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Coming Together
08/20/2006
Scripture: Mark 7; Matthew 15-16; Phillipians 2; Lu...
Running time: 26 minutes, 16 seconds.
Pulpit exchange with Cathedral of Worship during Quincy's "Coming Together" sunday.



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Bishop Eddie L. Warren Speaker: Bishop Eddie L. Warren
E.L. Warren has been the Senior Pastor of the Cathedral of Worship since December 1980. He is the author of several books, a manual for new convert training, articles for many magazines and he has composed several songs.

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"Reconciliation"

September 1, 1983, Korean Air K007 was shot down over southern Russia. 269 passengers and crew died in the crash. A handful of them were from the United States. I heard the news on the radio as I drove past the Logan County Fairgrounds. I remember it like it was happening right now.

It wasn't the announcement I remember . . . it was my response. As the news of the few Americans was related I breathed an audible sigh of relief. At that moment God convicted me. Deep down I knew I had discovered a very ugly part of my heart. I believed (whether I admitted it or not) that Americans were more valuable than Koreans, or anyone else for that matter.

I found myself pondering a host of questions: "Do Koren mothers not grieve the deaths of their children?" "Do Korean husbands not grieve the deaths of their wives?" "Do Korean families not grieve the loss of their grandparents and cousins?" My real question was, "Do Americans grieve more than others?"

I don't believe I was "racist"; at least I hope not. But I was clearly "ethnocentric." I believed that my "people" were the most important people in the world. All others were secondary. In the church, in the heart of a disciple, there is no room for "--centrism." The eyes of a Christian must always be looking outward . . . seeking the best for the world.

If, in the world, there is racism . . . I may deplore it, but I understand it. In the church . . . Never!

August 20, 2006 - Coming Together - Guest Bishop E. L. Warren

Bruce Willard:  Good morning. This morning Madison Park is participating in a community of faith, expression of bringing racial reconciliation and harmony, and so if you've not read about it in the paper ... Coming Together ... or as the paper titled it, "Growing Together" this morning we have the privilege of having E. L. Warren, the pastor of the Cathedral of Worship, with us to lead us in worship. The Coming Together concept is this morning there are six black preachers and six white preachers who have basically swapped pulpits, and this morning, I'm sure, there are twelve congregations that are working to feel their way through the little differences and nuances of sharing each other's pastor and preacher. So this morning Chuck will be leaving us. He's sitting back there, or was sitting back there. He'll be leaving in just a little bit to go to down to Bethel A.M.E. and share with folks there the faith of Christ and there are ten others who are out doing just that. This morning, or I'd like to say tonight at 7:00 over at the Crossing there is the opportunity for the twelve churches to gather back in praise and worship and have the opportunity just to fellowship on another level and we invite you to be out tonight at 7:00 p.m. So, without saying any more, would you please welcome Pastor E. L. Warren, pastor of the Cathedral of Worship Church. (Applause.)

Pastor Warren: It's my joy to be here this morning and to be courageous enough to participate in such an event like this. It moves us out of our comfort zones, and it's not just this culmination of twelve churches this morning, but your pastor and I and many other pastors have been meeting together and praying and just brooding over this event and what implications it can have on bringing down those barriers that have divided us for so long. And I've enjoyed the fellowship time, the prayer time that we've had over the last, since May, so however many months that's been and it all kind of climaxes in today and in tonight and going forward from here I think there are great days ahead for the Quincy community of believers and I'm excited about it.

Father, we bless you this morning. Thank you for this wonderful privilege that we have to open the word of God, its life, it's a lamp unto our feet, it's the light of our pathways. And I thank you, Lord, that our ears are being made open, our hearts are being made tender, we'll see what we can't see except you help us, we'll know what we wouldn't know except you reveal it. Father, this morning, we don't want this to be just some kind of good thing that we do that gives us a real warm bubbly feeling and signifies that we are racially correct, but rather, Lord, will you deal with us individually. Make us to see what we need to see to become your body in the earth today. And so we bless you for these people and this moment that we have together. In Jesus' name, amen.

