John Gray - The Color Of Love
How many people are ready for the Word of God tonight? You know, the last time I was in this pulpit, the world was one way. I come back a month later and the whole world is changed. Looks like the world is on fire. Go to France and there's a truck driving through a crowd. Bombs exploding in airports. All manner of international acts of terror. And then of course here at home, starting with the absolute horrific atrocities that happened in Orlando. And then with all of the painful broken killings of officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Kansas. The horrific and painful deaths in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis.
This country, it would look like is on the verge of tearing itself apart. But I'm here to declare to every devil in hell, that every single thing that you have tried will fail. And we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony. And this is the moment where the church must rise up and be the hands and feet of Jesus, like never before. We must not allow hate, we must not allow anger, we must not allow the enemy or the spirit of division to break us apart. That is why Lakewood is critical. Look around this dome, look around this arena and you see every nation represented. This is the will of God. This is the Word of God. And this is how you break the back of the devil.
I declare that the blood of Jesus will prevail even in uncertain times. Our God is still on the throne. I need somebody to give God a great praise. Right now. Nils and Roxanne, you're my family. Joel, you're my brother. Mama Dodie, you are a mother to me. Nick, Dr. Paul, you all are brothers. You're a big brother, a mentor. Craig, you're my friend, my brother. A leading voice in my life. Andre. Gail, we're family. What's weird is none of us grew up in the same house. We don't look alike. Some of us are in better shape than others, don't judge. We are family.
Look at somebody next to you tell them, we're family. Tell somebody else, tell them are family. And then I want you to get vulnerable, and tell them, hey, I need you. Tell them. Tell them, you ain't tell nobody, tell 'em I said it. Those who are watching online, you're family. I didn't understand why the Lord brought my wife and I here, three and a half years ago, until these recent occurrences in our nation, and I've realized that God sent me to a man who has a vision that carries hope to every nation on the earth regardless of your color, your background, lifestyle choice. Because of pastor Joel's vision, I am able to stretch and grow and develop, because right now, we don't need any more managers. We need leaders.
We are in a very critical time and all of the things that I shared were the social justice and the political issues. Poor baby, give the baby some crackers, let the baby... Please feed her and then come on back. I'm trying to be all deep and spirit but with we don't treat each other like we should. I moved into my neighborhood I still don't know the names of my next door neighbors. Even though I've said hello, there are times when they wave but it wasn't one of those welcoming waves, like hey come on over. It was like all right, nice to see. Cool, I was just coming over to offer you some food but if you don't want it, it's more for me.
We're in a dangerous time, what is the response of the church? See, because all of the political, social justice issues, all of those things are relevant and necessary for us to discuss. People have asked me what's your opinion on the things that are happening? It doesn't matter what I think, it matters what the word says. The response that we must have is biblical. So I wanna talk tonight, from the subject, the color of love. The color of love. Jesus was a revolutionary in more ways than one. He didn't just come to save souls, he came to turn upside down all of the ideas of what family, relationships and community look like.
What's the name of the country that you were doing surgery in Dr. Paul? Zambia, did anybody gets saved while you were there? It's very strange to me, that a Jewish Jesus who lived over 2000 years ago could save somebody in Zambia in 2016? Isn't it strange, how a Jewish Jesus reached out to a seven year old black boy's heart in Cincinnati, Ohio at Bethel Baptist Church and saved my soul? Isn't it strange how the Lord touched you wherever you were, and whatever background you were and whatever ethnicity you are? Isn't it strange that Jesus Christ, this Jewish carpenter, the Son of God, the Son of Mary, the Son of Joseph, the Son of David, how did this Middle Eastern Jewish rabbi turn us into this army that is here right now online and all over the world? Is it not strange that even though we do not connect to him culturally, we connect to him spiritually?
What is the response of the church to what's going on in society? The whole world is on fire. That's all right because I got fire on the inside of me. It's called the Holy Spirit. Jesus outlines for us what it means to be connected because right now in this season, you need to know who you're rolling with, you need to know who you are connected to. You don't need any frivolous relationships, no external extraneous relationships. You need to know who's on your crew, who is your family mi familia. Who is my crew, who am I rolling with.
Matthew chapter 12, starting at the 46 verse. Jesus outlines for us something very interesting about family. The reason why I brought up all of the diversity in this room is because it is critical for us to understand that the solution to what's going on out there is in here. I think I'm gonna talk about it, but when you going to Matthew 12, this is what it says. While Jesus was still talking to the multitudes, behold his mother and brother stood outside seeking to speak with him.
At this point, the fame of Jesus was spreading. And there were factions that said, "This is just the carpenter's son, he's talking about he's the Son of God, this dude is crazy". The mother and brothers wanted to talk to him, like look Jesus, I know you're doing your thing man, but you need to calm down a little bit. Maybe you need to stop telling these people you're the Son of God, I grew up with you, don't do that. This was Jesus response. Then one said to him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak with you". But he answered and said to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers".
It sounds rude on the surface like, mom? Brothers? But watch what he says next. It says and he stretched out his hands towards his disciples and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers, for whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother". Jesus drew a distinction between blood ties and kingdom ties. We are divided by faction and by economic status and by class status. And Jesus does away with all of that in one scripture and declares that familial ties are nice, DNA is great. But let me tell you what's greater. There is a reality greater than your bloodline. There's a reality greater than your family ties and it is what I'm gonna talk about in just a moment.
