A great pastor and leader was assassinated today in 1968. I first studied Dr. King’s speeches in college, then again in seminary. His rhetoric is breathtaking, his passion unparalleled. His message is from God. Certainly, he was a prophet for the times, then and now. In Memphis the night before his murder, Martin Luther spoke to a group of sanitation workers saying this:
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”
King was right, he would not go there with his nation, he was assassinated the next day, and we’re not there yet. That’s because you (whoever “you” are) are not there yet, and I’m not there yet. The gospel has not yet moved us to embrace “the other” as we ought to. But King was also right; we will get there one day. God in Revelation 7.9-12 promises us so. People of every tribe, tongue, and nation will come together to praise our merciful God. He has punished Christ for our sins in order to reconcile us to Himself and to one another (Eph2.11-22). We must move towards one another, bringing this day about as we actively wait for it to come.
I’d ask you to pray today in these three ways:
Confess: How is the sin of partiality staining your thoughts, actions, the perception of others, inaction, comments, etc. It is, you are sinful, I am sinful, it’s in there somewhere.
Ask God to bring a fuller foretaste of Rev 7.9-12 into our world today. Pray for your neighborhood, pray for the neighborhood you avoid, pray for someone who’s not like you, pray for our region, pray for our nation.
Pray towards personal change: How can you increase proximity with someone unlike you this week? What are you to do (or not do) differently this week? What are you to believe differently this week?
May we not be concerned with how long we live but rather concern ourselves with the will of God: living as reconciled members of His family, brothers and sisters in Christ, bringing the message of reconciliation to God’s broken world.
For “Them Too” March 11th, 2018 Sermon | Acts Chapters 10-11