Jesus isn't playing (Part 2)
REV. MARIA MALLORY WHITE AND REV. JOHN F. WHITE II
As we continue in our reflection on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we return to a sermon he preached more than 60 years ago in Montgomery, Alabama, at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church because his words are no less a prophetic reminder to believers now than they were then: When He said, Love your enemies, King proclaimed, “Jesus wasn’t playing.”
But how? How? How did Jesus expect us to do that? How did King expect us to do that? First, believers in Jesus Christ are to remember who we are. In the scripture, when Jesus is teaching and preaching, “Love your enemy,” He is sharing in His Sermon on the Mount vivid examples of what a life in God’s kingdom looks like, what a life transformed by grace looks like, what life in union with God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—really looks like. Jesus is teaching us Who we are in Christ. So, the first thing that has to happen in loving your enemies is to know who you are in Christ.
You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can live your life as God intended. The more you agree with God about who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your Godgiven identity. God's opinion is the one that counts. When we accept what God says about us and agree with God that who we are in Christ is true, we become the spiritual person—one full of grace, God’s supernatural power—to be truly who God says we are. And that’s the point—we are who God says we are and not who they say we are!
King told the folk at Dexter words that couldn’t be more relevant for us today:
Now, I’m aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that.
Some people aren’t going to like the way you walk; some people aren’t going to like the way you talk. Some people aren’t going to like you because you can do your job better than they can do theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because other people like you, and because you’re popular, and because you’re well-liked, they aren’t going to like you.
Some people aren’t going to like you for a variety of superficial reasons. They’re going to dislike you, not because of something you’ve done to them, but because of various jealous reactions and other reactions that are so prevalent in human nature.
And guess what? They may be all wrong in their reasons not to like you. But here’s the truth: None of us is perfect. We all have our flaws, failings, foibles and foolishness. We’ve all been wrong, done wrong and are doing wrong. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 8:23).
It’s hard to accept this in the soundbite, social-media overloaded world we’re living in, but we’re not the stereotypes and the caricatures we make of each other. Not all black folk are thugs. But we ain’t all saints, either! Not all police are coldblooded, racist killers. But they aren’t all saints, either! All humans—every one of us—have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that means regardless of whether our stuff is on TV and makes the headlines or not, we all need a Savior.
The Word of God says, “Let God be true and every human being a liar” (Romans 3:4). Do you know who you are? Because Jesus isn’t playing.
God’s Word says if you are in Christ you
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Grammy Awardwinning artist, Chance the Rapper, will deliver this year's commencement address to graduates of Dillard University. The school's 82nd Commencement ceremonies for more than 200 graduates will be held Saturday, May 12, at 8 a.m. on the campus' historic Avenue of the Oaks.
Dillard President Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough says Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, is part of a new wave of artists who can openly talk about faith while being in hip hop, balancing the secular and the sacred. In 2017, the 24-year-old's independent project “Coloring Book'' became the first streaming-only album to be nominated and win a Grammy.
“He's not signed but a multiple Grammy winner,'' Kimbrough said, noting that Bennett often gives away his music, movie tickets, Jordan-brand tennis shoes and awards to school teachers. “He's the artist that your grandmother would love.''
Kimbrough, who's known as the HipHop Prez, teaches a class on ethics and hip hop and has sought Bennett to appear on campus for two years.
Bennett has been intentional with using are loved, accepted, you are a member of Christ's body, a saint, chosen of God, holy and dearly loved, and you have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which you share His nature.
And God works in you to help you do the things God wants you to do (Philippians 4:13). In other words, when the Giver of every good and perfect gift gave you the gift of salvation, you also received the supernatural power of God’s grace to be who God says you are and do what God calls you to do! Jesus isn’t playing, but you’ve got to know who and Whose you are!
Now, that’s on the individual level. How can we love our enemies on the group or collective level, too? his ever growing popularity to give back to his hometown of Chicago, especially the youth who admire him. In 2014, Chance used (hash)savechicago to stop gun-violence for 42 hours and since then, he's forged ahead. And for three years, whether through hosting monthly high school OpenMike series at Chicago's Public Libraries, raising over $100,000 to bring sleeping-bags and coats to Chicago's homeless, or raising over $4 million for his local Chicago Public School System, Bennet makes helping others a priority.
Bennett is also the founder and president of SocialWorks, a nonprofit created to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement, and it's his aim to reshape the possibilities through freedom and access for the youth of Chicago and the globe.
“The activism is a bonus with Chance,'' Kimbrough said. “I thought he made for a great commencement speaker because of his spirit of being entrepreneurial and authentic. But his civic engagement, including encouraging people to vote and willingness to speak out on issues, like his recent opposition to a Heineken ad, are just as paramount.''