Class 1: The Main Thing (Part 1)
As we begin, here are some quick “Just Do It” action points that you can apply to your life today and that will help you stay alive as a young black man in America. As you know, in recent weeks, many in this nation have been focused on the issue of how police treat young black men. Right now I want to share with you some tips from the National Black Police Association regarding what to do if if you are stopped by the police while driving:
If you are driving a vehicle, the police can ask you to pull over at any time. The best thing to do in this situation is to pull over and follow the officer’s directions. The officer will request to see your driver’s license, registration and/or proof of liability insurance – this you must do.
If you are stopped at night, turn on your dome light and show the officer that nothing is wrong. It is best to do nothing which may give reason to search further. Having your lights on and keeping your hands on the steering wheel will usually put the officer’s mind at ease.
Chances are that the officer is going to write out a ticket for a traffic violation. Of course, you may start to explain at this point but you should limit your comments. Be careful how you protest. A simple traffic violation may start costing you a fortune in fines for other violations. If you think that the ticket is incorrect – then, carry your protest to traffic court. If you’re given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested.
Police may stop and detain you only if they have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you are about to commit or have committed a crime. If you’re suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath-test, your driver’s license may be suspended.
In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.
We will continue with more of these practical action points in our next class.
Today, we are going to begin with study one from Letters to Young Black Men titled, The Main Thing.
Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
As we begin this class, also consider these words from Tillotson: “He who provides for this life, but takes no care for eternity, is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
Recently, I was speaking at a church in Orlando, Florida, and I saw a sign on the front of the pulpit that read:
The Main Thing
Is To Keep
The Main Thing
The Main Thing.
In this, my first letter to you, I would like to speak to you about the most important aspect of your life — your Spiritual Life: the Main Thing. Now, you may not now think that your spiritual life is the most important part of your life, but trust me, it is. The longer you live on planet earth, the more you realize that life is more about the inner man than the outer man; for you see, you are not a body with a spirit. Rather, you are a spirit with a body. If your physical body would fall away, you would still exist.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Now, please pull out your printed book study guide or your digital study guide.
- You are not a body with a spirit. Rather, you are a spirit with a body.
Though the physical body dies, the spirit remains.
Check It Out
Please listen as I read these verses and note what they say about man’s spirit:
- Proverbs 20:27: “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
Man’s spirit is of utmost importance to the Lord. It is the means by which He assesses the very core of who we are.
- Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Our physical bodies are inherently attached to this earth. Thus, when we cease to exist on this earth, our bodily existence also terminates. However, the good news is that our spirit — which we have already determined is the most important aspect of ourselves — transcends this earth and remains eternally.
- Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Because our soul, or spirit, is eternal, it is imperative that we realize Who holds the keys to its eternal state. Only God is capable of destroying both the body and the soul. The only way to escape this eternal destruction is by placing our trust in the One who has defeated Satan, Jesus Christ.
- John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
We exist to worship and glorify God. Because God is not like us and does not exist in the flesh, it is impossible for us to relate to Him merely in our fleshly state. Thus, we must worship God with our spirit. Because our spirit is the means by which we are enabled to fulfill our purpose, clearly this spiritual existence takes priority over our physical existence.
- 2 Corinthians 4:16: “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
While the physical body constantly becomes weaker, the spirit constantly gains strength, through increased faith, knowledge, and wisdom.
- If our spirits are constantly being strengthened through increased faith, knowledge, and wisdom, as this verse says, then why do we spend so much time worrying about our physical health rather than our spiritual health? In other words, why do we worry so much about our physical appearance, social status, reputation, etc., and worry so little about prayer, reading the Bible, attending church, and growing in our faith?
Perhaps this occurs because we have to deal with the pressures of the world everyday. Though we know God is ever-present it is difficult to continually focus on Him when He cannot be physically seen as easily as our friends, our boss, our girlfriends, our parents, etc. Also, we tend to live in the here and now. When we are young death seems ages away, so we often choose to focus on ourselves and what we want, fully intending to focus on God and spiritual things later. There is no hurry to cater to our spiritual condition, for bills need to be paid, friendships need to be maintained, and “good times” need to be had.
We will continue our study on “The Main Thing” in our next class.
As I said earlier, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what church people said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will. Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.