Jesus came for everyone

Midweek @ River Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:56
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We are in a difficult time in our nation. We are just coming out of a pandemic where over 100,000 Americans have died.
Then we had the unfortunate murder of George Floyd by police who have been charged with murder…
Not every police action is an act of prejudice, but there are prejudiced police officers in our nation because we have prejudiced people in our nation.
God hates prejudice… no matter where it is directed.
Titus 2:11 NLT
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.
God loves everyone. He never made a person He doesn’t love. He never made a person Jesus didn’t die for.
God created race… he created color and diversity.
Racial Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel. It’s a major part of what Jesus died for…
2 Chronicles 19:7 NLT
7 Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.”
God does not tolerate injustice… or perverted justice. He hates bribes because he is a just and fair God. God’s justice works for everyone and his fairness is for everyone.
God does not tolerate partiality… or prejudice. God does not condone nor allow for prejudice in his people. Gods wants everyone treated fairly and equally.
As we see the racial tension in our nation, we cannot just sweep it under the rug and ignore it.
let me share some attitudes towards race in our culture…
Racist - someone who hates people of another race
Bigot - believes stereotypes about a particular race
They belittle those from another race… tell jokes
Avoider - not a racist, but they are uncomfortable with people not like themselves
Insensitive - about what hurts others.
You may have friends of another race but you don’t think about what might hurt them. You and I don’t get to decide what hurts other people… the wrong response when someone says you hurt me is… well it shouldn’t.
Apathetic - you just don’t care
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have to care… You have to care about fairness and justice and love and reconciliation in our culture.
Let’s look at the positive side… positive attitude where you are sensitive to others and you show kindness to people. You stop and try to help others…
The Bible teaches that we are to be reconcilers. Paul actually said
2 Corinthians 5:18–20 NLT
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
Matthew 5:9 NLT
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God wants you and I to be reconcilers.

Why God Hates Racial Prejudice

God hates prejudice because it questions God’s character

Race matters to God. He created it and he created us all equal… not the same, but equal. Can you imagine how boring it would be without any diversity? Pretty bad. God created diversity.
When you show racial prejudice, you are telling God that he made a mistake. You should have made everyone look the same… like me.
I am glad everyone doesn’t look like me…
Acts 17:26 NLT
26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
You did not choose your race… when you were born… which nation you were born into or what culture your background would be. God chose all of that.
We can’t be prideful about where we live… Southerner … northerner… You didn’t have any choice.
Anytime you think less of God’s creation, you are forgetting that you have a creator.
1 Corinthians 4:7 NCV
7 Who says you are better than others? What do you have that was not given to you? And if it was given to you, why do you brag as if you did not receive it as a gift?
It doesn’t matter what race you are… it’s the fact that we are all equal parts of the human race and that should unite us because we are all made in the image of God.
So Prejudice questions God’s character...

God hates prejudice because it’s a sign of ignorance

When we make prejudicial statements, it shows we don’t know what we are talking about. It shows I really do not understand God’s purposes for myself and others.
When you don’t understand or know about another group, you tend to be down on them. We do this with race, nationalities… When we show prejudice towards these other groups, we show we don’t understand them.
In contrast, the opposite is true. The more we understand each group, the less prejudice we become. You grow in wisdom.
Here is what the Bible says…
James 3:17 GNB
17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.
You can have a lot of knowledge and be foolish. Wise people do not show partiality… prejudice.
Look at this…
1 John 2:11 NIV
11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
God is saying that when we go around hating others, we are blind and walking in darkness… not in the light of God’s will, his purpose or his love.
But the wiser you become, the less prejudice you become.
James 3:17 GNB
17 But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy.
You get knowledge from a book, you get wisdom from God.
Check this out… Wisdom is pure, peaceful, gentle, friendly, full of compassion, full of good deeds, doesn’t show prejudice and is sincere...
The wiser you are the more you’ll be gentle and peaceful and compassionate and friendly and without prejudice in relationships. Wisdom shows up in relationships. God wants you to be wise because racial prejudice is a sign of ignorance.