All right, we're going to open our bibles to Matthew 16. I've done my best to ask many questions so that I'm flowing with what you're normally comfortable with. My wife is back in the back and we've had somebody watching for her all morning. She must have came in a secret pathway. She's over there. Matthew 16 beginning in verse 13, "When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples saying ‘whom do men say that I the son of man am?'" I really think that's the potent question of this day. Who is Jesus for real? What we've done is painted the picture that our religious cultures have trained us to project, but the world is still trying to see who he really is. Who is this Christ? Who is this Jesus Christ? And so when he came, he said, "who do men say that I am and they said some say you're John the Baptist, some say you're Elijah, others say you're Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said unto to them, but more importantly than who they say, who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, ‘you are the Christ, the Chris??? , the anointed one and his anointing. You're the son of the living God.' Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘blessed are thou Simon Bar-Jonah because flesh and blood, the mere efforts of man cannot make this revelation to you. My father which is in heaven had to reveal that to you. And I say unto you that you are Peter, you are a small rock, Petros, and upon this big rock, petra, this massive Gibraltar, what are we talking about? This incredible revelation the Father just gave you? Upon that rock I'm going to build my church and those called out with the revelation and by a revelation and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it and I'll give unto you or those of you with a revelation the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And of course, the Lord is not giving us binding and loosing power for selfish reasons but so that the kingdom can come and the will of God can be done.

Philippians 2 and then we'll begin teaching from the notes that we have, Philippians 2:13 says "And it's God that works in you both to will and to do." It's the Lord that's working the will of God in us ... the will, both the will to do of his good pleasure, he works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Now, I think that what's going on this weekend is phenomenal, it's courageous. In my travels I've not come across any attempt of this sort to address our racial differences, and I think that there's incredible potential that can come as a result of the spirit of the Lord brooding up over this kind of a gathering and what will happen in our hearts this morning in all of these churches and what will happen tonight. I believe it's the Father's desire to make Jesus known to the world. I believe that everything that the Father has done, will do, or will ever do, all of that is his desire to make his Son known to mankind. I believe he wants to reveal Jesus to a hurting world. I think the world is in a bad place. It's chaotic, we're having unrest in the Middle East like never before. In America we're facing incredible economic upswings and things of that sort, and it seems like man is on a course of destruction and I'm certain that he can't turn himself around without a revelation of Jesus. So I believe the desire of the Father must become our passion and that is to make this Son known, to reveal Jesus to a hurting world, to a world that has this run-away idea of who he is. It was said yesterday in the seminar that a lot of people don't come to church because they've been there. And I think that we've got a situation where we have, we have promulgated our culture and preached our traditions, but I'm not sure we've always had the revelation of presenting the Son of God to a hurting world. And I believe the only component in the earth today with the capacity to fulfill this commission is the church. I don't think that we can look to government to do that. You know, that's a given. I don't think that we're going to be able to through education turn things around. I think that the only component in the earth that has the capacity to fulfill the commission of revealing Jesus, the only component is the church. (Do I need to adjust this? Am I doing something wrong? Okay, all right.) The only component that can do that is the church. It's our job to fulfill this great commission to make Jesus known, to make him known to a hurting world. And those of us who are called out by him with the revelation of Jesus, we're the ones who can do it. The Father in verse 17 of the text of Matthew, the Father reveals the Son to us by the Holy Ghost. I believe that the sole mission of the spirit of God is to show us who Jesus is.

