perhaps we should be sharing this love, in word and deed, with our hurting and dying world.
Lord, bring Your Church to the Cross of Jesus Christ!
Lord, this morning I need to come to the foot of Your Cross. I need to ask You to search me and know me and see if there is any racism in my heart. I need to come boldly to Your Throne, through the Cross of Jesus Christ, to find grace, forgiveness, cleansing, and mercy. I need live and walk in the power of Your Spirit, who calls us all to be one in Jesus Christ our Lord. I need to model the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. I need to see Your potential, Your love, and Your image in every man, woman, and child!
I need to live through Your Cross!
In Jesus Christ!