Class 5: Get to Know Your Creator (Part 2)
Welcome to Class 5 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum and Charles Garrett. This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.
— Let’s Pray —
As we begin, here are some more 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. These tips from the National Black Police Association address what to do when the police knock on your door. They state:
If the police knock at your door, you do not have to let them in unless there is a signed warrant. Always ask to see the warrant. If it appears proper on its face, you must step aside and let them into your home or business.
If it is an arrest warrant, look at the name on the warrant to make certain they have the right person. If it is a search warrant, make sure the address is correct and note what is specifically listed on the warrant to be searched for in your home.
If the police do not have a warrant, you do not have to let them in unless they insist. Perhaps you can settle this matter at the door. If they do insist, over your objections, then be careful to:
– First, ask for a police badge and identification
– Second, ask the purpose of entering your home.
– Third, let them in only after they insist.
– Fourth, if you object, make sure that the police know that you do not consent to any search of your home or business.
– Fifth, remember badge numbers, officer’s faces, and the time of day. Write this information down.
The police are not required to give you a receipt for property they intend to book as evidence such as stolen goods, guns, etc. However, when property is taken from your home, ask the police for a receipt.
We will continue with more of these practical action points in our next class.
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, Get to Know Your Creator.
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight victoriously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
Second, God wants us to understand that because of our sin, there is a great punishment and that punishment is death — both spiritual death and physical death. You see, because of sin, we not only die physically, but also because of sin we die spiritually. This spiritual death is actually eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. Notice what God’s Word says about this death:
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”
Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now, please pull out your printed book study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
God wants us to understand that because of our sin, there is a great punishment, and that punishment is death — both spiritual death and physical death.
Listen as I read these verses and note what they say about the effect of sin.
- Psalm 5:4-5 says, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
God is perfect. He is holy and undefiled. When we sin, no matter how insignificant or minute it is in our eyes, the offense holds tremendous consequences in the eyes of the Father. Think about it this way: If an individual is seen as a “bad” person in the eyes of society (for example, if he steals, kills, and destroys), his smaller offenses like cussing, getting drunk, etc., often go unnoticed. They do not at all change his reputation and are lesser offenses than some of his others. However, on the other end of the spectrum we see a God, who has never even been in the presence of sin. This God is so completely pure, holy, and perfect, that even the tiniest offense would contaminate His holiness. So, a man who possesses sin, which we have already seen is every man, cannot possibly stand in God’s presence. Thus, the unrighteous individual cannot enter heaven.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
This verse again points out that the unrighteous, which is another way of saying sinners, WILL NOT enter the Kingdom of God. There is no disclaimer that says only the extremely unrighteous will not enter. No, it is a blanket statement referring to all sinners. The verse goes on to list some examples of the sins that cause an individual to be unrighteous, but this list is not definitive. Remember James 2:10 says that whoever breaks the law in just one instance is guilty of breaking the entire law.
- James 1:15 says, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Plain and simple — sin leads to death. The concept of physical death is obvious, for we all know that everyone dies, and one day our own existence on this earth will terminate. However, this verse is talking about a much more important death — spiritual death. Those who have never been forgiven for their sins are unfit for entering into the presence of God. Thus, they are sent to Hell, a place completely void of God. Because God is absent, so is purity, peace, and goodness in general. Hell is a place of misery and destruction, for that is the just punishment for sin.
From these verses we obviously get the impression that God does not take sin lightly. In fact, He is incapable of even looking at sin because it is so repulsive. Thus, anyone who dies physically without ever having worked out this major issue between himself and the Father is sadly going to miss out on the gift of Heaven.
Just a thought: Since our physical death is inevitable, while our spiritual death is avoidable, why do we spend so much of our time and energy focused on this earthly existence, and so little on knowing the Father who offers eternal life, peace, joy, and worship?
Think about this question as you prepare for the the next lesson in this study.
In closing, 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.”
Now, 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, “For 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 Him 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.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.