Let's open our bibles if we can to Luke 2. There's a story in there about a man who was waiting to get to see Jesus. This is in Luke 2:25. "There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon and the same man was just and devout waiting from the consolation of Israel and the Holy Ghost was upon him. It was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in the child, Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took him up in his arms and blessed God and said Lord, now let us thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word for mine eyes have seen your salvation." I have seen your salvation. So the Holy Ghost was upon him for one purpose and that was to reveal Jesus to him. And once empowered with the knowledge of who he is, we then can become God's agent in the earth with the capacity to reveal him to a hurting world. I think that's, I'm certain we're the only ones can do it. But we can't do it except we have a revelation of who he is. Once empowered with the knowledge of who he is, we become his agent in the earth with the capacity to bind, loose, forbid and allow whatever the Father desires to establish the will of God on earth exactly as it is in heaven. God wants his Son to be made known to the world. Now, it's possible to know him and we remain fragmented. In other words, we can stay in our denominational comfort zones and our cultural comfort zones, we can know him and stay there, but I don't believe we can make him known until we're willing to come together. I think that when we come together, only when we become one in him that now we don't just know him, but now we can make him known. I think when the world sees us loving one another and I'm not just talking about in the confines of those that look like us, but when all of us that name the name of Christ are willing to, to, to love across the lines, to extend ourselves across the lines, I think when that happens the world sees this Christ, this picture of Christ and once they see him, now they don't have to search any longer through these other false methods that they're using to fill the voids in their life. So our job is that not, not just to know him, but to come together and be willing to make him known. For so long we have been comfortable just knowing him, but I really believe the next level of growth and maturity is when we say not only do I know him, but I'm willing to come out of myself in an effort to make him known. It's not enough just to love him. We've got to love who he loves. It's not enough just to known him. We have to make him known. It's not enough just to be us four and no more, but I really believe we've gotta come outside of the lines that we have used to divide ourselves and we've gotta say there's a world out there whose confused and really don't know what he looks like. And until they see us come together, they don't get the right picture. So it's our job this morning and this weekend to repent, really, to say, Lord, maybe I've been a little bit shallow in my thinking. I know you, but am I making you known? Is my life a demonstration of the Son of the Christ, the Son of the Living God? Is my life a demonstration of that? Yes, I know you, I commune with you, I talk with you, but I want to go to the next level where when people see me, they don't just see that I know you, but they see you through me. They see your power through me. And so I don't just want to know you, but I want to make you known everywhere I go. So, if my life doesn't reveal him, then I've only, I've not finished my mission in the earth. If I just, if I just know him, if he's been revealed to me, that's only a part. Now I need to reveal him to others. If my ministry doesn't reflect him, if I'm more concerned with everything being the way it always was, but people come in and they are not able to identify who he is, then I've not come to the fullness of what God wants to do. If my love doesn't demonstrate him, then really we have to question what value, really what value is our Christianity if it's only servicing me. It doesn't make a demonstration to the world. So in I Corinthians 13 I wanted to read the chapter on love. We've already, but in the Amplified it broadens our thinking a little bit, and I'm preaching to myself as well because we can get in our places and just kinda think that this is all that there is. But I'm telling you we've got a run-away world that needs to see the reality of the Son of God. And they need to be able to look at the body of Christ and no longer be confused but because of our love for one another, our unconditional love, because of our willingness to come out of our comfort zone, because of our willingness not only to have him revealed to us but to reveal him to others, they are able to clearly see who he is.

Now in I Corinthians 13 it says, and I'm reading out of the Amplified now, "If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels but I don't have this unconditional love that reasoning and intentional and spiritual devotion such as inspired by God's love for and in us, I am only a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose and understanding all this secret truths and mysteries and possess all the knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can even remove mountains, but I have not love, God's love in me, I am nothing. I am a useless nobody. And even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but I have not love, God's love in me, I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind. This love never is envious, never boils over with jealousy, it's not boastful or vainglorious, it does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited and arrogant and inflated with pride. It is not rude and unmannerly and does not act unbecomingly. Love, God's love in us, does not insist on its own rights or its own way, it is not self-seeking, it is not touchy or fretful or resentful. It takes no account of the evil done to it and pays no attention to a suffered wrong. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person. Its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything without wakening, without weakening, excuse me. Love never fails, never fades, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. As for prophecy, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose, it will be fulfilled and pass away. As for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease. As for knowledge, it will pass away. It will lose its value and be superseded by truth. But for our knowledge is fragmentary, incomplete and imperfect, and our prophecy, our teaching is fragmentary, incomplete and imperfect. But when the complete and perfect total comes the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away, become antiquated, void, and superseded. When I was a child, I talked like a child thought like a child and reasoned like a child. Now that I've become a man I'm done with that, childish ways and have put them away, put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim blurred reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma. But then when perfection comes, we shall see in reality and face to face. Now I know in part imperfectly, but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood by God. So faith, hope, love abides. Faith-- conviction and belief, respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man growing out of God's love for and in us. These three, but the greatest of these is God's love."

