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A Sunday Sermon after Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas Killings

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Kenyatta Gilbert

 

Rev. Byron P. Wess, D.Min.

Rev. Byron P. Wess, D.Min.

 

Dr. Wess is the founding pastor of New Life Tabernacle Church in Asbury Park, NJ.  He is campus dean and professor of religion, humanities, and philosophy at Strayer University.  He holds degrees from Ohio Dominican University, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Eastern University.

Glory is Coming

Psalm 64

How many people here know that the enemy is real? How many people here know that the adversary, the wicked one, the enemy is real? 

David gives us a description of the enemy in this 64th Psalm. David says the enemy is the one who plots in secret. He describes the enemy as the one who rebels against goodness and works in iniquity. The enemy is the one whose tongue is sharpened like a sword. The enemy is the one whose bitter words are like flying arrows shot from a bow. The enemy devises evil, works evil, gets encouraged by evil. The adversary, the wicked one, the enemy is real.

Now, we don’t really need David in this psalm to confirm for us that the enemy is real. All we need to confirm that the enemy is real is to consider the events that took place this past week in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas, TX. On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was pinned to the ground by two White Baton Rouge police officers and shot to death, having done nothing wrong.

On Wednesday, Philando Castile was shot to death while sitting in his car in a St Paul, MN suburb trying his best to comply with another White police officer that stopped him because his taillight was out. Then, on Thursday, Micah Johnson, sets himself up in a parking garage and shoots 12 police officers, killing five of them before being killed by the police himself.

If you didn’t know that the adversary is real you ought to know it now. If you didn’t know the wicked one is real, you ought to know it now. If you didn’t know the enemy is real you ought to know it now.

But don’t get this twisted. The enemy isn’t White. The enemy isn’t Black. The enemy isn’t Brown. The enemy isn’t Mexican and the enemy isn’t Muslim. The enemy isn’t people who wear blue suits and wear badges and carry guns. We try to make the enemy somebody who doesn’t look like us and doesn’t talk like us and doesn’t believe like us. But Paul said, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers; against the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The problem with the National Rifle Association and its deplorable stance on more stringent gun laws, against the sentiments of the majority of its own members, is spiritual wickedness. The problem with our justice system being slanted against Black & Brown people, so 30% of our population makes up 70% of those incarcerated in our nation’s prisons is spiritual wickedness. The problem with White police officers who seem so quick to shoot African American men, even when they’ve done nothing wrong is spiritual wickedness. The problem with the Republican led congress and the Republican-led Senate being so bent on saying ‘no’ to President Obama on everything that they can’t say ‘yes’ for the sake of the American People on anything, is spiritual wickedness!

But let’s be truthful, the problem in some of our homes is spiritual wickedness. The problem in some of our relationships is spiritual wickedness. The problem in our communities and our schools is spiritual wickedness. The problem with sin in the lives of unbelievers and the lives of those who do believe in Jesus is spiritual wickedness. Hate comes from the enemy. Confusion comes from the enemy. Destruction comes from the enemy. Evil comes from the enemy. Sin comes from the enemy!

The enemy isn’t our only problem. Our heart is also the problem. David said, “The thought and the heart of man are deep.” The enemy wouldn’t cause so much trouble if it wasn’t for the human heart. Hate would have no place to ferment and fester if it wasn’t for the human heart. Racism and injustice would have no place; sin and unrighteousness would have no place in our lives if it wasn’t for the human heart! You want to fix racism, then fix the human heart. You want to fix injustice, then fix the human heart. You want to fix hatred, you want to fix sin, you want to fix unrighteousness, then fix the human heart!

So David says, “hear my voice, O God, in my meditation. Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.” In other words, ‘Here me when I pray; keep me in my life and don’t let the enemy overwhelm me.’ Somebody here has prayed that prayer. Hear me Lord, when I pray. Keep me and don’t let me be overwhelmed. Hear my prayer Lord! Don’t let me be overwhelmed by the hate that’s in this world. Hear my prayer Lord! Don’t let me be overwhelmed by frustration and depressed by disappointment. Hear my prayer Lord! Don’t let me be overwhelmed by racism and injustice in this life. Hear my prayer Lord! Don’t let the evil prevail against me. Don’t let sin get the best of me! Don’t let the enemy get the victory over me! Lord, hear me when I pray and keep me in my life!

I’ve got good news if you are praying this prayer —glory is coming! That’s what the Lord wants somebody to know today—glory is coming! David said, “All the upright in heart shall glory.” No matter how painful the events of this past week might be, glory is coming. No matter how angry we might be, watching two more innocent black men being shot and killed by white cops, glory is coming! No matter how much racism and injustice erodes the foundation of equality upon which our nation was built, glory is coming! No matter how much trouble the devil and sin may cause in our lives, glory is coming!

The Lord will strike and the enemy will be mortally wounded. Glory is coming! The Lord will make them stumble; The Lord will make them fall. Glory is coming! The devil will flee and the Lord has already won. Glory is coming! Justice will run down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream. Glory is coming! We will be glad, when glory comes. We will get happy, when glory comes! We will have victory, when glory comes! We will be free, when glory comes! We will have joy, when glory comes! Glory is coming! Glory is coming! Glory is coming!