In this passage of scripture, it is clear that family is not restricted to DNA or blood relatives. Jesus speaks of something more enduring than just a casual family reunion. He speaks of a family that transcends societal norms, pre-existing boundaries, the very things that have fractured this nation for many years. There's more tension in our country right now than since the days of the civil rights movement. And people are waiting on a political figure to rise up and give us answers. I'm gonna tell you where the answer is in just a minute.
Another scripture I wanna give you in John chapter 13, verses 34 and 35. The words of Jesus he says, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another. As I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know". All will know, the world is looking whether you know it or not, the world is looking. They're looking for spiritual leadership. They're looking to see what the church is going to do.
The church can't be silent right now. It's time for the church to make a little noise and not just in this room, but in the way we live our lives, in the way we engage culture and the way we connect to people that don't look like us, don't come from where we come from, do not necessarily share our direct political ideologies. There is something greater than all those things at play. I wonder what it is. "Love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another". I ask you a question, it is rhetorical, you do not have to answer. But what do you see when you see me? Do you see a pastor? Do you see a husband? Do you see a son? Do you see a comedian? A singer? Do you see color? What do you see, when you see me?
I said rhetorical, yeah, thank you. You don't have to, thank you, I really do. My wife and I, and our children were in Hawaii a few months ago, I had to preach there. I didn't have to preach there, I got to preach there. So, okay, Lord, if you want me to go to Hawaii, I'll go. The things I do for the kingdom. I was in Hawaii with my wife at the hotel. We were on the elevator, they didn't see my wife. The door opened. There was a lady who was getting ready to walk on the elevator and she looked up and saw me. And she stepped back. Let the elevator close.
I wonder what she saw when she saw me. Does she have a pre-conceived idea of who I was because of the amount of melanin in my skin? What was her experience that caused her to not feel safe with someone she did not even know? She had no clue that if anything were to happen to her in that moment, I would have laid down my life for her's and didn't even know her name. This is the level of love that we are commanded to walk in. Not just to love people who love you.
The Bible says even heathens do that, but we are to love those who hate us. Pray for those who curse us. Bless those who curse us, pray for those who spitefully use us. You used me, let me pray for the Lord to bless you, Lord bless him. That makes no sense, Jesus. Take them out of here Jesus. You can't pray kill him, Jesus. He's not gonna answer that prayer. It's not his heart. We see each other based on our pre-conceived ideas. All of us were raised in a particular environment. So how do we deal with what's going on in the world today? There's a whole lot of tension.
People, "This is racial. This is racial". No, it's not, it's a spiritual. This is spiritual. And if you respond based on race or based on culture, you missed it, this is the work of the devil, designed to fracture our nation, separate us by things that don't matter, in an effort to keep us from unifying, because the Bible says where there is unity the Lord commands, the blessing, even life forevermore, I'm trying not to yell. There are certain people who believe that the church should be silent on social justice issues. Be quiet! It's not the place to talk about all that, we don't need to be talking about any of this. I'm a little uncomfortable where are you going with this, pastor John, you've been in la for three weeks, now you wearing jackets with flowers on it. We don't understand.
Do me a favor, go to Luke chapter three. I wanna show you something for those who think that the church should be silent in the midst of what's happening, and then I'll preach it like I feel it. Luke chapter three, first verse. Now in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being Tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip Tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. The Word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias in the wilderness, and he went into all the regions around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Why did I read you stuff that some of us don't understand? Because what this scripture details is the political, social and cultural climate in which Jesus was being introduced to society. People who don't think the politics and societal issues do not cry out for a spiritual solution, then you have not read Luke chapter three. Because the Bible makes it clear that the political structure of the day was failing the people, the culture of the day was woefully lacking. And then John the Baptist shows up out of the wilderness saying there's One that's gonna help us to answer all of the stuff that's going on that the politicians can't answer, that the community organizers can't answer, that all of these other factions cannot answer. The reason why this scripture is important to us as the body of Christ, is because you can't just worship in here but not love people out there. Can I get a three and a half second praise break.
Dr. Ar Bernard at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, showed me the scripture in a sermon. I was just blown away, that the Bible makes it clear that we are not to be silent during all of this upheaval. And I know we have a very contentious election cycle. And of course, whatever and whoever gets into office, I need you to know that God is still gonna be in control. Get that in your spirit, that God raises up one and puts down another, but he's still in control of the whole thing.
So no matter what happens in November, rest well knowing that the Kingdom of God supersedes the kingdoms of men. The point of the scripture in Luke three, my title being the color of love, is that throughout all of the things that were going on, the Bible is saying where political ideology could not change things Jesus could. Where the social ills look to rule the day, Jesus comes into full view. Where culture clashes with sectarian agendas, Jesus speaks a new reality.
What is the color of the church in a perceived post-racial climate, which is not post racial after all? We as the body of Christ cannot look at each other through the lens of cultural context exclusively, we must look at each other through the lens of the color of love, and the color of love is most perfectly displayed in the way Jesus Christ handled people who came from places that he did not come from. This is how we as a body of Christ are supposed to engage culture and connect with people that don't look like us or come from where we come from.
Holler at me Jesus, John chapter four sitting at the well a Samaritan woman walks up, Jews and Samaritans did not hang out. They didn't like each other, Jews thought they were better than the Samaritan. The Samaritans were slightly hood, gold tooth, braids, what what, what, hold up, wait a minute. These two cultures did not connect, yet Jesus stepped across his cultural exclusivity and was a bridge to a broken heart, because her heart mattered more than her culture. Can anybody give God praise that he still reaches out to broken hearts. Is there anybody here whose heart Jesus has mended? I got 18 witnesses in here. Anybody else? Oh, hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus. That my background didn't stop you from coming after me.