So when we begin to realize that we don't just want to have the revelation, that's step one ... that God reveals himself to me by the Holy Ghost. But step two is a maturity that says now that I know who he is, let me make him known to everyone. Let me come aside from any of my envy and jealousy and my fragmentary thoughts and my divisive ways and thinking that is all about me and it's only me. Let me come out of these comfort zones of familiarity. God made when people look at me, when they see how I interact with my brothers and sisters of another color, even of another denomination or persuasion, when they see how I interact with them, then now we not only have a revelation but we are making him known. The world is watching this weekend. Quincy is watching this weekend. The heavens are watching this weekend. But it's not just enough for us to have this weekend where six white churches have a black minister and six black churches have a white minister, but what has to come out of this is a willingness that says in my heart, God, I know you, but now I want to reveal you to the world. So then when we see our black brothers and sisters and our white brothers and sisters in other settings other than in the Coming Together weekend, we realize that now we have an opportunity not just to have a revelation, but to reveal Christ to Quincy, to reveal Christ to the world. When they see how we interact, when they see that we refuse to be jealous and envious and to make our self better or lesser than another. What we want now is for Quincy and the world and the heavens to know that we do have a revelation of Jesus, but we're not satisfied just knowing him. We have matured to a place of wanting him to be made known. And that's my prayer for this whole weekend is that when we have concluded and given the benediction that our lifestyle will walk out day in and day out a continuous making the Christ known because when the world sees him for who he is, they're going to want him and when the get him, we have the power then, we have the power then to see our world turn around. Jesus said I'll give you the keys of the kingdom because you have a revelation and so once you see who I am, don't be content to just know who I am but ask me to make sure that you can make me known to the entire world. So my prayer this morning is that we don't just know who he is, but we make him known everywhere we go ... in the work place, at Wal-mart, in our community, oh glory to God, that when people come into the Quincy community, I mean just the thought of this makes me well up, that they could, that they no longer feel racism, that when they come to the city limits of Quincy they feel this refreshing, they feel this, this life and that when they see the body of Christ, all denominations, all colors, relating one with another, that they say now I can see who the Christ is and then they'll say I want to know him. I'm no longer willing to live without the reality of Jesus in my life. That's my prayer today. I want to give you an opportunity this morning. If you feel what I feel, in other words just saying God, I don't just want to know you but I want to make you known, I want to be able to pray with you and, of course, we can stand, we can kneel, we can bow our heads, you can come to the altar. But this is our opportunity to say, Lord, I hear you, I hear you. I'll no longer be comfortable just knowing you and remaining fragmented, remaining untouchable and disconnected from my brothers and sisters because I'm a different denomination, I'm a different color, I'm of a different social-economic background. Lord, help me this morning. Help me this morning to take the revelation of who you are and take it to the next level of revealing you everywhere I go. God, never let it be said that I was racist, that I was prejudiced, that I only thought of myself. God, deliver me this morning and I pray that from this place and the churches all over Quincy this morning that the body of Christ will emerge as a clear witness of who the Son of God is. I give you praise for it. I give you praise in Jesus' name. Amen.

Brother Bruce, I give it to you.

[Transcribed by PU4]