Summer in the Psalms: Psalm 89
We see all through the culture so much divisiveness and pain. People are hurting. People are angry. People are looking to the culture for answers. Psalm 89:14 says, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you."
Righteousness - conforming to a moral standard and treating others as the Imago Dei.
Justice - being free from favoritism, self-interest, or bias conforming to established standards. Two types of justice are retributive and restorative. The Bible most often speaks of restorative justice. "Mishpot" means, "delivery of a righteous objective standard."
Jeremiah 9:23-24 shows us "I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord."
Righteousness leads to Justice which leads to Steadfast (hesed) love.
Man is made in the image of God (the Imago Dei). God created man in His image. All people make up God's image. We don't give value to another race. God does. Unfortunately, man broke shalom with God and sinned. Our original problem isn't color - it is a sin nature. Thankfully, our story is one with hope. In Gen 18-19, God calls Abram to do righteousness and justice...so that Christ could come. This thread runs throughout the Bible.
Injustice began a long time ago. We see that Israel had been enslaved to Egypt for 400 years. Unfortunately, once freed, we see the Israelites doing similar things to others. This is due to a sin nature...not a government system. We all participate in injustice actively, passively, or unintentionally. We all need Jesus!
Our righteousness comes from Jesus, and He expects the church to live justly through steadfast love.
In the 1930's a new Marxist theory called Critical Theory was introduced in academia. This theory paints everyone as an "oppressed" or an "oppressor". Critical Theory is a worldview that gave rise to Critical Race Theory. This theory (CRT) divided people by gender, race, or class. It elevated the experience of the oppressed over truth. There is no steady ground to stand on. If you are not a part of the oppressed group, then you are not even allowed to talk.
Critical Race Theory realities:
1. antithetical to the gospel - it puts identity in our skin, not in our sin problem Our uniter is Jesus.
2. Objective truth is not acceptable - The only ones that can obtain truth are those through their experiences.
3. Sees us only as race - we are all categorized in a hierarchy.
CRT has given rise to several movements in our culture right now. As Christ followers, we need to understand what those movements are about and what their "we believe" statements say.
How can we practice steadfast love in justice and righteousness?
1. Walk in objective Truth - God's Word must inform culture. Culture can't inform God's Word.
2. See life through a biblical worldview
CREATION - How did we get here? (God created man in His image)
FALL - What happened? (Man sinned and shalom was broken)
REDEMPTION - How does it get fixed? (life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)
RESTORATION - How shall we live (We are His righteousness and must love)
If you only focus on Creation and Restoration - it leads to a social gospel
If you only focus on Fall and Redemption - just preach (without doing)
3. Love deeply - not just words, but deeds. Speak out against injustice. CRT divides, where the gospel unites.
4. Listen well - Don't be two opponents trying to win an argument. Be two sinners with blindspots in need of grace.
5. Read wisely - Soak in the Word. You don't have to read secular books to be able to have a conversation. Think and reason well with what you read. Read critically.
6. Use social media with grace - We are accountable for every careless word.
7. Anchor every passion you have in a movement to the gospel.
The cross of Christ is a picture of justice, righteousness, and steadfast love.
To Discuss Today:
1. What are some of the movements that are dominating the news today? Do you know their core beliefs? What do their "We Believe" statements say?
2. Is there any diversity in your "circles"? How can you grow in that regard?
3. Practice LUV talk. Listen - Understand - Validate. Listen to what someone says. Repeat to make sure you understand. If not, listen again. Say back to them what they said (in heart). Then validate those feelings in order to be a safe place for ongoing conversation.
4. What is something from the sermon that stood out to you? Why?