He Was Left Hanging Between Heaven and Earth

  • Racism
  • 2 Sam 18:1-18 “he was left hanging between heaven and earth”
  • See, the bulk of this story is about Absalom, David’s son who has taken over David’s kingdom.
  • Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, sent and told- “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.”
  • David loved his son! He wanted his kingdom back, but didn’t want to lose his son in the process
  • This ISNT what happens!They go out to battle Absalom gets caught up in a tree- “Hanging between heaven and earth” Unable to free himself- unable to defend himself. Unable to fight. Caught
  • At the whim of men. A man- who had done wrong- but the King- “Deal Gently” and is in a tree
  • A man comes to Joab- says “I found Absalom” Joab says “ I would have paid you to kill him” the man says “I would never do that” V 12-13
  • David made it clear “Deal gently for my sake” to Joab but he ignored it- He wanted HIS JUSTICE
  • 14 And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. (Kills a defenseless man because he thought it right)
  • To add insult to injury- 15 And ten young men who bore Joab’s armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him.- They didn’t defend Absalom- While a criminal- wasn’t to die
  • And where’s Abishai and Ittai? And the thousands of others? No where to be found!
  • Only one man stood up and said- You are wrong Joab- I’m not taking part in this.
  • There’s huge problems with this story- and today it speaks specifically to what is going on around us
  • Today I am going to use this scripture to show you how you can’t sit idly by and allow injustice to happen in your midst and to remain silent is to be complicit in the action
  • Why do we need to talk about racism? I’m not racist- Church not full of homo- but still talk about
  • Here are some hard truths that need to be said- Racism still exists in America. By and large White people are either ignorant or apathetic about it. Maybe not you- But its real. It’s a sin against God
  • I get it! I’m white- And white people say “What am I supposed to do about it”- starts in the church
  • You can start by admitting that racism still exists. You may not be, you may not have experienced it, but if you had black or brown friends, you would know- Its still out there
  • The church talks about sin- Homosexuality, fornication, envy, covetedness, anger, etc. Racism is a sin. It needs to be talked about. One of my first sermons at 18 was on Racism- Near to me
  • We’re not blaming anyone- Its like a Sermon about tithing- You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about a sermon about tithing unless you don’t tithe, and you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about a sermon about racism unless its in your heart. And that goes for everyone- regardless of race
  • Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Ro 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. Ro 2:11 For there is no partiality with God. Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
  • We are all equal in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of the Lord-The image of God- Gen 1:26 but we can’t sit here in Church and pretend that our Black brothers and Sisters aren’t struggling- Educate yourself- Learn the struggle- Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. – be the one who STANDS UP
  • But the POC have a opportunity in the church as well not to fix it- but to help others understand
  • Make new friends- Pastor John and Pastor Raymond are my safe black friends- I can ask anything
  • You can’t get angry at ignorance- Help us understand- Mikey Crack v Heroin epidemic
  • So let me Show you how this scripture speaks to our current situation in America
  • Right now- IN the middle of this- “he was left hanging between heaven and earth”
  • To me- it connects to the symbol of Lynching- A helpless man- who will help?
  • We as Christians vocally espouse our rights to collectively assemble and worship, while simultaneously remaining silent about other peoples rights being violated.
  • Our black brothers and sisters in the Lord need our love and support- not memes
  • We speak about sins of the flesh and refuse to talk about sins regarding color of flesh
  • There’s a lot of things to be frustrated about. I need your grace this morning because this isn’t an easy subject to articulate- I’m white- and Im trying to use my voice for the voiceless.
  • I want to talk about it- Because I love black people- (all people) and want a diverse church
  • But being a leader comes with responsibility. Crystal and I, long before we knew any of you pictured this church- a church that looks like heaven. We’re getting there- don’t let Satan (facebook)destroy it
  • MLK, Jr. History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
  • But here’s the issue- Within our church- whenever theres a racial flare up in America– the people of this church (and every where take to social media) and I notice- for many there is a lack of understanding and empathy.- You’re not helping by sharing antagonistic memes. RELATIONSHIPS
  • We have all kinds of people here– All colors- All jobs (including police)- Christ body is first!
  • We are a church of Heaven that will look like heaven. We will defend unity– promote diversity and build relationships with others who don’t look like ourselves in hopes to share the Gospel
  • We may not be able to change the world- but we can create a world that it should be-
  • I need you to be patient with me today. Let me get this all out before you shut me out.
  • – I prayed last week- Lord- give me a scripture that can allow me to speak to the times
  • Before we get into it- I need to admit and you need to agree- This sermon cannot cover everything- not enough time or space. This sermon cannot fix everything- Words aren’t enough. This Sermon will miss some points, and be difficult to speak and decipher due to the complexities of the subject at hand. The sermon is by a white guy who wants to Honor God. Love those who don’t look like him- and lead a church that looks like heaven.
  • The responsibility is on all of us to build relationships, give forgiveness, love and grow
  1. Joab was lawless and outside of delegated authority – Racism
  • Two kinds of authority- ultimate and delegated- He acted outside of both
  • He deemed to be executioner and judge over Absalom when David told him No
  • a person charged with upholding the orders of the king- don’t get to execute the punishment
  • The word of the king was law Ecclesiastes 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power;

And who may say to him, “What are you doing?”