God hates prejudice because it disobeys the Great Commandment

Matthew 22:36–40 NLT
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Paul said that all of the laws can be summed up in this command
Galatians 5:14–15 NLT
14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
What is going on today is violating this commandment. We cannot say we love God and hate people… no matter what nationality or race they are.
Right now, we are destroying each other with our hate… racial hate, political hate… all hate.
Jesus is telling us that the most important thing to do is to love God and to love others.
Then in Luke, Jesus tells this story...
Luke 10:30–37 NLT
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ 36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. 37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
I those days, Samaritans were the hated minority. So when Jesus made the hated minority the hero of the story, it caught attention. Jesus goes on to teach that everyone is your neighbor and that we are to love everyone!
So when we show prejudice, we violate Jesus’ great commandment.

God hates prejudice because it is sin

Prejudice is not a little sin that we can wink at. it’s a major sin. Sin makes God angry.
James 2:9 NLT
9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
When you show favoritism or prejudice, you are sinning.
The problem is that we tend to make up our minds about people in the first 30 seconds or so and our first impressions stay with us… even wen they are totally wrong. You could be totally off about your judgement or not, but God says when you do that, you break His law.
Listen to me, this is a problem we have in our nation but it is also a problem all over the world. In SA, the prejudice is not just white - black, it’s brown- black… tribe - tribe. You can go to any nation in the world, and there will be a group of people who put other groups down.
Everyone tends to not like anything or anyone that’s different from them.
Write this down....

Racism is a problem of SIN not SKIN

It’s a sin that God will hold us accountable for one day.
Romans 14:10 NLT
10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.
Paul says we will stand before God for it.
Today, we have people calling for changes in laws, and we have changed many laws over the last years of our nation, but laws don’t change attitudes.... Laws don’t change hearts. Hearts change from the inside … out.
As a Christian, I know that it’s possible to change hearts. We all need to know that God is in the heart changing business. You cannot be a Believer in Jesus… a follower of Jesus and say, this is the way I am… I’m not changing. God loves us where we are and he changes us into the people he created us to be.
There was a man named John Newton who was a slave trader… he was a bad guy. He was an English slave trader and was a horrible man.
God got hold of him and changed his heart once he turned to Jesus Christ. He became a people lover and helped get rid of Slavery in England and wrote a song you may have heard… Amazing Grace. He became a Pastor. That’s the power of the Gospel!
So, how do we get rid of prejudice in our lives.

Steps to Rid Your Life of Prejudice

This is a problem we have had in society for all of history and one sermon will not get rid of it, but here are some steps you can take today.

1. We must see people as God sees them

Everything begins with how you see people and as followers of Jesus we have to see people as He sees them. This is not something we do naturally. We have to ask God to help us see people like he does. We have to ask him to help us see people in restaurants, in grocery store, at work… out on the streets… to see them just like he does.
To see people like God does, we have to stop looking at human appearance.
1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
We have to stop making judgements about people by their appearance. God looks at their character… their heart.
Jesus said...
John 7:24 NIV
24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
Jesus is pretty blunt… stop judging people by their appearance. This doesn’t mean you are color blind… God created color… He wants you to be blessed by color… by diversity. It’s impossible for you or for me to be color blind. If God wanted us to be color blind, he would have made us all the same color… Thank God he didn’t.
God loves color… that’s why he created it. Not one of us are just alike. Even Twins grow up and begin to show differences.
The Bible is full of teaching against racism.
Jonah - he was running from God because God wanted him to go to Nineveh and preach to them and he didn’t like them. He didn’t want God to forgive that race of people. Jonah was not doing what God wanted him to do because of his prejudice against the people of Nineveh.
Peter - He was prejudice against non-Jews. God broke through Peter’s prejudice when he sent him to Cornelius to lead him to faith in Christ.
Acts 10:28 NLT
28 Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.
God told Peter to stop thinking about Non Jews the way he was.
Later Peter said…
Acts 10:34–35 NLT
34 Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.
He realized that God is not prejudiced. We each need to ask God to help us see people just like God does.
The next step involves changing the way we listen…

