Common ground at the cross, Evans says
January 20, 2012

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America does not need hundreds of years to fix the racial and cultural division that exist, Dr. Tony Evans said on Friday, it only needs a few minutes—maybe a few hours.
 
From left, Bryan President Dr. Stephen Livesay, Dr. Tony Evans, and Marcus Bellamy, lead associate pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and a Bryan alumnus in the Class of 1995.
“We need a generation of young men and women who are dedicated to letting God do what He wants. God is calling us to be kingdom people,” he said.
 
Dr. Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative, wrapped up a January chapel emphasis on Ethnic Diversity and the Kingdom of God with a lesson from John 4, focusing on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman.
 
Despite the animosity between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus had to travel through Samaria. “The reason Jesus went to Samaria was there was a spiritual need to be met,” Dr. Evans said. “Jesus wasn’t going to let his cultural background stop Him from meeting that need. Jesus met this woman on common ground. Jews didn’t like Samaritans and Samaritans didn’t like Jews, but they both liked Jacob.
 
“You start to achieve unity when you start on common ground. When you meet at the cross of Jesus, there is a lot of common ground. For us, spiritual need should always trump physical differences. It doesn’t cancel them, but it should always trump them.”
 
Dr. Evans greets a guest after his
luncheon talk.
He pointed out that Jesus never rejected his culture or background to minister to someone, “He just didn’t let Who He was get in the way of God’s purposes.”
 
He argued that “because the Church of Jesus Christ did not deal with the race question biblically from the inception of this nation, we are having repercussions today. What we did was elevate our culture above the cross. The Gospel is not only that Jesus died on the cross, but that He brings people together from different backgrounds. When that body breaks up, it shames the Gospel. In his vision of heaven, John saw differences, people from every tribe, nation, kindred, and tongue. God always intended them to be different, but he planned it to model unity in His body.”
 
He said the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman “ends in an unusual way. The Samaritan men invite Jesus to spend the weekend with them. It doesn’t take 200 or 300 years to fix this (cultural divide), it takes two or three minutes, or hours.”
 
Following the chapel message, Dr. Evans spoke to some 60 area pastors, sharing his passion for strengthening the local church as a testimony to the unity God wants for His people.
 
“Our churches are embassies,” he said. “Churches were set up to be a bit of heaven, where values of heaven operate on earth. My passion is to see the church advance the Kingdom of God. The main thing keeping the kingdom from advancing is division in the church.”