  • Proverbs 8:15-16 By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, All the judges of the earth.
  • Now you look at this story and its easy to connect this with America and people’s struggle with Justice- people thinking they can treat people however THEY feel is right- when not their right
  • We have a police officer in our church- He’s not bad- trains in use of Force. Christian. Family
  • want to understand what its like for police?- ask him-HARD JOB He’s just doing his calling our FAMILY
  • But police is Delegated authority- Not ultimate authority- they work within the law- they are not the law. We are to Submit to them- as unto the Lord- all of us- Police feels safe at church- same as anyone
  • Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
  • But when anyone acts outside of their delegated authority (not just police)- we can’t agree with it
  • But don’t say “all police are bad” that’s not true! But you can’t justify an unlawful action of a police officer- You can simultaneously be supportive of police AND call out bad ones (dad SPD)
  • This is the struggle that POC have with unfair treatment- Admit it! Don’t deny it- Incarceration etc.
  • I’ve never been profiled, stopped, frisked, etc. I can’t understand- but I should TRY and Speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves! Listen to the struggles of black people- not my experience
  1. Someone stood up for the decree of David meant to protect Absalom – Racism
  • Watch what happens in this story- Joab yells at the man who saw Absalom and asks why he didn’t kill him himself- 12 But the man said to Joab, “Though I were to receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son (V12-13)
  • SOMEONE spoke up! They said “This isn’t right” Now is everything that happens wrong? NO
  • But when you’re there, and you see something wrong- be the one who speaks up against it!
  • Again- Every Cop isn’t bad- But the man who Killed George Floyd was bad- It was wrong
  • But its not just cops- If you hire people, or fire people, or work with people, or have family-
  • SPEAK UP- Don’t let racist attitudes or actions happen in your midst- No jokes- No decisions
  • Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the [a]ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
  • James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin
  • Even in the church-being willing to lovingly call someone out on their predjudiced blind spot
  • Would you allow me to speak negatively about anyone? Here’s an idea- take descriptors out of your vocabulary when they are unneeded- why does the color of the person matter to the story?
  • Proverbs 31:8-9 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are [a]appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
  • Yes- you may have been poor, or experienced predjudice, but not at the level or sustained problems of Black people in America- Read, watch, understand- Pruit-Igo, Jim Crow, profiling, ADMIT IT
  • Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.- We are a multicultural church- DEFEND OUR BROTHER- Quit arguing on FACEBOOK-
  1. Everyone scattered from the Scene – Racism
  • Did No one care that Absalom was dead?Maybe they figured he deserved to die for what he did- And here’s the rub with the story- Joab was correct that Absalom should have died, but he wasn’t right in what he did- But it doesn’t change the injustice that happened to Absalo
  • hard to wrap your mind around- but that’s the excuse that many people use when it comes to a POC being treated unfairly- “They were a criminal” or “they had it coming to them”- Those are wrong words that don’t take into the account of the reality of truth- Didn’t deserve to die bc law says so- DEFEND
  • Someone dies unjustly and they bring up the past to discredit them- sure Glad JC don’t do that to me
  • Quit arguing with the complaints of black people (or anyone) who feels they are being oppressed with arguments why their feelings are invalid- This is actually poor communication its REAL- validate it
  • Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
  • Its cowardly to not speak up. Its cowardly to not admit that acts of injustice still exist
  • Its cowardly to scatter- To say and do things that minimize and demonize racism
  • Pro 25:26 A righteous man who falters before the wicked Is like a murky spring and a polluted well.
  • Some white people say things like “I never owned a slave” or “I’m not a racist” and that may be true- But its also true that right now- here in this church- we have POC who live in America, who need us to speak up for them for right now- The Battle Cry- “I can’t breathe” they cant speak
  • Aaron Q- My Hispanic brother taught me the starfish- don’t worry about fixing the big picture- worry about what you CAN fix- and if we ALL do that- we can see some change.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
  • Joab took the law in his own hand- To the man who was left hanging between heaven and earth
  • There’s man- Right now hanging between heaven and earth- YOUR family in YOUR church. SPEAK
  • He doesn’t need your arguments- your reasons why. Black people know the issues in the Black community- They need White accomplices- people to stand in the gap who say-
  • I’m sorry, I want to understand, I’ll help. I won’t allow it. I may not have caused it, but I can speak.
  • We are all going to spend eternity with each other. We are family. We will stand together. – Racism

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