2. We must listen to everyone with respect

This means we listen to everyone… even those with different perspectives with respect.
The less we listen to people, the more prejudiced we are and the more foolish we are.
Proverbs 18:13 NLT
13 Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.
When we spout off before knowing the facts, it makes us look foolish. This is a principle that works in every situation.
It starts with listening.
James 1:19–20 GNB
19 Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20 Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose.
Highlight that last part. Human Anger doesn’t achieve God’s purpose. Do we want God’s fairness and justice in our nation? Yes, but violence and human anger will not achieve it. Retaliation never works the way too many think it will. It always makes things worse.
Learn to Listen. We have a world that’s angry right now. Here’s a couple of tips…
Listen to their hurt not their words. This will help your marriage, your work, and how you get along with everyone.
When someone gets after you in anger, you get defensive. But if you see them as hurt, you will be more sympathetic and understand them and react differently.
Ask them to Tell you more. it will help dissipate anger.
When people approach you in anger, the Bible is clear that we are to listen with respect.
1 Peter 2:17 The Living Bible
17 Show respect for everyone. Love Christians everywhere. Fear God and honor the government.
everyone… not just your friends…

3. We must love everyone the way Jesus does

This is not easy… we can’t do it without Jesus power in our lives. We have to love each other the way Jesus does.
John 15:12 NLT
12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
Jesus doesn’t give us any wiggle room. We have to love people like he did.
James 2:1 GNB
1 My brothers and sisters, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance.
This means you treat everyone the same.
Here are some tips that will help us…
Don’t try to be color blind.
You can’t be color blind, but you don’t make decisions based on color of my skin.
Don’t tell people who’ve been treated unjustly that you understand, you don’t.
You don’t know what it’s like to be stopped by police just because the color of your skin unless you have been. No one else can understand where life has been unfair to you nor can you understand where life has been unfair to them. Don’t use that phrase… it’s just not good.
Pain Matters
Don’t say, get over it. You can’t ignore history and think that people should just get over it. Pain matters
Stand against all stereotypes
There are stereotypes about everything. Pentecostals, Baptist, Catholics, black, white, republican, democrat.
When people find out I am a pastor, they change the way they are talking or they shut up. Most of the time, it’s a conversation stopper.
People will often say they don’t believe in God. If you ask them what kind of God they don’t believe it, you would not believe in that God either. We have to learn to love people like God does.
James 2:8 NLT
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here is how God plans to bring people together…

God’s plan to bring people together is the church

We, the church, are supposed to model God’s love to everyone else.
Paul said…
1 Corinthians 12:13 The Living Bible
13 Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:27 The Living Bible
27 Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.
There are no unnecessary parts of the Body of Christ.
Why do you need the church? Why do you need the people on your row? Why do you need to be in a spiritual family?
One reason is that none of us are complete without other members of the Body of Christ. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses.
Secondly, you cannot model love by yourself. You cannot model racial reconciliation by yourself. To love others the way Jesus wants us to requires being around people.
Let me wrap up. Too many people find their identity in relationships… jobs or careers … families split up… jobs change… everything can change.
This next verse is radical because it says that when you become a Christian, your identity changes.
Galatians 3:26–28 NLT
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Write this down…

My primary identity is I am in Christ

This will outlast your nationality, your race, your gender… everything because this identity is forever.
Your primary identity is not your race or gender… it’s that you are a believer.
Colossians 3:11 The Living Bible
11 In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all.
Whether or not you are in Christ… that’s what matters.
Jesus dies for everyone… every color… every nationality… everyone
Let’s learn to
See people as God see them
Listen to everyone with respect
Love every one the way Jesus does
Set our identity in Christ… then we will not be throwing words or rocks at each other.
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