Bethany and I have been going through a book by Dr. Eric Mason called Woke Church. Woke being a description of the church as awake, aware, and active. He explains how short the church has fallen in terms of justice and mercy. He also speaks of how Christ’s earthly ministry involved confronting the religious people of the time. He confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees about the burden that they placed on the people while ignoring the important matters of justice and mercy. Christ dug deep and exposed the evil lurking in their hearts. He did this in his teaching through the parables, like “The Good Samaritan”.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about part of Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount. It’s easy to just glance over that and see those important and deliberate words from Christ as just some good advice. But it’s not just a “by the way” sort of sermon, these are important things that his followers needed to know and pay attention to. When we keep in mind the Word of God and especially this sermon, we should land on both sides of this divisive issue. We should mourn with those who mourn for George Floyd. We must struggle alongside the oppressed against the sin of favoritism. We should pray with concern for business owners who have lost everything and first responders called to mediate in tumultuous times–some have lost their lives and we should mourn with their families. We should be able to agree that both the evil that drove the officer to kill and the evil that drives looting, vandalism, and arson are deplorable.
Beyond that, as a church, we should be moving forward in our relationships within the body. We have failed to become the family that is united like the Lord has called us to be. If we lived out our faith the way the scriptures instruct us to, we would turn this world upside down. In the Book of Acts we see the great works from the Lord happening because people fully bought in to this new family. The early church being sold out for the Gospel is representative of how we ought to live as ambassadors. If we do this, we will be considered fools; that’s okay! (That perhaps will be one of the few things that both the right and the left caricatures will agree on.) We must be deliberate, diligent, and intentional, about building the unity that the Lord desires for us to engage in. We must become one across cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and generational lines. Throughout the scriptures we are warned against worldliness. We must move away from worldliness—laying aside every weight, the sin that clings so closely and run the race set before us that calls us to love God whole-heartedly and radically love our neighbor.
James 4:4 (CSB)
4 You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God.
1 John 2:15-16 (CSB)
A Warning about the World
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.
John 17:14 (CSB)
14 I have given them your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Matthew 5:1-12 (CSB)
The Sermon on the Mount
5 When he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them, saying:
We should pay attention to these words from our Lord and Savior. We must hold every thought captive and consider our actions. We must run both, thoughts and actions, through this filter. What is the chief end of man? To bring Glory to God, and enjoy Him forever. This is what He expects of His people. Are we bringing Him Glory?
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
– Pastor Jesse