When I Rose This Morning
Weeping and Well

Preaching an Expository Message from the Lectionary to the Issue of White Supremacy (or any news) - Rough Notes


Long title ...

More in the sub-title. How can you be prophetic in the moment and on-topic without reverting to topical messages? 

You are feeling overwhelmed, beleaguered, and conflicted.

If you are called to receive a message and deliver it, you will either do so or not. If you do, you cannot calculate the outcome of your delivery ahead of time. The message may or may not be received. The pro-claimer will look around and ask, "How does this apply to the world I am in and the sin that prevails?"

It seems so obvious that Alt-Right is All-Wrong, but what does that have to do with the text?


God’s messages through the prophets were rooted in eternal truth and were timely. They addressed the specific needs and evils of the times. They were also timeless and addressed the eternal goodness, holiness, love, and grace of God with the gospel.

This is the balance we find as we remain faithful to preaching scripture systematically rather than pulling topics out of the current news. The chosen scriptures will always speak to the times and there will always be an application to the times.

This is so obviously true of the topic of racism and the exposition of the lectionary scriptures of today.

Today, the pressing issue in the news is white supremacy, racism, and bigotry. It must be named, but it must be named in context of scripture, of sin, and of redemption.

God has a message for all times, but that needs to be brought home since God is a God in the present. He appoints messengers like Joseph, like Elijah, like Paul, and like you and me to deliver His message. That message must be conveyed. Then, it must be heard. It must be believed and then, it must lead to a moment of confession of who is truly Lord, followed by a change of lifestyle.

Because God is love, He despises hate in all of its manifestations.

Someone has to say that out loud.

That is the essential outline of the passage from Romans 10 that we will come to.

In the meantime, we have three stories.

Joseph falls victim to hate, bigotry, and treachery. But he has unwavering trust in God and maintains his integrity. He comes to a place where he is able to speak truth to power and to empower a broken people who are in grave danger

Elijah stands up to the prophets of Baal who are oppressing people in the name of a false family of gods. He does so in such a way as to place his own life in danger. He wonders about his calling and despairs of life. God meets and renews him.

Jesus comes to the disciples on the water, above the waves, in the night, surrounded by winds. His word. His word is firm and gentle, “Peace, be still.” And faith is restored for those whom His is calling and sending to bring the gospel to the world.

Then, Paul tries to define the process of the sending and proclaiming all the way down to the “end-user” of the message who confesses Jesus as Lord and commits to follow Him.

He declares that there must be a witness. Someone must tell. Someone must stand. Someone needs to be visible, to march, to speak, to resist, to be attacked, to shout, to serve, to make a difference – to proclaim the good news that people lost in the darkness of sin, of oppression, of racism, nationalism, self-ism, and all the other isms of our world, can be saved.

 The Text - Romans 10:5-15

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

 Let us work backwards.

 I. There must be a SENDER. This is the originator of the message. It is the one who wants us to know the truth, embrace the truth, and live the truth.

The sender is God and God uses others to send in subordination to His will, purpose, and calling.

What do we know of this SENDING GOD?

  1. We know that He is the LORD manifested in Jesus Christ.
  2. We know that He has come to us and brought the word near to our hearts.
  3. We know that He expects us to receive that word and to live by it. His call to believe is part and is the beginning of the process. Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly and demanding. We are called to a new humanity where justice, compassion, love, mercy, peace, and truth are elevated and all people are valued.
  4. We know that He is a God who does not tolerate arbitrary divisions among people based on race, class, economics, nationality, or gender. On this tragic weekend, the scripture reminds us that all racism is evil. It is sinful. It is unrighteous. It is an affront to the very character of God. Alt-Right is ALL-Wrong!

II. Then there must be the ONE WHO IS SENT. This is the one who goes. It is the MESSENGER. The messenger does not deliver his or her own message, but the message of the sender.

That is you and it is me.

  1. Consider Joseph

Genesis 37:12-28

 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”

 “Very well,” he replied.

 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.

 When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”

 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

 So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

 Joseph was a messenger. His sending was through treachery, tragedy, and trial, but truth prevailed. He was dealt with in an evil manner by brothers who forgot what it meant to be brothers.

But God prevailed.

God has positioned you as He positioned Joseph, to be used to communicate His prophetic word in your times.

 BConsider Elijah. 

1 Kings 19:9-18 

There he went into a cave and spent the night.

 And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”


Elijah got discouraged in all of this, but God met him, reassured him, recommissioned him, and sent him back to the danger zone to stand for righteousness, to be unpopular and misunderstood, and to bear witness.

III. There is the message. It is really quite simple. No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.The world robs people of their dignity. Sin brings shame. Racism, sexism, elitism, nationalism, sin – all inflict shame. All marginalize and categorize people, all put people into boxes and sort them out, grab for power, oppress for wealth, and bombasticize for dominance. The priests of Baal were an elite shaming and oppressing the people with a religion of fear. Pharaoh was focused on his own self-interest and ruthless in the pursuit, but he was shamed and terrified of what would come upon him. The disciples were shamed and terrified by fear of the unknown.

The gospel came in the person of Jesus who declared Himself Lord and invited rich and poor of all backgrounds to follow Him as equal partners with each other in His kingdom. His call brought people dignity.

Paul defies all racial categorizations when he declares that there is no difference between Jew and gentile. The same God blesses richly blesses ALL who call on Him.

O the message says:

  1. God is generous, a God who richly blesses all who call.
  2. The God desires to save, reconcile, and redeem broken humanity.
  3. All people are equal in the eyes of God.
  4. We all need to turn from serving self to serving God by declaring that Jesus is Lord.

IV. Finally, there is the one who receives the message, hears the message, believes the message, and confesses Jesus as Lord.

This is also us.

  1. We must receive the message from someone.
  2. We must hear the message.
  3. We must believe the message.
  4. We must confess that Jesus is Lord.
  5. We must commit to follow Him and then, follow Him.
  6. We must be ready to be sent, to stand, to proclaim.

I never promised to completely flesh this out for you, supply the illustrations, of finish the message - just give you some notes and encouragement.

Call out the evil by name today. It is White Supremacy. You can do it and remain expository and, if it is your practice, stay with the lectionary.

 I do not recommend floating around from topic to topic with the winds of current events --- but  do not ignore them. This one is not just current. It is long standing, systemic, and ignored. Let the scriptures inform you and let them challenge the hearers to a new level of hearing, believing, and repentance.